Dear Sister.

Dear Sister,

First of all, I am truly sorry for what you’re having to go through. I know how dark your days can seem for I once stood exactly where you are standing. Before you keep reading, I want you to first close your eyes and take a deep, full breath- in and out. Any time you feel as if you’re about to crumble into a thousand pieces beneath all that pressure you put on yourself…close your eyes and take a breath.

It may seem as though your life is over, that every door of opportunity has slammed shut right in front of you. But I am here to tell you that that is just not true. Perhaps certain doors have closed for you, but only so that another one could swing wide open. I’m urging you to explore that other opportunity. Because it’s an opportunity that will bring you much closer to a part of you that you never knew existed. A better part of you.

I used to hate myself. After I was diagnosed I was devastated. How could I have been so stupid? How could I have been so careless? How could I ever possibly recover from this? ….Sound familiar?

Well I have news for you, sister - recovery starts with forgiveness. You are not stupid. You are not broken. You are not ruined. You are actually STRONG, BRAVE, and WORTHY. The sooner you’re able to forgive yourself, the sooner you can patch up that broken heart of yours.

When I decided that I was going to stop hating myself and learn how to just LIKE myself again - I had a lot of work to do. I started by showing myself regular acts of kindness. A bath, a treat, a gentle yoga class, A MASSAGE…I found that when I stopped punishing myself, I had a lot more time to focus on pleasure. Can I tell you the secret to healing??

Self Love & Pleasure.

However it manifests itself for you. Whether it’s watching the sun set, pouring yourself a second glass of wine, or just showing your body some extra love - do it. Do lots of it! And when you do it, tell yourself you deserve it. Maybe shout it! Let it ring through the halls of your home “I DESERVE THIS!”

You think I’m nuts, don’t you? I promise if you try it every single day - your perspective will start to change, your energy will shift, and your self-talk will stop being so dang cruel. Be kind to yourself, be patient and loving and gentle as hell. You’ve been through a lot. Try not to make it any harder on yourself.

After I had nourished myself enough to feel strong and stable- I started to talk to my friends. I started to open up to them about my big, bad secret. I usually couldn’t make it 2 words into my disclosure before tears were streaming down my face. I was terrified, embarrassed, and desperate. Desperate for company in that dark space I was sitting in. And each time I told someone my secret, they took me in their arms, or they squeezed my shoulder, they always ALWAYS showed me some kind of sweet gesture. And my darkness got a bit brighter. I finally had company.

Each time I told my story I got a bit stronger, a bit braver, a bit brighter. Now here I stand fully in love with myself, with no regret, no shame, and a beautiful dream that is deeply seated in my heart- to break the stigma surrounding HSV and free millions of women from the dark space they feel so forced to sit in. That’s the door that’s swinging wide open, babe- a way out. Head towards it. Hell, run towards it. HSV is a life sentence but it does not have to be served imprisoned. It can be served on life long journey of learning to forgive, overcome, and thrive.

Herpes can only ruin your life if you let it. I chose to love myself instead. And the road it lead me down was much smoother than the one I was walking before. So please show love. Love for yourself, love for each other - and the rest will fall into place after that. Remember, be patient, be kind, and be gentle with yourself. Things will get better. I promise.

Sending you so much light,


Rae Higgins