People see me and think SHE. She is different. She, talks “white”… sounds nerdy and smells weird, and is sometimes odd and particular with what she says. She, is “tainted”… kissed and smothered by the sun’s rays, scorched lands of the Sahara desert would seem fitting for her origin. She, is lacking - in athletic talents that have been strongly exemplified through all 3 of her brothers, the apple does not fall too far from the tree, yet She was thrown to the waste side. She is of an unknown aesthetic make up, uncommonly identified by naive minds who are without knowledge of her kind. Are you mixed, with black? They commonly ask. She thanks them for the compliment, but no, she is not Black, Puerto Rican, Indian, Mexican, Pnay or any of the above. She is Samoan - or is she not?
She is cut and bleeds red and white stripes, navy blue and white stars - and only the tail feathers of a bald eagle. Though she has the blood of her ancestors that reigned the Navigation Islands she is bred AMERICAN SAMOAN and is plagued with the disease of being, plastic - and because of this, she fights. She did not choose to be conceived in the mainland, yet she is grateful for parents that sought the American Dream . This double edged sword of raising children in the mainland results in a child with better opportunity, yet lacking so much in enrichment in their true culture. She doesn’t fully understand the fa’alavelave. Perplexed in the mind, she questions the exchange of monetary gifts she helped present. She cannot sulu an i’e. Fe’aus await her hands for service yet they are too busy trying to keep her lavalava from falling. She cannot read the Tusi Paia without a snicker or snare and I'm not talking candy and drums. Trembling lips fail to pronounce the long "A" on tam'a - she turned Father into a boy - and she is pierced with the glare of an elder woman that questions, "You don't know Samoan?". The language of her ancestors. She hangs her head low and she replies with a faint "no".
She vs HER.
She wishes she were Her, the Teine Samoa who was raised with the birthright of her sisters bred from the fresh soils of an island paradise. Her who is able to carry the si'i and bow at the right time and angle to present a love offering to God's chosen messenger. Her who can grace the stage with an awe-struck presence of purity and beauty to represent her aiga with the headpiece of a princess and the title, Taupou. Her who can communicate with without tugging on her mother's i'e for a translation. She struggles to be her.
I am She, and She is me, but I so long to be Her.
I've wished on every star in the sky to be pleasantly presented in the eyes of my people, yet my lack of confidence and eagerness to portray only finds me disappointed and flustered with the outcome. I'm not without knowledge of my kind, I'm just born into the new age generation of being American Samoan. I am not as strong physically as the teines and tamas that labor in the simplicity of life of the cultivated fields in Samoa. Yet I am strong mentally like those that refused to labor at the commands of the Germans during the colonization of Samoa. I am not talented with the athleticism to carry a winning team to the 'ship of a volleyball match or a football game. Yet, I have sophisticated my talent to write that can carry minds far beyond the courts of our Maker. I realize that, as She fights to be her, I bruise the essence of one… and that is Me.