Section: B) – Syllabus 1 - Getting to know your silent educator

Zoe Dunbar posted 9 months ago, 1 Responses
1. Identify and list features that influence(d) you
a.Divorce - Parents divorced when I was 4. My mother was always negative about my father and would throw tantrums if I wanted to see him. I also lied about my home life at school as having parents divorced was shameful.
b.Mother - As a child I wasn’t allowed to speak and especially not have a view contrary to hers. She was manipulative and difficult to live with and the only emotions that seemed to matter were hers. I was useless, and untalented unable to do anything good. She never visited any of my homes in my adult life even when invited over a period of 35 years until she passed away.
c.Sisters - two older sisters who would pick on me and gang up on me. They still do if I don’t agree with them. They yell whereas I am quietly spoken most of the time.
d.Exchange student - went to the US for 12 months as an exchange student. It was difficult for a shy 15 year old but I was forever changed by the experience.
e.Left home - I left home and moved in with my father. I was experiencing mental health issues and when I tried to tell her she hit me. So I left. Friends tried to mediate but it was decided I was best off with my father. I was 16.
f.20 years old - overdose, admission to a therapeutic community for 3 months. This gave me essential skills that I still use today. It was the first time I had really encountered kind and understanding adults that didn’t judge. It was where I first explored being queer.
g.23 - came out as queer and realised the beauty of a diverse community, and the hatred of people in general for something they didn’t understand.
Last 9 years in Philippines:
h.Almost died from malnutrition - was at a bogus wellness resort for 3 months and became very sick. Met my partner Bella there who helped me and we were together for 7 years.
i.Homophobic hatred - From Bella\'s children for 7 years, general community.
j.Arrested - bogus claim by the owner of the wellness resort as retribution for making a formal complaint to authorities.
k.Bought a farm - Bella had a life threatening accident, faked her kidnapping (her children pushed for it because they wanted the property and me gone), I forgave Bella because I didn’t want to hate.
l.Illness - Bella became ill and deteriorated over 12 months and I nursed her at home and in hospital by myself. She was finally admitted to hospital in November 2017 weak, unable to walk and finally was diagnosed with AIDS. I nursed her there 24/7 with very little help from anyone, in a shipping container containing a bed. She passed away with only me there about 5 weeks later.
m.I was warned to stay away from Bella\'s funeral, friends were concerned I was in physical danger from her children. They told everyone at her wake that I had kidnapped her and was responsible for her death.
n.I stayed on at the farm for 5 months but I had to leave and euthanise my pets as I couldn’t stay.
o.Now I am recovering, the farm has become an international permaculture school, I feel a bit at a loss because I don’t fit in Australia being away for so long.

2. Add connections and interactions if there are any

There are many more things and I think they are all connected. I have chosen a path that runs contrary to popular opinion and had to face a number of things as a result. This enables me to challenge what I was told as a kid and to grow. Everyday I question the inequity of the society we live in and am more and more committed to be a part of enabling a better world for everyone - not through violence or conflict but through love, nurturing and community.

3. Explain the impact of the features on your personality.

A strong person who has endured numerous personal challenges and, as a result has grown personally. But it doesn’t stop there I am committed to continuous improvement of self until the day I die.
I don’t like conflict, however instead of shying away from it like I used to, I now understand that by facing the fear and by attempting to resolve conflict in my personal life , my life is better. By finding the right questions to ask, being non-confrontational and stopping and listening the misunderstandings can be sorted out and life can move forward more smoothly.
It is also important to challenge matters of racism, misogyny and other forms of abuse when I see it and not be silently complicit by not speaking out. I am often scared that I will be shouted down by people that seek to bully as a way of ‘winning their point’ but every time I stand strong it becomes easier.
Because of significant recent trauma, I am learning to be kinder to myself and stand up for the things that I need personally. I used to accept whatever was given, but now I realise that I am worth more than that and need to actively define what I need – to others as well as myself, to be able to fulfil them.

Dear Zoe, it is hard for me to find words for what you shared with me. Obviously, you went through many hard times in your life, actually a chain of very challenging circumstances. I am glad that you can talk about it and properly reflect on it. I believe that you see that each of these situations still guards a possibility for a person to grow. As you stated in your last section, these problems and conflicts in life made you develop an even stronger personality. Being equipped with such a strong character, also means that you have many stories to tell. Stories that could be lessons for other people who go through similar situations. Please give your experiences the proper value and consider to share your treasure with other people by possibly writing a book on it. BR, Daniel