Updated: May 27, 2020
I have been silent for some time. I am not a naturally outgoing person, and fairly uncomfortable with expressing myself publicly. To be honest the idea of having a website and a blog is a bit appalling to me. Hence my silence. Plus, there is nothing about the uncomfortable topic of Centrepoint which sits easily with me, or pulls me back to grappling with it. I guess that most people who lived at Centrepoint - whether they had good experiences there, mixed, or a bunch of awful ones - have some difficult feelings to contend with now. If life feels like it has moved on, why go back there? I confess, that in the crazy of my work and home life, thinking about these things can seem too uncomfortable at times, and attending to the urgent of life feels easier.
But I do believe that attending to the hurts of the past is important. Unfortunately we have a tendency to address only the urgent things. Urgent-important gets our attention, and (unfortunately) urgent-unimportant also gets our attention (when it shouldn't). Unimportant- non-urgent doesn't get much of our attention (unless it is rewarding and we make it happen, like baking or reading a book or going for a swim). But the most worrying is when we neglect the important non-urgent... these things get pushed into the background (like our mental health and physical wellbeing). We are wired to attend to the urgent issues of life (the shouting boss, the crying baby, the broken arm). For some of us, there is never a gap in the noise made by the urgent, to allow us space to attend to the important. I have learnt though that the important, if not attended to, has a way of becoming urgent if not addressed when it should be addressed. And when it comes to our emotional health I have learnt that what the mind cannot speak of, the body will start to speak about through physical expressions of emotional pain. So, where I can I do speak of these things.
Right now, during this strange calm of lock-down we have opportunity to take stock and reconsider how we want our world to be, what are priorities should be, what we need to let go, and what we need to come to terms with. Life moving forward is never going to be the same again. Some things which we did without thinking (consumption, exploration, growth, bias, discrimination, inequity) need rethinking as perhaps we can start to see where some of these things need to be reviewed for their value, and their worth, and where pursuit of and tolerance of things which damage our society need to change. Can we do things differently moving forward? Can we learn from what has happened to us in 2020? I for one would like to think that all of this pain, and sacrifice and loss may bring some fruit, some learnings, and the opportunity to make good out of some mega-shit.
In the same way, I yearn for a change in this other space. I wish that the shittiness that I and many of my childhood peers inherited from shame-based experiences at Centrepoint to be made good (or if not good, better at least). May we corporately learn from these things. May a new way be forged so the institutionally condoned and tolerated abuse of vulnerable children does not happen again in New Zealand. May the relationships which still oppress, and force silence, be opened up so that those of us who were not free as children, can at least come to feel free as adults. I do not want to have to wait until the adults of my childhood are all dead for this to happen. I do not believe that when a person dies, the shit of the relational debris dies with them. Instead, those that remain continue to carry it with them. Let us not say to ourselves it will be better when they are all gone, because I dont think it will be better. It will only be better if we turn our hearts to the very uncomfortable, not very urgent, but very important issues that have been weighing on our hearts for the very many years since you and I left Centrepoint.