BEFORE I DIE: 6 (Be Good To Yourself)

BEFORE I DIE: 6 (Be Good To Yourself)

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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45 Comments

  1. Mitch
    March 03, 05:32 Reply

    Ok wow! This is a very important lesson for us all. HIV+ or not, a lot of us do not love ourselves and by extension, are not good to ourselves. Thanks for the call to order Bobby.

  2. Samurai
    March 03, 05:38 Reply

    Love finds everybody who opens their hearts to her and if there is enough time.
    this reminds me of Michael in Queer As Folk.
    When he realised his boyfriend (pardon me, I’ve forgotten the boyfriend’s name) was HIV+, he was shocked at first but he accepted it whole-heartedly and even went to the extent of asking for unprotected sex (that was extreme sha).

    Even when the boyfriend started feeling so down and dejected over the HIV thing, Michael was always there for him, encouraging him. Even when Michael’s family found out about the boyfriend’s status and started trying to discourage Michael, he stood up for his boyfriend against his family.

    See, nobody should underestimate the power of love. Love, True love transcends whatever limitations the human mind can conjur. I’ve personally seen many mixed status couples (though heterosexual).

    Love will find you. It is a promise.
    Whatever you do, do not give up on that.
    At least, I’m happy you’ve started loving yourself.

    • Brian Collins
      March 03, 15:22 Reply

      I wonder if it will be the same with Oliver and Connor *spoiler alert*

  3. Peak
    March 03, 05:48 Reply

    Hmmm

    I need to gather my thoughts after reading this.
    Loving urself is one helluva job! I don’t mean the “I don’t give a fuck pretentious” type of loving my self.

  4. Dubem
    March 03, 05:48 Reply

    These fears are my fears. The tears you shed, I shed almost everyday. These demons are the same ones I battle. These doubts about the future are the same ones that keep me up at night. They say HIV is not a death sentence. Yes, not physically though. But there are many other deaths HIV is capable of causing in the life of a carrier. At some point, I decided to gradually live one day at a time. If love will come, I will embrace it wholeheartedly. But I have lost my optimism for it.

    • trystham
      March 03, 07:52 Reply

      I do not like the feel of this though. It comes across as defeatist. #justsaying

    • Gad
      March 03, 10:34 Reply

      Dubem, if you notice I’m usually intolerant of people who are emotionally weak though in a way 2 spur the strength I know they have but seems unaware of. I will take a different approach with you for obvious reasons. Please don’t ever give up. You can be all you want to be. I’m not just talking about materially. None is a failure,none is poor,none is unhappy,none is loveless. We are as rich as we want to be. Poverty is only in our own terms. We can be all we want to be irrespective of the noise in the market place. Your desires may not be in sight but definitely not fore-closed. Find happiness. You can also find love. Start by loving unconditionally. I don’t mean loving a gay man.i mean loving mankind. Don’t forget, if God be 4 Chukwudubem, nothing not even HIV can work against him.

  5. #TeamKizito
    March 03, 05:49 Reply

    Musica est animo cibus est,

    I get you. Bobby.

    When you’re in some shii’ forgiving oneself can be difficult. Loving oneself, ‘ difficult, too.

    Albeit, we’ve all been through difficult phases in life (some more difficult than others). Hope and faith can be elusive at these times. Thus, I’m in some real deep shii’ right now and I could understand you. I think.

    All we can do is Spes for the best, yet, expect the worst.

  6. A-non
    March 03, 05:52 Reply

    The journey to self and self love…hmmm!

    • Mitch
      March 03, 06:53 Reply

      James darling, did you have an overdose of sugar this morning?

  7. Dennis Macauley
    March 03, 05:52 Reply

    The thing i have learnt about love is that it comes when you are not looking, when you least expect it. It knocks the wind out of your lungs and leaves you breathless. Chill hun, love always finds a way

  8. Max
    March 03, 06:44 Reply

    Self love… Easy for some, hard as hell for others.
    And for finding love, don’t lose sleep over it.
    Most of us here haven’t found it. So you’re not alone.

    • Samurai
      March 03, 06:47 Reply

      Oh Max!!
      You don’t have to be bitter 😉

      At least you have many hopefuls to choose from.

      • Max
        March 03, 07:56 Reply

        Lol @Hopefuls. Does that include you?
        Most times, crush does not translate to love.

    • Peak
      March 03, 07:30 Reply

      MaxXxie king of love

      Was waiting on u to drop ur take on love.
      So so true a lot of u are yet to find love …………………….but does that include u too hon?

      • Max
        March 03, 07:58 Reply

        @ Peak, if you noticed, I used “us”.. And yes, that includes me.
        I’ve found it in the past. But currently, the wells are running dry.
        You do know there’s complete and incomplete love, right?
        Just because you love someone wholeheartedly doesn’t mean they’ll do the same.

    • Peak
      March 03, 09:38 Reply

      @Max the part about incomplete made things clearer.

      @PP crush is the perfect recipe 4 incomplete love. So I wouldn’t advice anyone to build on that. If u are going to go down that road, then it would be wise to thread with caution. Still recovering from that wrong turn

  9. simba
    March 03, 07:09 Reply

    Bobby dear, u will find love.. I ve dated a positive person, would even have married him.. but story for another day.. trust me. Love is a powerful tool, when it creeps in, both u and ur lover would not remember abt ur status. And yes abt self love,.. thts wht I need to learn.. any school or therapy for tht?

    • pinkpanthertb
      March 03, 07:23 Reply

      Story for another day…

      Will the story get told here? 🙂

    • Peak
      March 03, 08:53 Reply

      Simba come take hug jare
      Self love can be instrumental in finding and nurturing love, cos finding someone who loves U enough for the both of you is one tough find

      • simba
        March 03, 10:02 Reply

        Peak, madam pinky and Bobby.. ur welcome.. peak seems I know u lol… Madam pinky, sure someday, better face to face… Bobby dearest… trust me.. when u find the right one, he won’t notice tht… but as a Dr, I advice u keep to ur drugs, and immuno boosters.. immediately u reach tht undetectable level and maintain it.. u ll feel like a man tht just bought a mansion in Beverly hills..i ll need ur contact if cool by u.

  10. paradox
    March 03, 07:37 Reply

    U do cm 2 put a lot of my train of thot 2 writing. Ur testing ursef really sounds a joke tho. A whole test kit evn wiv dt alcohol-like soln fell out? Kinda feels 2 convenient.

    PS: Tnx 4 ur help thru PP

  11. Mikky
    March 03, 07:54 Reply

    I love this piece from Ledisi’s song. Loving yourself helps you love others.

  12. Cj Parker
    March 03, 08:49 Reply

    Short of words….just take it easy Booby I believe everything happens for good

  13. Gad
    March 03, 10:48 Reply

    Most times after reading posts here we are all quick to start giving out pieces of advice to the writer but some days back I had to ask myself “do these people really need this”?. Bobby,your outing today cleared my doubts. Mid-way through, this article, I saw a picture of someone who has come to terms with his status and circumstances that surrounds it. A picture of one who has gotten strength but is not selfish with this strength. Someone who is willing to allow others tap from the strength he inspires. May God recompense you

    • Bobby
      March 03, 11:26 Reply

      Thank you so much Gad. Thank u so so much

      • Gad
        March 03, 11:51 Reply

        You are most welcome,dear

  14. vanjokurt
    March 03, 14:16 Reply

    Hmmm bobby tanx for being an inspiration to me everytime I read yah post! Truely songs re our comfort zone.

  15. Chizzie
    March 03, 16:25 Reply

    this was so profound. my two cents : Think good thoughts and stop worrying. most of the things we worry about hardly ever come to fruition which defeats the purpose of u worrying abt them. This is 2015, ul be fine and thats fact.

  16. iamcoy
    March 03, 16:41 Reply

    When u said u believe in monogamy, the thought of a polygamous gay setup crossed my mind. One macho top and 3 bottoms under a roof, or one power bottom and 4 tops in matrimony.. riotous setup I can imagine, fuji house will have nothing on em.
    Bobby nice write up. Keep being strong

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