Manutioriori's Story - Part 1

I didn’t notice things building up. But if I look back at it, everything started in intermediate. Intermediate was rough. Bullying is som...
I didn’t notice things building up. But if I look back at it, everything started in intermediate. Intermediate was rough. Bullying is something that is normalised in our country. You can put signs that say bullying is wrong or say “stop it I don’t like it”, but what does that really even help. I was bullied by someone I grew up with through primary and intermediate. I don’t know what made her do it, but I kind of felt betrayed because she was someone I really trusted. During the same time that all of this was happening my parents were going through a divorce. But because I was only young, I didn’t really comprehend the situation. I did see how much it hurt the rest of my siblings though. When it did end up being just me and the kids. I learnt very early on that if I couldn’t be open and honest with them about what was going on in my world, which was affecting their world, we were never going to be okay. I actually sat them all down and had that conversation with them about the fact that their father had gone and that he wasn’t coming back. Because it was the only thing I knew to do. So, in amongst everything that we’ve done and all the things we’ve been through, that’s the only thing that I could ever do was just talk or try and get them to talk. But when they stop talking to you, that’s when it gets really hard. Because when they’re not talking, you don’t know how they’re feeling and you don’t know what more you can do to try and pull them back up. Even though I didn’t properly comprehend the divorce, I was disappointed with my dad. He wasn’t around as much as I wanted him to be, mainly because he wasn’t in stable accommodation. The relationship I had with my dad started to fade because I was upset with him. In my head I was thinking “why now?” why does he want to be a part of our lives now, because it seems like he’s trying more now than when he lived under our roof. With Manutioriori, I think looking back I think that there were definitely signs when her – me and her father separated. Slowly but surely the signs were getting more and more obvious. But she talks more about when her grandfather – who was her father’s father passed away. Highschool came around, I made new friends, I settled in pretty well. It was actually better than I expected. And then boom, koro passed away. It felt like everything started falling apart. I had lost the mana Māori person that I looked up to and adored. My grandfather was the type of person that loved his grandkids more than anything. The person that we could run away to knowing we would be safe. I can’t really explain the way I felt, but going to his house, even now, feels like there’s something missing. It’s hard for me to place an emotion on it. Mostly grief, uh guilt because you know I didn’t see my grandfather before he passed away. Yeah. I tried to push it away, but it was still sitting in the back of my head. I think it would’ve got to a point where I would’ve started like self-harm, even though I don’t like thinking about that, yeah. When you get to a point where you feel like you’ve done all that you possibly could, fear starts to kick in. Fear that you know um that they’re just going to lose the plot or you’re going to lose them. And it can get really hard, you know then you start sort of judging yourself. Looking at your own inadequacies, like you’re not good enough to be a parent. Um, it can be quite hard and I think in amongst it all when it gets to that point, you spend a lot of time trying to show on the outside that that’s not how you feel. So you still have to walk around with the brave face, even though the brain is just going “oh my god, oh my god, what am I going to do next?” After her grandfather passed away, I mean I wouldn’t say that she was a very confident and open child before he passed away, but she definitely went a little bit darker. Um, after he passed and then of course I think it was a year later his wife passed away. So that was another huge toll on all of them including her.
The Lowdown

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