Obviously I’m a writer, I’m also the mother of two sons (Joe 21 & Matt 29 -whom I raised alone as a solo parent) and grandmother to Hannah, Rachel & Michael.
I spent many years (before I married) as a nursery nurse/nanny in England. I don’t know what Americans call this profession but you have to be trained in physical child care, education and child psychology. In this field I worked with children up to six years old.
I have also worked as a counselor though I have no formal training – but do not pretend to be an expert on anything!
I am an artist and have used this to help children of all ages through trauma and emotional upheaval, spending some years teaching older children (8-17) many of whom were ‘at risk’ for one reason or another. The schools were in poor areas.
In 1998 I started a network/support group called ‘New Zealand-Wide & Wonderful!’
This is nationwide, supportive social groups for bigger people which as well as providing a safe haven for fat persons to meet and enjoy life and activities without being faced by bigotry, offered a series of practical self-help exercises, psychological projects, etc. to show people how to get in touch with their *real* self, not the down-trodden, unhappy self they often felt.
I have run self-esteem workshops, specifically for bigger adult people and the incredible success of these (and my discovery of self-acceptance/fat acceptance as a philosophy) prompted me to start researching my first book, ‘Largely Happy.’ This is about to be published in NZ and Australia in May and in the USA later in the year…..it’s publication in the UK and Europe is scheduled for 2001.
I am now working on a similar book to help parents with larger children because my work with big kids has taught me that those with good confidence and self-assurance are the ones who are happy and succeed – whatever physical handicap they may have.
Although I am originally from England, I’m now a New Zealand citizen and very proud of my dual nationality. This is an incredibly beautiful country and has great potential–if she doesn’t follow other countries’ mistakes!
Aotearoa-New Zealand has an indigenous culture: Maori, which has a philosophy of communal care and helping, equality and aroha (love).
I chose to live within this community for 12 years and I speak Maori, though not very well. This would probably be the equivalent in the American social structure to living on a reservation and learning about Native peoples.
It has given me a unique insight into another way of helping people which has been incredibly valuable.