If someone had told me a year & a half ago I would be standing in Belfast City Hall telling my story as part of International Peace Day, I would have laughed. I honestly never thought that could happen.
My name’s Pearse: I’m an 18 year old from the Clonard area of west Belfast.
When people talk about peace it’s usually a follow up to post war activities, but this is what peace means to me…
From my mid-teens I got involved with legal & illegal drugs and I very quickly got into conflict with my family, community, school & police. But most importantly I got into conflict with myself and my mental health. Everyone knows the saying that until you hit rock bottom you can’t progress. Well my rock bottom was a weekend in a cell and standing before a judge for the very last time. It was then I started to seek help with the local outreach youth worker in Clonard and began to work with Belfast Interface Project. After engaging with BIP I was referred to a project based in north Belfast to help me fight against my personal demons and bring back internal peace in my life.
Nearly one year on I am drug free; I am in a committed relationship and I am just after finishing my job in building the Titanic exhibition centre.
2015 has been a hard, long journey in my life. I’m regaining internal peace and hope – and this is what peace means to me. I now live by a famous quote every day – ‘every saint has a past & every sinner has a future’. Even when life is at its worst you have to keep up & get stuck in. And just remember there is light at the end of the night.
Thanks for taking the time to read my story.