Category Archives: Dating

What Courage Looks Like On An Ordinary Day

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Courage is defined as mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty(Merriam-Webster). For anyone who knows me, I am a big proponent of honesty especially when it comes to sexual relationships. So in my social media presence, I share interesting info on how to talk about sex, and how to talk about sexual health. There are great sites out there that have great resources for information, support, and encouragement. Sadly, as many people that happen to have STIs, there is an even larger amount of sheer ignorance that continues to spread. Ignorance hurts everyone. There is no place for ignorance in the life of a person who considers themselves to be intelligent.

I told my STI story today. It was anonymous but it gave me the courage to share. I am not proud of my STI status but as much as I would like to wish it away, it will be with me until I die. So, I have had to make peace with it. Well, I had to make peace with it a long time ago. But as with anxiety, it is something that I can’t just put on a shelf. Also, because I do have STIs, I always tell potential partners before anything gets hot and heavy(For the record, I have been celibate for three years, FB let me know in my memories today).

So, if you are reading this and this is your first time hearing about this, it’s okay, you are hearing it from the horse’s mouth and I don’t care who knows, because there isn’t anyone that I had a sexual relationship with in the past who didn’t know. I have shared this info with people over email, text, in person, and on the phone(before texting was a thing). One reason why I am so adamant about people having sexual health talks is so that there can be one less person who has to cluelessly go to the clinic or ER because they think they are at the brink of death due to an STI. I believe that a sign of humanity is honesty. If you cannot be honest with yourself or with others, how are you helping the world? This is also why I have no sympathy for those who knowingly spread STI’s to others without letting the other person know. Just because a person wants to sleep with you maybe after just meeting you, doesn’t mean that they deserve to have something horrible happen to them(because STI’s aren’t roses).

Also, even though I feel that I am not the most loveable person because of my STI status, does not mean that I will not be happy for someone to prove me wrong 🙂

If you have never been tested for STI’s or you have had sex or are having sex with someone who gives you fifty plus reasons for why they just can’t bear to use a condom before having sex with you, please reconsider and go get tested. HSV can be tested with a blood test or if you are in the midst of an outbreak and sadly women are more likely to have symptoms before men. So please, for all things good in the world, go get tested. There are tons of places where you can get it done for free.

Here are the questions that I answered:

  1. How old are you?

I am 34 years old

  1. What do you do for a living?

I work in the education and tech field

  1. What STD/STI do you have/have you had?

I have HSV2 and had genital warts (HPV)

  1. How long have you had or known you have an STD/STI?

I have had both for seven years

  1. Do you know how you contracted this STD/STI?

With the HPV, I had warts and didn’t know what they were so I had my sister check me out and she told me to go to the clinic. With the HSV2, I had horrible symptoms for about two weeks or so when I had to drag myself to the hospital to get checked and was diagnosed at that time.

  1. How has your life changed since you contracted an STD/STI?

My life changed drastically. I have always been an honest person, but once I had interactions with people who weren’t honest and knew that I had to be upfront with people, I vowed to always let people know my status. I still feel a lot of shame and guilt, so I still have feelings that no one will ever want to be with me so my self esteem goes up and down about it. I have been celibate for three years.

  1. Do the people who know you have an STD/STI treat you differently than they treated you before they knew?

No, my friends and family have always been pretty understanding, they just consider me to be loca, so they figure it was a result of my wild days. They treat me the same. They are often way more optimistic about my life than I am.

  1. Are you currently under treatment for your STD/STI? If so, please share whether you have explored prescription medication, over-the-counter medication, or holistic and natural approaches.

No, when I was diagnosed with HPV, I had insurance and I was able to get Imiquimod(Aldara) and when I was diagnosed with HSC2 I was able to get Acyclovir(Zovirax). After the prescribed time on each medication, my symptoms cleared up. I try to maintain my health by using a holistic approach of L-lystine supplements and a plant based diet. I also exercise and do yoga to try and keep down my stress.

  1. Has having an STD/STI hindered past relationships?

The person who gave me HPV accused me of being a dirty whore(when in actuality he slept around) and the person who gave me HSV2 broke up with me(when he was in the midst of an outbreak, rather than be honest about his status). I have had guys tell me that I was too much of a risk to be in a relationship with but I was good enough for a one night stand.

  1. Do you have a significant other? If so, how has this STD/STI affected your partner?

I am currently single. I tell all potential partners before engaging in sex(with clothes on).

  1. Have you been sexually active with someone since contracting an STD/STI whom you did not tell you had an STD/STI?

No, after going through what I went through, I made the decision to always be upfront and honest with potential partners before engaging in a sexual relationship.

  1. How have you changed as a result of contracting an STD/STI?

I have changed a lot. I have always been a caring and giving person but I found that I have even more empathy for others and am always willing to go the extra mile for someone after my diagnosis. I don’t want anyone in my life to ever feel that they can’t tell me something or that I won’t try to understand what they may be going through.

  1. Why are you choosing to participate in this interview and/or is there anything else you would like to share with us?

I wanted to participate in this interview because I wanted to share with this project because I really appreciate what you are doing for the world. I also needed to have the courage to talk about this in a larger conversation. Thank you.

 

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Understanding

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     I just found out that not only is October Breast Cancer Awareness month but it is also Domestic Violence Awareness month. These are both two horrific events that happen way too often. I have not had breast cancer but I have friends and family who have fought the good fight.
I grew up with domestic violence as an everyday event in my family home. I always knew that domestic violence was wrong. I have also experienced domestic violence.
     At first it started out low key with needing to always know where I was or being with me. Then it turned to mini arguments that led to nowhere and couldn’t be resolved because I was given the silent treatment.
Then in a moment, my husband attacked me. He drug me through our home. He grabbed me by my hair and bashed my head into the floor. Then when that wasn’t enough, he tried to choke the life out of me. Do you want to know why? He owed a drug dealer $40 and I wouldn’t give it to him. I saw my life flash before my eyes that day(it will be three years next month). See, way back when we started dating, my husband had promised me that he would never hurt me, no matter what. So, when he finally let me go, I called the cops and a friend. He was arrested. The officers asked me if I wanted to press charges and I said yes. I also filed a restraining order. I let his family and mine know what happened and I tried to get my life together.
      His family could not understand why I didn’t stay and support him. I told them that he knew the deal. He broke his promise and I couldn’t stay. I couldn’t stay because I didn’t know when or if it would happen again.
     Even though I was safe, I was scared because I was in real pain and he kept violating the restraining order. Each time he violated the order, I had him arrested. So it took time for me to even start to feel better. While he was still in jail, I was able to get our marriage annulled.
     I still have moments when I get a glimpse of a good memory that we had. But it is like a mist and it fades. Seeing what my Mom went through for over twenty-five years with my dad, I can’t fault a person for staying in an abusive relationship. I would just say that when you are ready to leave, a way will be made for you to do so.
     No one deserves to live in fear or to feel like they aren’t worth more than unspeakable treatment from someone they care about. Although we still have a long way to go for survivors of domestic violence, there are tons of resources available to help.
Shalom
Namaste

Reflections

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     I’ve had a lot on my mind but haven’t really felt like blogging. I still can’t believe that people manage to read my blog when I’m not posting regularly. The semester is in full force.
     I have been doing some run challenges with friends. My foot has been bothering me. It’s plantar fasciitis. I just realized that was the same issue I had last winter. So I’m trying to be more proactive. I took my first epsom soak last night.
     I’ve got a more manageable time management system. So I can actually get stuff done ahead of schedule. I joined a dissertation group which will be good. I found some good theory to support my ideas.
      I just realized I’m actually a lot more boring than I thought. Which is okay but when people ask me the inevitable “Are you dating?” I just say no but the reality is, it’s no because I’m boring. For the time being I have to focus on writing.
     Shalom
      Namaste

Just Another Weird Day In My World

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Hey blog readers,

I know I talked about stats and coding that I am working on but in the midst of all of that, other things seem to keep happening. You know, that thing we call life. So here we go. I have a lot of guy friends. Some of my guy friends are single and some of my guy friends have girlfriends. No big deal. Everything is on the up and up. So no issues right.

Until there is an issue. One of my guy friends let’s call him L, has a girlfriend. We all know that L has a girlfriend. L knows he has a girlfriend, except when he is not around his girlfriend. When L is not around his girlfriend he acts like he is single, carefree, and living the good life. Last year, one night after hanging out with a bunch of friends, L got flirty with me. I brushed it off. L gave me a ride home and when I said goodbye, I gave L a hug and a thank you kiss on the cheek(no big deal, I kiss most of my friends on the cheek). Well, L, didn’t take that thank you kiss as a thank you. L took that thank you kiss as more and I stopped him. I went home.

Fast forward to this summer and we make some new friends. One in particular, let’s call him B. Well, B was cool and fit in with our group. We all hung out and had a nice time. A friend invites all of us to a party. I need a ride to the party. L lets me know that he can’t give me a ride to the party because he is bringing his girlfriend. In another conversation, L asked me if I was interested in B for a FWB relationship, to which I said no. So B is kind enough to give me a ride to the party. As soon as we get to the party, B tells me that he only came to the party because L was coming. I thought that was weird but didn’t think anything of it. I enjoyed the party. I had a good time. Then L arrives with his girlfriend and his girlfriend introduces herself as if we had never met(we met a year ago). I kept it moving. After a bit L decided that he and his girlfriend were going to leave. Then B decides he wants to leave. So that was my cue to leave. I say my goodbyes. As we are on the way out, L makes a comment that I was leaving with the person who brought me, I said yes, because that’s what I do.

On the ride home, B and I have a conversation. We actually have a nice conversation about a ton of different things. I mentioned to B that L thought I should entertain a FWB relationship with him. B, didn’t say anything. So I went home not thinking anything of it.

The next day, I get a few messages from L questioning me about talking to B about our previous conversation. He also questioned me about my behavior with B. Well, I guess people really don’t get that I am honest and blunt and I will tell anybody anything pertaining to myself. So I said, yes, I had a conversation with B. So, I was frustrated because I didn’t understand why B told L about our conversation. I didn’t understand if B didn’t believe me or if he didn’t believe that L would suggest the idea. I didn’t have a chance to see B but I sent him a short email. He replied back to me with an even shorter response. So I was pissed.

This is what makes me mad, why does L even care? Here’s my thing, why is L all up in my kool-aid when he has a girlfriend? Why Why did B act like a %$^*! and talk to L? Why didn’t B tell L something like “Hey, I respect Gemma and she doesn’t get down like that”. So right now, B and L get two fingers from me. In other news, I just found out that people think that the drama between acquaintenemy and myself will just be solved by having sex. That answer is a big fat no. For one, acquaintenemy is not my type. For two, he has way too much ego. For three, I wouldn’t give him the satisfaction. I guess people just can’t seem to believe that I am celibate by choice, so they think I just need to have sex with anyone. That is so not the case. I’m just trying to meet someone who I can build a friendship with that could lead to a long-term relationship down the road. But since that seems so unlikely, I am just stuck in the world of me, myself, and I.

This is the kind of crap that I have to put up with on the daily. It gets old.

Shalom

Namaste