I am going to share something really personal with you today. Something that has been a red thread through all the things I have done and that I haven’t talked about in public before.
For those of you who don’t know me, I am Hanna, founder of Mamatoto.
When I was growing up there were things that were regular and things that weren’t. I will tell you one of the not so regular things today. When I was in the first years of primary school I didn’t have a lot of friends. I had the kids on my street that I played with, but at school I was bullied, and in the little village I lived in there wasn’t the knowledge or know how of how to deal with bullies, so how they dealt with it was that they didn’t. At age nine I changed schools, I had to ride with my dad to the city and go to a school there, and things got a lot better.
But I didn’t quite know how to connect. Being in a school that didn’t accept the kind of bullying I had gotten used to was amazing, but I was pretty hurt, and I didn’t know how to get close to people, or let them close to me. And it was going to be years until I did.
Fast forward though many moves, relationships and transitions to when I was getting my MFA at San Francisco Art Institute and I was writing my thesis paper and my artist statement.
I was trying to get to the core of what my work was about, what really mattered to me, what my journey was about.
And that’s when I realized what it was all about for me. Relationships and connection.
How things relate and how things connect.
From micro to macro.
And I started to understand and appreciate the importance of friendship, of community, of belonging.
And I saw that my entire life, that is what I have been searching for, and as soon as that part of the puzzle fell into place, I could consciously incorporate it into my life and into my work.
I met a midwife many years ago, Yeshi, who told me that in communities where mothers aren’t as isolated as we tend to be in modern more urban spaces you see much less postpartum depression. I don’t know the numbers on this but I believe it.
We are social creatures, and if we don’t know how to connect we can’t teach our kids how to, and if we don’t have the relationships we need in our lives it impacts our health and wellbeing, and of course, our happiness.
And in turn, that affects our kids. See how it ripples?
So my life is a quest for connection, and I would love to connect with you.
I have this amazing community and I would love for you to be part of it. Will I see you there?