Letters from Glasgow by Sophie Gerrard

Letters from Glasgow intoduces us to the lives and stories of three women in Glasgow, they talk us through their heatbreaks, their traumas and their survival.

Gillian

In 2014 I was crossing the road at a busy junction near my flat, I’d been living in Spain, I was coming home. A car travelling at 50 mph took a wrong turn, hit me, I flew up into the air and hit the underside of a bridge. Gillian, Glasgow. 2018
Four years after the accident I developed dystonia, a neuromuscular movement disorder. None of the muscles in my body work properly, I used to be a climber and a hiker, now I’m facing arthritis.
At 19 I was told I would struggle to have children, my ovaries didn’t work properly. Shortly after that I suddenly lost a lot of weight and stopped being able to digest food properly. I was diagnosed with early stage bowel cancer and had my gallbladder removed.
After the accident I had to take taxis, I met Stephen, he was a taxi driver. We went to the Greek Islands on holiday, people kept asking me if I was pregnant. A man grabbed my arm he said “I can see with my third eye, you have a baby.” I told them “no I really don’t, that’s impossible. I can’t.”
My daughter is named Ayla Summer, it means “from a strong and resilient place” In my dreams I get back to the mountains and I’m climbing again.

Raz

At age 15, I got married and dropped out of school. I was expected by my husband to bear a son, but I didn’t. I had 3 daughters, which to my husband’s family was unacceptable. He needed a son and an heir, both of which I didn’t provide. The marriage failed as a result. Raz, Glasgow, 2018
I went to primary school in Glasgow, and everything was difficult. I was a pale-skinned Asian girl with an English accent, and I was thrown into a mosty Asian community, they saw me as “the white girl”. Most of my peers were into Bollywood films and spoke Urdu. I didn’t speak Urdu and I didn’t watch Bollywood films.
I was doing an IT course at the Young Women’s Christian Association when I met my new husband, he was a friend of a friend. He and my girls got on well right from the start. My children now see him as their Dad.
Hannah, Roz’s daughter with a friend in Kelvingrove Park, Glasgow, 2018.
When you have been through bad times, you just want to have a nice, normal, simple life, without any drama. You learn to appreciate the simple things.

Rosemary

My dad, my mum and my youngest brother all died in a 3 year period, over 20 years ago.
Rosemary, Glasgow, 2018.
It took me the weekend to leave my flat, my husband, and my job. I was 33 when I decided to cut the rubble of my previous life. I met my husband at a concert, after 2 years of marriage he turned abusive. He would punch me in the jaw, pull me by the hair, slam me against the wall. When I told him I was leaving he threatened me with a knife.
After my parents and brother died, I started drinking, I was young and wold go out with friends, overtime I stopped caring.
Then I got a job where I needed to drive and I was forced to make a life change. the drinking had been masking the grief.
The journey has been bumpy, but I have fulfiulled all my dreams. I now have a wonderful partner, I’ve known him since my 20s. It took me a while to get my good feelings back but he restored my faith in mankind. I wish it were sunnier here but my partner has more than compensated for the lack of sun in Scotland.

All images © Sophie Gerrard 2018. These images were first published in Womankind magazine, with an article written by Stav Dimitropoulos, 2018.

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