When I woke up you were still here,
called yourself a considerate thief,
‘it’s best to know who’s looking after your goods’.
I misheard you at first,
you didn’t just look after my good I said,
you’ve taken it. It’s not mine anymore.
I taught myself this for years,
stories of ‘they deserved it’ pulsed round my body.
I felt like a cavern with how much it echoed.
I was taught I was a cavern,
once a crime scene, always a crime scene,
I was broken. I am broken. I will always be broken.
-Alex W. (working title, first draft of a WiP)
Today, I am struck,
I wonder when I’ll lay you to rest.
When will I let our mess die?
The scars we left on each other’s surface
haven’t gone away.
It’s been three years,
I’ve dragged myself through all that time,
laid on beds of nails so you could escape free.
I spent these years wishing you’d release me
I never stopped to realise:
was the burden weighing me down.
I have been working on a film for the past few months that focuses on life as an abuse survivor. This film means so much to me and I am so honoured to have been able to produce it with the incredible team Jam St. Jam St. were formed as part of the Creative Breaks project hosted by Panda and Union Street media in Manchester – two incredible projects supporting artists.
I wrote a little about the film for the presentation, please see that below. Otherwise, I give you… ‘You, the Silence and I’.
When Amy approached me with the opportunity to make a film about something I had been writing about for most of my time as a performer I was confused. I was scared, I was intimidated but I was excited. So excited. I saw what became ‘You, the Silence and I’ as an opportunity to really give some visibility to the reality of abuse, particularly as a male abuse survivor, in the Manchester community. I knew it was going to be excruciating at times, having to confront a lot of things I had tried to ignore since I left my abuser but I thought I owed it to myself. I always say that if one abuse survivor hears my pieces and realises that they weren’t, and aren’t, ‘a fuck up’ then I have done what I aimed to do. I do not speak for all abuse survivors but I have a voice that I wanted to put to use. The opportunity to actually bring my goals to life in a completely different medium, with a group of supportive, talented and lovely creatives was something I could not turn down. I went into ‘You, the Silence and I’ expecting to learn and hoping to understand my situation better. It became much more than that.
During and after filming/creating the film I got to speak to people about my experiences and understand how I saw myself as a performer and writer. I had an interesting moment with Jo, our director, when I realised that the poem was the first time I had ever written directly to my abuser. It was cathartic getting to say to him ‘I felt screwed up for so long because of you and now I don’t and I see what was happening between us now and that is over’. I cannot thank Jam St enough for what this film has done for me. Without it, I would not have gotten to experience the creative process in a completely different way and in a team. I am lucky to say I have worked with each member of the group and I know that I will be working with them in the future. A massive thank you to Panda for giving them the opportunity to contribute to ‘Creative Breaks’ and allowing me to connect with the wider creative community in Manchester whilst really growing from the experience.
One big, final cheesy thank you to every member of Jam St for letting me come on board and be myself. Amy, Jo, Morgz, Tom and Sonia you are fantastic creatives and anyone you work with in the future is beyond lucky to have you on their team!