Fuck, I am who I am / Diane Robertson Martin

Diane Robertson Martin CBE, aged 56.

Diane is from Scotland but has lived in Australia, New York, London and Brighton. She is a qualified Counsellor, an Activist and a Survivor of Prostitution and Trafficking. She has supported and worked with women involved in or exited from prostitution and trafficking for over nearly 30 years.

In 2016 she’s had a nervous breakdown and is still recovering. She moved back to Scotland in 2018 and lives in a village by the beach with a castle. She loves, telly, God and carbohydrates.

What makes you laugh?

I love observational humour because it highlights our universal commonality.

I love the retelling of family stories “Auntie Jean, tell me the one where you and mum got chucked out of Sunday School and peed in the flower pots.”

I also love funny animal videos and David Sedaris.

When did you last cry?

I’m a big crier! Films, adds, books, the news, life! I last cried a few days ago on the phone to Auntie Jean after her cat Mr B had to be put to sleep, we wailed!

Describe what ‘love’ means to you.

Love means everything, to love and be loved is the highest order of things. Love is unselfish, determined, vulnerable and forgiving. It is what gives meaning to our lives, it creates a place to be fully known, to be understood and still accepted, still loved.

It has an endless capacity without dilution; it expands, there is always room for more. It provides a springboard to empathy with others and the courage to reach out and connect. It comes from our dearest but also through unexpected encounters.

What makes you unique to everyone else on this planet?

Well, all of us are unique in the sense that there is only ever one of us. I do

love where in the Bible (Psalm 139) it says: “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”

I love the intimacy; the thought that I was fully known by God even before I was born.

Name 3 people (living or dead) you’d invite to your virtual quarantine dinner party.

Well I’d bring my beautiful mummy back, and I would be tempted just to have her so it could be just us two for the whole time; but in order to answer the question as asked I would bring back Peter Ustinov because he was such a fascinating man and story teller and I would include Billy Connolly so that we could howl with laughter and I would get him to do his incontinence pants sketch and then play us the banjo during our after dinner drinks.

Describe yourself in 5 words (this can be a sentence or 5 separate words).

Empathic, Funny, Generous, Worrier, Determined

Who or what has made the greatest impact on your life?

My Mum and Jesus, both taught me to always look out for the underdog or

anyone left out. The lived experiences of childhood sexual abuse and further sexual exploitation through prostitution and trafficking completely informed and led to my work supporting other women to exit and rebuild their lives.

What’s your earliest memory?

My first memory is of being a baby in my cot, tactile memories of tracing my finger around the Teddy sticker on my cot and the feel of my pink candlewick blanket. I loved my cot then and I love my bed now.

Any regrets?

Sinatra sang “Regrets...I’ve had a few” Well, I’ve done it my way too Frank

but regrets, I’ve had more than a few! I’ve had loads! More for things not done than done. I think it’s just a part of life and I feel reconciled to my regrets. The ones I’ve made sure to never have is not telling people that I love them or not forgiving people; the rest I can live with.

Tell us something no one knows about you (and I mean no-one)? Until now.

Well I am such a blabbermouth I honestly couldn’t think of one thing I haven’t told family, friends or therapists! Even the darkest stuff! So things that most people wouldn’t know are that in 1985 I rode a horse and flew in the Circus, in 1995 I tracked Mountain Gorillas in the Ugandan rainforest (and found them!)

Also, I have a huge collection of Barbies and Ken’s including furniture, paraphernalia, vehicles and a plane! The Barbies have all been deprogrammed and are now Feminist activists fighting against sexual exploitation and the sex industry. I am going to learn how to make stop motion videos on my phone and then set up scenes, incorporating interviews I have conducted with women exploited through or exited prostitution. I’ve recently discovered that setting up scenes and stop motion films with Barbies is ‘a thing’ and I’m so excited and energised about it. I have found my people.