Kylie’s* story highlights how organisations like Samaritans help people in their times of crisis; people who go on to achieve wonderful things in their lives.
I was 16 when I moved out. I’d had enough.
Mum was an alcoholic and self-destructive, and while I didn’t suffer any physical abuse, I’d call it general neglect.
This was the 1990s and I didn’t have anywhere to live. I went from one temporary housing situation to another, renting rooms and garages, with a brief time sleeping rough on the beach. I didn’t have a phone, nor a permanent address. I knew if I didn’t ask for help, I wouldn’t finish high school and my situation would’ve got much, much worse.
I visited Samaritans Emergency Relief centres several times, mostly to get tins of food.
Having to repeat year 12 due to unstable living arrangements, in my final year of high school I found out I was pregnant. This was a significant turning point in my life, I realised then I had to sink or swim. When you have this little baby in your arms, you’ve got to go above and beyond to make sure they’re ok.
By the grace of God, I got into university, I got a rental for myself and started studying at the University of Newcastle. But I couldn’t afford to stay on at university while working a minimum wage job and paying child care fees, so I left.
Fast forward to today and I’m in my 40s, I have a husband and three kids and I’m back at uni.
I look back and I don’t have any shame for a situation that’s not of my choosing.
I don’t have a close relationship with my mum, but I don’t have any animosity either. I was in my mid-30s when I asked my mum for the first time about her own childhood. Her early life had significant periods of abuse and neglect, which had impacted her ability to look after my siblings and I. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life being angry toward her so instead I embrace the person she is now. She’s a lovely grandmother to my children. If you can live your life not being bitter, it brings a lot of peace.
I’m currently doing a Bachelor of Social Work (Honours); my passion has always been for human rights and social justice.
I’m going to help a system that is broken and needs all the help it can get. I’m living the dream.
*A stock image and alias name has been used to protect the author’s privacy.