Challenges in My Life
In life, you will always be faced by challenges;how you chose to overcome them is your choice, and you have to make a very good choice. But one thing I know: we are never right all the time in making good choices.
I want to be honest about something; I have never been pressured to drink alcohol, peer pressured as to say.
I remember the first time I had a bottle of my own–and this was when I knew about my status–I knew the danger of alcohol but I thought: What harm would it really do? But here, take note, I was still young, just at 16 years, when I thought I had to be cool like other boys.
In 2008, a friend was throwing a party after our examinations, so I thought, why not go, there will be girls there hey, especially that one I have been eyeing for long. So the day came. Lots of my friends were there, lots of girls, and that one too was there and you can guess, lots and lots of alcohol. The first few hours of the party, I was that guy who does not drink alcohol, but looking at all of my friends, so “happy” and drunk to the maximum, I thought to myself: Why not one bottle, and of that Smirnoff Storm I have always wanted to have. So I stormed to the fridge and grabbed a bottle. To show that I was new to this, I finished that bottle in two gulps, drank it like it was water. Wow! It tasted so good. I went for another, I mean, it was too sweet and nice, I had to have it again; to me, it was no-longer alcohol but something sweet. In about an hour and a half, I must have had 4 bottles. Oh oh, I started acting funny, laughing, smiling, and saying hi to everyone at the party. And the thing is, I said hi to that girl, she seemed to like me drunk. That night was big; I had my first drink and the girl I liked, liked me back.
Other parties happened, I attended, had few bottles, got drunk and pictures were taken. I saw myself buzzed and thought, “I look cool there, don’t you think?” On and on this habit of me having a few bottles kept going. It was getting out of hand now; at times I would even buy for myself and go drink at home. I was hooked in now. This continued for about a year.
Lots of my friends who knew me were confused. Was this the Thato Chris they knew? They didn’t think so. I have not told any of my friends about my status, mind you, so I did not get lectures from anyone about my drinking, so I figured I was fine. Funny how this happened though. Ok, so one time, I was watching television and saw an advert that talked about dangers of drinking when you are HIV+… it got to me, like seriously. I believed television, for the first time. Still, I did not stop immediately after watching that advert. I kept on for some time. And on and on. Then one night, I thought to myself, “Dude, what are you doing?” one thing I’ve learnt is life is about choices, you just have to make sure you make the RIGHT choices. So a year later, after I turned 17, I started to think about a lot of things, and my being HIV+ and drinking was one of them. 3 months after my birthday, I said goodbye to drinking. And I welcomed a new habit, Facebook!**
** NOTE: I will never leave this new habit, never ever.
I am sorry, but I laugh whenever I see someone smoking. Be it a cigarette or weed. One fact you should know is Thato Chris is just not a smoker, and has never, ever held a cigarette in his hands and smoked. Nope! I just feel the dangers of smoking are very serious compared to drinking. I mean, the way I look at it is that is fire into your body! You see? Anyway, I am also happy to let you know that no, weed has not entered my body intentionally. And I make sure I avoid chances to even be drugged. I pick friends well and I don’t attend funny parties, and even when I do, I am careful in what I eat there and never take drinks from anyone. I do what we call, “bring your own.” Moving forward…
Sex and HIV+
Interesting, wonder how I am going to say this, uhhm…okay. So, it’s a beautiful day isn’t it? Yes, with birds chirping, can even hear the wind blowing, oh my. Ok, to the point at hand here, I want to tell you that being HIV+ has had me thinking about a lot of things, one being not passing it to someone else – especially if they don’t know I have it. And with sex, as one of the main ways HIV is transmitted, I have never thought of taking a risk. I know condoms are there, but I am a smart kid; if it it’s not 100% safe, it’s not safe. There are a couple of times when, yes, I was with that girl and things got heated up. So close to almost everything, I had to “chicken” out (as the girls see it) with no explanation and give an excuse to go. “Uhhhm, I am not ready”…I mean really, that’s a line for girls, not us guys, come on. So yeah, I am afraid of having sex because I am afraid of passing HIV to them, especially when they don’t know about my status, and I don’t know about theirs. Looking at it with thought, it might just not be her I am protecting, I am also protecting myself. She could have an advanced stage of the virus whilst I am still strong as I am. I know right, people might have thought this young handsome guy must have long lost that virginity, but nooo, I am still with it, my friend, till I find her, Ms her, Ms “right”.
Life is all about choices; it’s up to you to make right choice, or wrong choice. I do not intend on going back to what I used to do, but rather focus on how I should live my life.
On that note, would love to say, it is I, the one and only, Thato Chris Ramotswe.