I still remember the day that I was diagnosed with herpes. It was a hot summer day and the emergency room was freezing cold! The left side of my genitals were swollen, which created a lot of discomfort, and I was scared. What in the world could that mean? None of my girlfriends ever mentioned this happening to them and I didn’t share this with them either because I was too embarrassed. I knew in my heart that whatever it meant, it was bad. So when the doctor told me I had herpes, I was shocked, but not shocked. You know what I mean?
I didn’t tell anyone. Not even my mother. For 13 years, I didn’t tell a soul. I even chose to be celibate, missing out on relationships and the opportunity to be loved. I just didn’t want to have the herpes conversation with every potential Mr. Right. There were no more date nights and romantic dinners. No Valentine’s Day celebrations. No one to make me feel special on my birthdays. No one to kiss me under the mistletoe. And no one to bring in New Year’s Eve with, and then watch the sun come up. Instead, I chose to put on my golden shackles and wear them like a badge of honor. But shackles are shackles. Whether made out of gold or pewter, they are still suffocating and toxic.
Keeping the herpes diagnosis from my mother for so long began to bother me. She was my best friend! Yet, I couldn’t tell her I had herpes? Yikes! What was I REALLY afraid of? She loved me! She would never turn her back on me. Then it hit me … It wasn’t the herpes that stopped me from confiding in my mother. It was the SHAME! That guilty feeling that I had committed a horrible crime and could never be forgiven. I was in a chokehold that I couldn’t seem to break through.
All this time I had been focusing on herpes. But it was NEVER about the virus. It was all about the SHAME. This clarity was life changing! I would change the game of shame instead of exclusively focus my movement on herpes. My focus shifted to the mission of helping all individuals who are in bondage to Secrets, Hurts, Anger, Mindset and Emotions (S.H.A.M.E), regardless of what their shame point was. While my shame point was herpes, someone else’s could be abortion, gambling, drug addiction…. And thus The SHAME Changer was born.
If we don’t expose our shame points, we will forever be prisoners to them. Shame has risen to epidemic levels and it is time to start the conversation and tell your story. We have always held the key to our freedom. But we have been too scared to unlock the cell we have grown accustomed to. It is a co-dependent dysfunctional relationship that has to end in order to stand in our truth and stop living a lie!