• Nick Hartkop

Today I am struggling mentally around my cancellation. I have expressed my feelings around it in my previous posts, and I accept it and it was a necessary thing to happen to me because of the opportunity for meaningful help it has given me, and the healing it has given others, but I still get overwhelmed at times.

I would be lying if I said I didn't still struggle narcissistically at times, wanting to use social media and show people, "I'm not who they say I am." But that is part of my mental illness, that I feel the need to control every aspect of my life, and staying off social media and giving up that control of my life narrative was and is difficult at times. No matter what people who dislike me post or make videos about, I am more than the person that has been buried in a digital grave online. My therapy has helped me understand the importance of being healthy and separating myself from those environments, recognizing my toxic patterns and behaviors, and staying on a path of recovery. Something that I do when I am overwhelmed by it is I take a walk. I was sedentary most of last year out of fear of people hurting me because of the threats my family and I received during my cancellation, but that was paranoia that needed time to work through. Reality is much different than the internet, but the parts of me that have caused pain to others are necessary to accept in order to grow. Having mental illness only explains a way you react to something and your behaviors but it does not excuse them. I used to use my mental illness as an excuse. Having Borderline Personality Disorder creates these graphic images of me imagining people celebrating my downfall. I don't look at anything regarding myself, but I know how cancellation works, and see it happen to other people. When I think of it, I feel this narcissistic hot energy swarm my body, and I become feral, feeling like I want to prove myself to people that I am more than my past, but that's not who I am anymore. I'm not more than my past, it is part of me. I accept my cancellation, and am thankful for all the changes it has caused. I'm not an angry person anymore, just scared. I don't make horrific jokes, that behavior was forcibly corrected, I don't verbally abuse people. My cancellation alone didn't fix those things, but rather the help I received after it happened. Lots of people are cancelled and I see this trend of trying to prove people wrong and that you don't deserve to be cancelled, but you aren't cancelled unless you are a bad person. Is it life ruining and embarrassing? Yes, it's designed to do that because it is meant to be a reflection of your own behavior and how it makes others feel. I think making videos and begging people to see you as who you want them to see, not who you are/have been is the furthest thing from growth. When you are cancelled, you don't die. It's more like being cast out of society and figuring out if you will be allowed back in. My digital track record online says I never will, but if I were to just give up on becoming who I want to be, what would the point be of it? I'm not going to kill myself. I tried that when it happened and spent a week in the hospital I don't even remember from my OD, then being transferred to a rehabilitation center as involuntary (meaning I wasn't allowed to leave on my own accord, I had to have a doctor approve a psychiatric evaluation before I could). When I was in the hospital, my room had a tiny bed against a window with bars on it, and I remember reading autobiographies of people I looked up to and putting my feet on the window as I laid upside down on the bed. I remember the cool feeling of the rain on it, and looking out at the cars passing by. I would always think about how there were so many people out there living normal lives, and I was in there because I wasn't. I was sick, and needed help. I am really happy I was sent there, and I am happy with my life now. In a way, I feel like I have nothing to lose anymore because people will see me as they want. This blog will never get as much attention as those documents and videos, but they are important to me because they allow for me to have a voice. I am a writer, and I have this need for my words to be seen, so I am happy that I was able to work with my team to create it. If you are reading this and just found the band, Google me. Do your research and determine my worth. I have a past, and I had behaviors that needed to end. It's been a year and a half since I was cancelled. I know that doesn't feel like a long time to some people, but if you live to 100 (Which realistically no one does) it's over a percentage of your life. I don't want to waste any more percentages of my life being the person I was. I used to have a plan to kill myself by 30, but now I hope that I am in a place by then where I can be proud of myself. McCafferty is about imperfections and my growth. Even writing this post helps my head feel less cloudy, and I will be taking a walk today. I always talked it up like I was wise when I actually felt useless, but being cancelled and the treatment it has led to has given me a lot of education about the world, something I desperately needed. I'm thankful for that. On a music related note, my drummer is performing in Ireland right now and will be back this fall, but I have sent him the official demo for the single I have written for the EP this fall. I will be unveiling the art and name soon, and am looking forward to sharing it with you. I think I have always written my best when I feel manic or low, and I have been using that for this collection of songs. The songs on the EP are much more crafted then the demos I have released recently (Witchcraft, If I Saw Him, Queerball). I wrote those as one-off songs that I figured I would put up because it doesn't matter. I am glad people have been enjoying them, but I feel I can do better. I am using that drive to push myself. I've never written over a long duration of time, and I have until the fall to perfect these songs. I am going to be taking a few days off from posting but will always answer any emails my team receives. Feel free to reach out. Thank you for listening and reading this post. Nick ---------------- Smokepurpp is a pretty awful artist, but the song Fishscale has one of the coolest beats I've heard, it's made from amp distortion which has a cool energy. You can check it out here: https://open.spotify.com/track/5nmxRMHYkmrHuv3eoWnNZk?si=cWE394HDR0eMr48lCIjQmA&dl_branch=1

  • Nick Hartkop

I am writing on some basic gear that I enjoy for this album. A fender Strat, Orange Crush 20, a Boss distortion pedal, and an acoustic. I have been starting with the acoustic and building off that to stick to my roots. Once the EP is recorded I will give away the guitars I use to write it.


The song I wrote today has a nice blend of older sounds (similar to I Hate This Body) and electric that brings out sadness but it is a faster paced so it’s something that’s catchy and fun. I have a name for the EP and am working with my artist on ideas for cover art currently. Because of the heavy interest in merchandise, I am going to be meeting with a production company tomorrow to see some options for very limited items. If you have something specific you want to see about, send a message through the contact form. There are no items planned at this time, but with the EP this fall I would like to give those interested something they would enjoy. ——— The Jackass Forever trailer came out today and it was fun, but sad to watch it. Jackass was the show my father and I bonded over growing up. He showed it to me in 6th grade and we would stay up late in our basement watching the DVDs of the show and CKY on school nights when I should have been asleep. I was obsessed. It was like finding this deep dive into skating culture and bad behavior. My mom was a conservative Christian who wouldn't let me watch anything, so my dad gave me that glimpse into a world I didn’t know existed and it truly changed my life. The music, the language, the idea of fucking with people for you and your friends to get a laugh at the expense of others (I particularly loved the Golf Course Airhorn skit), it was eye opening to me. It made me, a reject, feel like I had found a group of friends that let me in on their jokes. I wanted to be like Steve-O so badly growing up, an obnoxious loser who would do anything for a laugh, and that’s how I based a lot of my humor. I always tried to be the guy who took things too far, didn’t have boundaries, would hurt myself for attention and to make people laugh, it’s cringey and embarrassing to reflect on. The humor within the culture of those films was something I took with me into parts of my life where it wasn’t acceptable. Where that was a film and it started and stopped on set, I would do things like that at my jobs, at studios, and in social situations where it was unacceptable. Immaturely, and selfishly, I was in love with the idea of being a boy in adolescence. With all its insanity and grotesque coming-of-age tales, I chose to ignore the understanding of how “edgy behavior” plays into a larger role in our lives. I wasn’t cool and I wasn’t funny. I used to thrive on that kind of energy, the manic destructive high, and It was easy for me to attach myself to it because I was out of control and failing in my own life. Failing to control my own anger, failing with accepting my sexuality and how sex works, failing to be honest and admit I wasn’t a good person. I wanted to be so destructive that people would eventually leave me alone and just watch the show. But now as someone who has failed publicly and privately, I see how awful that is. I shouldn’t have had to fail that way. I shouldn’t have been an asshole with the social and emotional intelligence of a child. I wish I could go back in time. When I started treatment. I was at a point of utter failure with no place to turn. I emailed Steve-O and Brandon Novak for advice, they are two people I looked up to in my life who had severe public failures and I wanted to learn from them. I was inspired by people who had messed up their own lives, and I wanted to ask for direction on how to navigate into the next part of my life despite my past. There are a series of videos by Brandon that are really motivating, whether addicted to a substance or any kind of behavior, you can check it here: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=OG--M8B04DA When I was in high school, right before Jackass 3 came out, there was a kid named Cody B. that I shared a study hall with. He was a troublemaker, getting in school suspensions and always starting fights. I liked him a lot and we would talk about our favorite skits from the films. The year the third film came out (senior year) he snapped his neck and died on his motorbike. Every time I see it, I think of him, and I hope wherever he is that he can see it, because I’ll be thinking of him when I see it, 10 years after his death. Looking back at my obsession with skating and things like Jackass from my youth, they make me feel pain and love. I feel pain because for the life of me, I don’t know what I was thinking. I don’t know why I thought making misogynistic jokes, or being toxic verbally and dismissing other people’s pain because they “weren’t in on the joke” was cool. It wasn’t. That culture was never about that, I just twisted it to fit my own behavior. The situation with Bam Margera is eerily familiar to me. He's Bipolar Manic spewing acid at everyone around him. He won't accept he is ill, won't get off social media, is constantly calling everyone out and is in a spiral of self-destruction. I hope to see Bam get the help he needs. It hurts seeing him constantly sticking to his sickness and manipulating those around him, causing his "fans" to harass the other JA guys because he got himself removed from the movie. The first step of getting help as a public figure is to leave the public eye. Social media and mental illness are a deadly combination. But I know how it feels to be narcissistic mentally, to feel grandiose, to live in an echo chamber. I hope seeing the movie release without him will make him want to begin rehabilitation. Even if the entire world begs for him to get better, he won't until he wants to commit to helping himself. I have so much shame about my past, and I want to be a good person so badly, I hope someday I’m able to earn that. I am not afraid to embrace my failures and to accept the way things are, everything is up to how we grow from it. I am thankful that my ongoing treatment will allow for me to grow privately and to stay healthy. I want to be the person I need to be. I am looking forward to seeing the new movie with my partner this fall, and all the things it will make me reflect on. Nick ————

One of my favorite songs, Dreamy Journey by The Peggies.

https://open.spotify.com/track/2JVm95LViJHL6TWBjhT0Bn?si=yVxVrN8lQUelvVjSEl3VvQ&dl_branch=1

  • Nick Hartkop

Trigger Warning: Suicide is discussed in this post.

----

I go to the movies because it makes me feel safe. I like to sit in the top right corner of the theater, the seat closest to the aisle. It's relaxing because I can see the entire auditorium, which eases my paranoia of someone coming after me to hurt me. Today I went and saw the Anthony Bourdain documentary, Roadrunner. I didn't know much about him before I watched the film, but I'm glad I went.


As someone who has struggled with suicide and overdosing, seeing the things he would say and do leading up to the end of his life were hard to watch, because he was hurting and needed some meaningful help, but he also didn't help himself which makes me sad for him.


There is a scene where he is putting up a sail on a boat with his friend and he says, "At least we know it'll hold my weight". His friend asks, "For what?" Anthony replies, "For when I hang myself."

When he says it, he does this little laugh and looks away while everyone is uneasy because he is trying to use shock humor to mask how he was feeling and actual thoughts going through his mind. It's really awful. When I was in 7th grade, I started struggling with suicidal thoughts and being obsessive about death and started using that same kind of humor. When I got my first cellphone, it could have a message that popped up when you powered on, and I made mine say "End it all". That was a joke I would frequently make with my friends because me committing suicide was a running joke I had created because I wanted to use edgy humor to mask the feeling of truly wanting to kill myself. I have this vivid memory of standing against my wall, my shirt off, with scissors against my chest and gathering the courage to jam myself against them.


My mother had found the phone and grounded me for the message, saying it was "weird and disturbing." I agree with her, and if I would have found those messages I would have been there for my child who was suffering mentally. My home didn't believe in mental illness and would shame it. My dad would say things like, "If you are really crazy we will send you to the doctor who will send you to an all boys home." which of course scared me. So I just kept it to myself. But I still remember that feeling of a million stones on my chest and that feeling of falling you constantly have, like there's no way for you to lift the weight.

Suicide, in a way, made me feel like I had control over my life. Like it was on my terms, my way, when I say so. It stemmed from my control issues and the need to have total dictatorship over everything that happened to me. But the way I feel about suicide is the opposite. Suicide is not romantic, its terrifying. It feels like such a waste. I fear the afterlife is what my mom said it was, all fire and brimstone, and that's a lot worse off than my life now.

I think it's important that every person realizes there is only one "them" in the history of forever. I know it is cliched but how you think, what you feel, your hopes and dreams, those are all unique to you and only you. I think that should be celebrated. We all are going to die someday. You reading this will die, as I who am writing this will die. I used to only focus on that, and miss the stuff in between. Death is inevitable, and happiness is hard to find. It takes a lot of effort to focus on the good sometimes but life is a blessing and people are happy you are here. It's like winning and losing the lottery when we are born. The human experience and earth is cool. It's such a weird impossible thing, and to be able to be here is incredible. I want to feel happy to be here, and worthy of love and acceptance. I think all humans want that ultimately.

When I first started treatment, I struggled with how misogynistic my humor and language was. I was so insecure and angry over my sexuality that I projected that into "dark humor" that in reality was an excuse to get away with saying hurtful things that were in no way funny. At the time, I thought they were funny, but no one else did. My skin crawls when I think about the humor and anger I had in my youth and past. I needed to be ashamed of it in order to recognize it, and now I feel disgusted about it. It made me feel regret that was hard to overcome. I am thankful for the education I have, but I felt like I shouldn't have needed it. There's no excuse for it. I was so sickened by it that I was constantly saying I "wanted to die."


I used to threaten suicide as a way to control people when I was scared. In my past, I had become accustomed to creating and burning bridges impulsively and permanently, so I figured I would have that same relationship with life, and die suddenly in a wave of mania. In reality I was a coward and selfish. I won't be killing myself. I tried and regretted it, and am lucky I was able to get taken to the hospital by the police.


Anthony Bourdain made the wrong choice. He lost a lot in his life, but he had so much waiting for him. He had a daughter who was 8 years old and who will never see or hear their father again. He had a fanbase that he left behind. His friends in the film are all permanently scarred by it. It was his friends who found him. It was selfish. He had too much to offer. Even with being mentally ill, he deserves more than that from himself. Suicide is like killing a flower, but not thinking about its roots. There are so many ripples in the water and people affected.


In the moment, life can feel like too much, but moments later we can experience happiness. We can't do that if we are gone. You don't get a do over, and I think even at our lowest, fighting to be here is the right choice. If you are struggling, don't leave. People are glad you are here.


If you have thoughts of suicide or need someone to talk to contact:

Lifeline (suicidepreventionlifeline.org)

Their phone number is: 1-800-273-8255


They also have a live chat you can use.

Lifeline Chat : Lifeline (suicidepreventionlifeline.org)