This morning, I was sent a message from one of my girls. It was a video of her, in a kakahu, on a marae, and the matua was talking about her, but I wasn’t sure what it really was. There followed a beautiful conversation, a short one, and she’d like me to tell you about her, because for the first time in a really long time she’s super proud of herself.
(Sidebar: I stopped sharing the women’s stories because it became obvious that some people felt that was somehow “dangerous”. Too confronting. Too uncomfortable.
I don’t care much anymore because I know it’s not dangerous to share people’s stories, with their permission. I’ve asked women before to write stuff for the Aunties, and they don’t want to, right now, so I ask them if they want me to share it with you, and if they do, they do. It’s their story, they get to decide.)
Her name is Horiana. I met her almost seven years ago when I walked into Te Whare Marama refuge with a microwave for them. She was standing in the kitchen, and I asked her where to put it. I did my thing, and then she said some words I will never forget. Words which have been my guide, when I wasn’t sure what I was doing.
“Thank you for being our friend” she said.
A lightbulb went off for me, I nodded my head, and she offered a hug. We have gone on to have many hugs since then (she tells me I taught her HOW to hug) but she has known some truly dark days. Before I met her, and many in the time since. I have kept my distance from her at times, because it was becoming obvious that she had come to see me as her rescuer, and that was harming her so badly. I have always kept tabs on her, speak to her regularly, and she knows she has always had a part of my heart.
She has suffered terribly at the hands of others, lost children to the system, and been so utterly broken at times. I have rocked her in my arms, more than once. I have held her, advocated for her, given her talkings to, and talked with her at length about all manner of things. But I have never given up on her. Because she has never given up on herself. It’s been close a few times, but she always rises. Still, she rises, to steal the words of Maya Angelou.
She wanted me to share some of her story with you, because recently, she has felt triumphant over her dark places. Here are some of her words.
“I’ve been on a wananga, it’s been so good. I’ve got numerous courses I’ve signed myself up t. I’m actually in a good place in my life. I’m gratetful to have had you to balance my poor living skills, not only that but to have been the best mother figure I’ve ever had, love you, there’s no more going bk to the old me no more”
I tell her how proud I am of her.
“Aww it’s been such a great journey discovering my Maori side, I’m guessing that’s the part I was always missing but I had all those people seeing & believing in me – I had such a 4 days away from the kids letting out all the hurt to a bunch of beautiful whanau on a marae I’m in line with. Who I’m meant to be not someone others keep belittling me as . I’m proud to say I have many people now that support me wherever I’m heading & toxic people no longer control my life. I’ve finally seen the light. I’m gonna do myself proud & my children. The negative people in my past drive me to be a better mother / person in such a sad way but since having nothing to do with them, life’s been so good mental wise. I’m so going to walk my talk. My wananga was just a stepping stone to my new life. I start my foundation course Monday that’s internal work then career paths then job search. I’m actually happy to say I’m in a healthy state of mind now just to follow through. It’s been a long journey – there’s no words that can explain how gratetful I am to have had u right beside me but u know how dear u lie in my heart.”
This means a great deal. Not only that she is seeing light, and her way forward but that she was able to spend time opening up to other people about her pain. Sharing her hurt. She has NEVER done that with anyone else in particular but me, and certainly never in a group situation. HUGE.
I am so so proud of her. She is safe, she is happy, she is walking toward her light. And you and I, my friends, whether you knew it or not, have been there the whole way.
This is the alchemy of love.