Flourish Australia showed me how to reconnect with my creative side in an authentic way, instead of hiding my anxiety behind big hats and flamboyant style.
My lived experience of anxiety was triggered by the Bali bombings back in 2003. I set aside studies in fashion design to migrate back to Australia and be closer to my mum but found myself homeless in Sydney after we had a falling out.
At first I got by, selling ‘The Big Issue’ and surviving on the streets, then took up work with a tailor for the prestige brand Easton Pearson, until an online job search led me to a packaging job with Flourish Australia. Taking that one step to apply has changed my life in so many ways. The work culture was so welcoming and encouraging that it put me at ease right away and Flourish Australia helped me to secure an NDIS package which has given me access to things like The Academy of Learning, as well as practical everyday support like cleaning.
They organised a visit to an exhibition of James Cameron’s art and his work as an innovator which reignited my passion for design, while having the opportunity to produce a video has reconnected me with my creative side.
I’ve always loved keeping a journal, so I’ve started writing for Flourish Australia’s Panorama Magazine and feel proud to be producing something others can enjoy. My ambition is to write something suitable for publication in a mainstream newspaper, that people in the wider community will respect and want to hold onto, because what I have to say, has made a difference.
Despite how far I’ve come, I still feel vulnerable and like I’m fighting with life because of the discrimination I encounter in the community, around my transgender choices. Being part of an inclusive workplace helps me to remain resilient. The financial and emotional stability that I’ve found being part of Flourish Australia, gives me the freedom to stay focused on what makes me happy and go after what I want for my life.
But the most positive change for me has been doing away with wearing the flamboyant hats and statement glasses that I relied upon, to mask my insecurity. I’ve learned that people respond to authenticity. They want to see a face they can identify with and get to know the know the real me. For the first time in my life I’m ok with that, thanks to the support I’ve received at Flourish Australia.
Talk to us today
Our approach to supporting you is different because more than 50% of the people we employ have had their own lived experience of mental health challenges and many of them make up our peer workforce. They get it, because they have been there, so they're able to come alongside you with genuine understanding and insight.
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