Let's talk about the elephant
So, the past 10 months have been interesting, to say the least.
I don't need to provide you with links because the words "Julie Lalonde" in Google and especially, "Julie Lalonde + RMC" bring up a stream of articles, clips, creepy blog posts and commentary on what happened (and what didn't happen) when I gave a series of briefings to the Royal Military College cadets on October 4, 2014.
The response was swift, intense and as of this writing, ongoing.
I've never been contacted by more complete strangers in my entire life. My inbox was flooded, almost immediately, by allies, colleagues, internet randos, etc. Due to General Lawson's recent "Foot in mouth disease" comments, the issue has reignited so it is far from over.
This experience has taught me so much.
Like for example, how it's aged me 30 years and informed me that I used to be a Supreme Court Justice? Shit, dude. News to me!
But in all seriousness, the biggest lesson I've learned in all this is to give a shout-out to fellow allies as much as possible.
I've gotten more hate mail, threats, Twitter trolls and heart-stopping-creepy blog posts written about me during this experience than ever before in my career. But as I said, I also received over 100 e-mails, mostly from complete strangers. People who didn't know me from Job but who saw me on TV, heard me on the radio, read about me on social media and were compelled to seek me out and say "Keep it up. We're behind you."
Random people. Current Canadian Armed Forces personnel. Current RMC students. Retired military personnel. Former military affiliated folks. Young folks. Old folks.
I got e-mails from people who had participated in a past workshop or presentation of mine. People that I'd previously worked with. The friends of friends. Distant family members.
People who had absolutely ZERO obligation to take time out of their day to send me a note of support but who did so anyway.
This is my biggest takeaway from this whole experience. When you stand on the right side of history and you tell your truth, it's like a Bat signal to solid folks. Heed that call.
I am now committed to doing the same for others. If I see someone out there kicking ass, standing in their truth, being overwhelmed with resistance for doing important work, WHATEVER, I commit to reaching out to them.
Because getting a "Keep up the good work! It's making a difference!" e-mail between "You are a disgrace and should die" e-mails is the difference between getting up in the morning and giving up.
Solidarity: Get into it.