No child intends on repeating the abuse they’ve experienced but for Bronwyn that was her reality. In this story we hear about how she rewrote her future.
Growing up we were just doing the do. Mum was at home when we were younger and dad was working in the forestries in the far north. Until that all changed and we came down to Auckland. But I had a really happy childhood. Really blessed. But then there were also some times that weren’t too great. And unfortunately when we were growing up, alcohol was a part of my dad’s world. Not necessarily my mums world. And we saw what came with that and remember hiding under the bed when mum and dad would have an argument and just feared for our mother that was getting beaten up. Although there was no intention for us to get ourselves into relationships that were similar to what our mother had experienced, it happened. We fell in love with men that were fantastic and amazing but for different reasons whether it be alcohol or just bad tempers, then those relationships became violent. What we saw, what was modeled to us; we thought was acceptable. We thought that it’s ok to be beaten up. You deserve that. Hearing it over and over, that you’re too fat, that you’re too ugly; you start believing that. That repetition really started to get to me and as strong as I was, you know on the outside I’d be really strong and confident. I’d be off to work and no one had any idea what was going on inside my head. You know voices were saying “He’s right you know, nobody wants you”. And then I was at Pasifika and caught up with an old friend that actually works for the church that I go to. We’d been good friends for many years, we’d known each other for quite some time and we were just wanting to catch up. And she says, “oh let’s catch up” and I was like “yeah yeah that sounds good, when and where? And she’s like “oh come to church” cause she worked for the church. And I was like “oh yeah? Yeah, yeah”. And so I went along to this church, having no idea what it was like. I kind of thought I had my world together. I was in a good paying job, life was alright, I had a beautiful son. You know, relationship wise that wasn’t too good but you know something else was going on. You know I love that the God that I met, that I know is really gentle. He knew that I wasn’t in the best place. That I I did feel insecure, I was hurt. He knew the right people to bring into my life that I would listen to. Being maori and being vulnerable kind of are at different ends of the spectrum. You know being maori there’s a stereotype of us being quite staunch and the majority of us are. But then, there’s also a real freedom if I can say; to know that it’s ok to be vulnerable. You don’t have to be haamar. You don’t need to be ashamed. You don’t need to hold that all inside and deal with it by yourself. That there are, there is another way to help you deal with those things. You don’t need to turn to different things that you thought would help you to overcome for want of a better word, those demons. Now I am a school teacher. I’m a primary school teacher, but currently moving on to secondary school teaching. And that’s been huge. A huge learning curve for me. In my fourties, heading into looking after little kids. But not just looking after them but shaping them. Understanding that, the kind of effect that I can have on their lives is really mind blowing. It’s ok to begin again. You know I thought in my late thirties that I was too old to start a new career, to go into something totally different but it’s ok. It’s really ok.