Letters from Glasgow / Sophie Gerrard

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


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.


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.


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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