This Spirit, did not examine bloodlines, or add up years spent, nor tally words learnt.
This identity, called like a lover, impossible to resist. It stood at the door and knocked.
It asked only of the heart, and waited for just one word.
And with my Yes, came freedom. Unexpected. Arresting. Because I have listened to just one voice.
The only one that matters.
In the roar of the waterfall, in the busy-ness of life. As deep called to deep, I listened. Even as the waves washed over me, I was found.
The first touch was like no other, an awakening to what surrender truly means, the willingness to suffer for all that is mamalu (sacred). A searing reminder of what it means to be fa’amalu (the protector) of my family.
I watched, considered each new mark. My eyes as open as my spirit. I wanted to feel it all. To be present as my transformation progressed. To observe my own becoming, as the ink of Samoa flowed through my skin and in to my blood.
The last tap, a full stop with the most perfect timing of all. The peace of knowing who I am, sinks deep. The applause from my sisters, the sigh of harmony, and the heartbeat we now share.
This baptism of identity, wrapped in culture, washed in love, becomes me.
And for those that feel the need to ask ‘that’ question, no, I don’t own this culture.
It owns me.