Woo hoo! 135 miles and 4557 metres climbed (that’s over 7 small mountains!) and the South Devon Restless walk is complete. Today we did a shorter 11 mile stretch between Wembury and Plymouth, which was good because at times we were walking into strong winds and more importantly it gave me time to reflect on the week and drink in the wild, exuberant sea.
The project is named for her - the restless sea - she just keeps going no matter what - even when we fill her full of plastic or toxic shit - she carries on being her magnificent self. She is my role model and an object lesson in activism. Every single drop is significant, the sea is made up of millions and squillions of them and collectively they are powerful beyond measure. They change the landscape over time.
And there are millions of us - adult survivors of child sex abuse - 11 million in the UK alone - 1 in 6 of us and we can change the cultural landscape over time. We just have to come together and be unstoppable - sounds simple - but (and it's a big BUT) there are sooooo many barriers to us coming together. We live in a society that doesn't want to talk about abuse, many of us have been threatened as children that terrible things will happen if we tell, many of us are trying to protect family members who will be devastated to find out what has happened, many of us have been shut down when we’ve tried to talk, called liars and been disowned by people we love and yet more of us have been diagnosed with mental disorders or criminalised or otherwise problematised in any way possible to shut us up.
And as for being unstoppable? Well surviving is exhausting, keeping huge reality shattering secrets is exhausting, being in huge amounts of emotional pain is exhausting, sometimes just getting out of bed is impossible. People forget what the word survivor means - it means we didn’t die (and lots of children do) - it means we are still alive (and lots of us die by suicide, addiction, eating disorders, homelessness, domestic violence and the rest) And that’s why we need to take things one step at a time, keep putting one foot in front of the other and slowly, as we feel able to, as we feel safe to - we need to find our way to community where we can carry each other along as the drops of water get carried along in the ocean.
If you are a survivor my message to you is - be incredibly nice to yourself there is no rush - we have a mountain to climb together and just by surviving this day you are defying the patriarchy - your very being is triumphant and I’m sending you all of my love.
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 childood sexual abuse, my work with the wider sector and interesting developments in arts and mental health.