Shannon

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

Describe your life today
A RAW scholarship has enabled me to begin studying towards a Bachelor in Social Science at Waikato University, I’m working in a job I love, and creating a new life from the ground up.  Life today includes exploring an area of passion for me, and aiming to reach my full potential with a huge support network helping me achieve.  

What do you love about your life these days?

The incredible health that I am so grateful for.  I can’t believe how emotionally uncomplicated, fulfilling, exciting and safe life feels these days.

Are there any aspects of your life that continue to frustrate you?
Not frustrate no, but sometimes I feel wounded as the challenges arise as I continue to reestablish myself within society.  I would not be able to successfully navigate these without RAW.  RAW advocates for us, and encourages second chances.  This significantly influences our ability to overcome many reintegration hurdles.

How is life today different to life before RAW?
I am surrounded by people that have my best interests at heart and want to see me succeed.  I feel invested in, cared for and I get challenged (which is a really helpful tool).  Life is completely new.  It’s fun and novel, full of cool experiences and great opportunities.  My interests have changed. I attract completely different people and most of all, I wake up happy and I value life.

THE JOURNEY FROM:TO

Looking back, what things now amaze you about the life that you were living (the things you accepted as normal)?
The self-sacrifice I was willing to accept in order to please others. Loss of identity, loss of control, and a lack of direction.  I was operating with such low self-worth and value for life.

What did you need to learn/unlearn?
Annah consistently encourages me to “believe in myself”.  Rebecca constantly reminds me to “create the life that you want for yourself.”  I needed to stop living for other people and start living for me.  To do this, I needed to begin believing that I’m capable of achieving what I set my mind to, and have the courage to start doing it.

What did you need to accept?

  • I needed to accept that I could never build the life I wanted, on my own.  
  • Having good health and good people are all that matters in life.  
  • With much determination and resilience, I can transform a destructive start into a flourishing future.

What did you need to let go of?

  • Bad values, beliefs, and low self-worth.
  • People that didn’t truly want the best for me.

Why do you think you have been successful in staying away from ‘the dark side’?

  • I have positive elements in my life that I never dreamed were possible (having had such a wonky beginning.) 
  • I feel protective of my independence, state of health, and the support around me to achieve personal growth.
  • At RAW, I am surrounded by people that believe I’m worth something, that I’m capable of achieving it, and who encourage me to work on it every day.

What’s the secret to you sustaining a good life (away from the dark side)?

  • Knowing that my past doesn’t define me.  
  • Education.  Enabling myself to contribute value to the lives of others.
  • The mentorship Annah provides me with.  
  • Annah paints a picture that is a million times more appealing than my previous life and helps me to make it a reality every day.

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 3 years, what would you say?

RAW has helped me to dream big, to execute a plan, and to create the foundations in order to achieve a sustainable, healthy, offense-free future with strong family connections and values I can be proud of.

What things have RAW made possible that you didn’t think would be possible?
The answer to this goes beyond words.   The difference in my sense of self and the important insights I have gained are indescribable.  

There are, however, many other aspects that would have thrown me if RAW hadn’t helped me to activate solutions.  For example:  

  • Education.  This is a major one as it leads to unlimited possibilities.  
  • Acquiring banking services, insurance policies, employment opportunities, counselling services, transportation are others.  
  • Life skills and strategies that increasing self-sufficiency and balance.

WHERE TO NEXT?
Simply continuing to grow and being an example of positive change so that others know they can do it too. 

What do you perceive some of your challenges might be?

  • Fitting in everything I want to achieve after wasting so much of my life.
  • Remembering to be kind to myself.

What is the thing that you know for sure about your future?

  • There is no room in it (nor desire) for the debilitating beliefs and behaviours that I possessed in the past.
  • There is satisfaction and reward every day when I’m operating in line with my values.

What is the thing that excites you most about the future?
Being in a position to encourage others towards living a life in which they reach their potential.

Where are the areas that RAW can most add value to in your journey ahead?
RAW has the resources to support women in every area needed for a safe and meaningful life.  For me personally, the value has come from enabling me to step into a completely new beginning and implementing new problem-solving solutions.