Day 222 - Mhairi (2nd person I approached)
August 10, 2014 - I have company from out of town staying with me again, and we ended up having a very late dinner downtown. It was after midnight before I was able to hit the street to meet today's 'stranger.' I was a bit nervous about finding someone that late. Only because I thought it might seem weird for people to be approached so late at night. The first person I approached wanted to chat and even wrote down the name of my project, but she didn't want her picture taken. Then I met Mhairi, who had no hesitation about chatting whatsoever. She had logged onto Facebook and liked my page before we had even starting chatting about her life. Faith in humanity, continuously restored.
Mhairi was born in Hamilton, Ontario.
“I’m an only child. My parents separated when I was six years old. I was actually kind of glad when it happened because even though I was young, I could tell things weren’t going so good. They got back together again and of course I was happy that they worked things out. When I was eleven they spilt up again and my mother wanted a clean break, so we moved out west. She had family that lived here in BC (British Columbia),” said Mhairi.
“It was difficult making the move. I didn’t want to leave my friends, and I was going to a private school in Hamilton. In Vancouver I went to a public school, and that was all new to me. I’m a fairly easy-going person, so of course, in time I managed to make new friends.”
“I was a difficult teenager. I had tried drugs and alcohol and made some poor choices. I was dating a guy that wasn’t really a good influence on me either. My mother was not too happy. The boyfriend ended up stealing several thousand dollars from the place we both worked at. He went to jail. My mother kicked me out, so I went to live with my father,” said Mhairi.
Her father was seeing a woman and had moved to King City, north of Toronto, in Ontario. Mhairi finished high school in King City.
“I found out that my mother had tried to commit suicide a few times over the course of my childhood. I was angry with her at the time when I found out - I thought it was selfish of her. I was mad at my family for not telling me. I felt I was old enough that they should have told me,” she said.
“My mother is doing so much better now. I think my family didn’t want to talk about her suicide attempts because of the stigma that surrounds mental health. My mother and I have a really good relationship now, and I have a better understanding of why she did what she did. My relationship with my father is very good. He’s like my best friend.”
Mhairi is in her third year of attending Carlton University in Ottawa, Ontario.
“I’m studying for my Bachelor’s degree, with a major in communications and a minor in law. I really would have preferred to have taken some time off before going to university. I feel like I was too young to know what I wanted to do. But I had applied to a number of schools and got accepted at Carlton, so I went. I’m looking to get into Law, so I’ve got many years of school ahead of me, potentially.”
Mhairi comes to Vancouver to spend summers with her mother.
“I have a job here working in a restaurant so I can make some money. I have a boyfriend that lives here as well. I spilt my time between my mother and my boyfriend. I love Carlton and my room mates and the people at my school. But I really like Vancouver as well,” she said.
“I’m not happy with all the choices and decisions I’ve made, no. But I’m young enough to be able to make mistakes and learn from them, and move forward.” #notastranger