‘What would you know, my Dad’s in Prison!’
The boy said to me defiantly in the middle of Warrior Kids.
‘My father has spent most of his life in prison,’ I replied calmly. ‘But I’m not going anywhere near the place. I make my own choices about who I’m going to be, just as you can choose who you are going to be.’
My hope has been that others can learn from my life, learn from my choices. When I was a child my mother told me that I would end up prison. Just like my biological father. That I would be a monster, and hurt women and children just like him. I proved her and the many others who believed that wrong.
I broke the cycle of violence and abuse. I chose a good life.
Of course it wasn’t easy. As a kid I would look at my parents and think, ‘I’m not going to be like you when I grow up.’ I thought that all I had to do was want to be different and it would happen. It didn’t.
I had to work at being different. It took years. Lots of therapy, lots of hardship and anguish. At times it seemed that for every step forward there were two steps back, however I kept moving, kept aiming onwards.
I have my own beautiful family now. There is no violence or abuse in our home. My life has meaning in the work that I do. What more could I ask for.
As dark as life may get at times, as hopeless as things may feel, We can get through it. We can keep moving forward. Each day we are blessed with a new sunrise, a new beginning, and a choice of who we are going to be.
This blog was first published on Facebook and Linkedin July 27, 2021.
Copyright© Tim Tipene, 2021.
Photo from the New Zealand Women’s Weekly, July 2000.