Finished Portrait drawing of Rev Chloe Jones. My next portrait will be of Rev Andy Day. I have many other project drawings and paintings ongoing. These will be finished in time.
But, for now … I wanted to use any skills to say a huge big ‘Thank You.’
This woman is extraordinary.
Looe, Liskeard, East Cornwall, Methodist. A reverend whom works hard to validate LGBT and women in Churches. She is awesome!
Album work. Band camp and Soundcloud. Mix of Indie Worship and Secular songs.
The black oblong cursor is blinking at me flashing time away like the second hand of a clock.
I so desperately want to write about how I have felt being a victim of hate crime on more than one occasion and I so desperately don’t want to write about being a victim of hate crime on more than one occasion.
The cursor has moved along a bit and I have made the first few brush strokes on my canvas. This blog update has to be figurative, descriptive and tangible, it can’t be semi-abstract or abstract or evasive.
Perhaps that is why I am struggling to write.
In the last couple of years and even a bit longer – I have been physically assaulted over and over again, the victim of malicious gossip and of lies and untrue things by people in courts. There was no justice, none what so ever. I was punished for having my ribs broken and I was punished for speaking out. I was punished for complaining via official channels and I was punished for facial bruising and I was punished for having a human body which bled and bruised when punched and attacked. And the police and the courts did nothing to protect me. And as they did nothing to protect me it gave my attackers licence to go again and again and again.
I was not believed.
It took vast amounts of photographic evidence, hospital reports and sound recordings and video footage (all of which I relentlessly collected) to, eventually, be listened to.
As a result I was and still, am being ‘safeguarded as a vulnerable adult.’ It also took input from the Independent Office for Police Conduct.
This is not a blog where I offer insight or guidance to anyone who has experienced anything similar. I can barely cope myself, I can barely look after myself and like Dorothy’s friends from the ‘Wizard of Oz’ – I have no brain, no heart and I am rusty. I am broken. The hate crime against me broke me.
The violence and lies against me – broke me and that was their intention. That is any bully’s intention and it works.
Is it possible to survive, repair oneself and recover?
I have to believe so.
Sticks and stones do break bones and the agony and pain is excruciating post-attack.
The words did hurt me.
“Faggot, come with me and I will kick your head in where there are no cameras”
“You’re not disabled you make this autism thing an excuse”
“You need to be got rid of” and from the police (some not all) ” Quite frankly I don’t believe your account” (this kept on my computer as a sound recording of a voice mail message left)
Alongside this blog, I have the means of adding video, photographs and sound recording – all of which would show you as the reader that I am telling the truth about my ordeals. But I have chosen to spare you of that distressing content and protect you. I care. Because I care. I care about you as a reader. I am, in fact, a really lovely and loving person and have striven for equality all of my life.
I wish I had a to-do list and guidance notes to give out. How to cope as a victim of Hate Crime…
I don’t and my sincere apologies. It seems far more responsible to just state that it is really hard and that the emotional pain and grief is like pain in which there are no words for.
Here is a gap in the page with no words.
This morning I cried and it was the first time in years. It was too short-lived and too quiet to represent much – but useful and I am determined to practice crying and weeping.
If the saltwater of tears can wash away the wounds of devastation and grief then this will bemuse, irritate and chalk up resilience to the bullies’ efforts.
Plus healing is a gradual, arduous process and one that is and can be so incredibly lonely.
Hate Crime has gone up within the UK. This is an undisputed fact.
Whether it was my disability, my trans-sexuality or that I am perceived as gay – no odds to some. They would have battered me for wearing yellow socks too.
None of this has made me want to hide my identity and be less proud of my identity and the intersectionality of such. I have been and remain a proud member of my LGBTQI plus Brothers and Sisters and They.
And too – my communities of kick-ass autistic people who are often incredibly inspiring.
It was my openness that, at times, may not have protected me – but my openness is autistic (my leopard spots)
I am frightened of the world now though, or more frightened. I had always suffered from depression and made suicide attempts and none of what I have written about has helped of course. I am so grateful to friends and professionals who have shown me support and love and, of course, the ‘Samaritans’
I am here and I am doing my utmost to heal.
The cursor has blinked it’s way into a couple of pages now and, in fact for a while there I hadn’t even noticed it.
It’s flashing and blinking at me now like a cheeky metronome. ‘Do it!’ – it’s teasing me ‘write it and publish it.’
The Samaritans freephone number 116123
Kilminorth Woods a ‘Nature Reserve.’
The Candian Geese aren’t so reserved. Someone didn’t let them know!
Every so often they take glorious flight skimming the river and if they detect a fox or tax collector, even at 2am their extraordinary cacophony of sound travels at the speed of light through the night. The owl wins out though. She hoots well into the early hours until – I guess – she wants to hunt and then the Hoooting would prove not such a great device for stealth. “TWIT twoo” – I try not to take it personally.
You think that I am complaining? No. For years, this was the first time that I had heard (and enjoyed) birds which are not seagull shaped. (I love seagulls…but) this woodland orchestra of – squawking, calling out, talking and having general conversations in – what must be – one of the most beautiful places on earth.
And where am I? – In a tent at ‘Watergate Camping.’ – I did an overnighter and for me, that’s a brave thing to do. For sure, brave, because my confidence has dwindled and shriveled over these past couples of years. So much so – that it is a major expedition to go to the Co-op for a pint of milk.
But Hike with the kitchen sink I did (Yoda undertone there)
…and hike a few miles back and forth (be with you) as my ton weight rucksack didn’t evince an essential camping stove part.
Why? Why did I camp – near to me, just up the road, a stone’s throw from Looe?
To challenge myself and because I was frightened to.
While exploring and enjoying the woods one day (just off of Millpool car park) – I met a woman walking her dog and we ‘chatted’ (I am the world’s worse chatter)
And she mentioned that along the river there was a campsite – ‘Watergate’
And so – long story/short. That’s where I was this week – for one night only.
I am not kidding – but as I approached the wood trail, I met a man who lived in Duloe, called … wait for it … ‘Wolf.’ He was so lovely and he had a dog named ‘Raven.’
He came from Germany in the 1970s and I thought that he was such a lovely human being.
Later- during the night, the owl did keep me awake just a bit, I thought it would be a little funny if I met a wolf in the woods while camping – who then introduced himself as ‘Man’ or that I met a raven on my hike back to Looe, who introduced himself as ‘dog.’
I will camp there again. The place, the situ, the family that runs it, the communications and support beforehand – (I explained when booking with ‘pitch up’ about my autism) – all were incredible. The gnats like my bald/bold head a little too much – but then I did say ‘Hello’ to a gnat called ‘Elephant.’
Sometimes Mary Poppins is about all a man can manage. And yeah, I cried. I could blame coming off of all anti-depressants and anti-anxiety meds and such would be true. But as I explained to my GP recently – if there is real trauma in my life then I have to feel it. If there is real injustice, I have to recognise and deal with it. That aside, Thanks to my dearest friend (T) for another lovely day out. Rock n roll it may not be – but I will take all the feel-good film, kindness and friendship that I can get.
That I have work to show for Open Studios Cornwall 2016 is extraordinary.
That it has not been lost, dumped, destroyed, left to rot, broken, neglected, dismissed nor decayed is a mark of tenacity and commitment.
What is being shown is, for the most part, everything that has not been shown.
Out of the paintings – four have been exhibited in galleries, eight have been sold or given – but all else has been stored, boxed up and protected as much as is humanly possible during decades of hardship, some stability and rare fleeting moments of great joy.
And too made in differing context but all is Art.
And I am the Artist. I am the Poet and I am the Song Writer.
There is nothing to distinguish one completed piece from another. Each work is part of and another sentence toward my unique story, my book (metaphorically and literally)
That a picture – or other media work – was made: in a studio, in an Art School,on a psychiatric ward, in a prison cell;
(time spent as a transitioning Trans-man, Man, in a Woman’s prison. A drink driving offence serious enough that I, inadvertently, put others and myself at risk trying to get to a particular destination. A field, actually, where I could finally give up. And prison for further assessment and months of safeguarding as, finally, my depression was recognised.
‘Gynn is not any risk to the public,’ the final validating and touching honesty of magistrates at my plight to have been desperately trying to get help and health care previous to the conviction.
‘We are sorry, but if Mental Health teams in Cornwall won’t give you a bed, we have to send you to prison, because we feel that you are at risk.’)
From there -winning a koestler trust prize – the art work ‘ I am not a number’ only to be sold for charity.
… in a bedroom, in a kitchen, in a day centre or a support group doesn’t matter to Me.
What matters is that it was made at all, that it was drawn at all, that it was built at all that it was transformed at all, that it was written at all, that it was sung at all and that it was performed at all. What matters to me is that it still exists. And still is.
The only exception, perhaps, being ‘Performance Art’ in Norwich.
Some, actually too much, was dumped and discarded – quite literally. 500 tiny hand made moths I took to the skips in Suffolk along with wooden kinetic sculptural pieces. Drawings were torn up time and time again. I did that as part of some huge ‘Spring Clean’ as if the sensitive and raw nature and content of the work’s dialogue could be laid to rest. Work that was shockingly sad, poignant, challenging, ground breaking and brutally honest is now, long gone, but records of it all remain.
My original task was always going to be to make works of art (it is still – to an extent)
My task then was to safeguard it and I did.
My task now is to evince it. Show it. Give it life. Record all aspects of it. Acknowledge it. Declare it and Stand By it.
Maybe even celebrate it.
It is possible that being a (first time) contributor to Open Studio Cornwall I can show and demonstrate some degree of worth.
(and I am wet through, coaxed in from the sea by lifeguards, hungry, desperately sad, in crisis and in a traumatic state of mind and I am in handcuffs and sobbing – yet again. And the desk police sergeant looks over the entrance desk across and down at me (one of thousands of mentally ill people sectioned and desperately trying to cope, without health care, in Cornwall)
…’and what do you do for a living?’
My voice a whisper – ‘artist’
and he laughs and he grins and he winks to his colleagues and he preens himself on the genius of his coming joke.
‘In other words …nothing!’
Worked out that – The photo portrait on the left is 2007 and taken by Robin Hammond for the National Autistic Society exhibition ‘Think Differently about Autism’ and I was 46 years old and ‘presented’ as a Woman. And the other portrait is by photographer Shane Reynolds 2015 and I am now 54 years old and have completed gender re-assignment from female to male. I wanted to compare the two together. So these are two photos 8 years apart from one another. In the first I was Aly (short and abbreviation of then birth name Alison) …and now as Alyster – with new birth certificate. (copyright: Robin Hammond and Shane Reynolds)
Self Study – Mental Health
Visual Arts, film, photography, Painting: Projects – Across The Tamer, The Sphere Of Poetry, Portraiture, Collect
Music, Biscuit Tin Drummer, Back To The Drawing Room
Campaign, One An All Of Us – Cornwall Campaign For Better Mental Health Care
Literature, Automatic Biography: The Hurry – an A to Z of Endurance
Literature, anthropology : Rhyme nor Reason (Poetry) Autism and Empathy