Today marks two years since my world completely flipped on its head. I still vividly remember it like it was only a few months ago. It was our first nationwide lockdown for Aotearoa, and I spent the day appreciating the slowness and extra time, baking and walking with my flatmate. I said to her on our walk. "It's so weird mum hasn't gotten back to me yet". Later, I called my brother and mentioned to a few friends that something was off. At 9 pm that night, Dad called to say mum had passed.
Her name was Monique, and she was my brother and I’s rock. If I were to describe her, she was someone who would put others before herself, and in any serious situation, she would make it into something lighthearted and fun. She was bubbly and smiley and the cheekiest human being. I'm biassed, but she was an absolute legend and the strongest person I had the pleasure of being my role model. I'm appreciating this so much more now, but growing up, we fought like no tomorrow due to being so similar - so I guess what I've always admired about her is what now, keeps me going without her.
Before mum passed, I found myself being the victim of life. Life was happening to me, and there was nothing I could do about it - I struggled with depression and severe anxiety masked with an overconsumption of alcohol. However, the day mum died on the 29th of March 2020, something ignited in me and it eventually became the catalyst for Simple Studios' birthing. I was working in a corporate job feeling undervalued, unsupported and mistreated as a woman in the workplace. Had mum not died, I truly believe I would never have had the confidence to stand up to my colleague or go against the grain and quit my 'successful' job to pursue a passion. A passion for myself that is also strongly influenced by mum and my mother in law, Vaila.
Why shouldn't creative women have the confidence to go after what they want, pursue the life they dream of and build a flexible working life so that when and if they choose to have children, they can?
These past two years have been the hardest and most challenging years of my life. It's been a time that's felt so fast yet so slow. A time when I didn't sleep properly for months. A time when I left a job having no idea whether Simple Studios would stay afloat. A time when I felt so alone, yet everyone was around me. A time when my circle of friends shrunk. A time when I was grateful to have two close friends whose mums have also passed and feel so lost that they share the same pain. A time when I found myself again. A time when it didn't matter that I didn't have a super exciting corporate job. Lastly, a time when I spent every day wishing I could call mum again to tell her everything she's sparked in me to make an impact. An impact for creative women, women in business, the foundation and childhood she gave us, the generational trauma she changed, and for me.
So cheers to you, mum. This year will be an extra special one, one I know you'd be so excited about. Thank you for the disagreements, the hard times, the memories and all the laughter. I fucking love ya.