Dear H,

I just found this half written letter on my computer from a few months back. I guess that doesn’t matter though since it will probably be at least 10 years old by the time you read it.


Last week you and your mum joined me back home at our marae where I was giving a talk on happiness and resilience.

Discomfort is growth and the talk that I give is about my car accident; it’s definitely uncomfortable for me; it can also be pretty confronting for the listener, but the idea that it might help someone in the room makes it easier for me to ignore the discomfort.

This time I started my talk with an introductory mihi in te reo maori, which is a skill I’m very much still learning. I finished a paper last January, which was a tiny step in the right direction but haven’t spent as much time practicing since then as I should have. So I was feeling more nervous about that part than I was about walking the kids through the most painful time in my life.

Watching those kids speak fluently in te reo maori while we got set up, and comparing that to how uncomfortable I felt giving my introductory mihi using the same language, in the same marae, in front of the same people, reminded me of something else:

99.9% of the time, there’s nothing you’re scared of doing that hasn’t already been done.
And given you’re here contemplating that fact, the world didn’t collapse afterwards.

So stop worrying about what might happen or what people might think, and focus on what you want to happen and what it means when you succeed. It never gets as bad as you imagine it might.

Other people have done it and survived, chances are you will too.
The uncomfortable bit won’t last for long.

Love you,



Books to read:  The Glass Castle: A Memoir

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