Monday, July 18, 2011

My Gypsy Heart...

When I was a little girl, if I, or my brothers, were being particularly naughty, my mother would say, "I'll sell you to the gypsies". Those words scared the be-doobies out of me, let me tell ya'. Now, my mom was a tremendously normal person, and a very devoted mother, so I took it for granted that this was just her catch phrase during those overwhelming parenting moments, and that she'd never actually part with any one of us... never mind "sell us to the gypsies".
But still... In those dark and quiet moments in my bed at night, I would lie still and the thoughts of a tattered wagon with mysterious travellers answering the call to remove naughty children from their homes... for a fee... would haunt my imagination. I vowed to never... EVER say those words to my own children. And thus far... 23 years and counting, I have fought all temptation to carry on that family tradition.

As I grew from a small child into a blossoming teen... gypsies followed. My mom... yes... mom again... was a very creative person. If she put her mind to something, a most spectacular outcome would delight us all. And when it came to costumes... Mom was the bomb! (of course, that expression didn't exist in 1975, but you get the idea). One particular Halloween, I decided I was too old for trick-or-treating. My family was attending a costume party, but I was too mature for such nonsense. But as the hours ticked by, I was enveloped in the excitement everyone else was enjoying as mom took old dresses from the closet, toilet paper, powder, lipstick, hairspray, and any old odds and ends to design the most elaborate and original costumes. At the last minute, I decided to join in the fun, but it was too late for a costume, right? Not with mom around! She dug a little deeper in that closet, and before you know it, I had the most amazing 'thrown together' costume with jewel toned garments, golden accessories, teased hair with streaming ribbons, and dangling earrings.... yes, a gypsy.
That costume would reinvent itself throughout the years, even well into my adulthood. And one year when I ran out of piecrust on the night we were attending a costume party, I threw together whatever I had to make a yummy apple-nutty-crumbly concoction. We named it "Gypsy/Autumn Pie" in honor of the gypsy costume I was wearing while I made it.
But it was more than just costumes... more then scary catch phrases uttered by a frustrated mom... I have discovered that there's a bit of gypsy spirit in my heart. I thought it was just me. But then I stumbled upon an entire artistic community that knows just what I'm talking about. I left home for the first time at 16. Then, at the age of 17, I travelled thousands of miles away to live on a tropical island with my love. We travelled to a far off land and lived among the local people. The only constants were our passion for each other and music. Everywhere we went, he would play his guitar, and I would write words... Each of our life experiences drove our songs into different directions and expressions. It all seems like a dream now, but there we were... on the go... with our love for each other, music, and the people we'd meet along the way.

We missed "home". So home we went. And I've turned into quite the "homebody" as I've settled down to raise my little ones. But there's still this side of me that wants to "go". Only where I want to go is more someplace inside of me then some other shore. There are people, places, and things that call to me to "become" something. And I enjoy finding them and expressing our minglings in fabric, paper, clay... or sometimes photos... or words. I dream of wagons dripping in lucious fabrics... layers and layers of colors and textures. I hear the music, and the laughter... smell the fires.... feel their glow. I can taste the wine... and his kisses. There are so many stories to listen to... and tell. My favorite place is still "home" after all these years. But my dreams take me to the most wonderous places. I am this truly traditional woman... who still has a "gypsy heart".
This painting does not capture "it", but when I sat down to paint a "cutesy/whimsical" girl, she decided to visit instead, and I knew it was my gypsy heart reminding me it was still there...

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