HOW KITO DIARIES CHANGED MY LIFE

HOW KITO DIARIES CHANGED MY LIFE

You know how we think we’re living, yet we’re slowly dying? That was me in 2014. January saw the signing into law of the SSMPA, an act that led to me majorly outing myself in church, turning me into a pariah in my choir, my family, and the church at large. I returned to school, not knowing who I was, hating myself yet craving the contact of a man. I returned to my then-boyfriend, loving him as best I could, and hating myself inside for depending on him as much as I did. My life, my existence, everything about me craved acceptance, and I channeled all of those needs to him.

Needless to say, it ended badly. I remember when we broke up after I caught him cheating on me. I remember how distraught, how empty, how useless I felt. And I turned to the only thing that made any sense to me: sex.

I had a lot of it.

An awful lot of it.

With different guys.

Recycling some, having one night (or day) stands with others.

Just being an absolute wreck.

I was on the highway to hell. Then I met Rapu’m. I knew him from a distance; we were in the same faculty and the same hostel, just different departments and different series and wings. He was my first rescuer.

It was Rapu’m who taught me the value of storytelling, who showed me the strength in my stories, how to lance the boil in my heart and let out all the accumulated pus and bile of my self-hate, my need to self-destruct, and my anger.

He taught me how to love myself.

I admit: it was a long and arduous journey. But he helped me through it. All the way to my birthday in July, the day I got so mad that I went to church, knelt at the altar and told God (if he existed) that I wanted no part of that self-hate or disgust anymore, that I was done, and I was dropping it all there, on that altar, and walking away a free man.

Easier said than done, right?

I didn’t have a party or a get-together that evening. All I did was go out with a few friends. And, when I got back at night, I told Rapu’m what I had done. And he gave me the best gift I got that day.

He gave me the gift of Kito Diaries.

It was a simple link, with his simple sentence, “Go and read Kito Diaries.”

That was all it took. I remember opening the blog, gazing at my phone screen for minutes, before clicking on one link to read the story there. I do not remember what that story was, not because it didn’t leave an impression, but because it was linked to another story: The Conversation He Had With God by Sensei.

I lost count of the number of times I read that piece. Every day, I would come on the blog, read a few stories, and, without fail, read that conversation again. It felt like, for the first time in my life, I was seen. Like someone knew what I was going through. Like this person, unlike Rapu’m, had experienced my self-hate and had somehow overcome it. Like this was a roadmap to the peace I sought.

I became a voracious reader, devouring every piece that was put up, going back to read old favourites on days nothing new was uploaded. Kito Diaries became home. A sanctuary I did not know existed, a sanctuary I did not know I needed. A sanctuary I had found and was not going to let go of.

You’d think I was good at this point. But I wasn’t.

February 2015 came and I was spurned by a close friend whom I had a huge crush on. Having never dealt with rejection before, I spiraled deep into sadness and something akin to depression. Rapu’m had left the hostel and was living off-campus. I was friends with Delle but I couldn’t trouble him with my issues; I was supposed to be the older one, the one with all the answers. And I didn’t have anyone else.

So, I approached Pink Panther on Facebook. We had been friends there since 2013, but we’d only had a few perfunctory conversations. I needed someone to talk to. And, surprisingly (to me, at least), Pink Panther was a willing listening ear. We talked through what I was feeling, and he made a post about it on the blog.

And, again, I felt seen. Not in the way I felt the first time. This time, I felt like my insecurities, my pain, my broken heart – unhealed from my broken relationship in 2014 – all of me was seen. It was a stripping away of the pretence of having things in control, of being smart and knowing how the world worked and how to navigate things in my life. It was my first brush with the reality that what I knew was absolutely infinitesimal, a drop compared to the vast oceans of knowledge around me – in people, in books, in everything.

It was that feeling that led to me agreeing to Pink Panther’s needling to talk about my life on the blog, to tell the story of how I came out to my family. I realised I was painfully limited; that the things I thought I knew, I didn’t even know well enough; that my reality, my happiness, was hinged on the fleeting acceptance of others.

It’s been almost seven years since I started reading Kito Diaries. And I know for a fact that the person I was when I began reading this blog is not the person I am today. That the person I would have been if this blog did not exist or come my way is the kind of person I currently abhor.

They say ignorance is a disease. I beg to differ. Ignorance is not a disease. Ignorance is a mantle tied around the senses. It is a denial of sight, of sensory perception, of sound, of beauty, of truth. And it is this ignorance that Kito Diaries battles. The ignorance of our existence, the ignorance of our pain, the ignorance of how we can be, of who we are, of our strengths and weaknesses, of our beauty and our ugliness, of our light and our darkness. Kito Diaries exposes us for who we are: HUMAN!

This was where I found my first community. If anyone had told the 17-year-old idiot that was me, who joined heterosexual boys in the hostel to cast aspersions on gay men, simply because they – like him – were effeminate and moved in a flock, that he would one day accept himself and lead a life so different from that of those boys he called friends, I would not have believed it. I would have gone as far as calling the individual a liar. I might even have sucker-punched him just to prove my masculinity.

I lost the chance to belong to a community in the light, choosing instead to exist in shadowy places, a creature of the night, only allowed to live when the sun was gone. Finding Kito Diaries was, for me, a stepping into the light I rejected in fear. It was where I first belonged in truth, vapid and unintelligent as I was, taken at face value and helped to become better.

Kito Diaries helped me survive. I know no better way for an LGBTQ+ person in Nigeria to survive – in this blasted piece of shit country – to find a community of people with whom they share a similar connection, than this blog.

Most importantly, for me at least, Kito Diaries perfected the work Rapu’m and Pink Panther started in my life. This space made me understand the importance of stories, the value of our stories, the reason why my stories, our stories, had to be told. This was where I started to live. The writer I am today was birthed here. The man I am today was forged through the flames of words here. The mother I am today found her first baby’s milk here.

Today, I am a queer parent – with a plethora of children – an aspiring writer, a teacher, an out and proud gay man, a small part of the large tapestry that is the queer legacy in Nigeria. And most, if not all, of this is thanks to Kito Diaries.

Pink Panther, I would always say this: You, my dear friend, are one the greatest gifts to Queer Nigeria. I know you hate being spotlighted like this, but, just this once, step out into the spotlight. Smile. And hold your head up high knowing that you’re the fountain from which this gem sprung. Your action has changed lives. It has touched thousands, if not millions. You, my darling, are the real deal. And I love you.

Thank you for Kito Diaries. Thank you for changing my life from the drudgery it would otherwise have been.

Written by Mitch

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21 Comments

  1. Scarlet_witch
    May 02, 10:20 Reply

    Mitch, I recalled that I haven’t thanked you for introducing me to kito diaries in 2018. It became my Bible since I stopped reading the actual bible. I wake up and immediately go to find what’s new. So thank you.

    I remember reading the children of nothing here and I have never stopped recommending it.

    • Mitch
      May 02, 21:48 Reply

      😂😂😂😂
      I think the whole KD becoming your daily devotional is a general thing. It’s become 2nd nature to check KD first thing in the morning, and keep checking regularly if nothing had been uploaded when you first checked😂

    • Aloed
      May 03, 00:05 Reply

      Ohhhh the children of nothing!!!!! I legit copied everything to my note. I thought i was the only one deeply touched by that story. An incredible story it is.

      • Scarlet_witch
        May 03, 06:59 Reply

        No Aloed, it wasn’t just you.
        I was touched by it too and it’s really an incredible story.
        I didn’t cry because it doesn’t usually come easily for me some times.

  2. Mandy
    May 02, 14:43 Reply

    This is just the most beautiful thing. And you are so right about the significance of KD. I will never be able to put in words how much this space helped me in my journey to self acceptance. Sometimes, knowing that there’s a world of queer people, as dysfunctional as we may all be, that has a focal point on this blog has a way of making one feel less alone when they come here.

    And Kito Diaries did that.

    • Mitch
      May 02, 21:51 Reply

      Honestly!!
      2014-2016 were rough years.
      And Kito Diaries gave us a home, kept us connected and gave us a community.

      Part of me still misses 2015 KD shaa.
      All those fights, #LipstickGang vs #TeamConstantlyFoolish, TefMushin and Chizzie and the whole lot of drama we had here😂😂😂😂

      PS: Pink Panther, where is Khaleesi?
      I miss that drama queen😂😂😂

  3. Denzy
    May 02, 16:28 Reply

    I stumbled accross this blog a little over two years ago while idly surfing the net for all-things gay, I remember feeling a flurry of emotions; astonishment, apprehension and elation – a Joy in knowing that a community of ‘real people’ who share an affinity to my struggles and have overcome those struggles exists.

    Since then, I’ve been an ardent visitor to this blog, consuming and enjoying some very remarkable talents, important discourse and a plethora of stories being served on here. It’s been beautiful.

    Thank you Kitodiaries and the host of all the amazing writers and contributors magnanimous enough to share their experiences and in doing so, have become an inspiration and guide to many.

    • Mitch
      May 02, 21:54 Reply

      Everything you said!!!
      PS: We’re looking forward to your own stories. We may not know it ourselves, but there is power in our stories, a lot of power.

  4. SideEye
    May 02, 20:48 Reply

    Thank you Mitch and Pink Panther for the platform.
    This story resonates with me.

  5. Aloed
    May 03, 00:31 Reply

    Amongst other things KD has helped me with , one thing stands out , and it’s my effeminacy . I think it was that story of PP realizing he’d lost the effeminacy and charm he had as a child or something of that sort . That story dragged me down memory lane; times I’d sit in front of the mirror to practice how a man laughs , talks ,eats and all , times when I’d forget these things and be myself and I’d get reminded by words, really mean words, to man up! There was a time i even added the tout kind of bounce to my walk, oh that was the most miserable and ridiculous thing i ever did to alrer myself. I just wanted to act like a man , be a man lol. My pastor would always say “repetition causes conviction ” ; and that was it, the constant words to make me misrable convinced me i was indeed miserable and unless i act like a man , like my uncles ,my cousin,the boys that would beat me up in class , I’ll remain misrable . I remember an acquaintance in 2019 , asking me why i was trying hard to mask my effeminacy. And i was shocked. Because i didn’t realise i was doing it , i no longer knew when i was doing it. It was no longer a conscious battle i pick time to fight , it had become one i subconsciously fight all the time.
    But you see that story, it hit home. It hit really deep that i made a decision to make conscious efforts to act how i want, how i will. As a man, but not as their man.

  6. Loki
    May 03, 08:28 Reply

    Wow, the scars we hide only shows in a community of people with d same scars. Kito diaries taught me dat.
    Joined in 2018 and each time i felt down and alone, i ran here to comfort myself dat though i might not know them personally, i am not alone. Trust me knowing that u are not alone is the best feeling in d whole world.

  7. Oludayo
    May 03, 10:46 Reply

    This piece is highly relatable to me in a lot of ways. KD helped me tremendously in this journey to self.

  8. Kings
    May 04, 14:05 Reply

    I joined kitos diaries in 2018 and I must admit it had really helped me in the thsi journey of self acceptance. I look forward to the amazing stories and write ups here every day.
    Thanks to Pink panther for this blog. You will be amazed if you get to know the number of lives you have saved and the faces you puts smile on their face

  9. Sweetcandy
    May 05, 20:37 Reply

    Hello Pinky. P. I want to share my experience on how, I was beaten and exploited by my hostel mates back in my university days @Abk.

  10. Micheal
    June 03, 23:06 Reply

    Kito Diaries have always been a place of solace for me. I came across this platform sometimes 2019 while I was perusing a lot of piece online in a bid to find answers to the internal conflicts that most times leaves me miserable and sapped. Kito Diaries is like a one stop shop that have all the provisions i will ever need for my nourishment as an estranged entity.

    Thank you pink panther! Thank you kdians!!
    To those that choose to put up their stories thank you all !!!

    Honestly, You all gives me the hope that one day i will be able to tell my story.

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