Three months ago today.
December 17, 2021 Journal Entry
Three months ago today. I got the herpes diagnosis three months ago today. I knew soon after I’ve had herpes for years. But I got the diagnosis three months ago today.
What has happened in three months?
Well, the entire month of October was lost to COVID. Mom and I got sick three days after our booster. We’re better. I still have the cough. When I laugh hard. I don’t know when or if it will ever go away. But I’ll take the cough if I can laugh hard. Laughing heals my soul. Mom is tired all the time. Nauseous a lot of the time. But she’s also 83 with untreated sleep apnea. (Untreated due to her refusal to treat.) So, it’s unclear the cause.
I was really mad and really nasty and really full of hate towards the anti-vaxxers. And, let’s face it, I am pretty filled with hate towards Trump supporting sycophants in general. The hate is constant. I push it down. I know that’s not ideal. The best is to release that over which I have no control. And I want to, badly. I especially don’t want to give that faction any more of my words. But here I am giving them more of my words. Alas. Work in progress.
I’ve continued my efforts to get Washington State Law changed so herpes is no longer a reportable diagnosis. The CDC doesn’t consider herpes a reportable diagnosis. The State should never have a more stringent disease reporting requirement than the federal government.
I’m involved in supporting the Psilocybin Services Act for Washington in the effort to get psilocybin for the treatment of drug resistant depression on the 2022 ballot. It’s already legal in Oregon.
Most of my energy is focused on my blog. I continue to write about living with bipolar, herpes is simply another layer, another flavor add on. A piece of mine was published in The Mighty, Herpes Schmerpes: Nothing Can Take Me Down Now. I’m very proud of that piece. I’ve had six articles published in The Mighty, now, and notification today a seventh will publish imminently.
I’m getting my message out there, gaining a following. Slow, slow, slow, but steady. There’s no hurry. It takes as long as it takes to get my message to those most in need of my message. It’s not on me. My responsibility is to Persevere, to write, every day to write, and to stay as even and steady as I am able.
Okay. So that’s all the stuff you can see that's happened on the outside of me in the last three months. What has happened on the inside of me?
I figured some stuff out about the affair with Jeff, why I hold onto it – not to Jeff – but to the whole affair and the WHY of the affair. And I really needn’t do that. It’s not helpful. It pulls me down and it pulls me back. And I’m doing it to myself. I’ve known that from the get, it’s nothing new. Still, I can’t find my way through, still, I can’t seem to let go. But I figured out there’s a reason for that. I figured that out at least.
I now understand holding onto all that ugliness prompted a deep dive into my faith deconstruction journey. The promiscuity, the affair, the herpes – all of that has culminated in a compelling need to take a long hard look at the condemning beliefs I’ve held born of my evangelical Christian past.
The truth I know of God, my good and faithful friend, God, glares in stark relief against the supposed truths I’ve felt uneasily obligated to embrace my entire life. The dichotomy of holding on to such disparate views of God and of what it means to be a Christian is no longer tenable.
I’m split apart, split to the ground, beginning the arduous process of rebuilding my entire belief system. Again. And I embrace it. I’m at full tilt now, but this is not new. It’s been a lifetime getting to full speed is all. I’m not afraid. As surprising as that sounds, I’m simply not at all afraid.
Much of my earlier faith deconstruction work was slight, incremental, iterative, undetectable. Yet, I’ve engaged in this process my entire life, even from early childhood. Some shit just never sat right, even when I was very young, even before age seven when my father started in on me.
I heavily deconstructed in Louisville. The affair, especially Jeff - the person Jeff – prompted me to look at what I believed about sex, question it, challenge it, and throw it all out. Everything got turned upside down. I chose to live free, and it was good. Overall, it was very good. But there were still emotional consequences predicated on out and out lies, and the shame of my choices kept me down too long. The shame wanes. But the lies are strong in me. I’m better, but I’ve a long way to go.
A few months back, having fallen into a deep dark pit of victim mentality, I wrote about the “count it all joy” thing Christians push when we are smacked with trials. I lamented it was a directive I simply wasn’t evolved enough to embrace. And that made me not good enough. And I was used to feeling not good enough, so giving up on the idea felt comfortable. But then I realized that isn’t my truth anymore. I’m a new creation. “I can’t” doesn’t fit me anymore. It’s another lie. And I’m tired of telling myself lies. I can. I know I can. But now that I know I can, how can I?
Bereft, I reached out to my friend, S. S. is a seemingly random, but incredibly serendipitous, FaceBook friend recommendation. He is a friend of a friend from high school that I haven’t seen or even spoken to since high school. I've never met S., and I likely never will. S. accepted my friend request and has become a rock, always willing to answer my questions about the Why of God.
When I told him I just could not “count it all joy”, and that coming face to face with that truth made me despondent, he replied:
"I am so sorry you're having to endure this. I read your blog post, and yes, hope is not a strategy. But in the Valley of the Shadow of Death, it is the heart of faith... Much as we want to, it's neither our job, nor within our powers to protect everyone around us from evil and injustice. Sometimes we can, but more often we can't... especially people who are embedded amidst evil and/or ignorant communities. Our job--the only job we've ever been called to--is to be faithful stewards of the talents that have been given to us (Matt. 25:14-30)... to tend the garden within our reach as best we can, and leave the harvest up to God. Many will call that a cop-out, but as long as we're fallen mortals, there's nothing else we can do. The good news is that in the end... it's enough.
And FWIW, "[counting] it all joy" isn't what you think. NT Greek was a far more pictorial and explicit language than modern English and lacked the latter's vague pliability. The Greek word "joy," as it appears in the NT, bears little resemblance to our sappy idea of blissful happiness. More properly, it's a deep, abiding confidence and conviction that good will eventually prevail and God will complete the work He began in us and others. That abiding confidence... that joyful hope... can persist in happiness or the deepest grief and tears.
So... stand tall Sister and adjust your crown. You are surrounded by a cloud of witness who believe in you, and a God who whether it feels that way or not, will in His good timing, sort the wheat from the tares (Matt. 13:24-30), including the anti-vax tares, and complete the work He began in us all. ”
This entry has nothing to do with me having herpes. Getting the herpes diagnosis is such a small piece of that big chunk of incredibly good work, hard work, persistent work I task myself with every day.
I’m diligent. I fight. I fight the good fight. And I will not ever stop. I can’t stop. It’s simply no longer possible to say I can’t do a thing for which I know I was destined.
I Persevere. And life goes on.
“Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”
I Timothy 6:12