Saturday, 23 September 2017

my country, my prime minister


This is the election I've voted for and the results aren't good.

And this is the first time that I've felt like this was ~my~ country.

I've been a permanent resident since 2003 and have been a citizen since 2014. And I've always felt like I'm just a visitor here, a guest. That I'm lucky to have been allowed not just to come here, but to stay. To work and go to school here. To make friends and kiss some people. I've felt, grateful, and wanted to live in a way that didn't jeopardise that. I followed the rules and lost my "fobby" accent. I learned how to move between my white and brown social circles. I still haven't quite learnt how to be, when those circles are in the same room but, like everything else about living, I'll figure it out as I go.

And now I figure out my new feelings about this country. My country... those two words taste funny in my mouth. Le masagi. But I gotta keep chewing, get accustomed to this feeling.

I've never felt like I belonged here, until now.

I've never felt responsible for this country, until now.

I'm still sceptical of patriotism, nationalism, and the state.

But this is the place I live, and I need to look around more. I've wanted to keep my head down because I'm just trying to get by (the few times I've published stuff that people read, I freaked out).

But I need to lift my head now, and accept that this my place, because I'm here, and what I do affects this place (even if incrementally).

There is work to be done.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Old diary entry

Saturday 05 September 2009, 10:07pm

I had a dream last night. The bell had rung and I was walking through B-Block, heading towards ACM-Photoshop. I bumped into [my crush at the time]. We looked at each other for a while. I looked sad and he asked me if I was alright. I asked him why wouldn't I be alright. Then he said because he went out with [some random chick]. I said as I shrugged that I accepted it and there was nothing I could do to change it. I must have not [sounded] convincing because he reassured he loved me — as a friend. Then he kissed them away — leaving behind out friendship — nothing more, nothing less. I am so grateful for that dream. It is to my despair that [crush] does not know of my dream — nor will he. It was a good dream — a good ending. My feelings for him started in my head — reading between then lines of what he does with/to me, absent mindedly making me want me. There it ended — in my head, in my dreams.


Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Another post about getting defensive... sorta

So I was talking to this old friend, who is of an acquaintance now, but it's still cool hanging out with him.  Every time he expressed his opinion, he always stated so absolutely. This is what he believed, here is why it checks out, and that's that.

I notice how... uncertain I sound when I talk to him. When he challenges something I say, something he disagrees with, or he asks me to justify myself, I'm thrown a bit off guard.

I struggle to find the words to express to him the meanings I understand; meanings I've had time to stew over and wrap my head around. Meanings I know are so divergent from his, meanings that are predicated on fundamentally values.

So I'm trying to think how I can connect what I believe in a way that would make sense based on his frameworks of understanding (given our previous interactions and what I know about him). And this trips me up a bit because it requires me to phrase things I'm used to saying, in a different way.

This takes a while, and in the meantime, he thinks I don't hold my convictions as closely as he does his, or I don't understand my worldview or small opinion properly, or I don't actually have a good enough reason to believe what I believe in.

Which then makes me realise, he's not actually all that concerned in why I believe what I believe in — he wants me to see why his belief is more valid and why I should jump ship, or something.

It was frustrating... but then kinda liberating. I saw that I didn't have to put in energy in communicating my point of view clearly to him. I didn't need to provide context, the places and people I've encountered that have fed into what I thought, how I changed my thinking, and areas where I'm still asking questions or understand I need more experience in.

I didn't have to do any of that.

Cos he actually didn't give a shit.

I'm uninterested in debating as an activity. I don't find thrill in ripping into someones argument and display why mine is more valid. I get that even as an academic exercise, some people enjoy that. And they also enjoy carrying that exchange into every day conversation.

But like nah, not for me.

Or maybe that's not what he was doing. Maybe if I cared enough next time I talk to him, I'll ask...

Monday, 3 July 2017

Heart ache

Missing you comes in waves, and usually when I'm not bracing myself.

I was thinking about what I should do after university and I wanted to come to you for counsel. I was thinking about whether I'm on the right track with my current job, and I wanted your feedback, your criticisms, your encouragement, so much. I was thinking about the burden of bearing witness to Pasifika art because if we don't, others might not. I was thinking that there's not enough of us who are afforded the chance to bear witness, to participate. I was thinking that I'm a bad Pasifika person for thinking of it as a burden at times, rather than always thinking of it as a privilege.

I sometimes put unrealistic goals on myself because I feel like that's what's required of me. I oversell and under-deliver and then feel like a failure. And there's no one I'd rather talk to about this than you.

You seemed to be everyone's hero. But  you were just one person, how did you hold onto your humanity, your sanity??? Did you?

I cry so hard when I miss you. It hurts my head... it hurts my heart.

Is it completely selfish that I want you here for my needs? Probably. Guilt always complicates the grief. Or is grief always complicated?

It feels like these tears will never not come. But maybe one day it wont hurt so much to remember you. I hear these things take time.

But life goes on and we must adapt and adjust, or we're doomed.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Trying not to get defensive...

I met a guy in the club and we exchanged numbers and it was cool and cute and one time over the phone, he comments that I talk like a white person. I don't just sound like them in the way I enunciate, but the phrases I use... they're kinda alien to him (not his phrase, me just paraphrasing) and they way he chose to describe them is... white. Now, my initial internal reaction is indignation — MUTHAFUCKA CALLS MY WAY OF TALKING WHITE JUST COS I USE THE WORD "MASTURBATE" INSTEAD OF "JACKING OFF"??? (and uhh... yeah... that may have been where the conversation was going). It's not the he kept saying it over and over in a surprised ton — it's that he laughed at me. Anger turned to embarrassment turned to frustration and soon, I didn't wanna be flirtatious with this guy who I don't even remember what he looks like.

Then I thought, well... I can kinda maybe see where he's coming from. If his exposure to brown people talking always sounded a certain way and white people always sounding like another, then I might fit into his category of white people speak. I speak this way probably because I read lots growing up, probably because it's been ingrained in me to love clear enunciation and think the posh English accent is pre cool, probably because when Samoan was colonised and the English language was introduced to our shores, the English language was a mark of intelligence and higher social and economic class and those were usually white ppl or afakasi... usually. Probably that classist view of a fobby accent vs. non is still so strong. 

I don't know man.

I really bothered me and it still does and there have been SO many think pieces on this kinda topic.

But I don't wanna just get defensive or point out how his point of view can be seen as racist or something. 

Eh ka'ilo ia se. 

Monday, 29 May 2017

Always Becoming

I haven't been feeling myself  lately.

I've stopped doing the things that used to bring me deep satisfaction (mainly writing).

I hardly see my friends who always inject life in me.

I don't spend enough time with my family, online or irl.

I laugh less, and I stress more.

I've grown more and more dgaf about what people think, but to an extent that I'm not sure is... good...

I don't know. I feel off. Different. Older and more tired.

It doesn't feel like me.

Except, it is me. There are times when I become something I don't like, but it's always me, only me. I'm always becoming me; constantly changing in some ways, stubbornly fixed in others.

But I haven't lost me. I've been here all along...

So I just need to make alterations here and there, and tailor myself into a me I'd much rather be...

Just. Ha. Like it's that easy...

Monday, 24 April 2017

On Love

Love is exhausting. It requires generosity and patience at times when it's the last thing you want to give. It's draining trying to empathise when you just wanna slap someone. It's frustrating when it someone seems to put themselves in situations that will hurt them when you keep telling them time and time again they shouldn't.

It's hard work, and that may be why we only give it, in its greater capacities, to only a few. Romantic partners, parents, children, siblings, close friends... and not necessarily in that order.

But we mustn't forget to leave ourselves off that list.

I mustn't.

I get frustrated with myself a lot. For not living up to my expectations, or that of my parents. I get annoyed when I don't write well, or look good, or have a boyfriend. I can point out a thousand things I do wrong and wonder how anyone could ever care for me. 

It's exhausting caring for myself. Being kind to myself when I fuck up. Being honest with myself and identifying things that need improving. Reminding myself that my romantic relationship status doesn't equate to my worth, and forgiving myself for still needing that reminder despite being told time and time again.

I'm lucky that even when I forget to love myself, to be patient with my shortcomings, or remind myself that even though I feel ugly, I'm still so capable of living a full life, I have people to remind me.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Coming Home

Mum wakes us up to say she's leaving for work. Plants kisses on our cheeks, my sister and I. I smile weakly, roll over and fall back asleep. It's warm in the room. My sister's bedroom had ginormous windows and the sun is pouring in.

There are so many dishes. Never ending dishes. But mum and dad have an actual dishwasher now. So fancy. But still, so many dishes.

My sister made cookies. I forget she's not eight years old. She's growing and I'm not here to be a part of it. Well, I'm glad I'm here now.

There's a television with Sky and Netflix.

There's also laughter. So much laughter. Laughter on laughter. No one makes me laugh the way my siblings do.

The rice is boiling and we'll probs have falai pisupo for dinner.

It feels so soothing to be home.

Saturday, 11 March 2017

I've failed, but am not a failure...

Today I feel like a failure. I've committed to too many things, thus each thing is not given as much attention as I deserved. And one of those things is suffering, and I've let someone important down.

I've fucked up and I feel like shit.

This is failure.

It's not an all encompassing failure and it's one I know I'll recover from. In the Grand-Scheme-Of-Things this failure at this point in time isn't a pivotal moment in my life that'll send me into a downward spiral.

I hope.

But still, this failure isn't... good. It's failure because there was a thing/things I should've done... and didn't. 

"Empowering" youtube videos tell me that we should look at failure as opportunities for growth, to see it as a good thing, nothing to be afraid or ashamed of.

Which I can see. Failure shouldn't be something to be afraid of. Being wrong must be something we can face up to. It's uncomfortable but it's something we just have to sit with, when it arrives.

I'm trying self-compassion. I'm telling myself that I've fucked up, this is why, and here's how to be better next time. But also that's there next time, it's not the end of the world, and here's how to move on.

I'm sad and stressed and tired today.

Saturday, 11 February 2017

The Weird Pressure To Be Inspirational

I find it so uncomfortable when people tell me they're inspired by me, or my writing, or my achievements. It's already weird hearing it from people my age and younger but exponentially weirder when it's from people older than me, with experiences and wisdom than I do.

This doesn't happen daily (ew gerrara hea with your L-list status, L for le kaulia).

But in the last few months or so, it seems that because I've inspired people... I have to keep up with it...?

I don't want to let people down; people who've seen... idk, hope? In me.

I feel like I have to keep remembering all the unheard voices who I suppose I speak on behalf of when I'm the only Samoan in the room, or Samoan woman, or young Samoan woman.

I'm scared that I'll do something that people will consider useless and unimportant and not representative of us all (who is "us"? "LOL").

One of the scariest things about writing at the moment, is feeling the need to write everyone's voice, include everyone's perspective. That writing in my own selfish voice, about myself and my own opinions, is just feeding into a world of people yelling on top of each other and not listening to other people's opinions.

I don't mean to yell at all.

I just want to write.

I want to listen to people who agree and disagree with me, and those who are undecided.

But ultimately, the only voice I can ever be sure of representing correctly is my own.

If sooner or later, I become irrelevant or uninspirational, will I continue to write?

I hope so.

Because writing for others was never my primary cause. I always wrote to think through my own confusion. To find my courage to voice things I was ashamed of: about myself and the world I live in. Writing was a very inward thing. But it did (it does?) resonate with people. So does this version of selfishness actually help others?

I'm still trying to find my balance of writing for myself and writing for others... and I want to use this blog more often as part of that figuring out journey.

Two blogs in one day? Yeah. I feel an adrenaline rn. Not even gonna edit #yolo