Photo by Anna Shvets

Recently, cancel culture has been a hot topic of discussion. Let’s be clear: cancel culture is not real. Chris Brown almost killed Rihanna in 2009, and six of the seven albums that he has released since then have gone platinum (the one that didn’t was still certified gold). J.K. Rowling continues to proudly spew transphobic rhetoric, and still has an estimated net worth of at least $670 million. Do people need to be given more room for genuine reflection and change, especially if we’re talking about people’s beliefs naturally evolving over decades of time? Of course. But that doesn’t mean you can’t face some criticism from a few randos on Twitter if your beliefs or actions are hurtful.

Speaking of Twitter: my ten-year anniversary is next month! Of course, I was on the Internet long before Twitter. As a Millennial, I spent my formative years chatting on AOL Instant Messenger, learning to code on Xanga and MySpace, and watching funny videos and playing games on eBaum’s World. I spent hours reading through the Television Without Pity forums and recaps, the Snopes archives, and countless other trivia and joke websites. Hours combing through LiveJournal for X-Files screencaps, fanfiction, and icons. Illegally downloading music from Xanga and LimeWire. Hours spent reading Gilmore Girls fanfiction on You get the idea. Still, no part of the Internet has quite touched my life the way Twitter has. That is to say, Twitter makes me completely miserable, but I will never leave it. When the day comes, I will implant that computer chip in my brain and inject Twitter’s HTML and JavaScript into my veins. Sure, people are on there saying dumb nonsense all the time (myself included), but occasionally something great happens. I can’t think of anything right now, but trust me, something great has happened on Twitter at least two, maybe three, times since I joined ten years ago.

All of this is to say that my only hope of ever leaving Twitter is to get cancelled. Unfortunately, I am both too unpopular and too aware of what I post online to get cancelled. Also, I am perfect and have never done anything wrong or controversial in my entire life.

Thus, I recently found myself inspired by the story of Jessica Krug, an American professor who pretended to be Black for years and, in a Medium post supposedly written by her, declared, “I absolutely cancel myself.” I am not inspired to pretend to be Black, as that would be both wrong and completely unconvincing. I am, however, inspired to cancel myself. So I am declaring it right now. I am cancelled.

So what am I cancelled for? As stated above, I have never done anything wrong in my life, and I stand by that statement. That said, consider this: I don’t like pickles. I sometimes (always) dream about inflicting physical violence on people who make me angry while driving. I prefer cold weather over warm weather. I’m American (the worst thing about me). I am a Gemini. I’m only fluent in one language (embarrassing). I don’t find Chris Evans particularly attractive. I think Law & Order: Special Victims Unit is the worst Law & Order. I am not doing nearly enough to use my privilege as a white, college-educated American to fight systemic injustice and our nation’s descent into fascism. I think Jane Austen screwed Henry Crawford over. Elinor Dashwood should have ended up with Colonel Brandon. I think hockey and golf are stupid. I have never read any of the Harry Potter books nor seen any of the movies (now I’m just bragging). Feel free to cancel me over any of this, or over anything else you’d like — I’m not particular!

Of course, there are two ways to deal with being cancelled. One is to log off forever and travel the world and somehow not post all about it on social media. This is my goal in cancelling myself, but I fear I may actually follow in the footsteps of the aforementioned J.K. Rowling: Tweeting through it. I will continue to tweet about how pickles are disgusting and how they ruin everything they touch (while simultaneously insisting that cucumbers are good). I will get into vicious Twitter arguments with people and blast their incorrect opinions regarding pickles and all other food all over social media. I will write a bunch of self-aggrandizing nonsense in my phone’s Notes app, screenshot it, and post it to all of my social media platforms. I will post an angry and out-of-touch video rant to my Instagram stories. In other words, I will never log off. I will be more online than ever before.

Re: everything that’s been going on the past few days. (Photo and text by author)

Still, when being cancelled, one must hope for the best. Life is all about the chances you take, and I am willing to take this chance. If I cancel myself, I may be more online than ever, but there is also a chance that I will finally log off. That I will finally be free. That I can finally rest.

So, as of October 2, 2020, I will be officially cancelled. Why the wait? My ten-year Twitter anniversary is the first. It would be a shame to miss it.

Cat mom, librarian, and writer in Chicago.

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