Photo in front of Real Change
G'day all... I'm Ria, from Melbourne, Australia.
As a child, I escaped into music, into books—or into corners of my mind. As a teenager, I escaped physically. Life on the streets was safer than life in my family home.
I always planned to be a teacher, working with special needs children—and I made it to teachers' college, despite the odds. Then the unthinkable happened— I had a second brain injury. I tried to continue my course—but found myself in a day program, drinking endless cups of bad coffee and wheezing on other people's cigarette smoke. At one point, doctors said I should live in an institution. I escaped the day program and avoided the institution. I'm now a disability advocate, activist and community worker—I help make escape-hatches for others.
I've written on and off for many years—mostly poetry, and mostly based on my life experiences. I don't know how I found StreetWrites—but I joined the group's online workshop in 1999. In July-August 2000 (incredibly!), I travelled to Seattle—I went to one international disability conference, spoke at a second one—and, of course, hung around with people from StreetWrites. I'd love to make it back to you all one day.