• sophiasalmassi

Gemma and I


Gemma and I in my childhood home,Bridgend 1994/5


I wanted to write another post about mine and Gemma's covert fashion design activities. As anyone who knows me will tell you, I am a hoarder. Not of rubbish but of memories. I have kept every letter, card, drawing - any memento of my friendships and relationships. I'm really glad I have because I can look back and relive those times. I worked in Spillers Records in Cardiff for 10 years from 1999 to 2009 and I kept flyers, posters, notes and obviously thousands of records from my time there. When I hold an object I can remember who gave it to me and all the memories attached. It is not always a welcome feeling. I'm also a general collector of multiple items such as badges, books, dolls, toys, postcards, movie stills, headshots, playing cards... I'll be going into my collections at a later date and seeking out other people and their collections.


I do have an attachment to objects but I've got a lot better at letting go of things that I don't really derive that much joy from. If you want to share your life with someone and have a family they have to be able to enjoy your shared space, so you have to let go and adjust. It's selfish not to make compromises. I have spent much of the last two years condensing everything down and organising into binders and display folders. I also have over 5000 photos (we'll go into that later too...)


I drew constantly as a child. I realise now it was a form of stimming. If I wasn't drawing I was biting my fingernails down to the quick or picking my fingers until they bled, something I still do when I'm anxious. I always had busy hands.


I kept almost all of my drawings. Some I must've thrown away in anger because I disliked them. I've also lessened my perfectionism in that department and trying to reduce my son's too. Anyway, I've got around a hundred or so and these are some of the most interesting.



Gemma's notes were hilarious. She was trying to make me laugh in class - specifically English class. We could coast there because we both found it easy. I mean, I coasted throughout school. When I say coasted I mean I did the bare minimum and almost got expelled for non attendance. Gemma actually was a good student, for the record.


I took pages out of my English text book to draw on also. Gemma had her own drawings she was working on. If I saw the coat in the above drawing, I would definitely buy it.



When Gemma finished colouring a design she signed off with a paw print as she loved mice and hamsters.



This one is hilarious. I think what I realised looking at them now is how detailed they are. I should've pursued a career in fashion or textiles. I didn't have any support or guidance in school and I had mentally checked out by year 8 or so. Textiles was a subject pushed towards kids who were less academic - I certainly wasn't a good student. I didn't know how to study and I appeared more informed than I was. I was too busy being an activist and arranging my social life. School was somewhere I met my friends, made arrangements and left with whoever was free (usually Dawn or Bekah). The league tables pushed the teachers to make sure the kids did academic subjects and looking back I realise I could've done it with support. In the end I scraped two A levels, moved to Cardiff at 17 and Spillers was my university. I don't regret a thing.

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