My douche never leaves my bathroom. I have two of them. The stationary one in my bathroom, and the mobile one in my bag. All those times Batman Mum searched my bags, she must have seen it in my bag and wondered what I’m doing with it. If she has seen it, then my dad knows about it. Maybe that’s where his suspicion that I am gay started from. Well, my answer to his query remains No, until I’m independent, and find some love crazy enough to bring me out of the closet.

I hurry to the bathroom to start my clean-up process. If you aren’t gay and you’re reading this, let me warn you – this is gross! This is gross!! This is so GROSS!!! I have my bucket of water close and my douche handy. I fill it with water and ****************, then finalize with taking my bath. (lol. What? You really think I’d tell you the specifics?)

Then, I select one of my sexiest briefs to put on. It is a special occasion of course. The briefs I am wearing is a superman-branded underwear. ‘This Is A Job For Superman’ is written at the back, on the part covering my cakes. The underwear is just being honest, because indeed, my cakes are a job for superman…or men. I put body-spray on hurriedly; it is getting late.

But what if the condom breaks? Immediately that thought crosses my mind, I slow down. I sit on my bed and self-stigmatization takes hold of me…again!

Why can’t I just shut my guilt out and have a fuck? At least, for one night!

This is wrong! Do you know what you want to put Douglas through? Will you tell him the kind of risk you’re exposing him to? This is so wrong! I remind myself over and over. I want sex, yes! But I don’t want to hurt anybody, and I still want sex. Why can’t I just have both?

I haven’t decided on what or what not to do when my phone beeps. It is a message from Douglas. ‘NOT THIS NITE PLS, NEXT TIME.’

Phew! Thank God! Douglas has saved me from hanging myself with guilt, and he doesn’t even know it. Honestly, I don’t know how the night would have played out, because between my guilt and my desire for sex, I don’t know who would be so strong as to win the night over.

I grab my pillow and lie on the floor. What if I am in Douglas’s shoes? What if it were me? Wouldn’t I want to be told? And what if I am Douglas and I was told, would I even touch me? And here I am, dreaming of a better life, with love. Is love about sharing HIV? Or giving HIV to the one you claim to love? Who is ever going to want me like this? Who’s even going to want to have sex with me if I tell them? So I’ll keep having sex with my partner without telling them? Doesn’t that make me horrible? If I get away with sex, what about a relationship? So I’ll date someone too without telling them? That’s if anyone would even what to date me like this. Who wants damaged goods anyway? If it were me, would I stay with me? Can I even love me?

I have always been a believer. I believe in love. I believe there is someone for everyone. It won’t be surprising to say that most Nigerian gay guys do what they do with their sexuality for the fun of it. I have never been one of those guys. I am not looking for a perfect relationship, or the perfect guy either. Those shit don’t exist. I take the relationship stuff a little more seriously than any average gay guy. We aren’t allowed to get married…yet, I know that. But I also believe whatever you want to do, do it well. I believe in same-sex marriage. I believe in commitment. I believe in monogamy, even if we rarely get the chance to practise it. I want to share my life with someone. We live together, make our money, nobody depending on anybody, we just love ourselves through the good times and bad times. That’s the kind of life I want. On a normal day, and by normal day, I mean for any HIV negative guy, it’s not easy finding such a relationship, let alone finding such with a HIV+ person.

Before my diagnosis, I stopped seeing guys. I took a decision to keep to myself, till I found someone who is willing to share his life with me, and I kept to it. And it took a lot of self-control to do so. Just when I was beginning to get my life together, HIV came in uninvited. Initially it was like a joke, because I was the first to diagnose myself of HIV. And believe me when I say it was like a joke.

I visited a friend of mine then. This friend of mine works at an NGO. They are into public health, HIV awareness and prevention amongst MSM etc. They also have peer group meeting where they test anyone who wants to be tested. I was at my friend’s place when he came home to grab his HIV testing kit, and while he was hurrying off, one testing kit fell from his bag and he didn’t see it. I picked it up as I went to lock the door behind him. I tested myself with it and I saw two lines. I thought it was a joke. I burnt the strip and waited for him to come home. I took two more strips and tested myself. I had the same result. I left his house in the morning, to a lab to get tested properly.

Truth be told, the answer is NO. I asked myself the question again. If it were me, could I love me? No! I couldn’t. I realise there’s a possibility I will spend the rest of my life alone, and the thought brings tears to my eyes. It is then I know that sometimes, you can be mad at yourself and not even know it. I have gotten over the fact I am positive and have begun adjusting to my new life. But the thing I overlooked, not because I wanted to, but because I didn’t even know I needed to, is that I haven’t forgiven myself. I haven’t spoken to the support squad about this.  There is nothing anyone can possibly say that will help. This is one journey I need to travel alone.

At times like this, the only thing that helps me is music.  Honestly I’m not looking for sad music to listen to. My music player is on random. The song that I listen to, which reminds me of what I need to do, is a song I never knew I have on my phone. It is a song by Ledisi. She called it Be Good to Yourself.  Her words are:

Sometimes we don’t listen

To what we already know

Take time to hear me

Cause you’ve got to be told

So you busy looking for love

Like you don’t know your worth

Get it together

Even when it hurts...”

Then the chorus says:

You gotta be good to yourself, yeah

(Be good to yourself)

You can’t wait on nobody else

Baby, be good to yourself

You can’t keep looking for love from somebody else

You can’t love nobody else...”

Ledisi is a wonderful singer by the way. How can I want love if I don’t even love myself – or rather, my new self? How do I forgive myself? Where do I start from?

The song makes it clear that I need to learn to love who I am now. It’s like knowing you have to fly, and then spreading your wings and realising you don’t know how. I never knew this insecurity was buried deep; maybe I was too busy to notice it.

Tears leak through my eyes and start rolling down my cheeks, as I ponder where to start from. Why did I go and get HIV? Eh? Bobby, why? If I must be honest, I don’t know where I am on this. I can’t say I have resolved this issue with myself. I can’t say I haven’t either. But what I do know is, I WILL TRY. I WILL TRY TO FORGIVE AND LOVE ME. It’s not like I have any other choice. This feeling may have gone away, but I know it will come back someday. And when it does, I hope I will stronger and able to convince myself that indeed, I really have forgiven myself.

But there was another question on my mind before. If indeed I should be good to myself, I should do what makes me happy, right? So, sacrificing the need to satisfy myself just to keep others safe – is that being good to me or somebody else?

Oh, and speaking of all this self goodness, I finally wank the night before I sleep off. It’s called being good to yourself. Try it sometime.

Written by Bobby

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