Barrie Public Library CEO and I

I knew it would happen…sigh. Sadly, it always does with any positive mission shared on social media. Somewhere along the way, someone thinks that a mission solely focused on helping others is, “a pet-project”, “insincere”, “focused on gaining celebrity attention”, “arts and crafts – not services” and so on … (actual feedback I received via social media).

I was hoping that those comments wouldn’t head my way about the addiction get-well cards call-to-action. But in my experience, when media attention picks up… so does the stone throwing. And any disagreements with my past voting choices residents may have (informed or not) reignite and get linked to my current actions.

Side note: I am grateful for the media attention for this call-to-action; it is a blessing! Not a result of a need for “celebrity attention”. The GOAL is to get the most amount of people aware of a call-to-action, be it for legislation changes, improved healthcare, social awareness, and so on. So, I tweet the heck out of things, and am grateful when media wants to share an educational story; thank you to every who has. It’s what you want for a call-to-action! Anywhoo…

Now that I am a City Councillor, I do understand that my actions are under much more scrutiny – which in many ways is fair! And I fully understand that (in most cases – not only in this instance) negative comments about a positive mission often come from a place of hurt and sadness. And if I’m truly honest with myself, I have made comments like this in the past when I felt those emotions – before I knew better. So, while the remarks I mentioned above certainly made me disappointed, I have learned that giving these comments space before I reply is best, because if I reply with harsh words out of disappointment, well I’m really just perpetuating the problem, and being hypocritical.

Ok, so where am I going with all of this?

I am hoping to educate so that people may pause before they they throw stones at a positive mission.

I have a love-hate relationship with social media because while it is an amazing resource for community information and connection, it also provides this peculiar forum for people to lash out at someone before even doing any research into why that person is doing what they are doing. If we were always made to share our feelings face-to-face, like we did for the most part before social media, (unless you were a very angry penpal 😉), or forced to do some research prior to typing, I don’t think so many hurtful remarks would be shared, because before even making it to the face-to-face encounter, or mean tweet, the questions that caused the anger to arise in the first place, would be answered.

I have said it before, and I will say it again: would you like to have a coffee and chat about it? Let’s build bridges together. Not burn them before you even step foot on it.

Thankfully, the happiness that this simple call-to-action is bringing won’t be lessened by disappointing remarks. Love always wins! In fact, after the sick feeling in my stomach subsided after reading those comments, my desire to do MORE emerged.

These cards may not solve the opioid crisis – I never claimed that they would. But I do know that the person who received the get-well card from Mayor Jeff Lehman was so overwhelmed and grateful, and definitely felt connected to the community. And that the women in the detox who received them were in tears. And that individuals have messaged me and requested that I send one to a loved one. And that a wife messaged me and said she understands her husband more more now. And that organizations are making conversations about addiction in the workplace less filled with stigma. And that police officers will be connect one-on-one even more with youth while they make cards in our schools. And that even some doctors are looking at addiction differently. And that at the end of the day… I tried.