SHELLY WHO?

Never heard of me?

It’s ok – I wasn’t cool enough to know me a few years ago, either.

1974

Entered the world under duress a month early because Drs thought I was gonna be huge. Was tiny. Pretty much the first of 2 decades of premature milestones achieved accidentally.          

1978

Ran away from Kindy. Was wearing flares and a rib-knit jersey, possibly orange. Made me easy to catch.          

1979-1990

7 schools, 5 towns, 2 countries, and at least 2 infectious diseases on consecutive weekends. Learned to be adaptable. Developed immunity.          

1988

Failed 1st semester English in Chicago. Learned grammar. Had an A by end of year. Suck on that, Ms Tobin.

1990

Had the worst English teacher ever at Church College. (Sorry bout it but you know who you are.) Regardless, came 2nd in my year (damn you, Silver Naulder), discovered Witi Ihimaera, and decided to write.

1994

Got a degree in nothing useful. Way too young.

1994

Married a lovely boy on the same day as my oldest sister married another lovely boy. Let her go first. It seemed the diplomatic choice.        

1994

Moved to Hawaii. Taught English at BYU. Had naked dreams at the beginning of every semester. Learned how to write essays.

1996

Began procreating. Enter: the boy whose eyes were far too big for his face. For the next 5 years.

1998

Lovely boy husband drowns. Asshole. That sux. Which led to…

1999

Grieving, lonely, stupid. Got remarried. He got 7 ½ years of my life and I got 2 daughters. I win.

1999-2007

Tortured kids at various schools throughout Northland. Continued procreating.

2007

Took what I thought would be a less-demanding-than-being-in-the-classroom job at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa.  LMFAO.  But it was one of the greatest growing times of my life.  Learned to speak the language of my tūpuna.  Met the beautiful carverboy.   Admired him from afar for 6 years before doing anything about it.

2012

Had weight loss surgery. Lost 50 kilos and pretty much every last one of my inhibitions. Got a whole new life I didn’t even know I needed.

2013

Pulled the rug out from under my own feet: left the faith that has shaped my family’s life for 5 generations. Broke my parents’ hearts. Hardest time of my life.

2013

Had an extremely generous man take me under his wing. Handed me his business. Told clients I was great. Damn that was risky – I hadn’t yet figured out I was great. Shot, Victor Main!

2013

Figured out it was way more fun to play with adults than with kids.

2015

Realised empathy is my superpower, I am my brand, and humility is underrated.

2016

Parents still love me. Never stopped. Holy shitballs I’m lucky.

Oh, LOL, you wanted the letters behind my name?

1994 got a degree in something writer-ly

1996 got qualified to teach

1998 got a masters in something else writer-ly

20 years on: still learning (but not maths, apparently)

Whose world have I rocked?