Band of Gold

 

“My mum gave it to me, and she described it as my birth jewellery from Guyana.  It’s a baby bracelet, a gold bracelet, and a little ring. The ring has a shield shape on the front with a letter ‘C’ engraved on it. The ring also has a cut in the back of it. At first, I thought they’d cut it off my finger as I grew older, but my Mum explained that it had come with the cut in it so that they could take it off me as I grew.

CR1

And the gold is a particular colour, a different colour from the gold you get in England – its more yellow.  The ring quite ornate and (with) patterning.  I have no memory of wearing it. I didn’t know it existed, until she gave it to me when I was living in California as an adult.  One of my Dad’s relatives sent it for me when I was a baby, and so it was nice thinking that someone thousands of miles away was thinking of me. When you are the child of immigrants,  you have family but they are far away.  So it’s that connection.  I suppose this is something physical that made me connected to where my dad’s from and also it’s from something that may have come out from that land, (there are gold mines in Guyana) and you don’t have that tie to the land when you are far away from where your parents were born”.

“When I was younger, I thought so much about the different parts of my identity; that I was mixed race, that I was from a South Asian background, and an Irish background; and I do identify quite strongly as a Londoner, but I don’t particularly identify as English. I also identified as a lesbian; I came out when I was eighteen, so I think when you are younger you are still forming your identity.

Now that I am older, I might call myself a writer.  I have all those parts of me, I am still mixed race, I am still a lesbian but I suppose what I do is that I write (as well as the IT work I do for a living).  My passion is writing, and reading, and that dialogue that you have with other writing. I think, my sense of identity has shifted over time, so all those pieces of my identity have just become embedded into me, so I don’t walk around thinking about my racial identity or my sexuality all the time”.

“The bracelet is about me . . .  I chose this thing over all the other things I could have brought with me to England when I moved back from California last year, so I suppose somewhere in my heart it is very important to me.  Maybe because it’s the same age as me or because  it’s been my possession since I was born, effectively.  So that feels important, because I have been away so long, it feels like something I had when I was here . . . it links me to Guyana and to my Indian heritage and it also links me to this country, and it links me to my mum who is Irish, as she sent it to me”.

Clare, mixed heritage, female, born 1960s, UK