My name is Michael Cullen aka SpeedoMick.
Today I am part of something that has given me back my self-respect, my confidence, my humility and my sense of belonging back to me. The Speedo Mick Foundation has been set up to support young people. I was in need of that very same help and support that we are now offering to others. I have been the homeless person you see in the shop doorway, the addict, the alcoholic, the hopeless case that had made so many bad decisions that there was surely no way back.
I could not see any way out. I had become isolated from society and, left to my own devices, I made things much worse. I was no longer a part of my family and I had nothing to contribute to society or my community. I made these terrible decisions in my life in order to block out the pain I was feeling inside and as a result I took no responsibility and I blamed everybody else for the position I found myself in. I was so entrenched in my self-destructive behaviour patterns that I had lost all sight of the compassionate loving caring person I was.
My community, my family and my friends had mostly given up on me. Not because they didn’t want to help but because they had tried to help me so many times without success so in the end it just seemed futile to try. I had to learn to accept help from others, the power was in my hands and the decision had to be made by me to accept that I needed help to reach deep inside to find the flicker of hope that was left and I could return and become the man I longed to be fulfil my ambition to once again be a part of my loving family and a productive member of my community and society as a whole.
As a child I was never given much guidance. I was off the rails from a very young age and in fact actively encouraged to be a naughty child by my peers and all the grown-ups around me. I was only too happy to oblige with my bad behaviour as this was the way I received attention. I carried on this behaviour through to my adult life. I made some bad decisions. Decisions that cost me my home, my family and my friends, not to mention my dignity and pride. The first positive decision I made in a long time came in the form of accepting help from others and as a result I have been able to turn my life around.
The life I lead today is so far removed from the life Iwas living long ago. I would never have imagined just how full my life would become. Today I have my family back in my life and I am working hard to give back to society and to my community. The only reason I am here today doing the positive things I am doing to support others is because I was given another chance by total strangers. They saw in me what I couldn’t see myself and they gave me my faith back in humanity and a future to look forward to. I had lost everything and yet these people could see some potential.
After saying thank you to them a million times they said don’t thank us just go out there and give back what was given to you and so that is what I’m trying do. “You can only keep what you have by giving it away” so I have made it my life’s mission to give back to society in every way I can. I am a very grateful for the life I have today and hope that The SpeedomickFoundation will be able to help provide the kind ofsupport that I received. Giving back to our communities is imperative to our own mental health and wellbeing as well as being of service to others. I now live a life beyond my wildest dreams by adopting the practices of people that gave me back my self-respect, my family, my dignity, my hope and my desire to help others and pay it forward. Thank you for taking the time to read my story and Ihope that it has given you some hope.