"She remembered who she was and the game changed" - Lalah Deliah
I'm the eldest daughter and first generation kiwi born of Samoan parents who decided to leave Samoa for a better life in NZ. A fearless act that would not only set the foundation of my life, but that of my siblings and many cousins.
Growing up I was acutely aware that my life was different to that of my NZ peers, who could probably trace their roots in NZ further back than one generation! Being raised by parents where traditional roles in the household was the norm: that women knew their place around the home, and that obedience and service to your parents was key to your success. However, when I think back to my childhood and the many influences by family/friends and in particular visuals of the "kiwi way," it's not surprising that cultural traditions would clash with how I believed life should be.
Being a fearless woman in today's world I am blessed that I have been surrounded by strong women since birth. My mum and all her sisters are strong independent women. Their strength, empowerment, and sense of purpose have been instrumental in shaping me. I'm sure that was not their intention to create a sense of cultural rebellion amongst my generation, but it certainly paved the way to question things for a better sense of understanding and self worth. Their acts of sisterhood, from words of encouragement, and acts of empowerment and pure championing of each other and each other's families continue to be replicated amongst the next generation that include my sisters and I, cousins, and now my daughters.
This isn't just a story of me, but one that includes three generations of women empowering themselves to ensure, regardless of the constraints of each generation, that women's presence in society is not determined by their gender, but by their actions. To be counted, not just in our homes but in society and be brave especially in the face of adversity, for fear encourages courage.
Blog written by: Sanaia
The #IAMFEARLESS campaign was run by Studio81 as a way to encourage women from all walks of life to kickstart, inspire, and/or motivate any upcoming goals they had, to share a part of their life's journey, and to impart any wisdoms learned along the way.