Jasmine didn’t think she would make it to her formal. But for the kindness of strangers, she might not have had the chance....
I lived with my grandpa…
… for the last four years. But he's been there for me my whole life. He let me know I mattered. When I was a kid he would treat me to a caramel tart every Saturday, and he told the best stories. He kept it real. Without him I wouldn't be who I am today.
He retired to become a flower farmer but I lost him to cancer earlier this year, which hit me pretty hard. I try to sell some of his native wildflowers at the markets because it kinda keeps his memory alive.
I stayed at The Haven…
… when my grandpa got sick, before I had my licence. (It’s a place that supports young people who are at risk of becoming homeless). I stayed there for about four months so I could keep going to school. The people there were all lovely.
Now I stay with various friends. My friends and boyfriend have been really supportive. I was classified as an independent student at school and all the teachers knew my situation.
I didn’t have the money to go my formal.
I didn’t have a dress. I didn’t know what I was going to do. I obviously couldn’t go.
Then a woman I had never met before, Paula, organised this bunch of lovely ladies to come into the school and I was taken into this room where they had all these dresses set up, with shoes and jewellery. They said it had all been donated and was free! They said, "Take whatever you need!"
I bawled my eyes out I was so happy.
I found a dress that was plain white.
The back didn’t quite fit but a friend altered it for me. I tie dyed my dress using spray paint and it turned out ok. Someone else paid for my formal ticket. I was given a voucher for my hair and make up and Mandy from Odd Violet Creative generously took my photos for free.
It has been a really tough year for me.
I struggled with anxiety and depression and losing my grandpa has hurt like hell. Sometimes I felt like people didn’t quite understand, because he wasn’t my mum or dad, but he was my stable, go-to person. I miss him so much.
Through all this I still managed to get my licence and graduate from year twelve. I am really glad I finished school or my grandpa would have kicked my butt!
I found there is so much help out there.
My friends are great but sometimes my struggles were too heavy for them to carry. I needed to talk to people who were trained and could handle me at my worst.
Sometimes things got pretty dark. I hate on myself really hard a lot of the time, but talking to these people has helped me feel understood and more normal.
They have all been wonderful and continue to help me find my feet as I focus on finding a place to live and a steady job. I hope to do more markets on the weekends and save some money, I’d like to travel some more!
We were blown away by Jasmine’s spirit, her resourcefulness, creativity and her ability to ask for help when she needs it. Things aren’t always easy or peachy but Jasmine is determined to keep going, to truly live and have some fun doing it! Thanks for sharing your story, you bright, beautiful human!
by Henrietta Lee