Growing up different and telling my story

06 June 2018

Robin encourages more young people of South Auckland to join the MYSTORY initiative

“We all have a story to tell,” says Robin Kapeteni who identifies as transgendered, pushing through her last year at De La Salle College and one of the first participants of the SouthSeas Healthcare MYSTORY initiative.

“When I first heard of the MYSTORY initiative I had mixed emotions,” says Robin.

“My initial thoughts were clear that this could be a very interesting experience but also nerve-wracking in that I would be exposing my stories, making me vulnerable and that this could go very wrong.”

“I was very nervous opening up to people I’ve never met before. I was afraid of being judged and potential negative reactions. However, I had positive vibes and I thought what better way to explore pathways in life than telling my story. I want people to know that it’s not a choice to be the person I am today.”

Although Robin was mindful of her personal story, she wanted other young people to listen.

“As the group developed, I started opening myself up. I’ve been vulnerable throughout my life because I am different. MYSTORY told me that it is OK to be vulnerable, which is not so much a sign of weakness, as it is exposure to learning and accepting the hardships of life. I’ve accepted that and this has changed my outlook on life.”

“It made me become more aware of my surroundings. It enabled me to open up to different kinds of people regardless of race, and gender, and share life stories with them.”

“We all have a story to tell to express our uniqueness,” says Robin.

“Being a participant in the MYSTORY initiative enlivened me and made my existence more worthwhile. I embrace the MYSTORY framework; I think it’s an amazing initiative. It ignites so many agendas, initiating conversations that need to be had.”

For Robin, these conversations are not easy.

“It is so hard to have some of these conversations at home. Talking about gender, the struggles of being trapped in a wrong body, suicidal feelings, and being depressed. Being part of the MYSTORY group helps us to unravel our thoughts in a respectful and understanding manner.”

“I see value in MYSTORY. It helped shape me and gave me the ability to tell my story and not be afraid of being judged by others. It also stands to remind us that we are all different and unique in our own ways.”

Robin encourages more young people of South Auckland to join.

“What resonated with me personally from the MYSTORY framework is a platform to allow us to tell our stories and have others in the group respond to them, not necessarily by giving advice or an opinion, but to listen and reflect and of course respect the story.”

“I think it is important for people to listen. Many of our young people want to tell their stories.”

“The whole MYSTORY experience for me is very liberating and my advice to people who have a story to tell to get out there and share it. It is OK to be vulnerable and to talk about the hardships of life.”

The MYSTORY event was officially launched last year by SouthSeas Healthcare in collaboration with the Office of the Children’s Commission, and focuses on the importance of children’s and youth’s voices, with a clear emphasis on personal storytelling.

The event acknowledges the importance of storytelling through the eyes of young people.

The MyStory is a framework provides support for participants like Robin to help them tell their story in a safe environment and acknowledges the voice of South Auckland young people.

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