IWD, International Woman's Day is tomorrow, and so is the deadline for my assignment, I therefore found the time miraculously to blog about this issue because, neither the day or the assignment is exciting me too much right now.
So, Samoan woman. Where are you?
In my mind, there are two very distinct paths that define a samoan woman in the samoan context,
You can be a tama'itai, honoured, has esteemed purpose, celebrated.
or a fafige or keige: simply a woman.
A tamaita'i has status and is respected, a fafige has to cook the food until her eyes are red from blowing into the fire.
Fai aku ai foi.
Ese le kou leaga I gai fafige hah
This is my dedication to all the women today,
Each one going through your own
and your WTF days,
Here's to ya ...
Keep on Going
Keep on weaving that magic, that history that passion that love, keep on going
Keep on painting that siapo onto lau u'a that you alone had planted, nurtured, pounded, stretched, dried and meticulously decorated. Keep on Going.
Keep on embracing your loved ones whenever you have the chance, keep on loving because you never know when they leave this world
Keep on being a mother, but also a father to your children, keep on leading and excelling, in your chosen field.
Keep on focussing on the possibilities and not on the barriers
Keep on living, sharing, loving, and when they're old enough, they'll know that you have given them your all, Keep on loving
Keep on loving other people's children like their own
Keep on seeing the best in people and being there for others in need,
Keep on sharing your knowledge, empowering young people, wowing the children, reciting our histories, advocating for the vulnerable and being the incredible Queen that you are,
The woman who brought me into this world and continues to inspire me everyday. Mom, you are my original and forever #shero! Thank you for living your truth and for being the epitome of a strong passionate authentic loving mindful woman. I love you!
and from my end, I shall keep on procrastinating, now that it's almost midnight and my assignment is due soon, Keep on Going even when I keep digressing.
In the weekend, I decided to clean up my old files from my era of studying.
I read through some of the projects and I did some real self-reflection and realised how naïve I was as a student.
And hey,...still am. haha
I came across a project we did as a group project - where we had to take on an advocacy role in the Emissions Trading Scheme process.
We (4 of us) chose to be Greenpeace - but we decided to go a step further and actually meet with Greenpeace, infiltrate them (lol) and truly get in their brains to that we could position ourselves are advocates for Greenpeace on the issue.
Then I read through my emails I had sent to people and OMG I had no shame hahaha!
In any case, my naivety meant that actual Greenpeace people took time out to help me and then my team, explain the process, their stance, their past work, and ways to traction/change in actual campaigns. omg, it was amazing.
Anyhooo, when it came to the negotiation rounds, our group were relentless and super aggressive with the dairy industry - aka the fukkers who have hijacked the process (lol).
The funny part in this whole process was that - while it was a uni project, we had to conduct ourselves as if it was the actual negotiations. We, being the anti-angry panties in the process were definitely the odd ones in the room, and the group represent Government were actually irritated with our position (now isn't that a representation of reality? haha).
Anyhow, the negotiations went right into the evening and during one of the breaks, I went into the toilet and one of the dairy people came into the toilet asking if we could do a deal; ie, they'll make some compromises and consider regulation, but only after 2020 but still excluding the methane-farting cows from all this. in other words, it's hardly a compromise.
I stood there in that university toilet and asked her:
"Can I pee first before we continue this argument? and tell your farmers to go f%^& themselves".
She burst into tears and dashed out.
Yes, this was a uni project that was turning into real life fall outs and tension.
Then my team came into the toilet and told me off for being a bully - while I was still peeing.
I gathered my thoughts, walked out of the bathroom - and asked them:
"Can't you wait until I've washed my hands?"
I washed my hands and I told my poor group (of 4) off....basically, you're a bunch of %&*^^ for bending over backwards to the fukkers and to Government. Then, they, my own negotiating team stopped me and said, I needed to get over myself and meet the fukkers halfway, they're tired and they want to go home.
I folded under the pressure - and because my team were cowards - I can't stand cowards - I thought.
For the rest of the term, I didn't have many friends in that room.
I still got an A but it was a lonely A. choohooo.
Now, many years on, I'm wistfully re-read the tense exchange of emails and threats and side - deals that went on, and its made me realise,
I've lost that un-cultivated angry pantiness and the le kea dontfuggtome part of me.
And it absolutely frightens me.
It frightens me that I have become someone that complies, follow the rules, and choose silence instead of speaking up and advocating for others in need.
In a way, I've gained knowledge and some experience but have lost that passionate conviction that knows no boundaries.
I've become - Institutionalised.
Fuck that shit, I'm going to correct that right now.