I Am Not My Anger

Image: Irihipeti Waretini

Image: Irihipeti Waretini

My body aches. My shoulders and neck are tense, and I haven’t slept for what seems like weeks. When really it has only been a few nights of restlessness and nightmares.

Cyclone Gita has been and gone. Not much of a storm to be remembered by, but hey, I could say the same about myself.

My eyes are drifting into sleep.

The constant abrupt noises from my full house keep me from fully drifting away. The lady at the hairdressers laughed when I said the word “fully” in a sentence today. I felt embarrassed.

I am sick of these annoying judging people that I continue to meet. I share about my life because it’s my everyday life and they don’t understand it, it’s like I’m an alien. But they are the fucking aliens.

My heart longs for understanding, but this world is changing, and me? Well, I don’t know if I fit in it.  I wish I could be confident in myself, like the book I read to the kids tonight. It was a book about a fierce little woman with red hair. The fierce little women made it cool to stand up for herself, by threatening to hit the pirate with the bagpipes.

If that was me threatening to a hit a pirate with my pūtōrino, who was trying to get into my house I wouldn’t be cool. I would be the one parents would say “you don’t want to be like her or end up with a girl like that.”

I encourage my daughter to be herself, but it seems much harder for me to do that, especially when I am openly honest about my life and am judged continuously about it. Yet, if the judgers came to the other side, then they would understand, and I am certain they wouldn’t want to leave this place.

There is darkness here, but there is also warmth, the kind you would never find anywhere else. This warmth can only be felt if it is embraced wholeheartedly.

This is the kind of warmth that my life has always known, the air that fills the belly and surrounds the body in safety, type of warmth. Warmth that is like a blazing fireplace when there is a southerly wind whistling through the wooden cracks in the floors, but the fire keeps the stiff, cold air away and eventually turns it, into a gentle womb of perfection.

If there is perfection in this world, it would be the womb. It is the only place a baby can be created with all the whakapapa of its ancestors. Yes, this is the only perfection on earth.

What does that say about me and of everyone else on this planet?

Why am I uncertain of myself? Not confident, pathetic almost. Why do I feel small, angry and confused? There is constant doubt. Painful thoughts flow effortlessly, it’s hard to think good thoughts, and it’s hard to be myself in this environment.

I wonder if they feel the same way.

It’s a constant game of racket tennis where the insults get whacked back and forth. Until someone misses, fumbles, falls and then it’s a point for the opposition.

Who is the opposition? Who am I fighting?

Am I fighting hundreds of years of colonisation and broken promises?

Has this history lesson made it more difficult for me to trust?

Does this argument really go back that far or am I just an angry Māori girl armed with my pūtōrino and not some awesome bagpipes that would bring a wicked pirate to love me? The funny thing is a Māori girl knows better than to hit someone with a sacred instrument.

This anger is years of injustices, the pain is brought forth in heated situations. But deep inside my soul I know this hurt, this rage, it was never there before.

 It does not belong to me. My culture is not anger, it is not who we are.

Although no one has ever uttered to me those words, I will declare them for myself.

“I am not my anger, I am love.”


Rmt-Wi of Ngati Toa, Kai Tahu and Atiu descent and mother to Karearea and Ocean writes because she feels a need to share her world view. Whānau is important for Rmt-Wi who spends most of her time creating and caring for her loved ones. Second-hand shopping is a bit of a hobby, though at the moment she is saving for an intrepid journey.