“Hey, have you met Jaida? She’s from the west!”
That’s it. That’s how I usually get introduced nine out of ten times when I’m hanging out with people from uni. Or people from inner city and north Sydney areas in general. I mean, technically, it’s true. I am a westie. But there are a lot more other interesting facts about me.
But no, you never hear others introduce me as the bilingual girl. Or the girl who once snuck onto the set of Hawaii 5-O and pretended to be an extra for five hours until she got caught (yes that happened). I’m not even introduced as the girl who once had a spider web shaved into the back of her head (yes, that also happened. I love Spiderman, okay?).
But alas, none of these fun little tidbits are as exciting as the fact that I’m from the deepest, darkest corner of Sydney. The part of Sydney where children apparently come out of the womb wearing tns and a Nike dri-fit hat, asking you if you have spare change for the bus.
In all fairness, I probably perpetuate the stereotype a little bit myself. I’ve admitted to owning tn’s. I’ve been known to talk with a ‘westie’ accent (whatever that means). I will fight you to the death if you tell me that Charcoal Charlie’s is better than El Jannah.
As much as I love to embrace my area , being the token ‘westie’ friend doesn’t really come with many perks. Sure, for you it might mean you get to seem cultured in front of your other North Sydney friends who wear linen shirts and would rather die than shop at Cotton On. But for us westies, the great revelation of where we live is usually met with shocked faces. Not to mention million and one questions about murders and gangs and, most commonly, drugs.
Funnily enough though, before I got to uni and made friends with people that weren’t from the west, I’d never actually met anyone who had taken drugs. Ever. I mean, besides Nurofen. It wasn’t until I entered the world of the elite, brand name wearing, inner city kids that drugs actually became a real life thing, not just something we got lectured about at school. How’s that for some role reversal.
You’re either one of two people reading this. You’re either not from the west and you think that I’m probably super opinionated and petty (which isn’t too wrong to be honest). Or you are from the west and you know exactly what I’m talking about (or at least I hope you do).
Being from the west is all fun and games until it starts to define you. Until the only conversations people what to have with you are about the crime rates in your area, or chicken or tns.
Because yes, I’m from the west. But please, talk to me like I’m also a human being.
This lil’ ole Western Sydney gal.