Here I am at the start of 2012.  I’ve never taken much stock in the whole “new year” thing — I like to think of each day, each moment as an opportunity for a new beginning.  But because I have been through so many changes over the last few months, because I’m thinking again, thinking positively and actively, I feel a bit like I’m on a bike at the top of a hill, about to push off full tilt into the landscape laid out ahead.  About to.  There are some things I still need to process before I can make that push.

Here’s one thing I envision for this year, the first quarter.  I want to start a campaign to de-stigmatize Herpes.  I don’t know yet what it will look like – it will probably start with YouTube videos (I’m gonna be a star!) stating simple facts.  Facts that people who don’t have genital herpes apparently don’t know.  It may not change anything in the end, but I have to try.  I put myself through a lot of emotional anguish over having genital HSV-1, only to discover a week after the fact that the guy I’m interested also has HSV-1 — he just didn’t know that’s what it was.  I’d like to spare others that same grief.  Anyway, once I think of a name for the campaign and have produced or at least scripted one or two small videos, I’ll reach out to some of the bigger online Herpes resources and try to get some linkage, at least.  The first quarter is only 3 months long, so I may not put it all together by then, but it’s a soft deadline for me to work with.

My body image has come a long way — the fact that my Special Male Friend refers to me as “tiny vegan girl” helps.  I’ve never in my wildest dreams imagined myself “tiny” in anyone’s eyes.  ** I’ve decided that Special Male Friend (hereafter shortened to SMF) will be my blog codename for the friend I’m sleeping with… he doesn’t want to “date” date until he’s gotten all the divorce and custody stuff worked out so we’re kind of “more than friends” but not “dating”… oy.  It’s cool, though. I’ve done a lot of thinking about it and for now, at least, I am OK with things as they are. **  Anyway, I’m doing a minimal amount of work on my abs in the form of occasionally holding plank and side plank positions to a count of 30.  It’s not much, but it’s a start.  I intend to pull out the exercise DVD I have again, too, now that I’m pretty settled in and have enough floorspace to actually do the exercises.  When I can afford to, I also want to get a bike.  The street I live off has full bike lanes that go all the way uptown.  If I can get a bike by April, I will be able to spend the spring months building up my stamina, which was never very good.  Anyway, not any huge commitment here, but I’m more serious now than probably ever before in my life.

I have also been working on being more “myself” in social situations.  I have so often been just a “yes man,” sympathizing, oohing, nodding in understanding with whoever is sharing their experience.  Or simply being silent if I didn’t agree.  I already respect myself more for the work I have done on this so far.  I will never be — and don’t want to be! — an aggressive person, but I do want to take part in the conversation as myself.  I realize now that much of my feeling of disconnectedness, of aloneness, has come from my own unwillingness to connect, to be myself around others.  I have been waiting all this time for others to “draw me out” and I finally understand how far that has gotten me, and how it will not take me where I want to go.  I’m sure I’ll put my foot in my mouth, get cold feet, regret speaking up a few times.  But this is worth it.

So happy 2012 to all.  If you have been fortunate enough to have made as much progress in 2011 as I have, this year bodes nothing but good.