…And Out.


Today I am happy. Not the kind of happiness that makes you want to jump up and slap your soles together, but the type of happiness that makes you feel like your soul is smiling. A few things have been happening to me over the past few weeks that struck me as odd. I just did not write about them because I felt ‘what have titbits of my mundane existence got to do with the main issue: being HIV +’. But now I realise it has EVERYTHING to do with it. That’s what the word ‘living’ means.

So I have been very depressed as I said before, angry with God, and life, and everything, about how things have not worked out right. Also, by some weird coincidence, I have been running into exes, who for whatever reason known to them, kept trying to ‘get with’ me. Their bold attempts, even after so many years, and even though they are all now married, made me wonder how easy I was then, and what sort of person I was, that they didn’t marry me.

A little background to these exes- and this is by no means an excuse, I own the way I have allowed myself to be treated. I was sexually abused at 13/14 by my grand uncle who was a 52 year old priest. It was a long, systematic, strategic, abuse. Because of that and the tempestuous relationship my parents had as a marriage I was terribly confused about men, love and sex. It didn’t help that I was pretty. Men would come,  and, if he ticked the right boxes I would sleep with him. I was not promiscuous in the technical sense, I was most likely easy. But even then all I was thinking was if I was sexy enough, attractive enough, he would love me. It never occurred to me to check if I wanted that man’s love. It never occurred to me that he might not be worthy of me, of my body. And it never occurred to me that I was battling with a crushing low self esteem issue, with feelings of worthlessness, and with a terrible anger from that period of sexual molestation, that would haunt me until the last day of last year, when I finally spoke to -ironically- a priest about it.

Anyway, back to the present, and the most recent ex to call me was one with whom I had a torrid past. In my warped mentality, even though I didn’t want to sleep with him, I went to his room because I liked him. I was a young university student, he was a young man about town. He had his way, my resistance was weak, the sex was lame, but the die was cast. I became pregnant, and he more or less disappeared, only coming back when my mum had, against her religious and moral convictions, secured an abortion with her gynaecologist for me.( Her problem with the whole thing was that I was just 18.) And even when he came back, he just skirted around the subject, stayed for 10 minutes, and left. I guess back then he was also scared but he was much older than me so….And he called me last night, after a chance meeting, during a night out with my colleagues, two nights before. And I didn’t bristle at the temerity, I just shrugged it off. I am so over that kind of life.

Today I was spring cleaning and I decided to organise a box of old documents I had in this my room. I happened upon an old exercise book that used to be my journal. Reading through that book made me sit up and see things! I saw how I refused to listen to my intuition in 2003 when I got enough signs that my baby’s biological dad was not in for anything serious. How he showed up one morning at my house and said he had been at a party the night before, and ended up at another girl’s house. How I had wondered what they did together but could not summon the courage to ask. How he said he usually started hating a girl he was dating within 2 weeks but that he liked me because of my sexy body- and I knew he was speaking of sex but chose to concentrate on the fact that he asked for a broom to sweep my room and that he came with lots of fast food for us. How we kept going on and off this relationship.

I saw how I found out that another ex-probably the only man I ever loved- had finally had a baby girl with his wife. He was involved in a relationship with both of us, but her for longer, and one day, he went and married her and informed me via email. LOL. Leafing through my journal, I saw how he tried to fend me off by saying he couldn’t marry me because he couldn’t have kids. Of course I asked why he would want to put the other lady in that predicament and he said he didn’t either. Then he had a child with her. I was so upset. Until a few months later when he died. A massive stroke / heart attack. He was 33.

I also saw how my battles and fears with career hopes and aspirations made me feel powerless, and aided my feelings of worthlessness. Fears that are so unfounded today, because I have achieved and surpassed those dreams. Except for those of material possession and shelter, which I am still battling today. Then I realised. Everything I have gone through, and endured, and survived, has happened to bring me to where I am today, where I am now. I am not in the wrong place, or in the wrong situation, actually all those years I never was, but my fears, and the devil’s work that happened upon me, misled me. All I need is faith and action. There’s no wrong decision except one that takes you away from the zeal and the passion to be who you were meant to be. The past may look rough, the present may seem empty but that future is certainly there and is certainly bright. And it will happen.

I hope I am making sense. I am not writing these down to fill up my blog. Understand that admitting a questionable past, against the backdrop of the illness I now battle, is very difficult for me. Even anonymously. But, just as the dots connect to make a picture, all this needs to be said to protect our future. The one thing I must do before I die is to ensure as many girls as possible are emotionally self-sufficient, very confident and very informed, beginning with my daughter. And I thank God that today I finally discovered the path that led to destruction, and I can shut that door so no one goes that way anymore. That is exactly my life’s purpose.

How ya living



3 responses »

  1. i think its a good idea to let it all out, sometimes the only way to see clearly where we were going is to ascertain where we came from, bless you Joie and please let us know how your baby is doing

  2. I think the greatest tragedy is the fact that the Nigerian society has fundamentally failed to tell herself some basic truths. We have this giant elephant standing in the middle of the room and no one wants to talk about it. Issues of sex and sexuality, abuse, depression, mental illness and a bunch of other things are simply ignored by the bulk of Nigerian society. However, problems that stem from these issues are evident all around us every single day.

    What if we were more open about sexual abuse and the abuse of minors and you were able to get proper support and assistance to help you recover from your unfortunate encounter as a child. You would probably have been less confused about physical intimacy and better prepared mentally to handle whatever challenges may arise.

    We misdiagnose and misunderstand many of our greatest challenges as a nation and rely on fetish practices and religious institutions to supernaturally fill the massive hole that lies in the core of the foundation of our society. A Nigerian citizen should be able to seek help from trained professionals if she/he is contemplating suicide; a Nigerian citizen should confidently be able to report sexual abuse and receive the appropriate assistance without fear of being victimized by family or society. If we do not get these fundamentals right then we will continue to see the fallout of these failings all around us.

    You appear to be even better off than many cause in the mist of all the haze and confusion you have managed to find some kind of clarity. Many people have not been as lucky or as strong as you and have simply been consumed by the never ending shit storm that is a direct result of circumstances that they had no control over.

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