I had taken a Personal Assistant slash Business Analyst/Deconstructionist position within a Maori Organisation, at the end of the previous year. My friend was the newly appointed CEO, and the idea, for me, was to see what my organisational skills and deconstructionist ideas could bring to the job. I took it on, partially because I could blend it to my needs…work from home…and because my friend knew what was going on for me, my hours and days could be as flexible as I needed them to be.
Within the first week, I had saved the org $45k, just through a bit of reorganising of the structure and doing away with what I deemed, needless and pointless conventional ‘have toos’. By the second week, we had saved around $75k total. I was enjoying the challenge, and found out I was damn good at what I was doing. I had/have a head for restructuring 🙂 I loved doing this type of thing…until I had to mix with people…then, not so much.
Because I was still as shaky and nervous as fuck, and had a full on panic attack every time I left the house, my mobility and interaction with the world outside was pretty limited. If I travelled in the car, IF – I was bunkered up in the back seat with dark sunglasses, my head between my knees, head and ears covered, trying to breathe steadily. I couldn’t handle the movement and the noise and at this time I couldn’t even handle light music in the background. Just hands over the ears was the only way to get any type of peace.
We were trying to look for houses by the beach and it was proving more difficult than I thought. They were either shit…as in you wouldn’t put your dog in any of them…or they were descent and cost an arm and a leg!. We spread our search a little wider, so we were about 40 minutes away from the city; still within travelling distance to doctors, specialists and more importantly, the mokos. We looked for our haven for over a year.
The previous year, I had made contact with an older Maori woman who knew all the old traditional methods of healing…pre-European contact styles. That was/is a rare thing. When the Treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840 and the colonialist eventually took over, one of their first acts of parliament was to out law or make illegal the practice of traditional healing methods. So a lot, actually most of what we knew instinctually was wiped out brutally and then slowly disassembled completely over the following 150 plus years. So to find this woman, practising what was our traditional healing methods, was not only fascinating but something that I was extremely drawn too.
I’ve been to two of her open classes, or wananga…she practices and teaches Romiromi. It’s like a deep, deep tissue massage…but more…its spiritual as well as physical. Very hard to explain. Maori are instinctually holistic. We didn’t use to treat in segments of ourselves. As in…physical, a doctor…emotional, a shrink…spiritual, a religious thing. We did the whole person as a whole being. And that is what Romiromi is about. Treating the whole person.
I hadn’t been at all open to being touched, but because I was sick and tired of being cooped up and unable to do what I wanted to, I was pretty ready to try anything. I was nearly off all medication…and the repercussions of that, was ‘feeling’. Not something I was used to…without some kind of something in or around me…substances, distractions, work, kids etc.
The upshot was, it moved something deep within me…and I knew that all the stuff I was dealing with, had somehow stuck, not only in my memory, but in my body…they call it cellular memory I think…well the pakehas do. She, this lady…and old Maori…they had a different, ancient kind of name for it.
I initially came away feeling shattered but good. I was still waiting for the wheels of the ministry of health to start turning in my favour and a shrink to be assigned. And I knew I needed to move to the beach. Now, if not, yesterday.
The thing with salt water…salt air…the sound of the waves…for Maori, its cleansing…and healing. And I knew with every little fibre of my fucked up body and mind, that that’s where I needed to be. I needed that and about 3 years of sleep 😉
As my situation started to feel more desperate I had started taking my sleeping meds during the day as well. At the peak of this indulgence I was taking up to 2 during the day and another 3-4 at night to go to sleep. And I’d still only sleep for 4 hours at a time, take another half and then get maybe another hour sometimes two. Manic way to live…absolute hell. Although it was advised that I not take those pills during the day, I wasn’t really to sure what else to do. I was sick of trying the concoctions they had been giving me, and I knew how to control my little blue pills. Highly addictive little fuckers though.
We finally found our little house and we moved to our beautiful beach. I remember packing up the house in like, 2 minutes…booking the truck and maxing out my credit card to pay for the deposit on it. I was desperate to leave the city…and desperate to get to the beach. I remember clearly, our first night here. I felt like 20kgs fell off my shoulders immediately. I cleaned and organised and slept and ate and smiled and sat in the sunshine and listened to the waves…for days…weeks. We have been here nearly 17 months now. And even though I still get angry and stressed sometimes…I am nothing like I was two years ago…or even a year ago. I still have trouble leaving the house…or if things get particularly hectic…but I love being here…I love chopping wood…blogging…taking photographs…waving at the neighbours…having the mokos come out. The whole environment is massively, massively healing.
We’ve had our issues with our landlord…they’re assholes really…and I won’t miss them one little bit. But this whole year, even with its ups and downs, was what I knew I needed.
Our fourth moko was born at the latter part of this year. And she was just as beautiful as the other 3. She’s been extremely healing for me…for us both actually. As she’s grown I’ve been able to see what a healthy, loved, protected and nurtured little bundle of joy actually looks like.
I finally got to see a psychiatrist after we had moved out to the beach. She came to me. She diagnosed PTSD, and confirmed what I had suspected. She advised urgent regular sessions with a Psychologist to do ‘active’ therapy. I waited another 6 months to see the one I see now.