Letter to a young woman newly diagnosed
I'm watching the end of Ozark. Ruth is my favorite character. How could she not be?!
This isn't my usual type of music, but I heard this on the show and I found it incredibly powerful. Herpes doesn't change the fact that a woman's sexual power is the most powerful force in the universe. It has the power to create and destroy. As we go through the different phases of our lives, we experiment with it, we learn about it, we use it for good and for bad, and we eventually become comfortable with it. We eventually develop a sense of what works for us in terms of our sexual expression, and we rest in that. That doesn't happen until you're older, or at least it didn't for me. And even now, the temptation to use my sexual power in a manipulative way is always there - and I can't say I don't use it to manipulate. I'd like to think not in ways that are damaging, more as part of the dance that lovers dance when they're desirous of one another. Herpes doesn't change our power as women, as sexual beings. It changes how we go on about the business of living our lives, how we manage our sexual expression and our sexual choices. But it doesn't change the fact that within our deepest selves, we have a strength and power that is so incredible, so unfathomable, life itself is birthed of our innermost essence. I hope that might give you a grander sense of all this. There are so many many many important, big, critical, meaningful, significant things in this life. Herpes is a nuisance skin condition, the shame of which is overcome with an evolving perspective, a changing mindset. It's getting from here, this place of shame and regret and a pain inside you feel might destroy you, to seeing the bigger picture of who you are as a unique and magnificent creation of all time in all the universe. That takes time. But you will get there. It is never our destiny to succumb to the obstacles that come against us in life. It is never intended those obstacles destroy us, take away our quality of life, defeat us. It is intended those obstacles are faced, head on, put into proper perspective, and provide us the learning to move ahead in confidence, all the while gaining tools to deal with the next obstacle we encounter. Because there will always be obstacles. That I can promise you. I'm not trying to say this time of grieving is not critical for your healing. I'm not trying to say you don't deserve to feel all the feelings you're feeling. I would never diminish what you're going through. That is a destructive way to view this healing process. What you're suffering now is the most important part of facing this obstacle head on and coming to terms with it all. And that's a critical part of the journey that cannot be rushed. Be patient with yourself, give yourself grace. Much grace. And always always remember, there is no timeline for coming to terms with this. It takes as long as it takes. Lean into it, but make a conscious choice to walk it out. Make a conscious choice to walk it through, to get out the other side. Because you will. It's my great hope you will listen to these lyrics, and really feel them. Really feel your power. Because herpes doesn't diminish your power. Not one bit.
"There is unbelievable power in ownership, and women should own their sexuality."
[Original publication date: 5/3/2022]