In the year 2000, I went to my final foster family, Eunice and Neville, a Jamaican family with strict but fair disciplines. I had never lived with any other cultures outside of white British. They saw something special in me, they took their time with me, they showed me compassion and empathy. They told me straight when I was out of line, they created consistent boundaries for me to understand, they taught me to care, they taught me to cook, to clean, to save money, they took me to Jamaica for 3 – weeks, they showed me a new way of living………. They loved me.
Despite 14 years of damage, rejection, neglect and abuse they gave me 2 years of love, peace, harmony and belonging.
I continued to struggle academically and so I left year 11 with poor GCSE’s which meant my options were limited. I went to Sutton College for a short period of time however I soon became extremely bored learning about leisure and tourism. My foster mother said, it’s either college or work, so I spent the next 2 weeks looking for work, but no one would take me on. I finally stumbled upon a factory called William Gosling & sons, a corrugated factory in Aston. I began sweeping floors and taking out the trash. Although the work was mundane and tedious, a fellow worker noticed me sweeping the floor one day and said, “You can tell a lot about a person by the way they sweep a floor”. I didn’t understand at first, however I soon realised for me the floor had to be perfect, whereas many of my counterparts would sweep rubbish into a corner in the hope someone else would clean it. I began to develop a work ethic; I began to challenge myself more each day.
Unfortunately, whilst my work ethic was steadily improving, my choice of friends was not. In 2005 at a house party, I was stabbed in the head with a screwdriver after a fight broke out. I only remember feeling the sensation of blood running down the back of my neck, then waking up in a hospital bed in Queen Elizabeth hospital, the rest is history.