FOREWORD: Coming on the heels of the conclusion of Bobby’s Before I Die series, and here to share Tuesday mornings with Reverend Hot’s Those Awkward Moments, is another riveting real-life story about a KDian living and journeying through life with HIV. It is stories like this that make me proud of what we’re doing here on KD. Read below, be inspired, and share your thoughts below.
People always say that the very beginning is the best place to start, and I agree with them. So it was only natural that I would try and find my own ‘Once upon a time’ over the past few weeks. But I have tried and tried, searched old diaries and my fickle memory to the very day when it all began and why. Yet I can’t seem to. Perhaps this is because, for me, there are so many beginnings that I cannot tell which is relevant anymore. Or it could be because I have wandered so far off that even if I tried to retrace my steps, I couldn’t.
So I’m starting from here, this lonely Sunday evening, sitting here and typing my very first journal entry. Hopefully I can pick up the pieces as we travel along.
My name is Temidire Oluwadurotimi Cole and I am HIV positive.
One of the very few positive results we so desperately pray will actually turn out to be negative. No matter how prepared we are. No matter how cool, calm, collected we are. No matter how enlightened we are about how normal people with HIV can live in the world today. We do not want it. As a friend told me, it is always easier, much lighter to travel without this . . . burden. Every time I write it or say it or think about it (which is a lot these days), it feels surreal. But it is what it is and I’m learning to make my peace with it. I am HIV positive and this is my story.
So my story, well this chapter of it anyways, begins with a purchase on dealdey.com, Bobby’s very inspiring series here on Kito Diaries, and a gnawing feeling which I could not shake off over the past few months.
I developed an online shopping disorder over the last two years, a compulsive need to buy. Dealdey, Amazon, Konga, Jumia and Alibaba paved a channel for me to indulge my cravings. Every morning, just before the madness at the office begins, I’d logged onto the various shopping sites and buy, buy, buy – from Mango Bum-shorts to bedside lamps, to dildos, to Calvin Klein shoes. And so, it came as no surprise that I would stumble on a Home HIV Test Kit on some fateful day on Dealdey. As I stared at the item and contemplated whether or not to add it to my cart, there came that annoying little voice:
‘Temi-D, you should buy this kit and get tested. It’s been too long and we both know you have been careless since your Udara left you last July…
‘You need to know our status. I know labs freak you out, but with this one you can finally take the test in the comfort of your room where you can roll on the floor and wail or slit your wrists or whatever if you see something you are not prepared for…
‘You have no excuse not to buy it… You can no longer hide behind the auspices of not being able to take time off work to get tested. The home test can be done at whatever time you want to and it looks pretty easy to use…
‘Just buy it and take the test when you are ready!’
So I clicked on Buy and added another table lamp and a grater for the day I would finally enter my kitchen to prepare a meal. I clicked on Checkout and paid for my order. Soon I forgot all about the test and the grater. Life went on as usual. Work. Booze. Work. Random hook-ups. More booze. More work. Same old, same old…
Then I stumbled upon the Before I Die series on Kito Diaries. The episodic story was poignant yet very alluring. Bobby’s journey validated the arguments I’d often advocated for, that life could go on despite being positive. I even dared to flirt with the idea that for me, it would make my life simpler. At least it would form the bedrock of my dreams of a solitary life in a bungalow somewhere faraway with Shadow, the German shepherd I was yet to own. I had often envisioned this would be my life in a decade or two. Perhaps being positive would motivate me to kick my addiction to cigarettes and imbibe a healthier eating habit or maybe not. But it would definitely spur the career change I had been dwelling on for so long.
I hadn’t wanted to be a Finance Analyst for as long as I could remember. The pay was fantastic, of course, close to half a million monthly, with the perks of living in the choicest part of Lagos, indulging my shopping antics and buying bottles at bars every other weekend. Life at the moment was very good; miles away from where I was coming from. But I often felt that there was more I could do, should be doing with my life, since I knew firsthand what it felt like not to have anything, to go to bed hungry, to be the last one to pay the school fees. I often felt that I should spend the rest of my life trying to make the world a better place. I knew I would do that someday. But when? Maybe if I tested positive, I’d find the courage to finally take the bold step towards what I believed was to be my calling.
This should be a breeze for me, I thought smugly, the day the package containing my testing kit arrived at my desk. Whatever the results would be, life would go on. And if I turned out to be positive, it would trigger all the grandiose plans I had for myself.
I told Josh, my wingman, the thoughts my mind had been barraged with lately. He laughed and told me it almost seemed liked I wished I was positive. I told him I didn’t, but I wasn’t going to let my status be the reason why my life would take a downward spiral. If not for anything, it was going to make me a better person. I had it all figured out. I always have it all figured out.
I remember the last thing he said to me that day, after one too many shots of vodka, was: “Temi-D, it is always easier not to be Positive.” He said it with the wisdom of someone who had walked this road before.
I would learn how true this was in the weeks to follow.
Written by Temi-D
“Temi-D,you should buy this kit and get tested.It’s been too long and we both know you have been careless since your udara left you last July”
Lol that line kept me laughing till the end.
All in all,a touching and educative writeup. Can’t wait to read more episodes.
But it wasn’t a laughing matter so…?
Maybe, to the world, it’s always easier not to be positive…but a lot of people will rather not know.
But, it’s always easier when you’re making a difference. We all have a HIV status.
Just keep the viral load count low and do what you makes you happy. And about t your ‘changing the world’, maybe you should retain your job for a longer period while running your ‘teleportation’ machine on the side until you are self-sufficient.
Happiness is all we seek.
Love this comment.
That twisted moment when you realize you might want a HIV positive status to be a wake-up call for you. lol. Great writing, Temi-D. Looking forward to reading what more you have to educate and enlighten and entertain us with.
And great points to Bobby, for the inspiration his piece has served.
Dubem, i fink lots of Thanks go to u. U paved the way. Pinky i wonder hw God is gonna condemn u to hell bcos u r gay and overlooking all this #MissionSavingSoul of urs. Hmmm. I believe He’s gonna have a hard time deciding.
Hahahahahahahahahaa!!! McGray o!
Confessions of A Shopaholic lol… How many table lamps and dildos have you bought already biko and can I borrow your visa card, I’ll love to take a look at it.
Great first entry Temi…. I look forward to getting a small glimpse into your life and hopefully cheering you along the way and lending a supportive hand too as you navigate through this new path you’re on.
I see strength in this entry.
Thank you Temi for sharing.
Thank you Dubem
Thank you Bobby
You guys have no idea how much you are broadening our minds here. Piece about being +ve isn’t about learning about ur individual journeys, but about being responsible and in control of ur life and health.
Thank you all.
@Peak, it’s been a while.
Hey Buddy, its been a while indeed.
“The pay was fantastic, of course, close to half a million monthly”
**rolls eyes from lagos to sambisa forest and back**
It was enlightening maybe not educative yet, but I’m sure that would be corrected in the coming weeks.
Thanks Temi for sharing your experience with Kdains. It keeps people like us on our toes to always engage in safe sex.
Bwahahahahahaha. Kizito m
Temi-D, I shall be riding through on the roller coaster of emotions that I feel this series will take me on. Wanting to be positive tho?.The acceptance of PWLWHA already is fantastic…I hope.
Lmfao @Kizito.. Nice 😂😂😂😂😂😂
Tef, what u lack is tact ; you know the ability to be a bitch without being a bitch, and its so unfortunate.
Thanks for putting my thoughts into words, Diablo.
I don’t have time to dwell on your comments today.. Diablo
El Tiempo es dinero “Time is Money”
Rest of yall can eat your hearts out or knock yourselves out.
You mean “Time is DADDY’s money”?
Excellent intro, good foundation for subsequent entries and I look forward to reading them.
Just like Koboko reset kids’ default settings, HIV status reset the lives of some people.. Some people.
Excellent intro piece here, TemiD. I look forward to the rest of your work
Tef! I think education enlightens people. Get over yourself.
Poignant first entry! Love Love Love!
2 of my friends got tested because of Bobby and one turned out positive and we are dealing with it. He is not scared because Bobby demystified HIV and temi is doing so right now. Thou art the troupers!
Meanwhile I nearly permanently live on Dealdey.com, its a good place to score cheap stuff. With this crazy exchange rate i have bade goodbye to Etsy, Topman, amazon na ndi otu ya.
Beautiful piece, Temi-D, I’ll be rooting and cheering and doing cartwheels for you all the way … stay strong and thanx for opening the doors of your life to us … ***hugs***
Oh lawd, don’t even get me started with shopping. My name is max, and I’m a shopping addict. Anything I could get my hands on. Gadgets, clothes, more gadgets, nonsensical things etc. It lifts my spirit.
I have a feeling this is gonna be a nice series, can’t wait.
Abeg no vex ooo, but as I was reading this piece, the thing that kept ringing in my head was ‘how old is this guy’? I really don’t know why it kept on bugging me. I just couldn’t relate with the story because it felt like something was missing. So, what’s your age range?
Anyway, KD diaries has been able to make me have a glimpse into the lives of PLWHA. I have learnt a lot. The good thing about it all, is that, you guys have different writing styles and you write from different perspectives, so, it doesn’t seem like I am reading the same thing over and over again.
So, sinnex, the age of the writer was the reason you couldn’t relate to the story? #JustAsking
He isn’t living with AIDS. Thanks but no thanks.
You know its kinda scary the casual manner that some gay guys find out they have HIV, with no prior indication or warning that they might carry the virus. It makes me feel like we’ve all got it ( all gay guys), and that if I checked id most likely be positive, like some walking-dead-conspiracy sh*t. Im being unreasonably paranoid…i should calm my tits.
Yes. You should calm your tits, probably by checking your status, no? 🙂
“We’ve all got it”… Shaking my head vigorously as I try to wrap my head around what must have brought about the insane thought. You can as well say the whole world has it, because the last I checked, straight people slay pussies and tap ass/D’s(both male and female) just the way gay people do. Infact they do it more, since they have more liberty.
Appaz, the part where I mentioned being unreasonably paranoid didn’t register. And gays, especially receptive homosexuals are more likely to get HIV than any other group. its unfortunate but true.
What a way to begin this journal.
Looking forward to what other entries will hold
I wanted the whole story jor. Temi D, Bobby & Dubem are doing some serious work here. Pisces, pls share your story.
I read this entry, relishing every line with rapt vigor…..I know it’s going to be another interesting roller coaster ride of vivid emotions and a colour-filled journey. *grins*
Hmmmmm @ Brian….do i want to share the story of my journey thus far?…..dunno really, but maybe, just maybe after this season of #+Anonymous. Lol
*PP you dey hia?!*
Am loving this..#Go Team Temi
Bobby, if i flog u ehn. We all know you are not dead, what really happened to your ‘Before I Die’ series. I am certain i am speaking for other people here when i say that we would like to read about the different experiences ( ) gay nigerians have. That is why we have James’ Journal & Dennis’ Rantings.
People have jobs AND lifes outside of KD Brian.. It’s not mandatory they write.
Jeez Tef, calm down……that was a mean retort
Brian u spoke well hut let Bobby take his time.. I will want to think its a lull and not a conclusion