It's #InternationalRomaniDay.

I'm a Welsh Kale diddicoy raised by my gypsy grandmother. I've talked a lot about why the word gypsy from gadje--non Roma--can be problematic, so today I want to talk about my grandmother.
My grandmother was the oldest girl of 8 and like many Rom, she came from a family of musicians. We have pictures of my grandmother and great aunts and uncles dressed up as children to perform on stage at small local venues.
They were poor like many Rom--poverty is an epidemic the Roma fight to this day. My grandmother dropped out of high school to help raise her siblings but continued to self educate. She was a brilliant woman who taught English during the 50s and 60s despite her lack of diploma.
After meeting and marrying my grandfather, she continued a time honored tradition in our family of dukkering to put food on the table. Her great Aunt Maude had been a tea leaf reader in Wales who had some pretty high profile, high moneyed individuals among her clientele.
My grandmother was adept with tealeaves, regular playing cards, and tarot cards. She was also an incredible card player who, in retrospect, probably counted cards (go Gram.) At 12 years old she said I had a choice one summer of learning to read cards or bridge.

I picked cards.
There was little context of why I was taught this just as much as there was little context for the meals she put together out of cheap cuts of meat that were delicious and contained FAR too much cabbage. (It's a gypsy thing.)
My grandmother had learned the hard way it was much easier to be "Welsh" than it was to be Romani thanks to the various stereotypes in society . She kept her customs, covering her hair, her colorful dress, but hid her labels.
Two or so years before her death she began giving her things away. Death custom in the family said that items given after death could carry negative energies or essentially be conduits for spirits angry about their deaths, so it was better to part with material goods beforehand.
This was about the time she began to give the context for our family traditions and histories, including the germ for The Hollow Girl--a book I ended up writing myself in her memory after her death.
She was a force of nature who fought for everything she had. This poor Rom girl who'd dropped out of school to raise her brothers is the original writer of the Maxine card line. She wrote with Charles Schulz. She wrote song lyrics for Tony Bennet and the Artie Shaw Band.
When publishing wasn't interested in working with women beyond very niche genres, my grandmother became J. Howard Clarke and gave the finger to publishing by hiding behind an androgynous presenting pen name.
Today I could tell you for the 50th time why you shouldn't say gypsy if you're gadje, or why you should ask Roma/Sinti/Traveller people what they'd prefer to be labeled. Or I could tell you about a real life Rom woman who I loved more than anything and miss every day. #opreroma

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More from @HillaryMonahan

8 Apr
Current status:

Listening to 2021's Eurovision contestants.

France is stomping on me in a great way.
In fact I'd just go on and mute this thread right now if you don't give a crap about the Eurovision entries because I can't guarantee that this isn't going to be an ongoing thing.
The Black Mamba's/Portugal's contribution Love is on My Side is giving me Ben Harper vibes which is a super good thing.

Read 4 tweets
7 Apr
Nuance and/or anything NOT plain speech was not my strong suit as an autistic kid. (Still not great at it sometimes, but.) Anyway, imagine tiny autistic me the first time I heard "inside every fat person is a skinny person screaming to get out" and the LITERAL HORROR.
I mean, it's wrong anyway, and a super ignorant, asshole thing to say, but to a kid didn't quite grok that there wasn't LITERALLY A SKINNY PERSON TRAPPED INSIDE OF A FAT PERSON...

Plus, I read SCARY STORIES and.
I had about a week of complete abject terror that somehow people were getting trapped inside of other people and I couldn't quite figure out how that worked unless, get this, you pooped them out after.
Read 4 tweets
6 Apr
A thing with my autism and "eating quirks"--there are foods I have the spoons to process their texture and flavor some days, but on bad days when OTHER things are already overstimulating me, I can't handle them.
This is hard to explain to folks who don't have texture or sensory issues, but if I have a good day where nothing's getting to me, I can be relatively "typical" in all the ways, including a majority of food choices.
On days where I've been bombarded with noise, bright lights, strong scents, or previously "challenging" food, no, I don't want it, I will probably freak out if I try to eat it, it's just better for me to stick to safe choices.
Read 6 tweets
6 Apr
Okay, you didn't know about any of the named problematic authors This Week. Fine. You missed the whisper network--I do, often. I don't read my TL most days. You don't have to proclaim this to the entire universe, though. Like, it's not about you.
It's about the victim of the harassment. I get the frustration--there are lots of things I /wish/ I'd known, but it is legit impossible to know everything all the time unless you do nothing other than live on Twitter and that's just no good.

Unfollow, set boundaries, move on.
And if people are expecting you to flagellate yourself because of genuine ignorance, they probably aren't worth worrying about if they distance themselves.
Read 5 tweets
2 Feb
TW: Rape

You'd hear so much less sexual assault survivor talk, whiny fucking cis guys, if you'd just stop assaulting people.

Funny how that works.

The onus of sexual assault is not on survivors to be silent, it's on rapists to stop fucking raping.
TW: Rape

To process my OWN feelings, I had to write a book, because to express the horror of that particular sense of powerlessness, of that invasion of your body, of how detached I had to become to get through it? Took 65,000 words.
TW: Rape

And I could have written 60,000 more. Because it took years to get over that feeling that in those fifteen minutes, I wasn't a human anymore, just an extension of someone else's body. To be used.

That trauma? Of losing YOURSELF? It's hard to be succinct.
Read 5 tweets
2 Feb
I miss silly stuff.

Like going to the craft stores. And getting broccoli cheddar soup at Panera. Shopping the remainder makeup at TJ Maxx. Hanging out in my basement with friends.

Just normal, unexciting things that are so banal in literally any other circumstance, and yet.
I miss planning day trips. And hearing Ethan laughing with his friends on real time versus him in virtual space.

I miss going to the mall and hating it.

I miss bookstores and ice cream cones on the harbor.
I'm very tired, and my soul is weary, and while the end is in sight, things will get easier, I resent the year of experiences this plague cost me.
Read 6 tweets

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