On Friday night I was a panelist at an event called Courageous Conversations as part of Toi Wahine Festival.
The panel consisted of Briony (life coach, change maker and challenge seeker), Jessica Quinn (motivational speaker, model and storyteller), Kelsy Scott (education coordinator, photographer and diversity celebrator), Shayma'a Arif (refugee and human rights lawyer, volunteer and house of peach founder), and myself - wow, what a group!
We were brought together to share our experiences having had courageous conversations, what we think holds people, and particularly women back from having courageous conversations, and how to just do it.
Little did I know that speaking at this event was going to provide me with an opportunity to have another 'courageous conversation', and share more of my story which I haven't spoken about outside of my close circle of friends and family.
I was in a highly toxic and unhealthy relationship for 9 years. I gave my heart to someone who didn't deserve or respect me. I couldn't see what I was in, because I was so entrenched in it, and didn't know any different to know that it wasn't ok. I was also complicit because I didn't want to believe that I was in a bad relationship and that the man I loved wasn't good form me, but he was highly manipulative, pathological liar and probably a narcissist.
This was not a conversation I planned on having, but in the moment and in talking about courageous conversations I wanted to be 'real' and share that one of the most courageous conversations I've had to have was to tell people what I was going through following my break up and share the reasoning for the break up. This was not a comfortable converstaion for me to hav at the time, as I was so ashamed that I was able to be fooled by someone. However with the love and compassion of the people I did share with, I was able to overcome these feelings.
I am so fortunate that I have so many amazing people in my life I was able to have this conversation with who embraced me with open arms. The power of sharing is so healing.