I have herpes.
There. I said it.
Does it make me dirty? No. Does it make me unworthy? Absolutely not. I know that, but why don't I act like it? Anytime the topic comes up whether someone is making a crass joke or one of my closest friends is checking in on me, I cower down and speak at a whisper. What I have come to realize is that the courage to talk about it is like cold water on the fire of shame. I don't think it truly matters how one contracts the disease, the stigma of STDs or STIs in our culture is anything but positive. The reality is, the only negative thing about it is how you allow it to affect you beyond your body.
This stupid disease has caused me to be quiet. To hold back because people might find out if they ask too many questions about my story, or in a faith circle it might disqualify me from having a voice at all. I felt like I had to be healed before I could have authority. I don't know what bogus theology that came from, but it's absolute garbage. When it comes to people, there is no such thing as "damaged goods." Circumstances make us feel that way, that we aren't enough. That is the biggest lie we believe. It prevents us from making the impact we could because we walk around like we have a broken wing when really it's just one feather missing. You can still fly.
I may sound like an absolute nut case, but this is actually my sanity. I know I will be cured through divine healing. That is the ONLY option. (If you didn't know, herpes is medically incurable) On the most painful days, I smile knowing this isn't forever. I stopped being mad about it not happening when I wanted it to, but started resting in knowing that it will. It has been a process of choosing a new perspective like this, but I have never felt so free and myself. I sing worship songs as I pick up medication for the symptoms like a total loon. I know He isn't finished. I have come a LONG way, and it's not over yet. :)
Whether you also have an incurable disease or your shame is rooted in something else, I hope this crazy vulnerable blog of mine that I put off for months will give you the courage to be yourself. Don't let circumstances define you or dictate your day. Choose to look ahead. Keep hoping and dreaming. It ain't over!