September 12, 2019. I was walking towards my van after exploring Dunlop Street and the waterfront in Barrie for a little bit. Tabitha Silveira and her dog were about to pass me on the sidewalk when I inquired if she was from the area, and we began talking. She is now one of my heroes–a child and youth worker, on a sabbatical at this time, because that might be one of the toughest jobs, and as we talked, it became clear that she was empathic, which of course makes for an excellent front-line worker, but also requires conscious self-care and regrouping–thus the sabbatical. We had a long talk about how it is for troubled youth and people in general; Barrie is not unlike many towns across Canada. I was touched by Silveira's perspective, and delighted that she agreed to participate in this project.
Are you in love?
“Yes. I am in love, or trying to be in love with myself. So I’m working on a lot of that. I used to really think that I could find love outside of myself, and I do believe that we all take part of the 'Big Love,' but I’ve started to realize as I’ve gotten older with more challenges that it comes from within, without, so in order for me to truly love anyone and any thing, I have to learn how to dance with myself.”
Who has been the most influential person in your life?
“My mother. I’ve had the most struggles with my mom, but my mom has been the most profound person in my life. She has gone through so much adversity. She raised three kids on her own. She is a strong fighter of women’s issues, family issues, and she’s a social-worker and she just makes me try to be the best person I am. She teaches me every single day. I’m lucky to have her.”
How do you feel about the future?
“Believe it or not, I feel optimistic. I say, ‘believe-it-or-not’ because I went through a challenge the last year or so where I was struggling, where I felt, like–with depression and whatnot, but I feel…happy! I feel that there’s a lot to look forward to, so whenever I start to get down a little bit– if I start to see things and I focus on the negative, I really have to pull it back. It’s hard sometimes, but I really have to pull it back and think about all of the things I’m grateful for. And it sounds corny but it’s true: ‘Gratitude’s the Attitude.’ I have a lot of things that others don’t have, and there’s other things I’d like to acquire in order to help other people than myself so…I’m optimistic! So I hope I continue to be optimistic and can work towards that instead of jaded and bitter! Ha! ‘Love is love,’ right? So as long as I have love in my heart, I think I’m doing okay!”