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CW: sexual health and sexually transmitted diseases; self-blame; stigmatisation.

I was 22 years old

when I found out I had something.

I was 22 years old

when I found out I had something

without a cure.


Two years,

two fucking years,

(quite literally)

was all it took

and I really,

shouldn’t be surprised.


So here we are,

two more years later.

I’m 24. And the fucking has died down

but that might have more to do with this whole lockdown pandemic shit

than that wet pussy shit

but anyway,

let’s take stock:


flashback to her

lying there

flushed

on a bed with a white sheet

she doesn’t use

legs open

all exposed

posed

while they swabbed and dabbed and daubed

and she swallowed


negative for chlamydia

positive for…


there are rules you see

I know you learnt them too

sitting cross-legged on old carpet

while someone, some adult,

enthusiastic or bored or solemn

trying too hard or not enough

told you to practise safe sex

and you nodded along

because you knew it to be true


Now, how do you deal with such a diagnosis?

From some probing proboscis with a preposterous prognosis?

First of all, you cry

untamed

in a swirling pit of angry confusion, all tears and blame

pointing fingers

pointing outwards

to anyone, at everyone

else.


Until, you sigh. You wilt

Because

all that

doesn’t change anything

your petals still itch

and they won’t stop

just because you weed out the slug

that snail

that failed

to keep hold of his shell

oh well.


Honestly, at the end of the day,

there’s not much more to be done, not much more to do

after that

than accept

what’s true.


And now, those offhand jokes

on shows

while friends are trading blows

might make you sob

or germaphobes flaunt flawed facts

But don’t lose hope


because it’s scary

and that’s okay

and it’s really uncomfortable too

And once you’ve got past that searing self blame, self shame

don't force abstinence, or celibacy

you don’t have to keep it in your pants

just remember, in between those heady puffs and pants

don’t leave it to chance.


By Alice Liddell



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