Spotted in Newtown.
‘My mum just got out of becoming really sick. She had a bit of a drug habit in other words. My father died early this year so I’ve had to deal with a lot of grief and that kind of stuff. We’re all strong people and everyone has a story. It makes you who you are and if you can get through that pain, it makes you stronger.
‘The hardest part is trying to get my mum to be stable. She’s been in this drug habit for as long as I can remember. The fact that she’s still alive is surprising. She won’t contact us and then she will. It’s really stressful because we don’t know what to do. I’ve got little siblings that live with my grandparents and are really worried about her. I want to do more to help but unfortunately I can’t stop her from being in this habit. There is nothing I can do except for just support my family. So that’s what I’m trying to do at the moment.
‘When you’re dealing with chaos all your life, you just want stability. When I say to people, I just want to get a job, they ask me why and tell me that working sucks. But I’ve never had a job and I want to do something. I want to contribute to society. I want to have an income, have a place to live, pay rent, have a stable life where I can work, see my friends, have a routine and not have to live in chaos.
‘Stability to me means having a home, having a place to go to and knowing who the people in your life are that support you. When you’re in too much of a chaotic environment, your head gets chaotic, you don’t know who you are and you lose sense of everything. Your sense of reality is warped and that’s what I’m trying to heal from now. I’m just hoping that eventually I won’t have to deal with that anymore.’
What’s one memory you hope you never forget?
‘My mum passed away when I was about 19 so I had to look after my brother and sister on my own. They were 12 and 13 at the time. I don’t know how I did it. It’s hard looking after teenagers at any age. I managed for about 4 years and then I couldn’t do it anymore so my sister went to live with my family up in the country and my brother went to my dad.’
What do you miss most about your mum?
‘The fact that I didn’t have to be responsible. I miss her all the time. Every day.’
‘The saddest moment in my life was when I went to Long Bay Jail. I spent 2½ years in there. I robbed a 7-Eleven in Matraville. I was an alcoholic and a drug addict.’
What did it teach you?
‘Gratitude. Loss of freedom. It taught me to be humble. It taught me to respect others – that you can’t take other people’s money or belongings. I’ve turned all that around in my life. I now go down to Mathew Talbot every Tuesday and feed the homeless. I give back; try and make up. I haven’t been back to prison since 1999. I intend not to go back. I’ve got 3 businesses and I went to acting school.
‘It’s hard when you’re in prison because you’re judged by the police first and you’re judged by the judge and jury. Then you’re judged by Corrective Services and then you get out of prison and you’re judged by society.’
What was the hardest thing when you came out of jail?
‘Getting accepted again by society – them not knowing that I’d changed. There are some people in society that want help; that want rehabilitation. I’ve learned my greatest lessons from my biggest mistakes.’
‘I remember going towards the station and then everything goes black. I had a traumatic brain injury and was in an induced coma for 6 days. They weren’t expecting me to be walking or talking very much at all but miraculously I got out of hospital about 2 weeks later.
‘I was crossing at a pedestrian crossing and was run down by a station wagon. A year and a half later, I’ve finally been able to think about things like this and try and find the person who saved me.
‘The only information I have is that her name starts with an M – Melanie or Melissa maybe. I’m told that she gave me first aid – possibly CPR – and it very well saved my life. She called the hospital in the first couple of days probably 3 or 4 times just to check in and the hospital staff tried to take her name but it all got lost in the paperwork.
‘Not only did she probably save my life on that night but knowing that there was someone like her out there has helped me recover and has probably saved my life throughout this year. It’s given me faith to pull through.
‘I just want to let her know that the person that she stopped and saw that night covered in blood is alive and incredibly grateful. I hope to meet her one day just to say thank you. I’d like to be able to explain it with a deeper meaning but in the end it just comes down to two words. There are a million ways to say it but the message is just “thank you”.’
‘They always thought I was a freak – that I wasn’t normal. I just wasn’t the average Joe as they say. It pretty much lowered my self-esteem and I thought I can’t dress this way or be this way and I have to look the same.
‘I used to live in a country town but now that I’ve moved here I have the chance to be myself instead of hiding away. It’s like I’m free now.
‘You can’t let other people’s expectations get you down. Just follow your heart and what you really want in life. If you want to be yourself then why not do it? Nothing is standing in your way. It’s only yourself that’s stopping you.’