I would love to hear your story?  What are the experiences that shaped who you are today?

I grew up being the second daughter of a Presbyterian Minister and I always felt under scrutiny from church and community members and under pressure to conform, to always “be a good girl”.  I often rebelled although never too seriously. My father often made comparisons between my elder sister who is super intelligent and “self-sufficient” and myself, being particularly social and of “average” intelligence.  One of the comments that has stuck with me was “Never-mind, at least you are average”.  I have always felt that I was never good enough.

My first marriage was not a positive experience either. We were young and somewhat naive, I think.  My husband took over running my life, where my father left off.  There was a lot of mind games, infidelity, and emotional abuse.  We did, however, produce the most amazing daughter who has grown into a strong, intelligent woman of whom we are very proud.  Her father and I parted on reasonable terms and have maintained an amicable relationship.  I am proud of that.

At the age of 30, I moved from my hometown to Wellington to take up a position in a global accounting firm.  It was there that I met my second husband.

Together, we have a son on The Autism Spectrum (Asperger’s, ADD and Absence Seizures) and it has been a very hard road to travel.  He is now 24 and although mostly capable of self-care he is likely to live at home for most of his life.  Since the day he was born there has been a lack of sleep, tantrums, plan disruptions, sensory issues, medical issues, personal sacrifices and so many tears.  That goes for all three of us!

I have Depression that surfaces often.  The pandemic didn’t help much with that either.  I will give myself permission to be depressed for a day or two, but I do try hard not to let it last much longer than that.  My inner demons are slowly being trained, although I would suggest that they don’t like it much.

I am fighting to regain control of Type 2 diabetes as well.  After several years, I am now on a new medication that is helping with that.  My Nurse is an amazing woman, and I would like to think that we are friends after all this time.  She knows me so well.

At the time these photos were taken, I had just turned 57 and occasionally I am surprised at just how OK I am with that.  It’s a privilege to reach my age that some people do not get.

Tell about the time in your life when you felt the most powerful?

When I applied for the job in Wellington, travelled for the interview, accepted the position, and then moved to take that up.  All by myself. I finally felt grown up, appreciated and Good Enough.

What is your inner attribute that you like the most?

I care.  About my family, my friends, my pets.

Are you at ease with your own body and age?

My age – YES.  My body – NO.

Esther's story

What would you try to do if you felt that you couldn’t fail?

I have no idea.  Fear of failure is a biggie for me.  Homer Simpson once said something along the lines of “If you don’t try then you can’t possibly fail”

Research shows that a lot of women want to know that the work they do is significant, meaningful and embodies their highest potential. What do you think?

I would agree with that.  Personally, I glow when I am praised, complimented, and feel that I am appreciated whether it is paid or unpaid work.

What words of wisdom, based on your personal experience, would you like to share with others who struggle to see their own inner light and inner power?

I find this hard because I often find myself being an Agony Aunt for my friends and I am so aware that I talk the talk but don’t always walk the walk.

I guess I would say to be strong, have an opinion without being rude or hurtful, be true to yourself and your own morals.

What do you do to let your hair down or as a self-care ritual?

Esther's story

I have a great group of friends and we get together regularly to eat, drink, craft and generally hang out. We laugh a lot and I need to laugh.  It’s my best medicine.

Who are the women that you find inspiring and have influenced you in some way?

My oldest friend (we met at 13) is so inspiring!  She is kind, caring, loving and brave. Also, she takes crap from no-one.

My mother has always been there for support when I need it.  She doesn’t pry or interfere or even offer an opinion unless I ask for it.  I am pretty sure I get my creative genes from her for which I will always be grateful.

Why are beautiful photos of yourself important to you now?

I have been feeling somewhat lost or buried in the chaos of home life, work life and my friends’ various dramas.

I needed to feel special, worthy and also to be seen.  Seen as someone other than a mother, a wife, an administrator, an agony aunt, an organiser of others’ lives.