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…
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 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.