I was born in Adelaide, then I moved away at about seven and travelled between Queensland and New South Wales. I was in and out of foster care, so I’ve had a lot of life experience. I came back to Adelaide when I was 18, and I haven’t left since. With my tumultuous childhood, it gave me stability, a sense of security. I finally got myself a home after being homeless. It’s been life changing.
I came to The Big Issue when I was almost 24. A worker at Streetlink Youth Health Service heard about [the Women’s Workforce] and brought me and one of the other girls here. We both jumped at the opportunity. After a while, I wanted a bit of extra money, so I was a vendor at the Adelaide Hills Farmers Market. I also did Street Soccer before I fell pregnant. I could probably play again now, but my son would want to get into the game as well!
I’ve made some good friends here – there’s a couple of ladies I catch up with outside of work. There’s been a lot of learning. I’m quite a strong thinker, and I love talking to different people and getting to understand where they’re at. It’s been good for me, and I really enjoy the work.
I’m very creative, and I like to sew. I’m self-taught. If I’m stressed, I get out the sewing machine. I got my machine as a Christmas present for myself. I started making children’s clothes, and I do a really good job. I’ve made a jacket for my son from an old woollen blanket. It’s got fox ears and a tail. It’s nice to see my little one in that. Recently I decided to make something for myself, so I can say, “I made that”. I’ve just finished a pair of culottes that are really cool.
I love art. I love earthy colours, earthy photography. That inspires me. When I started photography, it was kind of a spiritual thing. Since becoming Christian, it’s not so spiritual, but very enjoyable.
Out of everything I’ve done in my life, having my child has got to be the most amazing thing. I love watching him grow. He’s learning to read. Some days, I’m not perfect, but I’m doing the best I can – and I’m a world away from where I grew up. I’m doing the work to reverse my history.
I try not to focus on the past. Live and learn and grow, and do better for the next generation. At the end of the day, if my son grows into a good man, then I’ve done my job.
I don’t know what the future holds. I just trust that God will hold me. Then you just get out of your own way and let Him do the work – which is hard, because humans like to try and rule the roost! We don’t know what we’re doing half the time. But in general, I think I’m doing pretty good.
Krystal works in The Big Issue Women’s Workforce in Adelaide
Interview by Aimee Knight
Photo by Jessica Clark