A Little Girl Fight featIllustrations from Neon Eulogy, by Keith McKellar
A winner of the 2011 Downtown Eastside Writers' Jamboree Writing Contest.
This is my story. When my parents had me, I was addicted to heroin. I had to fight to stay alive. When I was six years old my parents both died from heroin overdoses. I was put into foster homes until I started to run away at the age of ten. I lived on the streets, where I survived and where my fight really began. Living in doorways and back alleys, I got into drugs. You name it I did it, because it helped to take the pain away.
When I found out I was going to have a baby at the age of thirteen, I knew I could not keep the baby. I had no one and I could not read, and I was not willing to bring up a baby at that age. I decided to give her a good family who could give her what she needed to live. After having her I went back to the streets. I could not forget the pain of what I did, because I had just given away my only family that I would love.
There were many days I was so upset that I could not sleep at night. One time I didn’t sleep for a week, and I tried to end my life. I made a call to someone at Welfare. I don’t know what I said to the lady on the phone. I hung up and sat down and shot myself up with cocaine. The lady tried to call back. I would not answer the phone. The next thing there were police and firemen coming through the door, and the ambulance was taking me away to the hospital, where I stayed for a few weeks. The lady who picked up the phone that day saved my life. I did get to thank her in person, because that is the day my life turned around. I went into detox for a month.
I felt great the day I got out. It wasn’t even a minute before I was back doing drugs. I knew it was wrong. I sat down on the street. The lady who had tried to help me came out of the office. She sat down and we started to talk. She said, if you want help, just ask. I looked at her and said, help me please. We went to work. I got myself into a shelter. That helped me get into a program that helped me get into a community house where I could live for two years. I was doing good. I got myself back into school, where I could learn how to read, write and do basic math. I worked hard every day. I still had my ups and downs, but I pushed on because I wanted to become a writer.
I had to move out of my place because my two years were over. I moved into a house with a lady who seemed nice. It started out good, but the lady began to get weird four days before the end of the month. She told me I had two days to move out. I had just been diagnosed with lung cancer and I was very sick with the chemo treatments. I didn’t know where to go.
On December 1st I ended up in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, where I didn’t want to be. All the shelters were packed. It was very hard to find one. I ran into an old friend who said I could stay with him. Wrong move. I went back to shooting heroin. I phoned another friend of mine and asked for help because I didn’t want to be back on the street, where I had worked so hard to get away from. He told me to come stay with him. I knew it was a safe place for me.
I am still in school and I am not doing drugs. Don’t get me wrong—now I am older. I am still fighting to stay clean and this time is the time, because I am very happy in my life. I want to thank Linda, my special teacher, for believing in me to write this story.