Rediscovering your Identity

When younger people like myself go through a sudden change in their life—specifically in regard to their beliefs or their sense of identity, they very often go through a period of acting out. I don’t claim to understand why this is all the time. I’m sure very often it’s an attention-seeking tactic to try and exact some form of revenge on the people who either made them be a certain way when they were younger or don’t fully accept them in their new identity. The only thing I can speak on with any authority is my own experience with this when I came to terms with my own atheism back in 2019.

I wrote about this on one of the first posts on this blog, but at this time, realizing that this was a label I was going to have to use to best describe myself was not an easy revelation to come to. On top of the baggage of my own religious past, there was and still is a bit of a societal backlash against the idea of atheism, some of which is almost certainly earned thanks to a number of very vocal, very crummy people in the community.

But for me, I didn’t really experience any of that…

The people closest to me in my family have reacted better than I could have hoped for given the circumstances, and most people outside of religious circles, like at work or school, couldn’t care less what my beliefs are.

I bring all this up to say that I really don’t have a good excuse for the last three years—especially much of what I did online with my YouTube channel throughout 2020. I barely mentioned my atheism on the channel, of course; it took me months before I felt comfortable even eluding to it in a public manner. I think I dropped a joke about it early on, but for the most part, I was doing random videos with no real purpose or direction, and I kinda hate them now.

For one, they aren’t even funny. I’ve always been a pretty bad speaker when it comes to my enunciation, but this whole era was just pure baby-talk nonsense. If you think I’m being too hard on myself, go back and watch them right now—you’ll see exactly what I mean!

I don’t think there’s necessarily anything wrong at its core when it comes to edgy humor or even these types of immature YouTube channels that feed off adolescent children’s sense of superiority. But I have noticed a lot of bad side affects that come with it. Sexism and racism seem to easily slip into these communities in the form of jokes, and any attempt at actually addressing the toxicity in the community is met with even more jokes.

“Oh, you gonna cancel me, bro? Can’t you take a joke? Go outside and touch some grass!”

The absolute obsession these communities have over the ‘Sigma-Male grind’ and supposed alpha-male celebrities is ridiculous—especially when you see their outright hatred of women like Bri Larson and Amy Schumer, who are just as talented and no more annoying than 90% of men in the same industry.

A great example of this would be a meme I thought was hilarious for some reason: “respect the wahmen!”

For those of you who don’t get the joke, women are annoying, so we’re going to talk like 4-year-olds to them any time they ask to be listened to.

I could go on about the problems in these communities, but I think the one that sticks out to me the most is the lack of growth. When I became an atheist, it pretty much took away all of my preconceived beliefs, leaving me to rebuild from the ground up. So it makes sense for me in the moment to be drawn towards these communities, which seemingly have no agendas or even a point to them. But long story short, that isn’t me anymore.

I’ve spent so much time on YouTube saying so much while saying nothing. There was a point where I truly felt like I was becoming a better presenter and speaker, but at some point, I just stopped progressing. As bad of a year as 2020 was, it was the first year I really felt like I made any progress toward being anything better than I was. I learned so much more about science, history, and how the social order functions than I had for years.

I enjoyed doing a lot of the videos on this channel. The meme reviews and podcasts were a blast to do, but from now on, I don’t want to put out any more content on the internet without being fully intentional about it. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with gaming content—I’m still close friends and a fan of people who do these kinds of videos. But for me, I think I may be done with this genre of content for good.

If I’ve got something good to contribute to the world—and call it ego, but I still believe I do—I don’t need 40 hours of lets plays or live streams or podcast episodes to say it.

If I’ve truly got something of value to add to the conversation, I can say it in five minutes.

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