There’s no way.
I got a second opinion. I actually went and got tested somewhere else. It just wasn’t possible. After all, I’d only ever really had sex with one person and never without a condom. And with other people I hadn’t done the deed with, I still had been so responsible. Really. There was no way anything like this could have ever happen to me. I went to work right after my appointment, in a daze. In disbelief. Pretending that my afternoon spent in urgent care was all just a bad dream.
When I found out who had passed it on to me via a cold sore on his lip, I stole his idiotic, hideous, ironic jorts he left at a friend’s house, soaked them in paint thinner and burned them, as two very pleasant drunk passers-by warmed themselves from the bonfire my best friend and I had made on the sidewalk in the middle of the night. (At least my outburst of irrational, somewhat misdirected anger was also sort of a good deed?)
I would give up any amount of sex in my future in order for this pain to just go away.
When the pain of the first outbreak arrived in full force, it definitely added injury to insult. I couldn’t walk, I had to skip all of my classes that week, and I called in sick to work. I sat at home and cried for days as I felt the shame of an incurable STD I felt I didn’t deserve, burn with a vengeance between my legs.
You are now officially unworthy of love.
Now the 21-year-old girl who has never been in a real relationship, who has never truly felt worthy of receiving love, is officially ruined forever. She’s now trash. Now, not only do you have to find someone who might possibly like you and want to be with you as more than a friend-with-benefits, but now you also have the added challenge of proving to them that you are worth taking a calculated risk. And no one in their right mind would knowingly risk getting the herp, right? Who’s going to want you now?
I won’t pretend like I don’t still feel like shit every now and then. Learning you have an STD is not easy, and takes a little bit of emotional healing. It’s a process, and there’s no quick fix.
But after a while, exhaustion sets in—from blaming yourself, from blaming the other person, and from feeling hopeless and alone, and you start to want to strip all that away. You sit down for a little while every day, you take a few breaths, and you let those thoughts float away a little bit at a time. And what are you left with?
Perspective. There are a lot worse things that can happen to you,
You’re also left with a freeing sense that this could actually be a good thing. It may actually have been the best thing that has ever happened to you. You learn that you’re truly not alone. You’re left with the knowledge that this can actually give you the ability to never feel like you have to hide behind your sexuality again. You’re forced to learn to love and respect yourself more, to take things slower, and to be more honest with your partners and to not accept anything less than what you want—the real thing.
You open your heart to real love, and you start to believe that it may be out there for you, somewhere, even if you haven’t found it yet. You put yourself out there in a real way, and you begin to be open to receiving the kind of love that you really deserve. And even if you can’t find it right away from someone else—you start to be able to find it from within better than you ever were able to before. It just takes a little time.