My Lyfestyle Through Lyrics
I’ve been taking a break from blogging to give my brain a bit of a break. Why? My creativity is the direct cause of my sleep deprivation. Don’t get me wrong, I love creativity, but I also love sleep.
I digress. Now onto the topic I really want to discuss.
A day or two ago a tweet came across
my timeline that made me pause… for
a long time. Ordinarily, I don’t let what people tweet get to me because twitter is just twitter. But this specific tweet was probably one of the most ignorant things I’ve seen seriously tweeted by a fellow Polynesian. I’m well aware of how our first amendment rights work in this country, but as a Polynesian I was taken aback by how narrow minded the tweet was. I know, I know. You’re on the edge of your seat screaming “LIA! POST THE TWEET ALREADY!”.
No big deal, right? I guess. But I
did what my family and friends normally do; have a discussion about it to hash out what it is that was said and why we felt the way we did when we read it. And boy did my family think I was on crack when I just texted the tweet verbatim (lol). I wanted to see how they’d react, and a reaction is what I got.
When I first read the tweet I was initially angry (still am a bit). I, along with quite a few of my other followers on my other social accounts, was offended (on many levels) by such ignorance. It’s almost as if the tweeter was saying “because I’ve been to our homeland I’m better than you” or “I was born there. You ain’t shit ’til you visit!”. The tweeter didn’t say those words, but he/she may as well have! I didn’t get it, I still don’t get it, and I’m not going to bother replying to the tweet to ask the person to clarify what he/she meant. All I know is, my parents have helped THOUSANDS of polynesian families migrate here, get situated with citizenship, get an education, find work, joining the armed forces, purchasing a home and even helping families with issues in the legal system. And while my parents were helping the adults, I was helping their kids with getting situated in school, becoming acclimated with the the social scene and encouraging them to be more involved with athletics.
Maybe I’m taking the tweet too personally. It wasn’t even directed at me, but it was as if I had tasted something for the first time and it left a horrific aftertaste in my mouth that failed to go away after a few cups of water to wash the taste out.
In my lifetime, I’ve had four opportunities to go to Tonga, but each time I had a scheduling conflict and could not make it (national competition, college visits, left for college and pregnant with my son). I am bummed out to this day that I haven’t been yet, but my parents have done a lot to maintain the family’s land that we have there.
A trip to the homeland isn’t cheap either! It costs more than my mortgage for the round trip ticket alone. When my parents went a couple years ago, they were only supposed to go for two weeks. They ended up getting stuck there for two months because, at the time, Tonga only had flights leaving and arriving where they needed to go on Tuesday’s ONLY (lol). I say all this not to make excuses but because I know others like me yearn to visit our ancestral grounds. But we all have our own reasons for not having gone yet. We shouldn’t be judged accordingly though. What’s important is knowing where we are from, knowing our heritage, passing on our traditions to the next generation and praying one day we touch the soil of our motherland.
I wonder how the tweeter feels about polynesians who wear the traditional tattoos of our cultures (family history, village history, island shield, namesakes, etc.), but have never been to their ancestral grounds? I think we all know what he/she would think.
In the meantime, I feel like people should be more mindful of what they say and about who because (as I’ve said before) the energy you put out, is the energy you receive. As heated as I was about the tweet, I am glad it sparked a great discussion. People are
entitled to their own opinion, but know that these privileges, rights and freedoms protected by the law of this land have come with a heavy price. Maybe not on the backs of our Polynesian ancestors, but on the backs of my SON’s ancestors (aside from him being partially Tongan, he’s also Native American and African-American). I may not have been to my homeland of Tonga, but some day I will and I’ll take my son with me. I’ve educated him on the history of all his heritages and cultural backgrounds. For now, that’s all I can do until I actually have the funds to spend on a trip to Tonga.
Why haven’t you gone to visit home? Are you more Samoan/Tongan/Hawaiian/Fijian if you were born or raised on the homeland? What are your thoughts about the tweet?
Until next post,