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MEET SOME RAW WOMEN, Meet The RAW Women
About This Project

A JOURNEY BACK TO SELF:

Describe your life today
“It’s taken six years to get to this place….but for the first time ever, I’ve been able to manage my life more in balance – physical, mental, spiritual, work, family. It’s not perfect yet, but it’s better than it’s ever been. In the past, I’ve always gone hard on just one area of my life, but things are different these days.”
“Today, I’m more focused on what I need to do and how I need to do it. I have a vision rather than just living day by day. I spend a lot of time on my own. I read a lot, I’ve got my mentor, and I studying at Wintec on Adult Teacher Training. I’ve also got stability around my employment, and I’ve just moved into my own place.”
“I’m not in a relationship, but I’m so glad I haven’t met anyone as I would have still attracted the wrong person.”
“My boys are so much closer to me these days but I’ve put in so much effort to get our relationships to where they are today.”

Are they any aspects of your life that continue to frustrate you?
“No. When I come up against challenges, it’s not a biggie; I just break the problem down. I always remember Annah saying two things – you can’t control what happens to you, but you can control how you react to it, and the people that you surround yourself with have the most influence on your life.”

How is life today different to life before RAW?
“The people are different, and the environment is different.”
“These days I’m right into my family whereas before I wasn’t or couldn’t because of what I was doing.”
“I don’t associate with many people because I have no need to, and that’s key for me.”

“I never had emotions before; life destroys your emotions. In that other life, you are numb the whole time. You don’t get sad or happy; everything is on one level.
“I’m enjoying working for Annah in the shops; I get to dress up and it’s outside of my comfort zone which I’ve learned is good for me.”

THE JOURNEY FROM:TO
Looking back, what things now amaze you about the life that you were living (the
things you accepted as normal)?
“I never used my name or interacted with people. It was also head down and don’t converse. Putting myself in the hospitality industry, you have to be hospitable and be social. It’s made me step up and be part of the community.”
“I’m still working on my money management, but I’m getting there. I never used to appreciate that [drug] money; it meant nothing to be. I had all the money in the world, but I never used it in a meaningful way.”
“I’m really wary of men, I can’t be bothered, and I would never stand for what I used to experience now. My sons are very respectful to me, but I see the way my nephew is disrespectful to my sister, and it doesn’t sit well with me.”
What did you need to learn/unlearn?
“I had to learn how to manage situations; how to deal with life and death. I never really managed it or dealt with it in the past. Whenever anything comes up now, I think about how I’m going to break it all down and deal with it or reach out for help. I use every opportunity to grow a better me. I couldn’t have done that when I first come out; I simply wouldn’t have believed I could do it. Now I think this is hard, but I can do it.”
What did you need to accept or Let into your life?
“Good people. For a long time, I figured all people had ulterior motives or hidden agendas. I was always very sceptical about Annah and Rebecca’s motives, surely what they were doing was too good to be true? But that was all based on my past experiences, and the people who were nice to me always had hidden agendas. I’ve let those barriers now, and I have more faith that there are good people out there.”
“If I hadn’t let those trust barriers come down, I wouldn’t have allowed RAW into my life and had the benefit of all their support along the way. My life wouldn’t have changed because of my inability to trust.”
“I’m still working on that self-love, and I’m looking at doing a spiritual journey so I’m better able to deal with life and the deaths that will continue to be part of my journey.”

Why do you think you have been successful in staying away from ‘the dark
side’?
“My relocation to Hamilton. My whole life has changed. I’m around different people, and the only people from my past are my family.”
“When you start to grow, you notice that you don’t fit in anymore. I thought I would always be the same – but I’m not. You can’t go back because you are on different wavelengths, but I had to see it to believe it. You have to stop wasting time on people that don’t matter. Success is all about who we surround ourselves with.”
What’s the secret to you sustaining a good life (away from the dark side)?
“Accountability is big. You’ve got to be accountable. I never was before, and there was no one else holding me to account. If nobody cares, it’s easy to slip and get taken down.”
“Gratitude – to be grateful for all that I have.”
“Honesty – restoring all those things that are important. Revisiting my values – that is the key to my success.”

THE ROLE THAT RAW HAS PLAYED
If you had to sum up in a sentence the role that RAW has played in your journey over
the last six years, what would you say?
“This life wouldn’t have happened without them. I wouldn’t have had somewhere different to go to. If I were back in West Auckland, I would still be doing the same thing. I wouldn’t have found a different life or the confidence to have a different life. I wouldn’t be where I am right now.”
What are the things that RAW has given you/helped you to find or build that
you didn’t have before (or had lost sight of)?
“Everything! Their support has been huge. I’ve never had that sort of support in my life; not even from my family, but I had to learn how to ask for and receive it. And I had to take the opportunities on offer even when I was not feeling confident about doing so. RAW has given me the confidence to take the time to grow.”
“Today, I’ve ventured out on my own, knowing that I can stand on my own two feet.”
What things has RAW made possible that you didn’t think would be possible?
“Employment.”
“The speaking that I’ve done with Annah has given me so much confidence and helped me both to understand my journey and let it go. It gave me a deeper understanding of my situation and it enabled me to experience acceptance from the people I spoke to; people do care, but they don’t know that this stuff exists.”
“At my course, there were three corrections people present, and we all had to introduce ourselves. Once upon a time I wouldn’t have taken the opportunity to speak, but his time I introduced myself, and my story, and everyone just about fell off their seat. At the end of the day, you have to be proud of yourself, and back yourself – this is who I am!”

WHERE TO NEXT?
Thinking ahead, what are your goals and plans
“I’m still doing work on myself. I want to get healthier and grow old gracefully.”
“I can see a life ahead, living in a quiet space, in nature, growing gardens, spending time with grandkids, and enjoying the simples things in life.”
What do you perceive some of your challenges might be in the future?
“Self-love – having self-discipline about my health.”
“I’m disappointed that I don’t have my own home, but I don’t stress about it anymore.”
“I don’t’ see anything as a negative challenge anymore. It’s more exciting, thinking about how I can solve it, than stressful.
What is the thing that you know for sure about your future?
“I’m not going back to jail.”
“I’ve done the best I could as a mum and grandma.”
“I will be living the best life I can with no regrets.”
What is the thing that excites you most and/or you are most looking forward to?
“Keeping the faith that anything is possible – I can be and do anything I want to be.”
Where are the areas that RAW can most add value to in your journey ahead?
“Always be there. I’ve made really good friends in RAW, people I can trust and will always support me as long as I keep it real in challenging and positive times.”