I grew up quite angry. Growing up without a father was hard and I always felt out of place. My mum was a superhero. She did her best with me and my sister, but our relationship was strained and without a dad around I struggled to know who I really was. I learned to mentally isolate myself, which made me feel even more alone. I decided I didn’t need anyone and that I could work out the complexities of life alone. The one person I could talk to was my cousin, Sina. She accepted me for who I was. Then Sina suddenly died in her sleep when I was 26. Three months later, my mum died of cancer. Everything changed at that point. I was like “now what”? I wanted to discover who I really was. I moved to South Auckland to study. It was here that I learned to tell my story. I’ve been able to see facets of myself in the people here. By knowing them I’ve come to know myself. I learned that you have to find the inner strength and courage to face your pain. You can’t arrive until you’ve faced what you need to, to become a better person.