One mistake, one bad judgement, does not and cannot define a person. If it did, wouldn’t we all be terrible people? I am no stranger to having my dirty laundry aired, so to speak, for the internet to see and hate me for. When screenshots from a private conversation are surprisingly made public, there’s not much you can do except to sit back and watch everything crumble to pieces. While the death threats from strangers and the online abuse flooded my notifications for weeks, I so badly wanted to say my piece. All I wanted was to tell people “It’s not what it looks like” and “You don’t know the full story”. Sometimes, being the bigger person and owning your truth is all you can do. Keep in mind, everything you see online is not truly how things play out in real life – that goes for any gossip article or rumour you come across on the internet. Clickbait can be a bitch.
I’m not here to relive my personal drama, as much as I’m sure people would love to see that – what I do hope to do is to shed light on the effects cancel culture can have on a person. You have to remember, that’s who those hateful comments are being aimed at – a person. Am I completely innocent? Absolutely not, I will never deny that. Did I deserve the hundreds of people threatening to find my house and kill me or ruining my career and education? I don’t think anybody deserves that. I can proudly admit that I am not the same person I was then, but I also feel like I don’t owe it to anyone but myself to prove that.
Cancel culture is the media’s way of describing online shaming and bullying. Have we not been through this already? Something we, as the human race, have been trying to fight for years? When will the bullying stop? Cancel culture is generally forgotten about almost as quickly as it comes around, but that doesn’t make it any easier for the person on the receiving end. There are a number of celebrities right now, YouTubers in particular, being “cancelled” and threatened for videos or comments they made in their past. Some of them span from more than a decade ago. Yes, it’s important to own your shit and know what is wrong from right. However, watching the internet rip you to pieces, really feels like it will never come to end. I am certain that from all the abuse I received, none of those people would be willing to say it to my face. The social media and online world we live in is incredible for so many reasons, but it can be also be the downfall of people’s self-esteem who aren’t strong enough to handle it.
Whether you contribute to the negative culture online as an anonymous keyboard warrior, in a group chat with your friends or in Instagram comments, I urge you to stop and think about the person on the other end of those words. You never know what someone could be going through already, and not everyone is capable of coping with what feels like the whole world is backing you into a corner. It won’t hurt anyone if you keep your opinions to yourself, but the story might have a different ending if you send that threatening message or write that awful comment.
This is the only time I plan to address my personal experiences, and though I haven’t gone into detail, I feel nervous to publish this. If you can take anything out of what I have to say, please do your best to not contribute to cancel culture. I think we are old enough and mature enough to allow people the room to learn from mistakes in their past. Tearing someone to pieces won’t teach them a lesson – show them why they are wrong and help build them into better, kinder people.
Until next time,