# 26 An Open Letter To The Woman I Will Become

Today I am writing this at Otawairere Bay, wanting to take my writing to somewhere more exciting than my room. As I admire the view, it is bittersweet to be here again. The last time I saw this view, I was with someone who is no longer in my life. But I'm ok with that. Most days are good, even great. Some days more than others, but I am human, and every now and then I still catch myself missing my old life.

I'm a really good listener, and naturally people come to me, and I listen. But it's rare I can talk to anyone, and you know, just talk. Maybe I just feel my problems are insignificant to the issues society are yet to face. Day by day, I wished for help, and I waited, not so patiently, frustrated and feeling alone. Then, as I walked over the hill to this bay, I realised I was never alone. People just never knew I needed help. I was always surrounded by love, unconditional love, I was just afraid to receive it.

They say to have something you have never had, you have to do something you have never done. Face the fear and all that. For those just starting this journey of self-discovery, even acknowledging fear is beyond them. And that's the first step, admit to yourself that you're afraid, that you have limitations, that in this moment you don't have all the answers. Fear is many things, but I now understand that the root of all my frustrations, unrealised dreams and lack of self-love is fear.

...and I don’t know what made me trust him enough to about my life these past few weeks. He listened. And I talked.


I had brunch with a friend on the weekend, and he shared his life story. Well the short version of it, and I said someday, I would like to learn the rest of it. We don't know each other that well, and I don't know what made me trust him enough to talk about my life these last few weeks. He listened. And I talked. The more I talked I realised that I had changed and grew so much that I will never go back to my old life. I'm learning to ask for what I want in my life, and right now, that's self-love.


To the Woman I Will Become

Hello, it’s me. Or you.

We had a great walk today, you finally bought a pair of decent walking shoes, so that you stop slipping at the bottom steps leading to Otarawairere Bay. Ok, you're credit card paid for it, so promise me that you will pay for it at next pay day. Sort out that credit card woman, please. Then you can go discover the world again. But first that credit card.

That wardrobe is looking better, glad to see you're taking pride in yourself again. I lost you for a bit there. Keep it up girlfriend, and get rid of the clothes that you don’t love. Sell it or gift them, just don't hold on to clothes that don't make you feel beautiful. Promise me. You’re body will be changing too, so dress it well.

The view here is incredible, and you’ll look back at this place, not with sadness, but a place of peace and writing inspiration.

Do you still recognise yourself in those old photos? Most of them were incredible memories, so don't be sad. They were you too. Just smile, and let go.

It's getting chilly now, a few more people have walked over the hill. I think it's time for lunch. Will put my shoes on again and start heading back.

I'm almost ready to let go of the old me, but not yet. So maybe we can meet up soon, just be patient. I'm worth it, I promise.

Love you.

Ronna Funtelar Thacker is a writer, foodie and dance studio owner.
A self-confessed eternal optimist and lover of crispy M&Ms, she shares her adventures and life learnings to connect, inspire and nurture self-love.

# 12 Be Ignited Studio presents The Discovery of Fire

Cas Whiteley performing 'Small Bump'.  Photo by Joanne Black Photography

Cas Whiteley performing 'Small Bump'.  Photo by Joanne Black Photography

The aim is to converse. But first I shall rehearse. No doubt I will stutter and confuse my verses. But the purpose, is to the speak to the masses. With dreams put to the corner, struggling with doubt, aching to fly.
— The Discovery of Fire 2015

I had a dream a few years ago that I was standing on the Little Theatre stage. I was all alone with a spotlight, looking out into an empty audience. Then as the lights warmed, seats began to fill and I could feel people standing behind me. The lights grew so bright that I had to close my eyes. When I opened them I was standing on the centre aisle of the theatre, looking back towards the stage - a stage filled with performers taking a bow. This was my reoccurring dream for a few years, and last week it became a reality.

Be Ignited Studio's first end of year show, The Discovery of Fire, was a story told by many voices. The theme of doubt and fear is pretty common, you get it in most dance movie franchises. We didn't want it to be cheesy and predictable, and instead have audiences feel uplifted and excited about life. We took out the storyline and used the music and dance to tell about the ups and downs of the studio, of feeling like a failure, the struggles to explain to people why it's ok to think and do things differently. I don't think this will never go away, but now that the show is over, we can focus on writing the next chapter.

 The studio had 30-40 dancers on stage over two nights, and overall I couldn't be more proud of everyone involved. On behalf of the studio, we want to thank the following:

  • Our sponsors: O'Hagan Home Loans & Insurance, Glassman & Locksmiths, Simply Graphics
  • Kelly - Lighting and Production (thanks for answering all my questions!)
  • Rose - Sound (ever so patient with all the mix changes!)
  • Cameron - Stage Manager
  • Theatre Whakatane - Lighting & Sound equipment
  • Glassman & Locksmiths for selling tickets
  • Charmaine Hands and front of house team
  • Gabe & Eli for coming over to perform
  • Kaitz & Jackson for performing and helping out backstage
  • Corazon - my Mum for all the amazing catering this year, being a super cheerleader for the studio and the ticket sales ninja!
  • Manny - my Dad, for letting Mum use the credit card to pay for the studio food haha
  • All the dancers, students, and supporters of the studio

The biggest lesson I learned from the show is that you don't have to walk your journey alone. There are a lot of people who want to help, and many don't know how to, unless you tell them what you need. It doesn't have to be money, it could be their time, lend a shoulder to cry on, give encouragement, or just honest constructive criticism. By working in a team we are accountable, and we also share the burden. 

The Discovery of Fire is proof that dreams do come true...like legit.