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Have you ever seen that movie called "My Best Friend's Wedding" and that scene at her house on the day of her marriage. Jewels is asked by Michael to go speak to Kim about it and they sit down at the table together. Jewels tries to give her an example of Kim being 'Creme Brulee' and what Michael wants and needs is "jello" and goes something like:

Kim: I can be Jello
Jewels: Creme Brulee can never be jello. You are never going to be jello.
Kim: I have to be Jello!

That scene sprang to mind when I was thinking about myself and wanting to identify with my roots. I have never thought of myself as 'western mindset' but as Alaskan Native. I have wondered lately if what I think and feel is similar to what others think and feel and realize it is different in a way. I guess it is because I was raised in a western city that this is so but is kind of unnerving a bit too.

But that scene about the jello sprang to mind when I was trying to picture an image for what I was thinking and feeling. I pictured a strawberry dipped in white chocolate for me instead of the creme brulee like you can see around Valentine's day. And then pictured that scene in my mind when thinking of it from a "native" viewpoint. That sort of idea to just be yourself and I do find it unnerving since these are the kinds of images that do spring to mind for me... When wanting my writing to appeal to Natives too I do get that feeling of the scene and her desperate cry of 'I have to be jello!' and the other saying 'you're never going to be jello.' as my fears about this.

It makes me think of that scene in Shakespeare's play "Much Ado About Nothing" and that line that goes something like "Being none other then as she is, I like her not." But that is not as negative as it sounds since the guy knows his friend is crazy about the girl. So I guess it means, for now at least, that my writing wont appeal so much to other natives until I can learn to write from my heart and have it meant for a native audience instead of a western one. It will be interesting to me if I can accomplish this or not given that the images and such that first spring to mind are western ones... It was really unnerving and upsetting to me last night that I might never be able to do it! Imagine that sort of psycho theme in those horror movies playing right now to capture that sense of suspense I am feeling about it all...

I have to leave for work now..



Sharese's picture


I think that many of us struggle with our authentic self and our perceived self by the world. Sometimes how we view ourself and how we view what the world thinks we "should" be can be different that what others perceive who we are (based on looks, where we grew up, etc), and this makes a struggle. In your example it seems that your position in society, as growing up in a "western" city is one where you may be expected to present as more western- whereas in your heart you identify as Alaskan Native.

When you said "until I can learn to write from my heart" I feel you were on to something. I think that you need not learn to write from your heart though- you already have that ability within you. Therefore, just let your pre-conceived notions of how you are perceived go, and instead be true to your authentic self.

I hope this was helpful- I look forward to reading more of your writings.


Maria de Chirikof's picture

hi there

I was on my way to work and hoping I would not be late and thinking of it on the way there. It occurred to me that part of it is how when the girls and I were homeschooling and they asked a question I often used a scene from a book or movie to get the point across quickly. That this type of a 'shortcut', that instead of taking the time to think up my own images I think up ones to get the point across quickly, that this is partly what it is meant. I think it is just a habit I got into and didn't notice myself doing it anymore, that kind of thing... Put in that light it is not so unnerving and it like what you said too.

I was thinking of it and pictured a conversation with my mom about it. I plan to write it up sometime when I have more time so am over that worried feeling. But I do appreciate your comment, it was insightful and helpful. Part of my imaginary conversation was on worrying I was not "native" enough but got it put into perspective again. That I do live by the values she taught me and taught them to my daughters and that is good enough!



Sharese's picture

New thought.


I am glad you realize that what you do is enough, and your mind it as ease- it is always especially good when you get to that place by processing your own thoughts. You are a very thoughtful and insightful person.

What you said about using imagery from movies and popular culture I think is something many of us do. I have not even thought about that! Thank you for recognizing it and bringing it up. Westernized pop culture has made people less imaginitive and creative (because we don't have to come up with our own images), in my opinion.

Wow- you have given me a lot to think about. Thank you for your thoughts and insight.



Nusrat Ara's picture

I like the way you

I like the way you introspect. It is really a nice , interesting and probably ab easy way to understand things. looking forward to your conversation with your mom.



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