Lessons From The Tron

The tunnel of vines in the Italian Garden at the Hamilton Gardens. 

The tunnel of vines in the Italian Garden at the Hamilton Gardens. 

Oh lover, come find me in the tunnel in the vines. I will wait for you with my eager heart and a trigger happy smile. My eyes won’t see anyone but you. But first you must come to life. Lover, come find me in the tunnel of vines!
— RonnaTheAsian

It’s not quite 3am Sunday morning here in Hamilton. I’m sitting in the darkness typing this on my phone while my friend Lana is beside me, doing a better job of trying to ignore the stream of drunk people that keep finding their way to our door. Don't worry Mum, we’re safe, that door is pretty legit. Plus he eventually found the right door and finally left ours alone - but now I can't sleep.

We’re sharing a queen size bed because I forgot to request two singles before the day we came. The room was part of the prize I won for the Whakatane Poetry Slam heats. Even though the woman at the reception desk was friendly, I think she was trying to figure out if we were a couple or not. Personally I don’t find it an issue to share a bed.

Saturday night was the finals of the NZ Poetry Slam, that’s why I’m here. I didn't make the second round (there were three altogether), which on one part was disappointing, but I have to remember that like any art form, it is subjective. My poem just didn't connect with the judges on the night and that's OK. I’m going back to the drawing board, learn my lessons and come back a better writer and performer.

Afterwards we walked to the CBD in search of fried chicken (those who know me most understand this obsession). Instead I found kumara chips. The guy from Beef Eaters looked at me strange when I asked him if the kumara chips were crispy or soggy. He hesitantly replied that it was soggy. After a decent attempt at the mound of chips, I decided I was coordinated enough to walk and eat at the same time. From the looks of the people walking towards us, I say I looked like I was enjoying it a little too much. The walking advertisement for late night cravings.

Last night was also the Tonga vs Samoa game of the Rugby World Cup. I had to laugh because it was like a sea of red and blue - mostly red because Tonga won I guess. Last time it was a sea of red and blue in Whakatane we made national news for the wrong reasons.

As we walked back to the car, we had to turn down various offers of a ‘good time’ from boys hanging out of car windows. My squats at the gym must be really paying off. Maybe it was my new gold pants that brought all the boys to the yard. Either that or they could smell the kumara chips. Probably the kumara chips aye.

It’s coming up to the last two months of the year, and tonight it finally dawned on me just how much of my life is about to change. Next month I’m going to say goodbye to what has been five years of my life - the dance studio. Though I know I have the choice to re-open it again, it won't be the same.

Those years I spent sharing, motivating, building trust, mentoring and pushing kids out of their comfort zones - now it’s time for me to do the same. To seek my teachers, to try new things, to have meltdowns and frustrating moments because it will prepare me for the next chapter in my life. To be free.

When one door closes, another opens. And if that door doesn’t exist, I trust myself to have the skills to build another.

# 33 I Wish You Enough...

A shell I found on my walk at Taiwhakaea Beach, a place where my soul laughs, cries and allow myself to walk side by side with the madness.

A shell I found on my walk at Taiwhakaea Beach, a place where my soul laughs, cries and allow myself to walk side by side with the madness.

It's easy to feel let down by life, that our perceived good deeds somehow gives us a pass on less sh*ttier experiences in the future. Did I just make up a superlative for a swear word? Indeed. Bad things happen to good people, deal with it.

Being alone doesn't really bother me, I can easily go places by myself and enjoy my own company. It's only in social situations that I find it a bit harder, but that's only because there's some perceived social stigma behind it. No pressure to make communal decisions, and I can be as adventurous with food as my stomach allows. Still some days, my company does get stale.

So what do I want to write about today? What exceptional combination of words from the English language could I summon to bring an inspirational message that can flip the switch for you? Perhaps the magic lies in simplicity - I wish you enough. For seeing that beauty is in everything and I am a part of that everything. I am my choices, and I choose to live.

When I was 12, I couldn’t picture what my life would look like in my thirties. Now that I’m here, I don’t how society can expect 17 year olds, in their final year of high school, to make significant life decisions based on such minimal life experience.

Let’s face it, in terms of technology, the world has evolved at a crazy pace. I’m part of a generation with computers that ran on the DOS system and used dot matrix printers (until our the cat peed on it). As a kid, it was still cool to listen to the Top 40 countdown on the radio, record my favourite shows on a VHS tape, and at one stage our TV only had two channels. Nowadays everything is on demand, and we have become more impatient.

So, what is my measure of success? It’s in the choices of people in my circle. It’s seeing my dog’s goofy, drooly smile in the back seat. Sitting at the beach, falling asleep and waking up to an incredible view. Seeing current and past dance students embracing life. Discovering new music. Running into a long lost friend. There’s lots more I’m sure, and still I’m yet to discover. Definitely not my bank balance, that needs A LOT work haha.

Western society has conditioned us to think this our existence is linear - you’re born, you live, you die. Now, I plan to see out the rest of my life like a tree. Still growing, reaching to the sun, with infinite possibilities and growth, seasons and changes. I’m unrecognisable from the seedling I once was, setting down roots, being content with my patch of dirt. History is linear, lives and memories are anything but, for each memory have tangents and branches of emotions. History is linear, memories are how we remember them.

I’ve been a graphic designer since I was 18 years old. Ok, I took about two years off when I travelled and that one year I worked in retail. Sometimes I do wonder how differently my life would have turned out if I ended up doing that Bachelor of Science - perhaps living out my days in lab coat couture? Would I have discovered my love of dance? Where would I have lived, who would I have met? It doesn't matter, I am here, in this life, and it is beautiful.

Yes, life is beautiful.

Today, and in all your days, I wish you enough.

I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun even more. I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive and everlasting. I wish you enough pain so that even the smallest of joys in life may appear bigger. I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting. I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess. I wish you enough hellos to get you through the final good-bye.
— Anonymous

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.