It is time, you folks…
Kokua me, yeah?
I needed to take a break from the teachings of the Universal Laws for a moment. While I will not divulge to anyone what my day was like – it was not great, not bad, but there was a lot of heavy, negative emotions that I went through, and yes, all of it regarding the collective heartache that is the soul of the majority of people who are my age, who were raised as though your backyard was Turtle Bay or some other awesome Hawaiian town, even if it wasn’t, I am calling on you all, right this moment. I noticed something about my thoughts today, and it was all about my kids, and a lot of stuff came to the surface for me today. Yesterday, I was talking with Danni about someone we both know whose issues are all tied to the people who we each grew up with. You see, and this is not saying that my parents were awful…there is a difference between awful and what was my …”vanilla plain” life, unless I imagined it in my own head all that time and just dearly adjusted.
Maybe I am way off, and I know that there are a lot of you right now hating on me, acting like I was talkin’ stink about your Mom Guys, but I am not. What I am about to say is the truth, and it is the truth that not too many of us can deny. Our childhoods, while they were fun because it is fun being a Hawaiian kid and growing up with all your uku-billion cousins – all dat small keed time stuffs…yeaaaaah, brah…dassit…you know it!! Come with me, let’s go, you folks, all the way back to our childhoods, with the old Hawaiian ways and the old Hawaiian Rules, that, while I will always have respect for rules, I cannot respect the idea that who we are, for many years, has been based, not on a mutually earned respect between the children who we were, and the adults who used to be our parents. Now, I am not – NOT saying that they did a bad job, because the other side of what I am going to write about next is awesome.
But I will leave that “awesome” til later on in this writing. Right now, I do not want you to think that I am chewing anyone out. I am reminding us all that we do not have to use intimidation, you know…”dirty kine leekenz…” the kine leekenz you get wit’ one komoboko slippah…red…size 12… I didn’t realize when I was a little girl that it was the energy of respect “earned” from scaring the daylights out of us was what I always felt. As a child, I always felt the feelings that other people had for me. I always knew who I could trust and who I could not, but because of the blood relation, I was forced to trust people who I knew better than to.I have prevented it with my children, and people KNOW to NOT GO THERE, because I do not and WILL NOT hit my kids. They are good kids. They deserve my Respect and I deserve Theirs. It is a mutually agreeable energy and Love between my children and I.
I know that they know that I am never going to turn my back on them, that I am never going to try to make it seem as though what I have to go through is because of them, because it isn’t. I have raised my three, thus far, to be the best them that they can be, no matter what.
I was, like many of us Hawaiian raised children, while we are who we are, and proudly so, and they taught us that pride, I will say that I notice that a whole lot of my island friends, and especially my cousins and I, we chose to do it different this time. When it came to be our turn to raise the children, to live up to our collective Kuleana, we did not fail the ‘Aumakua. Our Ancestors, the Elders, The Wise Ones, the Gods, The Guides…my beloved Nana…(I Love You!)…we listened to them. We took from that collective harshness that was good leekenz, and we turned that tragedy into Love. I don’t know about you guys, but I do not recall being able to describe my most vivid memories of this fearful respect as ever being anything other than something to make my little soul want to run and hide. I can see every single one of these people who, when I was a little girl, threatened to hurt me, physically, by “geeving” me “leekenz wit’ da’ spoon/slippah/belt.:..whatever was there. There was even one time when I witnessed someone – an adult – ball of their fist and punch her kid in front of a bunch of us other kids. That ain’t cool. That’s the kind of people who a whole lot of us were raised with.
The sort who scared the shit out of us, just so that we would “Respect” them. I don’t know about you, but I think I will take the actual respect that I get from my kids, than the sort that collectively, we have, many of us, for a lot of way too old school kanakas who are in their winter time now who did this. While I will not divulge the name, I can only guess what the hell else went on when I was not around. I saw a lot when I was around. I heard a lot of threats and I heard a lot of name calling and I heard a lot of things that no kid should have to hear.
I am not the only one, either, and in many cases, a lot of us still use this sort of …whatever the hell you want to call this…it won’t matter, because it is abuse, period.
The jokes about “gon’ get gooood leekenz,” and my favorite, when another family member would laugh when he found out about what happened to me, and made comments about the “two carnation leis around the eyes.” And I dare you to NOT try to think about it, or that fucker, now that I said that, about a carnation lei. Yup, this is the other kind of thing that we all grew up with – adults who wanted respect but were like this, all the time, and bullying us and making us cry. It was like they enjoyed it, all of them. And please, don’t sit there and act like I am the only one who felt or feels like this, because I am not. It is a sick joke to think that most of the time we were told that this was normal and acceptable and it is not. GENERATIONS of island people have made abuse, using religion and whatever the hell could be used, acceptable, and in some peoples’ minds – humorous. It was not humorous to me to hear it. It was not humorous to me to be afraid of these people. It is not humorous now to me that there are people with whom I share blood who look back and laugh.
It is not funny, but it is sad. It is sad because this was acceptable. This was acceptable because until now almost all of us were afraid to stand up and say something.I am not scared anymore. I cannot speak for us all, but I could and likely am saying the words that they don’t want to say. I am not scared. I was terrified as a kid but as an adult it is my Kuleana to the children who are my blood, and, as well, all of the other children of my heritage, to show them that the peaceful way is the better way. I am angry. I look back and see that there were a lot of things in my childhood that were very dearly abusive and that I am not the only one for whom this is the truth. There are a lot of eyes on this right now, a lot of Maoli eyes, and there are some who are hating these words, possibly me, too, and there are those eyes which are like mine.
Always wet. Always thinking that you will never be good enough, that you could have done a better job. The emails that I receive daily tell me this, that I am not the only one, and asking me to address it. Here it is.We grow up being told to value our family, and then we grow up into these adults who are angry and don’t know why because the truth is that we know we have nothing to be angry about that we can do anything about. That is where the grand dividing line is. My generation of Hawaiian parents is NOT scared to change for the better. We are not afraid to not trust our kids enough to be who they are while still respecting us. We are not scared to know that they Love us, that they Love us without being afraid of us. We are not afraid to be different than the generations which preceded our own.
I was brought up to hear phrases like “I don’t care who says what, but in my house, you will respect me, because I command respect.” Wow! Those are some REALLY BIG Words which are loaded down with a VERY HEAVY ENERGY. I know that I am not the only one right this moment who is feeling that old, tight, harsh energy, because you are thinking about the same things that I am, and that means you have a “Wild Auntie” or two and they scared the shit outta you. Well, guess what? There is a NEW wild auntie in town, and she loves rock and roll, and she loves to eat burgers, and she likes being good to her kids and to her nieces and nephews. If I could go back to all those times that I was afraid, that I felt small in the spirit, that I was so nervous all the time at screwing up and fearing being called “lolo” (stupid), or something as equally soul crushing as it is to feel like if WE screwed up (you know…were KIDS????) that somehow, it was because we were STUPID and NOT CHILDREN WHO WERE STILL LEARNING. I heard “you will eat what I fixed and put in front of you and like it or you will starve,” a whole lot. This is not getting real respect, because years later, when we are all adults at the same time, we look back and realize, a lot of us that is, that we were all somehow scared to disrespect.
This is what a whole lot of us went through, and I have heard stories that break my heart about so many other things that are so much more terrible than what I recall and what I am being asked to write about. But we did it, you guys…our generation, we did it. We broke out of that cycle, at least a lot of us have. And it is a beautiful thing, indeed.
I am reaching out to all of the rest of the Island Chains, from Old Hawai’i Nei, all the way down into the lower parts of the planet, to the Maori tribes of New Zealand. We are the generation of parents who have been, for twenty years now, rebuilding what it means to be a parent who’s children do not need to respect them for fear of being hurt if they are not afraid. Our kids are not scared of us. This is a good thing. We have brought into this awareness the beauty that is Ohana without the ugliness that is placing fear into people.
There is no need for that at all.
Please, Kokua Me, and remember our Kuleana that is Aloha and not fear. Fear is not respect, and the respect caused by fear is not the truth of respect. It is the respect that we have to have for all of Life, even and especially the lives which are the ones which we brought to this planet. They are ours to raise and then to send out, not as example of who we are through them, but more, as the product of Love through the Soul come to life. They are ours to Love, not to make afraid of us.
To all of you Kanaka Parents, Island parents, who see your own childhood here in these words, remember that fear and know that the reason you let it go is because you believe that this is the reality that is respect. No, it is not. It is not your truth, but someone else’s.
You have the option to change it, and, as well, you own family history…
Think about ’em, yeah?
I LOVE YOU ALL