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my epiphany..... herpes is, in fact, a joke

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I love stand-up comedy.....but I always hated when the comedians made jokes about herpes as though it was funny, I love to laugh but when they told these jokes I felt like the fun was sucked out of the room. yet, when they told gay jokes or fat jokes or any other jokes related to people's insecurities I laughed my ass off. tonight while watching my fave comic Kevin Hart, I realized something very important. for the first time since I have followed him, he made reference to herpes and I realized that the reference is no different from virtually all of the topics that comedians talk about. they address the awkward and they make fun of it. the fact that I couldn't laugh at the joke was my issue, why did I think that laughing at every other unsettling and insecurity based joke was ok yet herpes isn't something I should and could laugh at? sometimes when we are so close to an issue we lose perspective...... I want to laugh at it, I want to embrace it and I want to be reminded that we all have something deserving of a stand-up joke.... why should I be immune to the joke? herpes is in fact funny! it feels like a cruel joke but actually its just one of the many things in life we need to learn to laugh about. one of Kevin's first shows was called "laugh through the pain" and I have to say.... when I allowed myself to laugh about it, herpes became just another opportunity to laugh at my pain and the challenges I face each day. I laugh equally about all the other bullshit in the world, I want to laugh, even if the joke seems like it is on me. the critical message here is that the joke is NOT on me (nor is it on you).... its just a joke and we all need to embrace that its ok to make light of a painful issue. the more we laugh, the better it gets....

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I enjoyed reading this post, but I guess I'm not ready to laugh at it. It still stings too much. Tonight while having drinks I overheard a guy talking about herpes. He was not with my group of friends. And I was the only one who heard it. It stung. The words sat in the back of my mind all night. Pretty much ruined my night. I see your point and it's a very valid point to be made. I laugh at all kinds of jokes but this is not one I can laugh at. As like you said, it's personal. I don't look at gay people or fat people with disgust, however, that's how we are viewed. You can change fat. You You may not always find people who accept gay, but people don't view gay as much of a disgust anymore in the younger generation, at least everyone I know doesn't. The view on gay is changing. What bothers me about jokes about herpes is I can't change this. It doesn't go away. It's for life. And nearly everyone looks at disgust when the words come out, I have herpes. Maybe not to your face. But behind your back most definitely. I know this because I've experienced it. People who know me and know who I am, know how it happened and how I got treated after it, still talk bad about me behind my back like I'm ruined for life. I got them out of my life, but people just aren't as accepting of this. Maybe one day I will get there. I truly understand your point. It makes perfect sense. I want to laugh at it too. It's just not funny to me yet. Maybe when I'm married with 2.5 kids, I'll be able to laugh at it. But I just can't yet. As of now, it ruined my future, and until the future I wanted happens, I won't laugh.

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@ thisisgoingtobeokay


Ah but Grasshopper, some people DO look at Gay or Fat people with disgust. And Gay and "fat" people have their insecurities about themselves and whether they are "lovable". And the only reason that Gay people are as accepted as they are now is because they finally said enough and came out of the closet and demanded respect. Gay doesn't go away any more than Herpes.... but the gay community has worked as a group to demand respect and love .


If you are surrounded by people who are not accepting of your Herpes status, you have the wrong friends. I have 1000+ friends on FB and many outside there and NONE of them have said anything negative to me...neither have any guys AT ALL on the dating sites where I have revealed my status... again, only positive notes and messages from guys I don't even know.


The paradox, my friend, is that until you can laugh at it, the future you want WON'T happen ... Herpes has NOT ruined your future - your buying into the stigma and belief that noone will love you is what is holding you back from your dreams ;)



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Laughter is helpful in finding the good in any challenge we face. If you let go of the bad and embrace the good you will be one step closer to laughing through the pain. Then after a while it doesn't hurt anymore and the laughter will make you feel human again. I joke about herpes with my H- partner all the time and we both enjoy the fact that it's just part of our lives. Doesn't define us or bring us down. I got a virus on my computer the other day..... I told him I had to disclose something again..... its about a virus... its my computer....its infected.... will you love it the same?? :)


Viruses are everywhere. Most people have one. Yours is herpes. It's not the end, it's just the beginning.



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  • 1 month later...

Hi Fitgirl,


I was recently diagnosed and was lucky enough to discover this site. After reading your post I feel so much better! In reality, this skin condition is so minor, why make it a bigger deal than what it needs to be? For the first time since my diagnosis I can genuinely smile again. Everyone has their insecurities. Knowing that I have herpes has been humbling. I now realize that everyone has their flaws, everyone fights their own battle. We are human. This is life.


I'm so thankful for this site!

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I was having drinks with friends (that didn't know at the time) and one let me take a sip from his drink and when I did he said 'now you have herpes'. I so wanted to say, 'you don't know how right you are' or 'seriously, now you do'. But I laughed. He was German and German's aren't generally known for their humor. :)

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  • 10 months later...

@chikitta13 I am sure that's how a lot of people got herpes :). Bottom line..... we are all human. Herpes just brings us closer to each other. It brings us closer to the H+ people we meet and talk to (on this forum and in life) and it also brings us closer to the H- people we disclose to. Seeing the humor in the uncomfortable nature of the topic really does help. Keeping it REAL and not allowing it to bring you down speaks volumes. Comedians are trail blazers.... they confront the awkward and I LOVE that :)

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Fitgirl, your words are hilariously inspiring. Thank-you for shedding the light of humor on what can be a dark diagnosis. I felt so lost & alone for a while after my test results came back positive. I understand now that I was viewing the world through the distorted filter of depression. I feared my lovers, friends & family would turn away from me, shunning me like a leper. I realized one day that the disgust I felt for myself was being projected on to, and occasionally mirrored back by the world around me. Once I mustered up the courage to start coming out I was surprised & relieved to find my bonds with loved ones getting closer. Even though my romantic relationships have had to change, the love we share for one another will never fade. I know that I chose this disease as another vehicle to fuel my awakening, but this was a good reminder not to take it all so seriously, and allow yourself to laugh along the way. If we can crack up at comedy making fun of everyone else's misfortunes, we should be able to at least chuckle at our own. From one tatted up and dreaded, fierce female Polak to another, thanks again for being you, rockin out like ya do & burning bright enough to illuminate the path for others to follow. Namaste <3


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I love hearing when people come out of the darkness and into the light! And you have encapsulated my entire purpose in life (actually). I live and love to enlighten..... using my own experiences and truths to make myself and those around me better :)


learning to accept ourselves and others for all our imperfections is what true growth is all about. Your reference to the distorted filter of depression is the perfect way to describe those feelings and how that distorted view of the world mind fucks us into believing that the rest of world sees it that way too. And yes, you project back onto yourself what is reflected by your spirit when you look in the mirror. I love when people finally figure that out. Perception is reality, and what you put out into the world is what comes back to you (that applies to the good and the bad) . Isn't it amazing how awesome our relationships are when we love ourselves and we are authentic? so many people wallow in self pity and wonder why no one accepts them.....shit, I don't give a fuck about herpes, if you are living life that way it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy and herpes isn't the problem :)


That's why I embrace the humor and accept my reality. We all have our shit........ shame has no place in this game of life. It warms my heart when people see the light at the end of the tunnel, they reach for the outstretched arm in front of them and they fucking grab my hand! psst.. I have a little secret, those of us who have crossed over know something....... follow us and find out :) . I guarantee that the grass is actually greener over here. Welcome to the club @M10M, its nice to meet you.


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I love that Dane Cook skit - I've watched it a few times since you posted it. I'm a big fan of gallows humor. I'm a social worker and you see a lot of the shittiness that goes on in the world. I've learned over the years that humor keeps things in perspective. Igenerally avoid laughing at other people's pain, but man oh man, I'm willing to laugh at my own.

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  • 1 month later...

Very funny Dane Cook video.. although it was a little upsetting since thatʻs why itʻs spread around so easily! Sigh. Accurate though -- I have a least 3 female friends who have it genitally, and have yet to meet one male! lol

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