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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Leduc Catlin

The Smile Rebellion

“We are strongly influenced by what others do, and masks enable easy identification of the rule followers and the rule breakers, thus bringing ‘normative pressure’ to bear on the miscreants to unthinkingly conform.”

Dr Gary Sidley, retired Consultant Clinical Psychologist

I’ve never been a miscreant, but I’m slowly but surely getting there.

At least as it pertains to mask wearing.

I’ve always believed in the communal effort towards change.

Taking a stand as a body, rather than as an individual.

It is far more effective to protest with thousands of others than to stand alone outside your parliament building, hoping that anyone will give a damn.

But I’m finding my integrity nagging at me when it comes to masks.

"Masking the healthy is not, and has never been, a benign intervention." Dr. Gary Sidley

Yesterday, I was at an outdoor garden centre, where I was asked to put on my mask.

“I’m outside, so no. Thank you.”

The clerk looked at me in horror - from a good 10’ away.

I get daily headaches which are exacerbated by even the slightest pressure on my nose and sinuses.

(I wear a cotton pad under my reading glasses at home, and some days even a sleep mask is too much.)

So I could use this as a reason to make my case a legal exception.

Except that’s not the point.

Masks are not only ineffective in the attempt to limit the spread of C-19, they’re actually harmful - and not just to me.

Check out…

* This comprehensive overview and campaign launch -

I’ve started wearing my mask under my nose when entering grocery stores.

Either no one notices or no one cares - or no one is willing to say anything.

Have we always been this compliant with irrational and damaging rules?

Under my nose, people can at least see me smile with my cheeks.

And when I’m on public transit, I’m wearing it under my chin if no one is within 10’ of me.

This morning, I met a neighbour for the first time.

When I got in the elevator with her, I pulled my mask all the way up.

The truth is, I didn’t want to make her uncomfortable on our first meeting.

But where do we draw the line?

Does giving in to someone else’s unfounded fears do them any good?

It seems to me that serving their interests is best done with courtesy and education.

These aren’t full-out acts of defiance, but as I said, I’m getting there.

I found another great smile campaign here:

Their slogan speaks to the positive message I’m out to convey:

Be Bold. Join the Movement. Unmask Your Smile(y Face).

As I summon my courage, I plan to smile more and mask less, until I’m totally mask-free.

And I’m not waiting for a mandate.

We may be far from a community consensus on this act of rebellion, but it has to start somewhere.

What small step can you take today?

If you're still living under these unfounded and dangerous mandates, I invite you to breathe deeply, be bold, and smile with me. 😊 😃 😄


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Jun 05, 2021

A couple of months ago I entered my building, but forgetting to put my mask on, and the concierge, someone I talk with everyday, said "hello sir, how can I help you?" Seconds later, he realized I lived in the building. We chuckled and shook our heads.

Michelle Leduc Catlin
Michelle Leduc Catlin
Jun 05, 2021
Replying to

Thanks for sharing this, Alan. Imagine then what masking is doing to children and their still growing capacity to read faces and facial social cues - never mind what it's doing to them physically.


Julia Baxter
Julia Baxter
Jun 05, 2021

Thanks for writing this, Michelle. This masking initiative is a smart and simple way to identify followers from others. I have never intentionally been a miscreant, but I'm most certainly not covering my healthy face where I pose no danger to others. Which is nowhere. Whether or not people believe I'm a threat, is up to them.

Michelle Leduc Catlin
Michelle Leduc Catlin
Jun 05, 2021
Replying to

Thank your for your bravery, Julia. That may sound like an overstatement, but it takes something to honour the knowledge and principles you have while those around you are fearful and judging. It's inspiring.🙏

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