Overexposed: A Self-Love Project.

Overexposed: Cancel Culture Triggers My Impostor Syndrome.

I’m nowhere being famous on the internet, even more so well-known on the internet. Prior to starting my blog in 2017, I was a closed book. I never shared anything about myself that was too explicit or that would tarnish my “good girl” image, but once I started to get comfortable with myself and starting to become self-aware of the things and habits I did/had, I started speaking out about them.

But that doesn’t mean you know everything I was, everything I believed, and the time I lived growing up in my younger years.

I lived during the generation where LGBT+, POC, and any other minoritized stereotype was pitted as a joke. It wasn’t looked at as wrong, it was looked at as a part of pop culture, and a lot of the things we believed and said as teenagers and children reflected on that time.

I will openly admit that I take accountability for writing the N-word with “uh” at the end as an early teen thinking that it wasn’t offensive just because the “a” wasn’t attached at the end. I will openly admit that I fat-shamed, slut-shamed, and body-shamed in those years of my life, and said disgusting things that would label my younger self ignorant. I will be the first to publicly say that my actions as a young teenager reflected from the times I grew up in; where there used to be entire shows of Maury dedicated to the audience guessing if the person dressed in drag was a man or woman and where women were depicted as whores and sluts on Jerry Springer right after. I grew up where our favorite TV shows alluded to insensitive jokes about gender & race & mental disorders and nobody batted an eye at them.

My younger self was a product of those times, but I believe people change. I changed.

With everything happening on social media (particularly YouTube) and everyone cancelling each other for the things they did and said in the past is toxic and extremely triggering to me, and not because of my own toxic past, but because as a society, we so desperately want the word to change, but don’t accept people changing.

Hi, my name is Liz, and I was once never forgiven for my past even though the person I am today isn’t a reflection of it anymore, and it still triggers me to this day.

Holding people accountable for their past is one thing, but to still know a person for their present selves and to still not accept those changes because of their pasts is, to some extent on a personal level, cancel culture. Sure, no one is not reading my content or not following me or “cancelling me” on a professional level, but on a personal level, with the people you love and care about and are able to let go of their past to see them for who they are and you don’t get that reciprocated back to you, feels like that person is completely cancelling you as a person completely, even when you’ve showed time and time again your past doesn’t define you.

I explained time and time again that I wasn’t the greatest person as a teenager, and I lost all of those years being a really shitty person. I manipulated people into believing my lies, I broke up relationships for my own personal gain and emotions involved, I played the victim and then victim-shamed other people; I was a horrible person, and a lot of those past demons I still deal with just because they influenced such a huge part of my life, but I never knew that even actively changing and knowing better and being better that it would ultimately affect some of my most important relationships in my life.

Cancel culture triggers me because I know how it feels to try to prove yourself time and time again to people that simply just can’t see you through their tinted glasses of you. Cancel culture does nothing but confirm that no matter what you do to become a better person and no matter how much self-awareness you have, there are still people who will cancel you, and to have someone quietly cancel you that you love is the hardest fucking thing to go to.

It’s so tiring trying to prove your innocence and to prove that you say what you mean and you mean what you say. It’s extremely frustrating to sit there and have the other person tell you over and over again that they can’t completely forgive you for starts to make you feel maybe you deserve not to be forgiven for your past. Maybe you’re not any better than what you thought you were.

It’s those thoughts that triggered my self-harming episode last year in August.

Again, I’m not looking for validation or for a pity party; this isn’t what this is about. If you only knew me for who I was in the past and not for me in this moment, you have every right to not like me because I was toxic and problematic but if you know me now, 2020 me, not even who I was this time last year but for me in this exact moment and you still decide to judge me for my past and make assumptions of my character even after seeing me grow up into this young adult, then you really don’t know me.

I had a really good talk with my friend Anthony (which by the way if you’re looking for new music, listen to his music on Spotify under the name Svndwn) that was about our unhealthy pasts and how when we meet new people as the versions of our present selves, we want to be judged for what we do now, not for the things we did when we were young, dumb, and naive. And it’s true; why would I judge him for the things he’s done prior to the moment we became friends and vice versa? Sure, we can talk about it and take accountability for all of the things we did in our pasts, but it’s not really our place to judge each other for our actions if we weren’t there to witness them ourselves. Yes, that scale is so much larger and bigger when you have a huge presence on social media like YouTubers who been on the platform for the last decade, but in personal situations, if you just met someone, you decided to become friends with them for the person they are in this very moment.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that cancel culture, to any degree, gives me a bad case of impostor syndrome. I constantly question my motives and how I do and say things and if there is any problematic behavior I engage in being this version of me and like I said before, it’s so easy to get sucked into those thoughts when you once had someone you loved with everything not completely forgive you for your past.

I still live my life struggling to believe that I’m a good person because for so many years, it was alluded that I was no better than the person I was in my past. Sure, I made mistakes, I made dumb decisions even being 26, but never to the degree where I was making the decisions I made as a teenager. To see just how big this cancel culture is getting, it’s becoming even harder to speak out their truth and to see them just take accountability for themselves without people immediately seeing it as an motive to appear as the “woke, sensitive, inclusive” person. Some of us really shed that shell of our past selves, and if you decide to “cancel” or never forgive a person for their past, then why are you making the effort to even try to get to know them as the person now if your mind is already made up about them?

Leave my life if you secretly judge me for my past. Your mind about me is already made up.

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