CHAPTER 4: The Times They Are A-Changing
Entry #37: "Sometimes"
Happy Liberation Day! I'm pretty sure half of you don't know what the hell I am talking about, lol. It is an independence day for our home island of Guam. Yes, we have our own independence day. It falls every year on July 21st. Growing up our "4th of July celebrations were really just for Liberation Day. I think some people forget that my family is from Guam and that I am Chamorro because I don't really publicly speak out about it. It's not that I try to hide where I am from, it's not that I try to hide my heritage. It's just not a big deal for me to feel the need to speak out 24/7 about my heritage. That doesn't mean I am ashamed of where my family comes from. I think one of my greatest inner strengths is the fact that I was raised in a Chamorro household. That side of me is a whole other side, that only my family from Guam can understand. I get a lot of flack from people back on the island because I don't act like them or write and perform their kind of music. I guess I'm too "American" for them now. That is far from the truth. If they knew me personally they would know my parents talk to us in Chamorro and we understand what is being said. If they knew me, then they would know I actually do listen to their music, and I respect it because I grew up in a household where my dad plays the Guam radio every day and my mom sings the lyrics out proudly. Not every Chamorro has to act like they are on the island all the time. My parents raised us to be what we want to be. I may not show it, but I have never lost the Guamanian side of myself. It is always in me wherever I am in the world. I am proud of it. I am proud to have been raised by a Chamorro mother and father who were born and raised on our island. That is why when Liberation Day comes around, I speak up. I celebrate our freedom. Because I know in another timeline, that freedom may not even have been possible. If it wasn't possible, then I wouldn't be sitting here today writing about my heritage and origin. I know some people in the Chamorro community will always see me as the chubby golden boy. Some of them may know me as another name. I may not have that name anymore, and I may not be the chubby golden boy, but I'd be lying if I said a part is not still inside of me. I am so lucky to have these special memories that will stick with me for life. I hope that when it is once again safe, I'll be able to continue making those memories and finding settle ways for me to let my heritage and upbringing shine through. Although this is not the normal Liberation Day we are used to, I'm glad we are all safe and here to celebrate our freedom, in some shape or form. In a world where freedom takes on a different definition now, I'm grateful the people of our island get to have some sort of it, especially when freedom is not something the United States takes seriously. I may be vegan. I may be an alt boy. I may have the city within my blood. But, I'll always have the beach within the island boy in me. Happy Liberation Day! Biba Guam!
Photographer: RL BAZA
What I'm Wearing: Shirt - H&M, Jeans - Levis