Here I am today

Warmth, unconditional love, happiness.

After completing a large void in an uncertain journey, I have come to a place of happiness.

Becoming pregnant at the young age of fifteen is definitely frowned upon and seen as a poor life choice, but for me, it was the opposite. Falling pregnant at a young age did not put a dampener on my life, it caressed and shaped my life into something wonderful. Fifteen year old me was lost and taking paths into dark and untasteful spaces, becoming pregnant changed that path.

I arrived at He Matariki Teen Parent School nervous, scared and full of optimism. The school opened many doors for me, my future, and my son, giving me the tools and skills to become an amazing mother and to choose and pursue a life long career.

After a lot of hard work and support, I graduated high school with NCEA Level 1,2,and 3 with University Entrance. As if that was not enough of an achievement, I also left there with a toolkit full of amazing tips, tricks and skills to become the best parent I can be and a young mature adult.

These definitely come in handy as life is a rollercoaster with many sharp turns, drops, highrises and smooth points. Having these skills gives me the upper hand in adult life. I will always be thankful for the support and those who took the time to really work with me to get me to where I am today.

Where am I today?

I am a nineteen year old mother of my beautiful son Noah who is meeting all his milestones and growing into a handsome little young man.

I am just beginning my career in Sheep and Beef farming, having completed a General Farm Skills course and almost completed my NZ Certificate in Vehicles, Machinery and Infrastructure and also the NZ Certificate in Farming Systems at Level 3.

I am now renting my own house and just enjoying the life of a mother and chasing my dreams and career.

This is just the beginning of our lives, but after everything we have overcome, and how far we have travelled, I truly believe that things happen for a reason. I am so very thankful for the joy, happiness, and motivation my son brings to me.

Thank you to everyone who believed in us, supported us and those who still do, we will be forever grateful.

Be graceful, be determined, never give up and always be humble.

Eia Au, Eia Oe, Eia Au Honu

Eia Au, Eia Oe, Eia Au Honu. A honu, a turtle, a sea creature with such balance and beauty; she is my totem, my symbol of life. I see the turtle, she calls to me. I see grace in the way she moves, I see a shell, a hard multi-coloured shield to be in reverie behind. I see independence even though she is surrounded by love and support. I see long flippers guiding her through the coarse waves. I see myself.

Her shell gleams in the water, mighty and strong. It presents her with safety as does mine. I hide behind my shell only exposing what I believe people want to see. My shell is my decoy, like a mirror I reflect what I believe is only the best of me. It protects me, as it does her.

Wandering. Like her, I am a wanderer. As turtles’ homes are a part of them it is the same for me, it is not a city, town or house, it is simply within. Like her, day by day things change, the reef changes, but we will never feel lost or displaced, until we lose ourselves.

My shell is beautiful, not the beauty people are now subjected to, but the beauty I feel is important, the beauty that radiates from happiness, a beauty that, in itself, is rustic and wholesome. My shell contains the colour green, that represents the beautiful environment my honu resides in. My shell has yellow flecks, that represent the emotional beauty that comes from success, as you make it through another day, the beauty of the feeling you get when you see a familiar face swimming in the same direction and you share a part of your life journey together.

The honu holds a sense of independence and this helps guide her through her journey. People may join for a while and others may go. She will meet interesting fish and sea life, and encounter amazing environments, but nothing is ever solidified. For each of our lives’ move like the energy of the ocean, the energy that I feel and understand.

The honu holds a sense of purpose and strong flippers that she relies on, to guide her through the unpredictable ocean; through strong currents, tumbling waves, calm reefs and open seas. Like the honu, I have flippers. My friends and family are my trusted flippers. They pull me along through my open sea. Just like hers my flippers are strong, they are always working together. They are the people I cherish most in my life.

I have had many waves and strong currents pushing and pulling me around. In 2012 a tsunami hit my open ocean as we lost a friend, a family member to suicide. As heart-breaking and as painful as this experience was, together we made it through. In 2014, I gave birth to my beautiful son Noah, my precious little man. This was a change to my life, and without my strong flippers I would be struggling to survive this strong current of difference and responsibility.

We are now in the year 2016, and this strong current of difference and responsibility is starting to subside. I no longer feel the need to hide behind my shell. Today I have the strength to overcome my insecurities and my mighty shell is now the strong foundation I have begun to build my future upon. My precious little man is not so little anymore, his honu flippers have grown and his shell has hardened. He is the motivation, the tide, which pushes and pulls me to excel.

As a young mother, my honu faced many obstacles; my honu faced the harsh words of judgment, assumption, prediction of my failure to parent, speculation that I would not have an education or career. People tore at my shell, tried to disable my flippers, they even attempted to take away my baby honu.

What they forgot to realise is the strength of the honu, its resilience, the more they poked and prodded, the more my honu pushed forward, picking up speed, using the currents to propel herself toward her goals.

Here I am today, my honu’s journey is continuing, still young in age but older with wisdom, from adventure and experience. Her goals are in sight, her shell still gleams in the water. She has overcome the storm, and is prepared for the next to come. Her flippers glide gracefully through the ocean, stronger than ever. Her baby honu accompanies her side, reminding her of what she can accomplish, that all this hard work amounts to something greater, to a calmer ocean, to a brighter future. Together, they journey off into this unpredictable sea of life.

Eia Au, Eia Oe, Eia Au Honu

Here I am, here you are, I am a turtle.