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A Woman's Story

There are so many ways that I could tell my story.

I could tell a story of a life filled with love from the family I was raised in, the amazing

friends I have made over years of exploring Aotearoa and the world, and the family

I have very lovingly and intentionally created with my husband.

I could also tell a story of how damn hard I worked to create this life and my family, how I overcame experiences of abuse and had to build up my own sense of self, my own confidence and trust in my path, actively letting go of the voices of others who intentionally and unintentionally set roadblocks in my way.

Both of these stories are me, we are multi-faceted beings and as women we hold many stories, many roles, some of them quieter and less seen than others.

Until I had children, my life was focused on working with the most vulnerable people in our society. People who are often overlooked, put down, not given the benefit of the doubt or the time to look into their stories and histories’ and understand the reasons for their struggles and see the incredible strength and grace they so often show in the midst of it all.

I found it challenging navigating a career based on a strong social conscience in a patriarchal society, where caring for others is not valued. There are times when I felt the deep powerful work I was doing was not seen or recognised, glossed over and the level of skill it took nowhere near met in monetary terms.

I’m proud of the work I have done, I know that at times I literally helped save people’s lives, and I also feel like there is so much more I could/should do to create positive lasting changes in people’s lives and that really frustrates me.

I’ve also spent years travelling and living in places people often don’t go, with no English or people who looked like me, that can be perceived as too ‘foreign’, ‘unknown’ or dangerous, and I relished in the beauty of the people and depth of culture I found. I saw how privileged I was and also how my own Pakeha culture raised me to be naïve and arrogant about the richness of life in other cultures and how lacking in heart and spirit it can be.

I feel really frustrated and disheartened when I hear people making judgements and broad statements about people and places I know first-hand that are so rich and complex and deserve so much more respect.

I’m re-evaluating the work I want to offer now as my children are growing and heading in new directions. I feel excited and a little daunted about how that journey will unfold and how I will balance it with being a mother, which for me is a vital, powerful role and one that I love. What could be more powerful than growing life within you, birthing it and nourishing it over years and years with all the love you have?

Despite some of my experiences, I feel hopeful raising this next generation. My young daughter is growing up in a world already so vastly different from the one I did. Where patriarchy and all the subtle ways that life has been rigged for white, middle, and upper class, heterosexual men to succeed at the expense of others, is being questioned again and again and again.

I love hearing all of these diverse voices rising up. All the different voices and experiences of Maori living in a colonised land, voices from LBGQIA communities, women, refugees, migrants, young people with so many fascinating new ideas and perspectives, champions who fight to protect Papatuanuku; there is so much richness in this world when everyone gets a seat and is heard at the table!

My daughter is at an age where she doesn’t know the back story to any of this. I will walk her through that journey and all that comes up for her when the time comes. But for now, there is something beautiful about her viewing the world as ‘equal’, as it should be. For her men and women, different cultures, religions, and sexualities are not ranked, no one is ‘better’ than anyone else, she just sees different ways of being, how amazing is that! It’s completely different from my perspective and experiences of the world at her age and I find that deeply encouraging.

So, this is a snapshot of my life, my story so far. I wonder what story I will tell in 10 years’ time, in 20 years, 30. I’m hoping for tales of satisfaction that my presence here on this earth has been purposeful and made it better in some way. That I’ve learnt to back myself 100%, trust in the unique gifts I have and my ability to make meaningful positive impacts here on earth.

I hope that I am looking at my children in wonder, full of trust in their ability to live their lives, live their passion, make mistakes, pick themselves up again, find love within and out, and offer advice if needed, while allowing them space to hear their own inner wisdom.

And I hope to feel as happy, loved, and grateful for my life as I do right now.

from the voice of BL


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