It was about 4am. I was on my way backstage when I was just about bowled over by a spangled stripper in a cloud of glitter. “I’m late for my stage spot! Go downstairs and see to that girl in the changing room would you? Thanks babes.” Um, sure… I mean, it’s not like I have things I’m meant to be doing too…
I didn’t know the girl. But I found her slumped over a toilet bowl in the changing room, unconscious. I kicked off my heels and scurried over to her, immediately pulling her tongue from her mouth to prevent choking. Bad idea. Vomit spurted from her mouth and all over my tiny uniform. I grabbed a handful of blonde hair and raised her head which bobbed around like a lifeless puppet. I slapped her cheeks lightly, trying not to breathe in the unavoidable smell of puke and wine. No response. I placed her limp body in the recovery position and grabbed the phone off the hook on the wall. “Hey, it’s Whiskey… we’re going to need an ambulance down here. Her drink’s been spiked.” I was told to give her a shower and stop overreacting. “Besides,” he hissed, “the boss doesn’t want any more ambos called on us. It’s not a good look for the club. Got it?” I hung up and ran back to the moaning corpse on the bathroom floor.
“Hey, darling. Can you hear me? Listen, everything is going to be alright. I got you. Come on, let’s get you in the shower.. Ouch!” She smacked me in the jaw and drooled on my arm. “Fuck you, bitch,” she murmured. Great. This stranger, who I was trying to help, had managed to punch me, spew on my lap and insult me all within the space of twenty minutes.
Another twenty minutes had passed and I finally got her to drink a little water and stand up, leaning against me and the bathroom wall. She had gone from wanting to attack me to wanting to kiss me. Girl, you’re beautiful. But you’re wasted, I don’t know you, and you smell like spew. I tried to yank her little uniform top off her frail frame. That’s when I noticed the scars.
I had been so distracted trying to rescue this girl that I’d totally missed the thick white lines along her skin. They felt like braille under my fingertips, spelling out poems of pain and beauty over her arms and across her stomach. Each was about half a centimeter thick and they were spaced a centimeter apart from each other, decorating almost every inch of her. That night I rescued an angel. And from that day onwards my life was blessed.
We hung out a lot over the next few years. On the good days we would do each other’s makeup and dress in fur coats and miniskirts to bake cupcakes together. On the not so good days I’d be dragging her ass out of hospital or she’d be picking me up from God knows where. We were inseparable and soon became known as “the barbies” with our matching bright pink hair. I can’t say I’ve ever connected with another girl on such a deep level. I loved her dearly. But her mind started to slip from me once again.
I received a phone call some months ago, notifying me that she had crashed her car and was back in hospital. I came as fast as I could. She barely recognized me, and can still hardly remember the countless amount of times I visited her there. All she wanted was her toy pony I had bought her for her 21st birthday. It broke my heart seeing an innocent, childlike spirit trapped in such a scary place. But I never gave up on her, even when everyone else did.
The last time I picked her up from the psychiatric ward she had stitches in her arm and a kind of sadness in her eyes I wish to never know. That night we camped at a spiritual healing center. I told her the same thing I always have; that she mustn’t give up and that everything was going to change, but only if she really wanted it to. I don’t know if she believed me, but we hugged and went to sleep that night holding onto each other and hope.
It hasn’t been long at all since that night, though it feels like a lifetime has passed since then. In a way, I suppose, it has, because I think what I said must have finally sunk in; something had changed in her, motivating her to take action and change her life, and it was like watching somebody being born again.
She has been abused, abandoned, addicted, homeless, broke, bullied, and has suffered for far too long. In such a short time she has gone from feeling totally hopeless to inspiring the country with only one small part of her amazing journey. Her transformation is truly phenomenal and I have been so blessed to watch her spread her wings. It’s been a long time coming. And you have no idea how proud it makes me to call her my best friend.
Watch the video of the latest chapter of her story here and get inspired.