Still breathing? Not dead? The best piece of advice I can give to survivors of any kind is this: if you can answer yes to both those questions then everything else is unimportant. I don’t know about you but I find women who tell me to make gratitude lists superficial
and frustrating. Facing homelessness last Christmas and still suffering with PTSD, no job, no money I could only put two things down on my list – still breathing. Not dead. It was the worst time of my life. How did I get through it? I began to write poetry. Then performed it as my alter ego Swingerella. It took off and within a year I was touring a theatre show about my life in the UK ending at Edinburgh Fringe. It was glamorous. It was exciting. But when the spotlight switched off and I went home alone to a house which eventually got repossessed I slept on the floor because my ex had taken my bed.
I W A S S T I L L B R E A T H I N G
A N D I W A S N O T D E A D
But… I was still breathing. And I was not dead. What powered me through those court appearances, the loneliness, the betrayals and the losses was this – I must tell my story. The urge was so strong that it saved me. And now – because it is authentic and honest and creative and sometimes funny – my story helps to save others. Or at least remind them that survivors are indestructible. Because we are still breathing. And we are not dead.
Alice Smith with her artwork 'Swingerella - How Fabulous am I?’ which has been exhibited at the Anchor Gallery and Arts all over the place Mental Health arts festival both in Birmingham. Photography Siobhan Francis, Happy Times photography
Photo Credit: Alice Smith
Photo Credit: Bernard Davis
Alice Smith. Photos: various (click for credits and to see/share)