Today has been another full-on day’s walking - 19 miles and another mountain climbed - through some of the most beautiful wild places between Brixham and Dartmouth ending with a sweet ferry across the Dart estuary. It was so hilly - I nearly cried when I reached the last climb - it's only just sinking in that this is an endurance challenge and people train for stuff like this - whereas I’ve been sitting in zoom meetings and smoking too many fags - eek.
My friend and Viv Gordon Company campaign lead Emma Bryson (an amazing survivor activist in her own right and co-founder of Speak Out Survivors) messaged me to say that being a survivor is all the endurance training you could possibly need and she’s right. That was in my thoughts as I struggled up the steep slopes - it's nothing really in comparison to the years of struggle. People underestimate us - surviving trauma takes skill - we’re a creative, intelligent and resourceful bunch of people. That’s why we should be put in charge of everything - ha!
The day has been joyful too - I met up with Dave Parsons and Kristian Tomblin who both work with Devon County Council developing and delivering services for survivors - they are refreshingly radical and can see where current approaches aren’t working. We had a laugh, put the world to rights and were blessed with a pod of dolphins swimming off Berry Head. The rest of the day I walked on my own through stunning landscapes - I ran down hills whooping, saw wild horses, smelled the yummy gorse and ate wild garlic flowers, did some writing, watched the birds swooping around below me from heady heights and lay in the sun (yes it was even sunny some of the time).
I think the point of surviving, at least in part, is to find joy, mess about and do what the fuck we like. We all know the struggly bits and it's important to keep it real about that because it really isn’t an easy journey. All the more reason to notice and celebrate the good bits innit xxx
You can find out more about Restless here: https://www.vivgordon.com/restless
And you can financially support the project and the work we do here: https://www.buymeacoffee.com/vivgordonco
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.