By Vanessa Gordon

The day I was born I kick started my lungs with a cry like no other. My father knew then I’d be outspoken like my mother. The nurses in the tropical heat must have known then that wrapping me up may be a huge feat.

My first day of school I climbed the fence I wanted none of this nonsense. Shoes, a shirt and a hat no I won’t be having any of that. Everyone was different they spoke in a language I was so incoherent. I spoke only in pigin and a little kuanua. I thought to myself perched on top of that fence I need to get out of here!

The school sent for mother over the phone she was there quick time to take me home. I remember the threats all the way home I was going to get the coconut broom. I stood in silence and let her whip the back of my legs meanwhile I replayed the day in my head. Planning tomorrow’s escape from hell they called prep.

Mother marched me in the very next day and told me to stay do not climb, dig or escape. Just stay for the day just stay she said. I made a new friend who spoke little too. I soon had a gang and we secretly plotted against school. Days turned into weeks and soon the class was reading out loud although I’m sure I was just lip syncing to fit in with the crowd.

Years went by and I finally came to my senses every now and then I still jumped fences. When I came back home after high school it was the same but different I was no longer cool. It felt like the school yard in prep. I didn’t quite fit in I was sitting on another fence. One side was cold one side was hot, I thought I was “home” but maybe not. I was so afraid that if lost my balance I’d fall into a sea of spiteful challenge. All sudden my skin, my accent even my hair was scrutinized even the size of my bust and my thighs.

Am I too young or too old. Maybe I need to be more quiet maybe I’m too bold. Is it my speech or my face what is it that makes them screech in disgrace? I’m just a girl lost in translation I’ve hurried back home for the love of a nation. This is not the welcome I had expected in fact I’ve never felt so rejected. All my life I thought we were equal apparently not so…I’m so confused am I beneath you? Please explain why your clique of critiquing geese choose to gander how is my name and my skin on your agenda. How am I less of woman of colour just because my shade of brown is a little bit lighter? How am not allowed to partake in cultural awareness? Is my existence dependent on wearing a head dress? Are my genetics really that much of a mess? I don’t understand am I too white or too black what is the intolerance? Maybe I remind you of colonization please rest assured I am against segregation. So is my father and his father before him. Please tell me where does this hate stem? Are we not sisters and on a journey of empowerment or is that just a quote for your piece on self-entitlement? We are one in the same but according to you I’m different. My identity is far from mistaken I know where I stand in my clan, I hold title to land, I come from a people who are proud and distinct. They know me by name I’ve inherited an instinct. Do not mistake my silence for weakness or my softness for meekness I am a Tolai woman I’m sure you understand as I step aside I will let you reap this.