and-your-face

Let’s talk about growth.

I think it’s important that we take a second to talk about growth.

So, look at this terrible picture:

See the guy on the right? That’s me at 16. Let me tell you a little about me at 16. He’s a decent person, but he’s very misguided.

He’s 497 pounds, and has extreme social anxiety. He throws around the R-word and the F-slur as adjectives and descriptors when he’s making fun of people. He regularly wishes violence on people. He literally dedicates hours out of his week to making an online show where all he does is mock people and make fun of different topics.

He puts no effort into his looks because he thinks everyone is going to judge him anyway, so there’s no point. He has no self esteem at all. He’s straightedge and claims that anyone who drinks or smokes is an idiot with a need to dull their sense.

He gets mad because girls don’t seem to like him, but he thinks feminists are “just angry lesbians” and that he’s a nice guy who gets “friend zoned.” He thinks he can’t get a date because women can be “shallow bitches” but if a chubby girl claims to have a crush on him, he’ll reject her.

This is me today, at 22. 

He’s less than half the weight he was six years prior. He never makes jokes about sexual assault and instead treats the subject with the utmost seriousness. He’s learning more about his own sexuality. He identifies as a pacifist, and has recently started doing YouTube videos again, this time dedicated to teaching people to love and care for themselves, and wants to spend his life speaking to and helping others.

He’s learned more about his own style, wearing bright and crazy patterns, getting tattoos and piercings, dyeing his hair, all because he wants to express his personality and love how he looks. He’s found his confidence within himself. He enjoys going out drinking but more importantly, he learned to not judge others based on their recreational behaviors.

He identifies as an intersectional feminist, has learned and apologized for the manipulative behaviors found in the “friend zone mentality,” and practices the ideas that all bodies are beautiful and no one should be shamed for how they look.

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That’s a lot of change to happen in five years. Do you know how that happened? I grew as a person.

There’s a problem with the mentality of some people on here who, the second they see something they don’t agree with, turn on and attack people. I know we want to write people off as problematic the second we see that they’ve done something shitty in the past, but we have to offer the benefit of the doubt.

For that entire period of personal growth and change, I was creating content regularly on social media channels. I’ve deleted a lot of things but it wouldn’t be hard to go back and find a video from 2010 where I call a girl a slut or a tweet from 4 years ago where I say something jokingly homophobic. And if you showed that and yelled to burn me at the stake, some people might try and join in.

But you have to understand that people do grow and change with time. Not all of them, but more than you give credit for. I’m not saying we should allow people to go on being bigoted offensive jerks, but if you see one piece of content that would make you dislike someone, maybe give it more than a single glance before you light your pitchforks and torches.

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<Karlie’s Birthday Celebration Week>

Day 5: Favorite video – “This Is How I Made It”

Twilight Aesthetic — Mary Alice Brandon Cullen