The Mata-Lulu Model

This writing thing has given me the opportunity to have some pretty awesome experiences. Like get DietCoke drunk in E.L James hotel suite  in Kansas City with a fabulous group of women writers. Ride to a book launch in Sydney, in style in  sleek low-rider cars and have specialty cakes and donuts made #TelesaStyle. Go back to my old high school Samoa College and talk dreams and books with young people that these books were written for. Meet some of my Pacific Lit idols, chat with them and learn from them. Be hugged by a twelve year old girl who’s read all four Telesa books…”eight times each. I can quote whole sections for you. Because of your books, I love reading now!” Read stories and English homework assignments from high school (and University) students who have studied my books. Receive photos of #TelesaReaders in the Armed Forces, who have taken their books with them on deployment to Afghanistan. Do the first ever in history, author book signing at Otara Market, and be overwhelmed by the alofa, Pasifika creativity and spirit at its very finest. Get handwritten letters from women in Nauru, thanking me for my books and for lighting their writing fire, sharing their poetry with me.

Okay, I could go on and on, but the purpose of this post is to scream about a fantabulous experience I had in Hawaii. ( No, not the Point. No, not late night missions in search of Diet Coke with LOTS of ice. No, not Sunday drives through epic scenery. No, not endless boxes of donuts. No, not the Polynesian Cultural Center. No, not bookChat with Tahitians.) – All that stuff was equally as fantabulous but THIS blogpost is about something else. Or SOMEONE else.

Her name is Jenn Lemalu Meredith. She’s from the same village as me in Samoa but we didn’t really know each other until our blogs collided two years ago. She’s a supermum who lives in Hawaii. And in between finishing her Masters, being the megaBankBoss at her work , raising her family and blogging – she started a photography business a while ago. You can see her work here: http://www.jennphotog.com/


Jenn has been a vital supporter of the Telesa Series from the beginning. She was one of the first people to volunteer to read the Telesa book and put her review up on Amazon. She’s been a #DanielTahi  and #JasonWilliams advocate with her friends and networks AND she’s made me laugh along the way with her FB and Twitter conversation. (and she was NOT happy with what happened with Jason…) She was a key part of the Hawaii Organizing team for my recent trip and had me do a glamour photoshoot with her.

What did that entail? First, she brought her wickedly talented makeup/hair artist, Chantel Kiana Suaava to the house and had her do magic with my sad face and hair. (no easy task, let me tell you…) There’s a reason why my nickname at school was ‘MataLulu…Owl-Eyes, MataOmo’ and its not because my eyes are stunning ‘midnight pools of beauty’. Ha. #WhatDoesTheOwlSay?! ….Chantel was up to the task though and was able to do HarryPotter type wizardry so I basically looked nuthin like myself.

Then we dashed to two different locations for the photos. My Hawaii-Sister Janice Faitala was the very patient assistant who never once rolled her eyes or said bad words. ( ok, she may have thought them silently…or texted them to her bestie but hey, she was the epitome of diplomacy and friendly support, so for that I thank her!) Jenn makes you do all these really weird and painful poses that require a certain amount of fitness and athleticism…okay, I lie. She makes you stand still, kneel, bend, smile, angle your head a certain way, stick your butt out, squish your boobs together ( in my case, non-existent butt and boobs) and smile some more. But because we all know I am incredibly lazy and possess not the slightest bit of fitness or athleticism, I was rather out of breath and faintly dizzy and sore after all the posing. In other words, I would never cut it as a supermodel. *sigh* (Yeah, because I’m not athletic enough. That’s the ONLY reason *wink, wink, nudge nudge*) But Jenn was very professional and encouraging and patient with my whingey, whiney, unfit self because the woman is a genius photographer and can make wonderful things happen – even if her subject is whiney and unathletic. (And matalulu.)

It was a huge relief when the photoshoot was done. Yay! Jenn rushed off to be with her family. Me and Janice rushed off to eat a well-deserved lunch in some air-conditioned comfort. (Sidenote random story…we were reeeeally sweaty by that point, so the priority was the coldest air-con we could find. We walked into four different food places and then walked out again because their air wasn’t cold enough. In Taco Bell, we went so far as to allllllllmost order food but then I wasn’t convinced it was the coldest option available so we left again. Janice was rather embarrassed, “The poor service lady was waiting for our order. I felt bad walking out on her.” I waved my hand at her worries, all fia- blase, “Aagghh dont worry, we’ll never have to see her again, so its okay.” Then 4 hours later, who did we meet at the book signing that night? The lovely friendly woman from Taco Bell who asked, “Were you in Taco Bell today? I recognize your beautiful necklace!” And Janice gave me the #IToldYouSo look…#sorry!! Blame it on stunning necklaces from my mums shop Plantation House!)  Anyway, I spent the rest of the weekend wishing I didn’t ever have to brush my hair or wash my face again…wishing I could just walk around forever looking like a makeup guru worked on me everyday…. *dreamySigh*

Then Jenn showed me  the photos.

I’m a writer, so I’m supposed to know lots of words for every feeling and every occasion. But I’m just gonna shut up and let the photos speak for themselves.


Lani (1 of 1)-4



Lani (1 of 1)-3




Thank you Jenn for a memorable experience. Now I have visual evidence that even a matalulu non-athletic girl can take some decent photos.

Now I’m back in New Zealand, back to reality…as I scrub two weeks worth of sludge off the shower walls, and reflect on my fun all-too-brief fling with glamour photography!


I am Enough.

I blinked and 2012 streaked naked through my life, my messy house. And then it was gone. Just like that. Hello 2013!

Right, so I’m going to do something revolutionary (for me) this year.  I am not going to start the new year making a list of all the things I hate about myself and how to fix them. Lists for how to be prettier, nicer, smarter, skinnier, friendlier, wiser, neater and all the other kinds of stupid’er things I’m supposed to be in fantasy land. Ha. I am NOT even going to make any fitness and weight loss goals. I am not going to commit to running in any 102km relays. I am NOT going to visualize how happy I will be when I lose twenty pounds. Or get boob implants. Liposuction. A nip. Tuck. Botox. I’m not even going to waste a single minute cursing the science research/medical industry that wont invest money and effort into devising a pill that gives you instant boob implants, liposuction, plastic surgery and botox. A painless, simple, cheap pill. I’m not going to knock down Jenny Craig’s door the minute they open after the New Year holiday for cardboard food I will hate eating. Or buy an insanely overpriced gym membership to a gym I will hate going to.

No. Not wasting a breath on any of that crap this year.

Because this is the year that I turn forty thirty-six. I am not a simpering, eyelash-batting, breathy-voiced teenager freaking out over acne and wondering whether some cute boy likes me. And I am not a self-obsessed, self-possessed, party-going, table-dancing, skank mini-skirt wearing twenty-something year old either. Or a people-pleasing yes-kid starving for affirmation.

 I am a WOMAN, dammit. A 5″10, CENSORED pound woman who’s given birth to four children and tried to stay sane while raising five. A big, brown Polynesian woman with big hips, bold thighs, and lush curves in unwanted unexpected places. I’ve got centipede pattern stitch scars across my non-existent ab’s from triple c-sections. And whispered tiger stripe stretch marks everywhere else that tell their story of baby growing. Breasts that have nourished life – and bled for it. Arms that have rocked a crying child a thousand times, a thousand nights. Hands that have labored over chocolate cakes, kids homework from hell, hair braiding, kids’ eczema, cleaned up puke, poop, paint and parties, given hugs (and yeah, maybe these hands have pinched naughty kids a few times too…wielded a salu…possibly)

 I am a mother with a loud voice who can laugh with her children, cry with them and fight for them.  I am a wife with a patient heart who knows how to love through the good, the bad and the ugly times. I am a daughter who knows that the best way to love her parents – is from a distance – with carefully constructed fences of self-built self-worth. I am a sister who’s made mistakes – and is learning from them. I am a teacher who knows how to make learning a journey of discovery with her students. I am an author who writes Pasifika love stories – and loves it.  I am blessed. I am grateful.

I am all these things and more. I am me and I am not going to waste time on trying to be anything different. This quote from a very wise woman, Marjorie Hinckley is perfect, “We women have a lot to learn about simplifying our lives. We have to decide what is important and then move along at a pace that is comfortable for us. We have to develop the maturity to stop trying to prove something. We have to learn to be content with what we are.” I think I am finally ready to stop trying to prove myself.

This year, I will not be driven by self-loathing. This year I will endeavour to incorporate into my life – more of those elements that uplift, energize and inspire me. For example, I hate running (and dieting). With a passion. But I love love love dancing. (and eating.) With a passion. This year I’m going to sign up for fun stuff like Hot Hula and also finally learn how to tango. (hopefully the Hot Man will agree to sign up to be my Antonio-Banderas-dance partner!) I’m going to make the time to prepare the foods that I love and take a cooking class so I can stop eating cans of tuna for dinner followed by three different kinds of cake (since thats all I know how to make with any kind of skill…) Bring on the seafood extravaganza menu!

I want to (finally) learn to swim. Go to a Coldplay concert. Meet up with fabulous author friends at the RT Convention in the US. Write more books about lots of luscious, bold Pasifika women (and beautiful hot guys…of course) Take the Fab5 to Disneyland. Get my NZ driver’s license so I can actually drive OUTSIDE West Auckland, see more of New Zealand with my family.  Get out of my hermit cave more. I will try new things and search for new experiences that will bring joy to my life and the lives of those I love.

My resolutions for 2013? To be fierce, fiery and bold – in person and not just on paper. To love better, dance and laugh more. To be content with me.

To say, ‘I am enough.’ And mean it.

What do you hope for from YOUR 2013?

There are Some Skank Ho’s in West Auckland

There are some skanky ho’s living in West Auckland. And they aint got no shame. At all. But what makes it worse? Little Son thinks they are wonderful, delightsome creatures…

The Hot Man was being kind and thoughtful. He took all the children off my hands so I could write. (Yay for the Hot Man.) He delivered teenagers to their Youth activity. And then he scored himself points in Little Kid’s heaven by taking them to McDonalds’s for dinner. (Even tho we already had a healthy balanced dinner for them at home. Yay for the Hot Man.) He sent the Terrible Trio to go play in the playground while he sat guard over their Happy Meals. I must interject here and tell you that I got all the following info from my spies. They’re highly trained, dedicated sleuths. Otherwise known as Little Daughter and Bella Beast.  Now on with my tale.

Picture it…There’s the Hot Man, minding his own Hot business…when along comes a pretty, skinny-yet-luscious, single mom, busting out of her clothes with abundant friendliness. (As skank ho’s do.) She lights up like a Xmas tree at the sight of the Hot Man and descends upon him. Introduces herself, tells him about her divorced single-mom state. Tells him how much she loves to make new friends. Meet new people. Try new things. Go out partying when she’s not skankin at McDonalds. 

He tells her he’s married. She thinks thats wonderful! He tells her he’s got five kids. She thinks thats precious! He tells her he’s just taken over as the full-time parent, taking care of the kids while his wife is writing. She thinks thats just darrrling!

She then goes for gold. (As skank ho’s do.) “I’m free during the day too! We should totally get together and hang out!”   (Can you tell that I’m punching holes in my laptop as I write this with viciousness and repressed volcano fury?)

At this moment, Little Daughter and Little Son come running over because they have seen this friendly exchange taking place. As this woman tries to jump their Dad’s bones right there in the Family Restaurant. The woman is not deterred. Oh no. She oozes slimy charm. “Are these your children? Ohmigosh they’re soooo adorable! Hi kids!”

Little Daughter ( bless her devoted heart) is unimpressed. Suspicious. She sidles up to the Hot Man, whispers, “Dad, why is this woman talking to you so much?”

Little Son on the other hand, reveals his true traitorous nature and revels in the skank ho’s affections. She GIVES MY FREAKIN’ BETRAYER SON A HUG AND HE LIKES IT. He nudges the Hot Man with a grin, “Dad, who’s your girlfriend? She’s so pretty!” 

The woman is encouraged by his comment. She asks the Hot Man for his phone number. (HELLO! WHAT THE HELL KINDA WORLD IS THIS WHEN CHICKS CAN USE THE GOLDEN ARCHES TO LIGHT UP THEIR “VACANT and HOT” SIGN?!) The Hot Man refuses. She tries to give him HER number. He refuses. Little Daughter is not happy. “Dad, why does she want your phone number? Why is she hugging Zach?”

Somehow they manage to extricate themselves safely from the woman’s clutches. She waves at them as they drive off. “See you again!”

They come home to the writer who’s been slaving her fingers to the bone surfing banana cream pie recipes on AllRecipes.com.  They tell her about what happened. Little Daughter is indignant.  “My Dad kept telling her no and she kept trying to give him her phone number!” Little Daughter is only ten but already she can spot a skanky-seductress-homewrecker-trashy tart a mile away. I am going to leave Little Daughter lots of things in my will. Like all my banana cream pie recipes. And my extensive Telesa tattoo research. And lots and lots of love with ice cream and chocolate sauce on top.

I am really annoyed with Skank-Ho’s that hang out at McDonalds jumpin on other people’s Hot Men.  I’m not a Fire Goddess like Leila in my Telesa books, but I’m sure I could get all fierce and feisty and kick-ass with this woman if I could meet her in person. I could like….ummm…attack her with my words. Waste her with witticisms. Mash her with metaphors. Amaze her with alliteration and analogies and really scary stuff like that. So there, so there. Take that.

I told Hot Man I was going to blog about her and he was horrified. “No don’t. What if she reads your blog? You cant call people skanky ho’s on your blog!”  I said, “Dont be ridiculous. Skank-Ho’s dont read. Blogs. They’re too busy slut’ting all over the place and having a good time with idiots who fall for their tricks.”

But you know who I’m REALLY mad at?

Little Son.

Traitor. Selling his own mother out for a pretty face and a sleazy smile.

(Oh yeah, and I’m also kinda miffed. Cos I’ve taken those kids to McDonalds a kazillion times. And nobody ever hit on me ever…. *sniff sniff* )