Looking back at my childhood I could remember that we would always have a camera. I remember we went to the zoo and I made my brother take photos of me and I would pretend to be a wildlife photographer catching the predator in their habitat. I went back to my mum with the film all used up. What followed was a long growling from her on using up all the film. My dad was obsessed with new gadgets. As soon as digital cameras were invented he had to have it. There were always cameras around me thanks to my dad. Yes if you are wondering it might be a long story telling blog. Just giving you a warning.
My parents married here in New Zealand and moved here in their early twenties. Side story they dated in Tonga when they were teens and then found each other here. My dad worked many jobs to put food on our table and my mum also worked to pay for our extra curricular activities and there were many. Piano, rugby, netball, violin and karate were to name a few. They wanted a future that was better for us then they had. So as you can education was a huge priority. They believed being educated was 2nd only to having faith in God. My parents called me the smart one in our family because I would get better grades. My mum would say that I was good at school stuff. So that's what I focused on. Everything we did would be to achieve the goal of getting an education. Thankfully we all graduated from university my older sister with a bachelors of business, me in bachelors of commerce and my brother with a bachelors in engineering. So yeah we achieved the dreams they had for us.
So back to the photography point yeah being creative was not something I had time to really play around with. It wasn't going to get me the degree that my parents wanted for me. However I look back and I remember at uni a few times people would ask me if I was doing fashion and design. Not because I looked like I had come off the runway but because of the clothes I would wear. They weren't clothes that came from glassons or supre not because I didn't want them. I definitely did but because we were a very frugal family and thats a whole other story. So inspired by my sister Tracy I shopped at opshops first and foremost because it saved money but second because it went to a good cause. I even have pictures of stuff I used to wear down below. Sometimes verging on more weird then cool but it helped me discover a bit of myself I didn't know I had. It also led me to believe that because I didn't have access to money even though I was working part time I was able to think more creatively about how I dressed. I really don't believe that you needed to spend a lot of money to show your creative side.
I noticed that when my mum had church events that she was really good at any task she put her mind to whether it was flower arrangements, baking, making programmes and planning events. I noticed she always believed that she could do things herself and she was not wrong. She always outdid herself everytime. I think that her example did instill in me that whatever I set my mind to I could accomplish. I think because I knew my mum was a self learner she was in no way educated to do the things she did but because she had the passion and the desire to learn. It allowed her to do almost anything. Still now she gets asked to do flowers for church events.
I went on my mission to the Australia Adelaide Mission I met so many amazing people and we weren't able to have our own cellphones so the only thing we could use would be our digital cameras. We would give members a photo of us in the most creative way and some people would say unmissionary like but that was something I always got excited to do and plan. Again my creative side coming out. Then came the dreaded question at every dinner table, "what are you going to do when you get home", I would say "I don't know" every single time.
You see I had goals all the way up to my mission after that I didn't really have anything other than to pursue a masters degree. I was conflicted because I knew that's what I should do because it's a masters but it wasn't something I wanted to do. I really started questioning what I wanted my future to look like. For my mum it was obvious it was getting my master's degree. For me it felt so confusing. I came back worked for a recruitment agency as a recruitment consultant. No comment. Then my friend who had gotten me the job was getting married in America. I asked for time off and I was not given it. I resigned and it was one of the most liberating things I had done. However in the middle of all of this I started dating my future husband. It was a scary time in life for me. I had planned to come back from America and go back to do my masters degree because I knew its what I should do. I came back instead to start wedding planning for my wedding in December that year.
In the middle of all that I was called to be a youth leader. So yeah it was kind of a crazy time in my life. While planning a wedding and doing the youth programmes I discovered a side of me that I didn't realise I really had. I had the ability to create. I started off by planning my wedding which was inspired by my sister of course. Then I started decorating the young woman's room and also the programmes. I then went on to decorate cakes and make all sorts of things. At this time I noticed that the young woman including my own sisters felt like they had to look a certain way to be beautiful and I realised that growing up I had these same struggles. It started hitting home a lot more when my sisters told me that an adult person drove past them and threw a bottle at them while they were walking to school and called them "darkies". That wasn't the only incident numerous times people would comment on their darker complexion or their weight and they were not even ten at that stage.
At this point in time I knew two things I knew I wanted a creative outlet and I wanted a way to be able to help people like a younger me, someone like my sisters to change their view of being a polynesian woman. With great encourage from my husband and my sister I tried them all for half a year I tried my hand at baking, sewing, decorating and photography. They were all great but I guess none of them for me felt like it was accomplishing my other passion except for photography. I was prewarned before I ventured into this that there are already so many photographers and everyone is a photographer with their latest iphones etc but here I am. I can honestly say I don't regret it and I love taking photos and planning future projects. I don't know if I'll pursue this later on in life but what I do know is that it makes me happy and for me it's helping in the purpose that I've discovered. So that's my journey to the world of photography and its intimidating but exciting for me and I can't wait to see what waits around the corner.