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  • Writer's pictureNick Hartkop

July 10th, 2021 (Rehabilitation)

Being cancelled is an interesting thing to experience. When everything happened I was a coward and took a bottle of Xanax and crashed my car in a suicide attempt. It left me hospitalized for an OD and then sent to involuntary rehabilitation where I spent a long time. I was without a phone or access to the outside world as everything was crumbling. When I got out of rehab, it was hard to see videos and documents being made celebrating my demise.

I wanted people to like me, but I wasn’t a good person and deserved the opposite. The part that’s hard is the feeling like my self worth is determined by other people and my past. I feel like I will never be able to move forward because every time you look into me, I’m defined to a certain point in my life where I was not the person I should have been. No matter how much I could post advocating that I’m a “good person” and “have grown” the bad that people say about me would overshadow it. So the only way to truly grow from my past is to do so privately, not for an audience. But the scary thing to me is that there seems like there is no room for growth.

The thing I learned through therapy is that the internet is a wild place and public figures aren’t really seen as people, making them easy to hate. Sometimes people project their own anger and frustrations from their own lives onto them. I did that my entire life to other people who didn’t deserve it, so I understand that feeling. I also understand the idea of “being held accountable” to stop despicable behaviors, and I am glad I have been held accountable because of my cancellation. There is positivity in the purpose of “cancelling” other people, but it’s harsh and hard to process, as it should be.

The idea of being a public figure was terrifying because I was scared of other people judging me, but I’m accustomed to it now and know it comes with the territory of having music that is known. I thought all the shaming and humiliation would stop me from ever wanting to make music again, but it did the opposite.

McCafferty is my story, and it’s all the good and bad of me as a person. It shows my journey through my life since I was 17. I like that a lot now. The way you have to look at something like this is like someone who used to be addicted to a substance. I craved the substance of attention and acceptance on social media, so that’s how people knew they would hurt me most when they decided to post about me. I understand their anger and don't have ill will towards anyone. People are rightfully entitled to their opinions of me.

It has been healing not being on social media. As someone who has been toxic for the majority of their life, social media causes more harm than good a majority of the time. I don’t think it’s good for anyone’s mental health to see comments putting them down, it doesn’t matter in what social circle. It makes me feel sad that people are so angry all the time, but I am happy the worst parts of me are seen because I have nothing to hide or try to be something I’m not anymore.

It doesn’t matter how much I am shamed or humiliated, I'll keep writing McCafferty songs and putting out music. What that looks like has changed significantly in my life, and it’s for the better. I cannot handle being a public figure, and because of the judgment I faced growing up from an abusive religious mother, it further projects my feeling of damnation, and I projected that feeling onto other people in my past.

I am thankful I have had my life dissected because It has allowed me to get help and start my life the way I should have been living it. When I first started treatment and came to terms with my behavior, the amount of guilt I felt towards hurting others was overwhelming. I have many regrets in my life.

I also am coming to terms that I am more than the things people say about me. I used to think I had to have this overwhelming acceptance from others to be happy. I thought if I had confirmation from people I didn’t know, that meant I was doing well.

I have found happiness the opposite way, because I was incredibly unhappy before I was cancelled. It’s been a year and a half since then, and the experience has caused me to grow more than I was ready for, and that’s how I know it was a good thing. I am content with not being seen, but just being heard through my music.

Craving acceptance from people who don’t accept you is toxic, and I was a weak person. I have a lot more perspective on the world now, how interactions stick with people, how people are hurt, and how our words and actions can leave permanent scars. There are still times where I get overwhelmed with it all and feel taken advantage of and helpless, but that’s normal. Nobody likes when people talk poorly about them, but it’s the ability to look past those criticisms and be a genuine person that I lacked. I festered criticism and it made me hateful. I think that people enjoy cancelling because it gives them control over someone they don’t like. I see people who are hurt and need that collective approval of the disapproval of someone because it creates a bond between the people cancelling. I see it as a collective healing and airing of grievances. I am glad people are able to do that, but the difficult part of being cancelled is that there is no universal pathway for growth, and the people posting these things are still allowed to grow and evolve into the best versions of themselves, despite the mistakes they have made behind closed doors. They aren’t defined by a certain time in their life, which feels hypocritical to me. However, I understand as a public figure, I am held to a certain standard that isn't common for most people.

I finished up writing an opening song for the EP, but I need to spend some more time with it. I am excited to be making music again, and look forward to sharing more with you. Life is a complicated thing, and having a past is awful, but all you can do is change if you truly want to change. I have a lot to give to this world, and to my family, and I love that. I have to make the choice to not let my borderline personality disorder, toxicity, and my past define me. But it does shape my future. People are always going to hate me, and rightfully so, but there will always be people who accept me. That’s something that’s taking me time to become accustomed to, but something I accept. Nick

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