Vendor Voices: Finding ways to contribute to her community has brought about positive change in Suzanne Kilroy’s life
Having a hairy day in your world
Having a hairy day for me, I’m selling Megaphone magazine in the Woodward’s atrium. It's raining, my feet are wet, my jacket’s kind of soaked, but most of my papers are dry.
When I came to Megaphone, things were not going as well as they are today. That was a hard time in my life. I had to listen to music and lose myself in a song for a bit just to get through life. My life wasn’t as healthy. I went through a phase where I worked for many different places at the same time.
One of them was WISH Drop-in Centre. It’s a place I used to go to eat and get makeup, and Safety Project for women in the sex trade, I’m really proud of myself.
I have found a sense of self-esteem, I found a way to get a little bit healthier every day. My addictions seem further and further away. I started gaining weight and becoming more involved, in a healthier atmosphere. I used to weigh only 80 pounds.
PACE and Megaphone magazine are a big part of my life now. PACE is a centre providing alternatives, counselling, and education for women in the sex trade. It’s mostly for women who have exited, but we help women at all levels. It’s given me some trust in other people as a woman, and trust in myself to be myself. Though sometimes some things are still scary to talk about. I still cry by myself, when I can’t tell certain people or anybody at all. PACE has groups I can go to and be supported, along with a bunch of other things they offer.
I often do haircuts from time to time and always, always everywhere I go today I go with a smile. I go wearing some really cool earrings, rings, hairpieces, and a really great attitude—and a perfect smile. Having come from prostitution, drug addiction, residential schools, and a bunch of other things I could talk about but I won’t, I turn it into positivity, living life, adapting, fulfilling, and changing.
Like a lot of things too, trees grow in the winter, flowers bloom in the spring, I now feel like I can be a mover and a shaker.
I’ve truly felt it’s time to get off my ass and be the woman that I want to be. The world doesn’t move to the beat of one drum. I own where I’m at in my headspace.
I love where I am. And I’ll be who I am.
Sometimes you’ve got to see the different parts of your city, like a park or a lake that you haven’t been to for a long time. Vancouver residents, when’s the last time you went to the aquarium or Stanley Park? I’ve been here 30 years, and I’ve been to the aquarium probably six times. Maybe go see a movie?
We can get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the whole world, the mad rush and the goings on. Just go out, go see the WhiteCaps. Or see the Toronto Maple Leafs.
We should know where we are, we should know where we live, and what’s around us. It doesn’t have to be a big rush in the world. When I see somebody running by or pushing me out of the way to get on the bus in front of me, I say, “I’m sure there’s firefighters at the fire already.”
I want to see my fire. I want to see my sparkle. I want to feel my twinkle. So I do what I can, everyday, and I just take a shot in this mad, mad world and I bring a smile. That’s how you get new things in life. You take a shot. A risk. And you get ready. And just adapt to the world’s ever-changing landscapes.
I’m Vancouver’s Indian princess. I’m a sister, mother, and I’m somebody’s grandmother. And I’m really happy to share this with you. My name is Suzanne Kilroy and I’m glad to be part of your day. Kucstemc.
Suzanne sells Megaphone in downtown Vancouver.