…here I am…
I feel like I’ve had lots to write and yet nothing. I go through these odd phases where suddenly someone raises a subject and I want to write about it. But then in the week, there’s about a million of those moments and I don’t know where to start. So I’ll start with simply not knowing, and perhaps I’ll end with everything.
It’s been a crazy few months I have to admit. The physical earthquake was just the surface of it. It wasn’t just the ground shaking beneath my feet in September, but it was like my entire world started rocking. My mum moved to Samoa with my grandma and through various circumstances, I became the sole guardian of my fourteen year old sister.
I love teenagers. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be in my line of work (youth work for those who don’t know). But there’s quite a difference between being youth worker and being parent. As a youth worker I don’t have to be the one who lays down the law. I don’t have to deal out rules and regulations, curfews and pocket money. I’m the cool person. Parents are so uncool.
This has been an intense learning phase for me. I’ve learned to empathise with parents. I’ve learned that there’s a growing beauty about my little sister that is in the beginnings of flowering. And I’ve learned that I’m not ready to be a parent… not yet.
It brings me to thinking around the journey from independence to interdependence. When you take on a teenager, you start to realise how much you can’t actually do on your own. And you start to realise how amazing your flatmates are, particularly when they put up with the conflict, the grumpy side of Lani, and the various other negative aspects that can come about when Lani bites off more than she can chew. And not just my flatmates but my amazing colleagues too. They have also seen a side of Lani that has eggshells scattered around her.
And it’s moments like these that I became intensely aware of how uncommunicative I can be. I go into full shut down mode and can’t talk to anyone about anything. I become overwhelmed by an intense emotion that just consumes me for a few days and suddenly I’m ok again. But by then, I’ve managed to alienate a few people, except for that one person with gusto who goes, “Come on Lani, instead of being shitty at everything, just talk.” Everyone needs one of these friends. Seriously.
And today I’ve been struck with the realisation that I have been walking around for the last 14 or so hours while 29 men have been trapped in a mine on the West Coast. I have a lot more freedom than I realise. And freedom to hold to hope and pray that they’ll be ok…