Written/ Spoken by: Chelsey Cruz
PLEASE NOTE THIS WRITING/AUDIO IS SENSITIVE: Loud war sounds like guns, bombs and loud bangs. Expression on experience with Child Sexual Abuse, Substance Abuse, War and Violence.
Message to the listeners: This free writing piece started off as a search to reclaim my self identity and ended with me interconnecting not just my identity but the ones before me. As if one could not exist without the other. My grandparents were children during the War on the Pacific: World War II 1941 in Hagatña Guåhan (Guam) and my parents , children raised just 30 years later, “Guam after War”. This is my first ever “official writing piece” shared with the world so it is special, this is all intentional. I share what I thought was my “darkness” to show you that our darkness actually reveals the light we are within. We’ve all been asking how we can “show up to support one another.” I send a message of encouragement to the children of Guåhan, Marianas, Oceania and the world. Be who you truly are and share with the world, that’s how you will save the world. That’s how we will heal the world by being authentically and unapologetically us. We are the Waters, and we are here to heal the land! I started this writing project to question who I am and end with affirmation of who I always knew I was. Julian Aguon said to “write like everything we love is on the line, because it is.” Message received Che’lu.
Much Guinaiya and Appreciation to Lady Pasifika for creating space to welcome this beautifully and wonderfully made Micronesian Voice.
I want to share my heart with you. I do. Not the filtered me that the Japanese told me to be for the sake of my family but me. Do you know me? The real me? Do I know me? Influenced like CHamoru Identity becoming lost in the Pacific sea through German, Spanish, Japanese and American occupation but this is not the real loss, the real loss is the division between the Chamolinian People; five generations later. Do the people see? Ina’gof’li’e. Intergenerational results to 1521. I know I am love and I know I am light, guiding and nurturing thee soul(s), but is it enough to show me who I am? Burnt out since birth.
I am sorry I have been away young one. Imagination and vision just gone. I let go. Abandonment manifested into loss for seight, circulating in the socio-ecological cycle all throughout time. Do you know me? Identity. You won’t know it all but it is essential to know who you are. The one in your heart. The one that you hid and protected; standing in the face of Domestic Violence(a familiarity to rape) Her.
I know that I am love; that love that forgives and forgets the day you stole from me. Innocence. Forced weight unto me manifested anger in my identity. Is anger me? I forgave you. Is this your identity? Who gave it to you? Why would you want to; “give me something to cry about” when I already have so much; so young. Screaming this led me to losing my voice. Early child-hood won’t know how to say “he hurt me”, therefore the child’s response is “temper tantrums”. Are five year olds supposed to know how to keep this stuff all alone. I still loved you. That love that puts itself at the front lines to get beaten by the occupant to protect the love behind them. Anger guiding me away from i saina (elder). Bachet (blind.) Sexual abuse manifesting into empty relationships shaping adulthood for years on end because, Numb. Is this your identity? Where is my mind? Buried with chot-don dama(banana) leaves, my voice-drowned ginen tasi (in the sea), why can’t I see; smoke clouds me. It’s so dark but he won’t get me here. How could you allow me to lose my sound? Intergenerational results to 1891. Burnt out since birth.
I know I am a caretaker. Natural servant, Like my guella (grandmother) Not temporarily until you can care for yourself, but forever, because no matter what, I am there, even when you can’t care for me because you; care more for them. For those substances. I am compassionate. Even when two are angry, I am the bridge. And you appreciate that. You protect that. Or, at least I thought. I am the message. The light to guide you on the path back home. The polluted, the stolen, the misguided, the sorrowed, manhoben (youth). But I cannot see too clearly, the smoke is clouding me, thank God ancestors shined the light for me to walk through life with these traumas manifested into a straight jacket; holding me back,anchored in me like the word of God. HE set me FREE when I hit THIRTY! Why did you give up on me so quickly? God given talents gone where? In a lock box? Does it sing? BREAK FREE ! RUN! Find your family! Youth shouldnt be for hate, loss, war and death, until it is. This is a humanitarian crisis, pre-2020. Does anyone see what you’ve done to me? Did anyone see what they’ve done to us? Down to 2000 left, the rest raped, killed, enslaved, beaten and killed. They were killed; majority of my identity, in the Pacific Sea.
Are 10 year olds supposed to know how to maintain this bass? I screamed and yelled for help but you couldn’t hear me. Why would you take my voice with you? I hated being silent but you took my tongue. Was that what it was like when the Japanese took my ancestors’ tongues? Did they take your tongue too? 3rd generation results to 1941? Re-introducing traumas throughout space and time. Speaking clear words in my mind but discombobulating it through my mouth everything. What is this called? Is it man made like SARS-CoV-2 ? What’s the white stuff? Is that safe; mom? It is a different rush? Compared to what? A rush like the hydrogen bomb called “Bravo,” “being tested” in 1954 on Bikini Island or was it like a rush from giving birth to a “jellyfish?” Is that a rush? Why didn’t anyone rush to help them? Lost at sea; possibly.
How could you let me fade away in those clouds of skunk; adolescents. Where should I have gone for leadership? Is this mentorship? Is this that 1941 leadership? Only leading the people away from forgiveness. I need to speak with the guide! Islands separated due to some of them helping “the other one’s”, the kids are crying because they don’t know their identity, your identity, our identity. Loss and misguidance manifests into substance abuse, is this safe; mom? Separation due to translation of a language; CHamoru or Guamanian? Somebody call a specialist to scan me because this is an epiphany; World-wide Marianas Identity.
So much hate and violence! Why are you so mean! What happened to you? Intergenerational results to 1941… Got us crossed in our identity. Like acestoral requests I am a difference. I am answering today’s questions. Like Grandmother’s prayers answered I am light within darkness. Interweaving our identities to one Pacific sea connecting sea(s). Who we are is internally rooted like the Flores Rosa tree.
There was no compass at eighteen. Migrating from sea to land. Misrepresented and unsupervised navigating these state lines. Abandonment all over again like early childhood, pre-teens and now adulthood. Is this opportunity? What does opportunity mean to me? Is this a good opportunity like UNESCO declaring the Bikini Atoll Nuclear Test Site a “World Heritage” site. Is opportunity killing and polluting a whole identity of peoples for “World Peace”? Is opportunity not giving Peace to all people? Who allows which people should be contaminated? Aboriginated? Should I know this opportunity before I know my identity? It’s more important? That’s what they said to me! How could I create opportunity if I don’t know what that should be. Oh yes, let me allow a strange pale man and a box of flash images to influence me. Is that a safe mom? Responses to the fourth generation of WWII. Opportunity.
Where was my compass? My guela yan guelo gave it to me! No, not physical but internal. “It has been in YOU! being protected by the hibiscus trees to prevent manipulation from the populations of pollutions.” Indigenous identity. Carolinians “the people of the Deep Sea”, Refaluwasch. Marianas Archipelago. We will change, but the truth in our hearts remain the same. Identity is internal. You do not need to google search the history because it is in me. Rooted internally like lemai in the backyard.
I am Guåhan . I am fo’na. I am fama’laoan. I am the end to man made results of intergenerational traumas of war and colonialism. I am uprooting colonial creation and rerooting indigenous. Mother earth. Naturally. Christ, Sun Son. This is the true identity through who you told me I shouldn’t be! I am here so the next generation will no longer say, Why me? Thank You Grandmas and Grandpas for your prayers of Guidance. Through Christ only.
About the Author:
Chelsey Cruz is a Born and Raised CHamoru woman to the island of Guåhan (GUAM) proudly showing up imperfectly, learning and teaching through lived experiences.
Modern Indigenious Transitional Aged Youth Mentor with an emphasis on Pacific Islander Youth, Youth with a Disability, Youth of Color and LGBTQ+ Youth.
Healer and actively healing through Christ only, with words, intent and love.
Founder and creator of The Social Progress Podcast: a Podcast encouraging youth to overcome stigmas and use their voices to break intergenerational silences and collectively heal. Sharing resources and encouraging peer to peer mentorship among our communities to create unity. Speaking on everything unpopular and silenced.
Activist, Advocate and Co-conspirator, organizing with the Masakåda Collective which connects CHamorus in the diaspora with those at home in the Marianas in the fight for decolonization, independence, environmental justice and indigenous rights; For the Light Of Women (FLOW) an intentional decolonial space with an emphasis on indigenous practices of healing and organizing based on maintaining balance with the Great Mother, our land and our water.