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Home Sweet Home


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.

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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!”.

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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,

XoXoX

Lia

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8 comments on “Home Sweet Home

  1. Kashif Ross
    December 29, 2011

    Some of the things that anger us can suck. The worst blog title I ever read was “Kwanzaa isn’t a real holiday.” The post followed by saying, “I hate it when they do that,” meaning she hates when Blacks create holidays to separate themselves from white people “though they want to be accepted so badly.”

    Ignorance is bliss. Even worse, ignorance is widespread. You are who you are and the pride you show leaks through the fangs you’re sinking into the person that tweeted this message. I’m glad you’re proud of who you are and you represented your people in the best way.

    You handled the situation much better than me. I address the people directly and start public debates. I even wrote a full message to the ignorant Kwanzaa hater which was never approved on her site, how ironic. No one wants to debate with someone who is actually educated.

    Keep going. You rock.

    Like

    • LyfesLyfe
      December 29, 2011

      Kashif,

      “no one wants to debate with someone who’s actually educated”

      I love your comment, but I especially love that last line. I usually would address the person head on, but I wasn’t in the mood to spark a debate like this on twitter because I enjoy debating. I just don’t enjoy debating with people who can’t debate on the topic but instead revert to personally attacking people while using profanity. Don’t get me wrong, I have a mouth of a sailor, but I know when and when not to use such vernacular. I wish everyone else was like that. No such luck.

      And I’m trying to wrap my head around your Kwanzaa story. WOW! Assimilating to this American culture doesn’t mean one should forget their own culture. That blogger needs a history lesson. What’s her blog address? (LOL)

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

      Lia

      Like

  2. Teinetoa4lyphe
    December 29, 2011

    LIA – you freakin ROCK!!!!! What are your thoughts about the tweet? My response to that tweet was also one of anger and sadness that someone so ignorant would dare to post that. Its uncalled for and not right at all. That’s my opinion just as that person had that misguided opinion. As one who was born and raised in both Samoas I am proud of that fact. However I am also proud of any person of any heritage who claims it. Why not? I mean hello? we are who we are based on our culture not where we are born necessarily. Why is it okay for the Italians born in the US to claim Italian and not okay for a Polynesian to claim their right to their island heritage? I don’t get that. I don’t understand where that person’s thought process was but I would say to them – go back and re think before you tweet. Words HAVE POWER! we need to be more aware of that and be careful. I think you handled it well Lia and more people should be grateful who have been helped by you or your parents because of the kind of people you are with open arms and big hearts. 🙂

    I want to respond to your question — Why haven’t you gone to visit home? I have been away from home for a total of 20 years give or take. For school and when my dad and I argued back in ’99 and he basically said get out so I did. I will never regret that decision to leave because I learned so much from it. My dad taught me a valuable lesson as well – to learn to be more independent and to prove to him that I could make it on my own using what he and my mom had taught me as a kid growing up.

    Are you more Samoan/Tongan/Hawaiian/Fijian if you were born or raised on the homeland? I don’t think this question is even a relevant one. who cares where you were born really. Be proud of your heritage. thats it plain and simple! 🙂

    xoxo
    cyn.

    Like

    • LyfesLyfe
      December 29, 2011

      Thanks sis! I posted the tweet anonymously because I don’t want people replying to him/her. I just wanted people to think and to spark some discussion. I took the tweet probably too personally, but that’s just me. I always put myself in other peoples shoes before I say or do something. I’m naive to think others
      do the same. Thanks for always reading and responding.

      Love,
      Lia

      Like

  3. Hulita
    December 30, 2011

    I remember this tweet and was thinking about retweeting it and adding “unadulterated ignorance”…I read it to my family and my nephew piped up with..”Hey that’s our family”(I’m not as well acquainted with my family as my siblings and their kids)..Go Figure!! Following his/her tweets, they are of the same energy and thoughtless provoking towards others.
    Reading your blog I feel your love and passion for our Polynesian people. Having been taught by example through your parents actions. Unfortunately, that’s not the case with everyone.
    Keep up your writing and instagrams!! You inspire me!

    Hulita

    Like

    • LyfesLyfe
      December 30, 2011

      Hulita,

      I’m still quite puzzled by the person’s tweet and other unadulterated tweets as well. Some people don’t think before they speak/tweet and it only makes them look horrific.

      I can only do me and do as my parents taught me. I may bleed the same blood and am Tongan too, but I’m definitely cut from a different cloth when it comes to my parents philosophy on child rearing. It’s still fundamentally the same as everyone else, but the underlying characteristics that come along with that are: love, compassion, humility, respect, truth and GOD.

      Hope the tweeter learns some life lessons… SOONER rather than later.

      Thanks again for reading and commenting.

      Love,
      Lia

      Like

  4. Ni801
    January 2, 2012

    One word “KOTA”

    Like

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