I’ve seen good days. Unfortunately, I’ve seen a great deal of bad days.
It’s been one year tomorrow since I was diagnosed with herpes. April Fool’s Day.
“I was almost hoping you were joking. You were going to tell me it was an April Fool’s joke,” he had said to me when we talked about what we would do.
A year ago, I was ready to get married. I was ready to settle down and have kids. I would move to places I didn’t know and be excited for the change. I would help my future husband deal with his mental demons because I loved him. I would help to raise our family, and he would be a great dad, something he always wanted. We would have it. Two people who never had anything, we would have something together.
There is a difference between us though. I never had anything because of the people I let into my life. He never had anything because of the person he was. I helped to create opportunity for myself out of the worst circumstances, and he basked in the glory of unhappiness.
This year, things are very different. The weather is the same, the physical place I’m in is the same, but it all feels very different. I love a boy, not out of pity, but out of the fact that I wake up every morning wondering what he even sees in me because he is the greatest person I’ve ever met. I love him and I’m actually very scared that he might leave one day, because I don’t know if I could do any better than him. I don’t want to marry him right now. I don’t want to have his babies right now. But I’m holding out hope that he’ll stick around long enough to have a future with me. And who knows what that future will hold.
A year ago, I really thought that herpes was going to change things for me. It was going to make me more broken, and unlovable. It didn’t. It made me reexamine myself and realize how much I could love, and how much I could be loved.
My goal here is to tell you that just because you have herpes—or HPV or anything else, or you’re just reading this on the off-chance that you find me interesting—doesn’t change anything entirely. It changes the details, the minor ones. It does not change who you are or what you can accomplish, or how your life will go. Life goes on. I’m living proof that it does. And life didn’t just go “on.” It went well.