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Friday, July 12, 2024
Op-ed: Councillor’s social anxiety led to recess at special Randwood council meeting
Coun. Maria Mavridis. (Evan Loree)

This guest column originally appeared on Coun. Maria Mavridis’ public blog. It is reprinted here with permission.

Coun. Maria Mavridis
Special to The Lake Report

As some of you may or may not know, although I have stood on stage and in front of large crowds for years, I have social anxiety.

I do not allow it to prevent me from doing so many great things in life, but the challenge is real.

Large crowds and the energy in them, throws me into seizures when it becomes too much.

Ahead of the special council meeting at the Niagara-on-the-Lake community centre on Monday, April 24, I asked all my fellow council members for their support in recessing when I needed to. As well, I let them know I would step out myself if required.

They all respected that and gave me encouragement.

Moving the meeting to such a large venue was already a trigger for me.

The first recess that Coun. Erwin Wiens called was because I asked for it.

The clapping was intimidating for me. Don’t know why, but it’s a trigger.

It was a very heavy decision we were asked to make and I wanted to be sure to get all the information and facts straight as a new councillor.

Coun. Wiens is a very sympathetic man, and very protective and respectful.

He was emotionally loaded as we all were from the pressures of the night.

Chairing that meeting was tough.

What is tougher for me, is to read all the comments and emails that we are receiving about the requests to recess, knowing that I was the one who requested it and Coun. Weins was just respecting my request.

Please be kind to all.

It is not an easy position to have. But we stepped up, put our names in, ran, got elected and now have the weight of this community on our shoulders. We accept that.

Someone told me a few weeks ago “People in this town have this idea that everyone and everything is friendly and has to be and should be and we should all be comfortable. But that’s not real life. You’re a politician. You’re gonna get nasty emails.”

I’m not a politician. I am a resident, local business owner, mom and community leader who stepped up and wants to represent this community.

I am in a political seat, but as promised during the campaign, I will be honest and transparent.

This is me being honest. I, myself, asked for the recess. I do not apologize for doing so.

I am more than capable of this position and, as any other human in our community, have the right to do my job in an environment I am comfortable in.

Many of us on council agree, disagree and argue, but at the end of the day respect each other and don’t allow “politics“ to change us or the way we treat each other.

Thank you deputy lord mayor for your support and leadership.

One community.


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