I’ve taken a lot of care and thought to write out this post to the best of my ability. There are a lot of important issues regarding manipulation, abuse, and consent that were recently brought to light by the YouTube and Tumblr communities. These issues have affected and involved many people, some of whom I know personally, as well as myself. It’s very painful and disappointing to see this happen to the only community that I’ve ever felt like I belong in.
I tend to be someone who acts like he has everything all figured out. But last month, as I read more and more about abuse and manipulation and consent, I didn’t feel comfortable. I didn’t know what to think or what to say, other than to just feel that there were unacceptable things going on, and I didn’t know how I fit in. I talked about it to people around me. People I love and trust and respect. I discussed everything with people who were involved and people who weren’t. But mostly I just read and listened and learned and cried.
As those around me can attest, I get really bad stress and anxiety when I can’t figure something out. I’m an analyzer and an over-thinker, and once a problem has grabbed a hold of me, I mentally obsess over knowing all the answers. It’s for this reason that I’m cautious about adding my voice to the discussion. I’m not trying to be understood; I’m trying to understand. I’m still learning. So I’m terrified to share the thoughts I have today for fear that I might disagree with my own self sometime in the future. It happens all the time. I always think that younger versions of myself are ignorant, immature idiots. How soon until I read what I’m writing right now and don’t stand by it?
But the alternative is to not be a part of a discussion that’s happening. And while I tell myself “no one wants to hear my thoughts” and that it’s easier to keep to myself, maybe I don’t need to have all the answers to influence positive change. Maybe - hopefully - just being myself as I am now is good enough. It’s all I’ve got.
A few years ago I publicly opened up about a lot of things I never thought I’d tell anyone. I told the story of how YouTube saved my life. I almost didn’t share it. I told myself that it was too embarrassing, too exposed. I told myself that no one would care about what I had to say. And even if they did, they’d just judge me or laugh at me. That no one likes me. It’s funny how years can go by and I still tell myself those same things.
With all this in mind, I have a lot I want to share; I just want to make sure I do it the right way, for the right reasons. Sharing because I feel like I have to wouldn’t be genuine. I’m sharing because I want to. It’s not about excuses, it’s about responsibility. I’ve tried my best to capture it all in a written post, but it’s just not me. I’m not a writer. If I’m going to communicate, I need to do it the way that I’ve always done it. So I’ve decided I’m going to make a video. I’ve been planning it for a few weeks already, and it’ll be going up next month.
This has been a deeply profound experience of understanding and personal growth, and I’m humbled to share it with anyone who cares to listen.