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A Story about the Indy Gathering

I grew up in a not so healthy home and set out in the world on my own at the age of 16. I put myself through school and I have a degree in business. Instead of my family being happy for me they are actually jealous of me and hate me.

When I met my husband I was nearly completely alone and so it wasn't hard for me to fall for a guy who came from a close family which I never had. You know the type...nice looking and smooth talking, etc. Of course he forgot to inform me that he had herpes. Just a minor detail I'm sure he thought wasn't important at the time.

To make a long story short, all I ever wanted was to be wife and Mother. Since he gave me herpes I felt like the biggest piece of trash in the world. I just knew no one will want me now and since he gave herpes to me by God he was going to make me a wife and Mother.

Do you believe he had the nerve to tell me that he was just as much a victim of herpes as me because the person he got it from didn't tell him either? I guess he never heard the saying "two wrongs don't make it right".

Not to skip pass all the bliss of the first six years of my marriage (Ha! Ha!) but for the sake of keeping this as short as possible I'll skip to 1998. In 1998 I was held against my will, raped and beaten. So for the next four years (well sex years but keep reading) that followed I locked myself away from the rest of the world except when I had to go out and even then it was only during the daytime. Of course my wonderful husband really capitalized on this and kept me living in fear by reminding me of what could happen to me every time I left the house or if he wasn't around to protect me. He actually came right out and said "If you get raped again you will deserve it". (Just because I was wearing a sleeveless sweater.)

My marriage was a nightmare to say the least. When he walked out the last time two years ago my  seven year old daughter (who is now nine) placed her hand on my leg and said "We are going to be okay Mom because you are strong and I will help". If she only knew just how weak and fearful I was. I decided then that I was going to become as strong as she thought I was.

I started Christian counseling and started to research a lot about what I had been through and participating in different groups. When I would speak at the different groups the women would comment about how strong they thought I was and how I was their inspiration. I was ashamed to say that although I was well educated and strong in the safety of the group I had yet to put my strength to the test out in the real world. I had valid reasons for not going out. I was a single mom of three and didn't have much time. (Or I like this one too: "if being a single Mother of three doesn't make any man run for the hills I'm sure herpes will. So, what is the point"? In other words I used excuses to mask my fear.

In June of this year I decided to do a search for herpes singles. Which was funny considering how I would warn other women of the dangers of picking someone up on the internet. I decided to set up an additional email address to use and off I went. I remember wanting to make contact with someone on the internet. The only thing I had to do was push one button but for the life of me I placed the floor so long that by the time I pressed the button the person was no longer on the internet. Considering that I was not going to place my picture on the internet fro every pervert in the world to see...the chances were slim that I would get a response from the person who I had contacted. So, I got a little braver and upgraded my account and send the person my email and offered to email pictures to them personally. After a few emails...I actually got even braver (after a few more paces across the floor) and gave the person my home phone umber then almost had a panic attack after I pushed the button to send the email.

I remember on June 22, 2004 walking into my counselor and dear friend Kathryn's office and telling her that I thought I was finally ready to test being back in the real world again. So, we prayed that I would find another group to be a part of. The very next day I am talking on the phone with one of the Indiana H Pals for the first time and by that Friday (June 25, 2004) I was at the Indy Gathering.

Here I was out where I knew no one but the Indiana H Pal and I knew her only by phone and it was at night even...(I like to use the example of getting into a cold swimming pool on a hot summer day to explain how I felt. You know that you will feel better after you get in but knowing how cold the water is keeps you just standing there and looking at it.) Well, just like with the swimming pool I held my breath and just jumped in. The fact that I listen to music and dance around my house every day made it easier. Okay...drinking made it easier, too. (Especially since I have never been drunk in my life!)

When I look back at the month of June 2004...I am overwhelmed at how far and how fast my life changed for the better and I am glad it did go fast because if it had went slower I might have lost my nerve. I used to think of how lucky I was that I did not die in 1998 but I guess looking back part of me had been dead for a lot of years. Now that I am alive again I don't plan on ever going back.

The weekend of the Indy Gathering might have been nice and have special meaning for all of you, but to me it was the weekend I got my life back!!!!! Now that I am alive again I plan on living!!!!

There are a few reasons why I decided to share my story with all of you...One is to say thank you. Another reason is because I know knowledge is power, living in spite of what life throws your way is empowering and if I can help someone out by reading this or talking to them...then what happened to me didn't happen for nothing. There is Life After Herpes and a victim stops being a victim when they take a stand and fight back. Thanks for everything everybody!!!!

 

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