Ok - I hold my hands up - turns out I’m a bit of a snob. I had all sorts of preconceived ideas about today’s walk and I wasn’t particularly looking forward to it. Today we walked from Babbacombe to Churston Ferrers just outside Brixton - another 18 mile stretch and my legs are complaining. I thought it would be all amusement arcades and chip vans and I was so wrong. The headland between Babbacombe and Torquay is incredible, then there is a bit of holiday hoo ha interspersed with beautiful beaches, coves, gardens and promenades. Sorry Torbay - it's not you, it's me - you’re lovely. It made me think about how we can think something’s gonna be one way and then it turns out another. Like conversations about abuse which we assume are going to be horrible and so often in my experience are just very beautiful, empowering and full of special surprises we could never predict.
On the yummy headland outside Babbacombe there is a cove called Daddyhole - I’d seen it on the ordnance survey map and it captured my imagination - read what you will into it - I’m still working it out. My dad was abusive so it's not rocket science… I sat for a while above it, it's inaccessible (more opportunities for analysis if that’s your bag) The name reminded me of “down the rabbit hole”. Lots of my life I’ve experienced distress, dissociation and dysmorphia - like Alice, my body has felt too big, too small and like I don’t fit anywhere - the world has felt incomprehensible and unnavigable. Sometimes I’ve felt I might drown in my own tears. Like Alice, I’ve self medicated with all sorts of things to try to manage all of that. That’s changing for me and activism helps - it's given me somewhere to channel my rage and brought me into community. My therapist sent me an article about post traumatic growth which I’m yet to read. I’ll report back.
I do know that if we only try to support survivors by talking about mental health and what they can do to help themselves we are not getting to the heart of the issue - that abuse is wrong, society isolates and silences us, the justice system fails us, we face endless barriers to equal participation in life and the mental health system pathologises our distress and labels us as disordered, often with devastating consequences. Most of us never see anyone convicted for the crimes they have committed against us - my only chance of justice is social justice and fighting for that is gonna keep my tired, sore feet treading this path for as long as I am able.
You can find out more about the project here: https://www.vivgordon.com/restless
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welcome to my blog
I'll be posting my personal reflections on creating work as an artist and survivor of childhood sexual abuse, my work with the wider sector and interesting developments in arts and mental health.