My own ‘gypsyiness’

I have a lot of different thoughts and ideas whirling around my head. I really want to create something poignant, and powerful, but I am at a point with my research where I’m not sure what direction to take, so I am just working to create content for every idea that fly through my brain.

I want to communicate how it feels for me to be Romany, and kiwi, and Gorjio. That I never felt quite Gypsy enough to fit in with my Romany family, and never quite Gora enough to fit in with the kids at the school I went too. And then slide this into how I feel now, trying to own my ethnicity, but still feeling like a fraud. How much discrimination can I claim at this point in my life? How much disadvantage has it put me at?

When I was a teenager at high school in New Zealand there were girls who made fun of me, called me a Gypsy Witch, even dramatically throwing themselves into lockers to ‘get-away’ from me and my supposed curses.

But now, at 40, I can’t say my Gypsyiness has disadvantaged me because I really don’t have much left. If I had much, to begin with. My Dad moved us away from his family, and the stigma that went hand in hand with being a traveller. But with that move and gain of the white privilege, my skin gives me, I’ve lost the chance to learn the Romany language, and be part of the travelling community, in a way that popping in once a week on a Sunday never afforded us.

I’m same/same/different on both sides of the fence. And the fence does exist, as surely as the gatekeepers stand at the border and keep a mental tally to who has the right to claim themselves Gypsy, Traveller, Romany.

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