I don't write very often.
I don't vote either, usually.
I don't leave comments on social media.
I don't put myself forward to be heard, because, from experience, I'm so afraid that what I have to say will be misinterpreted, misunderstood and worse, do damage.
Until I do.
Sometimes it's worth taking the risk.
For my own sake. So here goes...
Over the years of not saying much and watching and learning, I've noticed that we all have our 'lessons in life'.
Some are learnt financially. Some physically. Some sexually. Almost all, mentally.
Mine have always been the latter.
And what I've learnt is that not being able to express my Self and what I'm feeling, no matter how self indulgent it may seem to others, has the biggest impact on my mental health - or lack of.
One of my friends once described me as the most "Innocent/Switched on" person they knew.
I didn't know how to take that at the time but I've realised, over the years, that it's the perfect description of me, no matter how it's interpreted - by me or anyone else.
And it's also the reason why I keep my observations to myself. Because I never know how they're going to be judged.
And Judgement has been, by far, the biggest challenge in my life.
At first it was how others judged me but over the years, I've become more concerned by how others judge others.
The year 2020 will be memorable for so many events - and we're not even half way through it.
A month ago, when we were all so focused on COVID 19 and its inconveniences and horrors, we couldn't have anticipated the additional devastation of a black man being shot down while out on a leisurely run or another black man being asphyxiated - by a police officer. What is even more appalling is that neither of these occurrences were unusual or unexpected - by the black community. Only by non POC. So while the rest of the non black world are reeling with the injustice, the black community are adding the notches to their generations long List Of Suffering.
I'm a million miles away from that suffering - geographically and physically but even I, a Pakeha/Caucasian, can feel the pain, shed the tears and register the injustice. I know nothing of what POC experience every day of their lives but I'm grateful that my open and compassionate heart allows itself to commiserate - not just with POC but with anyone who falls into any minority, unappreciated and unrespected category.
But I'm one of the lucky ones.
Throughout my life (I see now how lucky I was) I was brought up with physical disability (family and friends with Polio), other cultures and races (Whanau related to me), gender and sex fluidity and mental health variations and this makes me feel for not only the people suffering, but those who haven't had the privilege of interactions with all of these individuals affected by what's going on.
Many years ago, when I told a new flatmate of mine that a number of my family had polio, she pleaded with me never to let her be in the same room as any of them. When I asked incredulously why, she said that even though she knew it was wrong, she had a compulsion to talk louder and be more exaggerated around people who had what she saw as physical disabilities. She hated that about herself but felt she couldn't change her behaviour.
So here's the thing.
I haven't been in contact with this flatmate in years but she now provides a service that 'gratifies' the sexual needs of the disabled - and, knowing what I know about her, I could not be more proud.
So all of this to say to POC, who're so disaffected, disillusioned and disappointed in 'whites' - there are more of us than you know who are just as disappointed in the people who've treated you unfairly. So if we mistakenly, naively 'stand up' for you or show any form of condolence - please understand that it's not a separate, heroesque, misguided show of solidarity - it's because some of us don't see ourselves as a colour or race, we just know injustice when we see it and can't help ourselves but to express our outrage.
If you feel indignant about anything us non-POC people might say, please just look to the core of what we might have said or done and judge the energy and intention, not the colour. Because, if there's one thing I can tell you from my heart, we experience racism too. Not to the extent you do (it's not a contest) but enough to feel you.
Being a proud (very proud!) New Zealander, I want to express my sensitivity to not just POC who are dealing with their turmoil but the Chinese who are being discriminated against for COVID and the Muslim community who was attacked just over a year ago. #blacklivesmatter might be the latest hashtag that's getting attention but #alllivesmatter is where my heart is focused.
I love and I love openly.
Even if I wanted to, it's impossible for me to discriminate.
So I just want you to know, anyone to know, that I feel for you.
It might not be enough, or seen as appropriate, or even misguided - but I feel for you.
And my only suffering is that I wish I knew what to say and that I could do more to ease your suffering...
The first leg of Destination Home. I've been in Kaikoura, Mt Cook/Aoraki and Clyde & Cromwell for 4 weeks. It's been another thrilling film adventure with lots of highlights. I swear I'm the luckiest person I know!
"Thousands of people have come through times of feeling suicidal and survived. We need to listen to what worked for them and why," Mr Robinson says.
This is what I've been wanting to do for years. Talk to those who've survived and thrived and work out the common denominators so they can be shared. I'm sorry if this is all you're hearing from me but not sorry. There's a sense of urgency and I'm feeling relentless...
My #tinyhouse or #tinywhare.
Most would see it as cluttered but every single thing around me either has a use or a memory. That's why I've been dragging it all around the country for the last 20 years. I just love my whare, mahi (work), waka (vehicle) and especially the people I'm surrounded by.
This morning in the shower I caught myself saying out loud "I could not be happier!" then realised how limiting that statement is when you break it down.
So I'll try out "I'm sososo happy and content that anything else from here on in is Icing" and see how that goes...
This is another novella in three parts so you may want to stock up on food supplies before you start
Last week my bestbossever got all excited and said he had something for me. He ran downstairs to his car and came back with this wristband, the third of three he'd been given by his dear friend Mike. With a very rare, serious face, he then 'presented' it to me, telling me that a responsibility came with wearing it and that he would forward The Contract to me. When I read the text, I couldn't put it on fast enough.
It goes like this...
I AM HOPE "I Am Hope" is not a fashion accessory (although they are very fashionable 😂👍) "I Am Hope" is a commitment to Hope.
If you are wearing one you are telling the world that you are a safe person to talk to without fear of shame or reprisal. "I Am Hope" is a responsibility.
Not a responsibility to solve someone's problems nor a responsibility to take on that persons problems. "I Am Hope" is a responsibility to listen without judgement. To listen with empathy and perhaps guide them to find the help they may need - if you can.
The Key to Life is Hope! Be that HOPE
I AM HOPE MANTRA
I will not judge
I will not shame
I will not rant
I will not blame
I will not gossip
I AM HOPE
I've got your back"
Last night, at our factory opening, I got to meet #mikeking, Mr I Am Hope himself. I don't know if it was because Mike saw my wristband or because of the speech it took a lifetime of courage to make, but afterwards, with that same glint in his eye as my boss, said he had something for me and pulled out a bag of 100 I Am Hope wristbands! It took everything I had to contain the tsunami inside me as I clutched that bag to my heart. I immediately understood that this man, who is constantly travelling around our country with the @key2life Trust, giving Hope to thousands and thousands of people around mental health challenges and suicide, could see I-don't-know-what-yet but I've never felt so ready for whatever that ends up being.
Then in the next breath he said "And I'll send you another bag of the woman's size"...
Today I was having brunch with a friend who was at the event last night and who heard my speech. Out of the blue they started sharing the toughest time in their life and I swear I levitated with surrealness. I held back tears as I realised this was my first I Am Hope moment and I was there for them more than I've ever been anywhere for anyone before ❤
From the age of 1, the only attention I ever got was negative. First, from the age of 1, the looks of disgust at the sores all over me, then, from the age of 10, of distaste when they found out my father was a 'gang member'. Because of these mirrors, I had such a distorted view of myself that for many years all I could see was the Elephant Woman. It was icky and sticky but I waded through that #dismorphia as well as the inevitable #addictions and #suicidaldepression to transform into who I am today.
The night before the event my mind was able to see what I could look like and hear what I could say but the scars of my childhood begged me not to draw attention to myself.
Then came a revelation. I may be hope to others now but I Am also Hope to myself. With the Mantra in my mind I reminded myself that it's no longer about me. It was about being an example to my children, who would be watching me and who knew the courage it took for me to get on that stage. It was about anyone in the audience who had suffered or knew someone who was suffering. It was about planting seeds.
Ultimately, it wasn't about being me, it was about being Hope. And the response was overwhelming. My tender exposed self literally ran from that stage into the nearest empty room as the audience was clapping, what sounded to me, deafeningly. When attention was moved on and I slunk back out, the first smile I saw was the MCs as she quietly told me I'd done well but the look in her eyes was so purposeful. Like she was checking to see I really got it. It was that moment that I thought, if this is Hope, I want to be more of it.
So, if you think you can take on this responsibility, there's not a moment to lose. No matter where you are in the world, I want you to private message me your name and address and I'll send you a few wristbands and personalised copies of the contract in calligraphy so you and yours can be Hope too... #hopeisonitsway
I've written so much about overcoming difficulties but I never thought I'd be writing about overcoming dreams. I had a revelation once when a filter in my brain suddenly cleared and I could now see that all those Delusions of Grandeur that made me feel bad for wanting, anything, were actually Dreams of Greatness.
But in the past few days, after two years of believing and manifesting the shit out of owning a Disco, and for all the most meaningful reasons, I've had to let go of that dream.
Strangely, though I'm sad to let go of the Disco, I'm more sad to let go of the dream. Another one. And for the same reason as always. #Champagnedreamsontapwaterreality.
So the dilemma is, do I give up dreaming? Or am I being taught patience? I've only ever known #instantgrats. Is this what #thelonggame feels like?
Tonight, as I stream jumped my way home in torrential rain, I hesitated next to a gate and there was an immaculate Disco sneakily tucked in behind it. My heart lunged for it and maybe it was the shelter of rain that made me feel wtf or maybe it was the Disco itself but I turned to it, pointed dramatically and said out loud
I JUST CAN'T LET YOU GO!
GRATEFULNESS: At least I have this brush and shovel and these gorgeous floors to sweep.
FAITH: Knowing I won't always be this poor.
APPRECIATION: A broom, when I can afford it, will be a bonus. A vacuum cleaner, total luxury.
SATISFACTION: Of that last repayment next month back to my darling family who just happened to have the money to lend me at the time, but need it just as much as me.
ANTICIPATION: Paying back the generosity of all those who've insisted on, and paid for, treats.
EMPATHY: Having a visceral understanding of what No Money means.
SELF WORTH: Knowing this isn't who I am, that it's temporary and for all the right reasons.
HUMILITY: Finding out that all those who I thought cared about me, care about me more than I thought...
My old friend Nic once described me as the most 'innocent, switched on' person he knew. I didn't know how I should take that at the time but I knew what he meant. Some things I'm all over in seconds but man I can be slow sometimes!
Here's two examples. My son was able to explain humidity so I actually got it today and I've finally learnt the difference between carbs and protein!
So I wish I could say the change in my body since the last time you saw it was from working out because that would make it sound like I have discipline. But I don't. The change is purely from eating mostly protein for the past month. And the three revelations I've had about protein is that it's cheap, I can eat tonnes of it and I never feel peckish in between meals.
Where did I learn this? Here on Insta, obsessively following all the mind-blowing #weightloss pages. Not because I need to lose weight but because I'm so inspired by all the courageous people who DO have discipline. They're making me want to step up and put in some effort so I can feel some training at our apartments gym coming on (others may or may not call it the stairwell)...
Pimp My Attitude
You need to know, right now, this is all about me. I'm not educated. I don't have any (non-driving related) qualifications therefore, I'm not about to tell you what you should do - I know my place.
And here you are.
At my place.
So - welcome.
If you're here for 10 seconds, I won't even know so I won't be offended that you left early.
If you're here for hours and keep coming back, I will consider you a friend because the only thing my diverse yet loyal friends have in common, and what I appreciate most about them, is that they just keep coming back..