If you had one minute to leave your house for good, what would you take? My answer that night was – surprisingly – my toothbrush. In that moment of panic I wasn’t sure what the next five minutes of my life would bring. But I did know that wherever I ran, I could wipe away the tears and at least brush my teeth.
The next day, in the same clothes and underwear from the day before, burning mascara-blurred eyes and a broken spirit – I stared into my portable classroom wall wondering, what now? The adrenaline had worn into shock. Where could I go? Who could I trust? Who would help me? I had no answers to what seemed like logical questions. The only thing that made sense was the overwhelming urge for a hot shower, some deodorant and some makeup to feel human again.
As it turned out, my spirit wasn’t broken. I refused to let that period in my life be an excuse to fail. It made me wonder how many other people faced similar situations. I pondered how I could make a difference – just as that toothbrush had made a difference to me. It wasn’t until my late 20’s that I had ‘that’ lightning bolt moment. I always dreamed such moments would happen while drinking tea with Himalayans at the top of a mountain I had spent all day climbing. But no. Ironically, it happened in the shower.
I was using a mini shampoo I picked up from a hotel on a recent getaway. I wondered, who else secretly ‘pinches’ these toiletries? Who could use these hygiene essentials? With 20,000 people currently homeless in Victoria, I realised it was potentially thousands of people daily.
What if I got a few friends to collect their toiletries while travelling and we donated them to someone who supports victims of family violence and homelessness? So I told a few friends, their friends told their friends and Facebook helped us tell loads more.
Sometimes your greatest moment of heartache is the one that defines your destiny. The day I picked up that toothbrush was the day Pinchapoo was born.