In my journey with HIV, I found that the first step of self-acceptance was the hardest.
I have seen how much embracing my HIV-positive status opened the door to a life that I didn’t know was possible. Like many, I first reacted to my diagnosis with shock and guilt. I hid my status from my mother until I could no longer keep it a secret. Once I told her, I did not want anyone else to know because I was scared of being judged and called names. Those were the saddest days of my life.
It didn’t help that my partner also eventually left me, making it much harder to accept and deal with my situation. I revealed my status to my mother after she started showing concern about my weight loss. She accepted me with open arms and gave me all the support I needed, encouraging me to attend church more saying God will guide me in my predicament and every life situation going forward. After accepting the fact that I was living with HIV, I realized how close I came to losing my elegance and good life.
I recovered very quickly, gained my weight back and was radiant as the morning star. I started embracing my ARVs, adhering to them well enough to the point that I started humorously calling them my “Jelly Tots.”
I would even show them off while commuting in public transport and would shake them, pretending to be looking for my transport-fare in my hand bag, as I was amused by the sound they made in their container. Doing this inspired other people to take their ARVs without inhibition.
Others would ask me where I get the courage to carry my pills without shame and I would say, “Put your health ahead of anything else because no one else will secure your health for you.”
I told them about the new Treat All program- sharing that immediately after testing, those who test positive are enrolled on treatment right away, and some of them enrolled. This showed me that God was indeed using me to redeem people’s lives.
My fellow countrymen, take your ARVs so that you may live a longer life, achieve your dreams, bear more children so that even your grandchildren may grow up to find you alive, walking with a cane. Being HIV positive can present certain challenges, but I have realized that embracing my status enabled me to live a wholesome and fulfilled life.
POSITIVE LIVING is a column space for people living positively with HIV, who are generous enough to share the stories of their lives. If you also wish to participate in the column, give us a shout at email@example.com
IN DEFENCE OF BOFEPUSU ON ENDORSEMENT
I wish to commend and defend BOFEPUSU for taking the bold step not to endorse any of our political parties going into this year’s elections.
In fact, I read a lot in the union’s new stance not to endorse any party for this year’s general election. Remember in 2014 this mother body of the workers’ unions was very clear about wanting their members to vote for the UDC. This is because at the time, the biggest enemy to the workers was one Ian Khama who had in 2011 vowed he would never increase civil servants’ salaries no matter how many times the workers would strike. And Khama kept his word.
He never improved the working conditions of the civil servants. He kept his distance from the needs of the workers until he stepped down from being President. Khama literally bullied the workers and treated them with utter disdain. Yet he never had a problem when salary increases wanted by MPs in parliament benefitted him. Yes in the past he called MPs vultures when he was still Vice President and wanted voters to like him. Khama is at it again making himself look like a Messiah.
Today he goes around claiming he and his BPF party have answers to the plight of the workers. He is the one who even decreased the student allowances and now goes around claiming he would increase them once his BPF party and the UDC are elected into power. All along as state president, he never listened even to his cabinet ministers when they advised him on matters of national interest. He refused to increase old pension stipends and refused to increase student allowances. Now all of a sudden he claims he will increase all these? Obviously those leaders at BOFEPUSU are not fools. They have not forgotten how Khama treated them.
They at least see that President Masisi’s approach is a bit accommodating and that he is trying something than to flatly refuse as did his predecessor. And the union leaders do not trust Masisi either. They feel he is not showing enough commitment to the workers’ plight despite his promises that things will improve. But then again, the same union leaders can no longer trust the UDC because of the party’s association with Khama. Union leaders are smart people. They can read the dynamics on the ground. With the UDC teaming up with Khama this time around, there is no way the union leaders are going to be comfortable with a man who made the workers’ lives a living hell while handing millions of pula to his associates such as the former DIS boss.
The man literally arm twisted his cabinet and MPs into amending retired presidential benefits to enrich himself. He literally created a good lifestyle for himself and never cared about the workers. And now the UDC President Duma Boko is on record saying Khama should be forgiven all his atrocities. How do we expect the union leaders to trust Boko after all these that Khama has done? What deal does Boko and Khama have? As I say, union leaders are smart individuals with independent minds and analytical skills. So Boko can’t fool them by saying it is not Khama the UDC was fighting but the BDP. That is taking the workers and Batswana for granted. If it was about BDP and not Khama, why then did Boko repeatedly call for Khama and Isaac Kgosi’s prosecution? Was Kgosi even BDP? The unions can’t easily fall for a situation where Khama is going to be brought back into our lives again.
Remember Boko initially denied vehemently, that the UDC was in cahoots with Khama, until the truth came out later. Can he and the UDC be trusted again like they were trusted in 2014? It is for this reason that we should understand why it is difficult for BOFEPUSU to endorse the UDC again. And it is understandable why they also do not want to endorse Masisi and the BDP because they equally do not have enough assurances to trust him. The best is for the union leadership to do what they did – to remain neutral and let every worker decide on their own. It is only fair. We cannot therefore be slamming BOFEPUSU for refusing to take a stand.
The political party leaders have not done anything to convince the unions that they deserve their endorsement. So let every man fend for himself independent of the union’s stance. Besides, the union members as individuals are already aligned to various parties of their choice. Some were still going to defy the union’s stance. But it would have been an atrocity for the union to openly endorse any party associating with Khama, a man who literally bullied civil servants as president. So well done to BOFEPUSU for refusing to endorse anyone. A go iperekelweng.
Perfect partners do not exist, you will stay single forever
While everybody else is settling, getting married and getting laid, a sizable number of our lady friends remain alone because they seem to have standards which our men are not meeting. These women remain lonely and promise to stay put until somebody worth their value comes along. The sad part is: he ain’t coming, not now and not in the future.
Mothers to these children who seem decent, well-raised and mature to settle and yet aren’t settling, are worried. They secretly consult fortune tellers and even prophets to find out why their children aren’t finding anyone to make a family with. A conversation with such people who seem to be victims of women/men’s low ranking qualities proves something else. For many years I have met and conversed with such ladies and their problem was so simple to solve that they laughed upon discovering the real problem.
When a girl isn’t getting married and yet is threatening to be forty years, you will often find she talks about the man she wants and that she hasn’t found such and won’t settle for less. She describes this man as having to possess gentleness, empathy, sensitivity, caring, sweetness, compassion, tolerance, nurturance, deference, aesthetic passion, and succorance. She needs a man who can chat a lot and ask her how her work has been and be as sensitive as a digital thermometer.
But such qualities are the qualities of a woman and not a man. In short, the high standards some women have in their search for men aren’t high standards, they are simply irrelevant standards: standards for women. And because it isn’t easy to find a man who behaves just like a woman, these women won’t be finding suitors for a long long time. They will wait and live on one night stands or celibacy for a long time. A good number of women don’t notice that men are different from women in a lot of ways. They think men are just a woman version that has beards and a hoarse voice.
I once listened to Beyonce’s song – If I was a boy – which talks about what she would do if she were a boy. Most of the things she talks about are so girly that it’s not hard to realize that even Beyonce, the iconic woman, has a problem understanding that no boy fits her imaginations.
John Gray in his book, ‘Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus’ and Steve Harvey in his book, ‘Think like a man, act like a lady,’ did a great job showing women what men are like. I guess it’s always going to be better hearing men describe what a man is like. For a woman who confuses the two, let me help you to understand the difference between a man and a woman. Although that might sound too obvious if not silly, this is helpful in stopping you from the frustrating act of looking for women standards in men. While women obsess so much about appearance, men care less how they look and will do hairstyles that are as simple as shaving off hair. On the contrary, men care a lot about a woman’s looks and will keep a woman for her “hotness.” Women believe that cleaning dishes is a priority and a kitchen mess has to be cleaned by someone, but men place much importance on washing cars.
While a man pays attention to what someone says, a woman normally pays attention to the way a person speaks, particularly their attitude. Men laugh when they find something to be funny but a woman will only laugh if she thinks her environment allows it and its appropriate. Women have a larger hippocampus. This is where we store memories. This is why women can recall every single word of an argument from 5 years ago while men struggle to remember things that happened 5 days ago. “Women will tend to want to interact with colleagues after a stressful meeting or interact with family, friends, and relatives at the end of a busy day. These activities help women produce oxytocin, increase relaxation, and relieve stress, which in itself produces even more oxytocin, a critical stress-reducing hormone.” – Annis & Nesbitt.
“After a long stressful meeting or at the end of a busy day, men tend to want to shut down and drift off – close off the world for a little while. Men tend to retreat and seek solitude or engage in some low-involvement activity, such as watching the news or sports, or working on a small project. It’s a natural tendency in a man to “turn off” to replenish testosterone, and that releases his stress, relaxes, and re-energizes him.” – Annis & Nesbitt. Men and women are so different that those looking for a man with the qualities of woman won’t find such. There are men who won’t marry because the standards they have set of a woman they want are men’s standards.
They want someone who doesn’t worry a lot and is bold and brave and says less. Women have a larger anterior cortex, which means they spend more time ruminating, trying to process emotions and worrying. Women have higher rates of anxiety than men. Researchers think this might come down to the highly sensitized female anterior cortex. Naturally, it’s easy frightening a woman than a man. When my two kids arrive from school I usually hide in the house to frighten them and laugh at the whole panic thing – I am that immature sometimes. My daughter normally panics more than my son. It’s normal and I laugh a lot.
So I imagine a woman who won’t settle because she accuses guys of not being open, nurturing, sociable and hygienic. Since when have guys beaten women on issues of hygiene? Recently in South Africa, a young guy found himself confused after he fell in love with a girl because he felt the girl behaved like a guy and said that he has always wanted a girl who behaves like a guy. Women often behave like guys and that’s for about two minutes. So this guy fell in love with this girl and when the girl began to behave girly, the relationship broke apart and the guy confessed that he prefers dating boys. Boys will be boys and it’s unfair to expect boy standards from girls.
An online magazine known as Business Insider mentions that “Women’s expectations of the opposite sex are at least as unrealistic as men’s.” Now I don’t know about you but every time I ask women what they want from a man, I find they are talking about a woman. I ask a guy what he wants and he talks about sex all the time. A real woman is not going to have sex all the time or make it her first priority, so unaware, this guy is talking about another man.
Note that you’re having unrealistic standards if: You reject a decent person for no apparent reason, talking about ‘he is not my type.’
Talk about how there are no good women or men
A relationship with you needs serious qualifications
Most of the people you rate as good lovers are celebrities
You expect a guy or girl to love what you love
You fantasize about a perfect guy in a world of imperfect people
If you have the above tendencies, unless you stop, you will die alone or never get laid and enjoy sex & intimacy.
Kindly open your eyes to the fact that if you are not perfect, it is unreasonable to expect a perfect lover. When setting your standards, at least care enough to expect manly things from a man instead of expecting a man to behave like a woman.
You should find a man and let your lady friends do some of the things you were expecting from him especially in line with social interactivity.
Your prospects for getting love have been thrown under the bus if your fantasy guy has been in your head since your pre-teen pop-star crush days. “You’ve always loved building these bubbly fantasy lands in your head that you can run away too.
There is nothing wrong with that if you are grounded enough to realize that these are just fantasies, not reality. You will find a guy one day, but if you are banking on him being exactly like your trophy fantasy guy, then you’re making the already tough game of dating a lot harder for yourself. That’s because real humans have flaws, rough edges, and imperfections, but that’s what makes people so unique, special and fun to get to know. Since you are so focused on finding that guy who is different and special, then why not start by breaking outside the fantasy a little bit? Trust me, you will be surprised,” writes Michelle in 15 signs you’re too picky.
K.A. Bareki is the author of Sex & Intimacy 101 and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
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