The Facebook web page was designed as an area for residents of Billerica to report potholes to the municipality.
But in March, a special sort of remark was noticed on the town-sponsored web page by city supervisor John Curran.
One that focused his bodily look.
The remark was shortly deleted by the city’s social media worker, however the impression of the message remained with the general public servant it focused.
“When I was a kid, I used to go through this — kids don’t don’t have a filter and they tend to say things that they don’t understand,” Curran instructed Boston.com of the therapy he skilled in his childhood. “I went through that as a young child, but, as I got older, that stuff for the most part was not as present. But then I just feel like as of late, over the last few years, it has grown — even for an adult like me. And it’s like, ‘What is going on? Why are people doing this?’ If they’re doing that as adults, then what happens to the kids who are on social media who don’t have the coping skills that an adult has that are being exposed to that type of torture or bullying or whatever you want to call it.”
Curran, who has beforehand served as mayor in Woburn and city administrator in Maynard, was born with Hemifacial Microsomia, a situation by which the decrease half of 1 aspect of the face doesn’t develop usually and is underdeveloped.
The 53-year-old determined to put in writing about how that remark — and related therapy he has been subjected to through the years — impacts him.
The outcome, an op-ed titled “I look completely different. That makes me a goal on-line” was revealed final week by the Lowell Sun, with Curran garnering reward for his braveness in talking on the private topic.
Everyone in all places ought to learn this. John Curran is a good public servant and a good higher individual. https://t.co/FvEauRrqpa
— Charlie Baker (@CharlieBakerMA) July 3, 2019
“I would like to say to any young people that are different and happen to read this not to despair. Your challenge will make you stronger, too.”
An excellent instance of braveness & management on this op-ed from Billerica Town Manager John Curran.https://t.co/AzKUs11qtG
— Patrick Shield (@PatrickShield) July 3, 2019
John Curran is the perfect. His story is a significant and poignant one. A very good reminder of how we must always deal with each different and study from each other…..particularly right this moment and on a regular basis. #IndependenceDay2019 https://t.co/hiHba4hHwo
— Mayor Joe Sullivan (@braintreemayor) July 4, 2019
If you will have a couple of minutes, please learn this column written by the city supervisor in my city. A chunk of me was fearful publishing might exacerbate, moderately than educate.
The outpouring from @SentandEnt and @lowellsunnews has been unbelievable.
— Tom Zuppa (@tomzuppa) July 2, 2019
The 53-year-old mentioned he first considered writing about his experiences a couple of years in the past when he spoke at a press convention with the city’s hearth division and unfavourable feedback about his bodily look surfaced on-line afterward.
But Curran mentioned he gave himself a while to consider it — till the March incident.
“I felt like I was in a position as a public servant to try to impact change in that area, given my own personal situation,” Curran mentioned. “I thought that even though I wasn’t very comfortable talking about that issue, because it’s not something I generally like to talk about because I don’t define myself by that, but I thought people could benefit by me commenting about my experience and trying to educate people why there are consequences to what you say on social media. It just seems like people either don’t care or they don’t think about what they say when they type the words on a keyboard.”
In the piece, he determined to share his personal coping mechanism, which he mentioned is to “ignore” his look with the hope that others see past it.
Even although he is aware of that each time he meets somebody “there’s some level of shock” and query about his look, he mentioned.
“If I think about that all the time, it’s going to be troubling to me, so I don’t think about that,” Curran mentioned. “I just ignore it. By being comfortable in my own skin, I hope that other people become comfortable with me at the same time. But if people are making these comments online, it becomes more difficult for me to do that. Because you have to train yourself to do these things. Everybody has coping skills for whatever they have. When they make those comments, they don’t know, they don’t know what my challenge is, they don’t understand that. They obviously don’t care, so they don’t think about what they’re doing.”
Encountering hurtful and unfavourable feedback about his look on-line, he wrote in his piece, forces him to “reset [his] compass,” which takes time.
The Woburn native mentioned it seems to him that the extent of discourse on social media — and on the whole — has considerably degraded in the previous couple of years. With social media, he mentioned, individuals have grow to be indifferent from each other.
“I think that these things are becoming amplified,” Curran mentioned. “People’s lack of empathy or apathy has just really grown.”
He mentioned he was fortunate to have extremely supportive dad and mom and siblings, and he’s grateful he didn’t must develop up with social media.
That’s one of many explanation why Curran’s particularly involved for youths, who may be like him, who could also be going through bullying on social media. He mentioned he is aware of it might look like the tip of the world, however he is aware of that what he confronted in his personal childhood made him a stronger and extra empathetic individual.
The bullying is simply “one snapshot in time,” the city administrator mentioned.
“Don’t let anyone or somebody else’s behavior hold you back,” he mentioned. “You do what you want to do and don’t let anyone else hold you back.”
Curran mentioned he’s heard from dad and mom across the nation whose youngsters have Hemifacial Microsomia or related situations, thanking him for stepping ahead to share his expertise.
Curran mentioned he didn’t write the deeply private piece “looking for sympathy.”
“I just thought it was an opportunity for me to use my experience and my platform to try to educate people on the impact of negative comments on social media and to try and give young kids some hope that if you’re being exposed to that, it’s not the end of the world,” he mentioned. “It will make you stronger in the end — and treat it that way. Don’t let people like that beat you, because they have probably problems many times bigger than you do if they’re doing that kind of stuff online.”
Read his piece at Sun.