The re-shaping of whanau…

When I was a little younger than I am now, I quite a contrasting view from the rest of my family. I told my parents I didn’t want children because there are enough children in the world who needed love without me bringing in more children who would suck up the little attention that I have to give. I was convinced that my kids were my kids regardless of biology. I’m still fairly convinced that would be the case, but I’d say my views have since grown. I’m not sure what I want these days but that doesn’t really matter.

For Samoans, biology is everything. Blood family is everything because blood is thicker than water. I believe that in it’s literal sense but when it comes to family, I don’t think you necessarily have to be related to me in order for me to have your back. In fact, sometimes I feel like my friends are less likely to leave me than my family are. And perhaps a lot of that echoes snippets of my history and experience (and even my present). I must admit though, I’m more likely to leave my friends than they are to leave me.

Over the last couple of years as my biological family have become a less prominent part of my life, I’ve started to wonder what family actually is and in my mind and thoughts have started to re-shape what family actually looks like. Don’t get me wrong. My biological family is really important to me. I love them all hugely and they mean the world to me. My 8 million or so cousins also mean the world to me and I love them dearly. But often those people aren’t around.

The people I truly do life with, are the people I live life with. They’re my workmates at YSWC, they’re my flatmates at Bermuda, they’re my dearest love and his family. They’re my church community, my faith community, my community.
So my family at the moment consists of a lot of white people (quite different to my biological family). And I’m cool with that. I often miss my biological family and there are moments I have where I pine for them but right here, I’m happy because there’s a greater community of people who really love me.

This post isn’t some particularly deep piece of insight, but it’s insight nonetheless and I figured I better add something to this garden before it gets too weedy.



2 thoughts on “The re-shaping of whanau…

  1. I hope I am included in the “workmates” category – though technically I don’t work for YSWC! It gives a new meaning to “you can choose your friends, but not your family”, eh?

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