“I was born and raised in a small town in Ontario. I grew up with a mother who was abusive and a father who drank from sunup to sundown. I used to act up in school so that I would be put in detention and not have to go back home. At 12, I ran away to Montreal and have lived on my own ever since. I went through years growing up of being pushed down and told I am not enough. When things were tough, I used to replay in my head the stories that I wanted to hear to stay positive. I went to counselling and realized that I am okay. I am real. I am happy with who I am. I like seeing the good in people, seeing the positive out of every situation and smiling a lot. Because smiling makes other people smile and that makes me happy. I live life and don’t think of the negative because, if you do, it will gobble you up. I would like to tell people to be free. Live free. The little things won’t matter when you get older and, if you have made it through today, you’ve got victory.
I see beauty in people on the streets. I used to work for the Metro newspaper and I would always stand in the same spot to hand out papers. I would often see the same homeless couple and would smile at them and say hi. Sometimes I would give them change, so that they could get themselves some coffee and stay warm in restaurants on cold winter days. They were always grateful. Other times they would bring me trinkets they would find on the streets. I always think, if I can make someone feel good for one moment, that is one moment less in their life they don’t have to hurt. I became friends with this couple and, one day, I told them I was leaving town and wanted to visit them to drop off some winter clothes. They told me where they would be staying – next to a dumpster and a garage on a given street. When I dropped by later on, they were so happy to see me. They told me to come in, unfolded a cardboard box and offered me a place to sit. They welcomed me better than others would welcome me in their home. Funny how it is, that people who have the least, usually give the most and care the most.”