In this incredibly powerful piece GG tears up some stereotypes, putting the boot, or should I say high heel, in to any preconceived notions of what a ‘homeless person’ is meant to look like. Small embellishments can be like mile signs on the way to recovery or small pillars in the foundation of the structures we build to shelter from the storm of chaos.
Hi, so I would like to record a story about the way that ‘homeless people’, and people with lived experience of homelessness are represented and the way that we are still so often shown as downtrodden and ultimately sad and worn down. And the reality is we’re often glamorous, stylish, sexy, cool and ultimately fabulous. And I myself have got a lived experience of all different sorts of homelessness.
I’ve been street homeless, I’ve been in hostels, I’ve been a refugee, I’ve sofa surfed, I’ve lived in insecure housing and all the time, even though there were times where I literally just had the clothes on my back, I tried to have a certain sense of style and who I am, and I really enjoyed putting my lipstick or dying my hair or using the one pound that I had left in my pocket instead of getting something to eat, to get a scarf in a charity shop that could be an accessory to my drab outfit.
And recently, the long term effects of having had crisis times that still effect you years later when you reach some stability… I’ve been going through what’s been an horrendous court case for my children. And there’s no lawyer, no legal representation, because, you know, there’s no legal aid, and I’m constantly being referred to in the past tense and not able to present myself in the present tense. So they refuse to see the or accept the new and improved version of me.
As they say, I’m like a shiny new washing powder. And yet last night, I managed to get for free, an only worn once pink wig, and I had a sparkly stripy mini dress that I’d got from the charity shop. And I went and saw my boyfriend’s cousin, and I sung and danced and I dressed up and I loved myself and I expressed myself and I’m a woman who has been stabbed, beaten, robbed. I’ve had her children taken, I’ve been spat at, I’ve been judged, I’ve been pushed aside and told to stay away.
Repeatedly, both by family, husbands, judges, police and yet the woman that I am, the artist I am, my core being refuses to die, refuses to quit and I won’t let you judge me. I can be very judgmental myself. However, those are thoughts that I keep inside, not thoughts that I use to exert power over people and hold them down or try to hold them down.
So dear listener as you hear me, think about all the ways that you are fabulous, sexy, cool and that you express yourself, whether it’s red lipstick or a scarf or enjoying art or appreciating good food. I mean, food is another area when you are down and you have to use food banks or you’re going to the place where you’re given a sandwich. And there’s very little choice. The choice might be ham or cheese, pasta with rice, and that’s about it. To me, I follow quite a strict diet for my mental health, but I also love food from the food I was raised with.
And I really appreciate food and food is so important to me. I have been through poverty and I really appreciate the ability now to budget my benefits and try to treat myself occasionally. It’s a work in progress because I’m not entirely sure I deserve treats, and yet I’m telling myself that I do. And when I get myself good quality fresh food with lots of flavour, or when I cook for myself in my small flat, I’m loving myself.
I’m loving myself with every mouthful, with every flavour, with all the spices that I use, with all the good quality ingredients, the best that I can get, the best I can afford. And I’d like you to think about all the ways that you do that and tell yourself how fucking clever you are, how amazing you are, how sexy you are and how fabulous you are.
Photo of GG by GG
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