[dropcap]I[/dropcap]t’s true, the things you say on the internet come back to haunt you. When I started Affinity, I didn’t want to be in front of the spotlight at all. My goal for this magazine was for it to be a platform for others teens, not just myself. Now, it seems I have to put myself in the spotlight for people to understand who I am, and the things I tweeted in the past. Even though I am a very private person. I tweeted some questionable things when I was younger. At the time, I was 13-14 years old, growing up in a conservative town where I was one of few minorities in my area. I am 19 now, and I have since grown.
Living in an area which would be considered a Trump supporting area today, really shaped the way I saw the world for a period. Which explains my tweets; growing up and seeing people talk the way they did, it started to affect the way I talked. I carelessly tweeted some outright disgusting things, not realizing I was spreading negativity and, more importantly, hurting other people. In my mind, I felt like the tweets weren’t bad at all and excused myself. Looking back now, I am disgusted at the many things I said.
“Let my case serve as an example that things you post on the internet live on.”
This willingness to recognize and accept my past mistakes shows at least some character development. I have definitely grown as a person. Many ask why didn’t I delete the tweets, well I attempted to, but there were so many. I haven’t talked the way I tweeted in many years. Since those tweets, I graduated high school and I am currently a sophomore in college studying International Affairs, I plan to go to law school and study international law.
“I started Affinity to educate other teenagers just like myself so they won’t be as ignorant as I was because my ignorance was toxic.”
Have I changed since those tweets? Of course I have. I started Affinity to educate other teenagers just like myself so they won’t be as ignorant as I was because my ignorance was toxic. I have a little brother, who now uses Twitter and I monitor what he tweets so he doesn’t say the things I said. He’s lucky enough to have me teaching him how to be a better person. I wish I had someone to tell me these things when I was young.
Aside from Affinity, I do a lot of work that includes activism. In my senior year, I started a petition to teach about rape and consent in my high school. It got a lot of signatures and my school allowed me to hold a presentation on the subject. Every summer, I go to Kenya and do volunteer work which includes helping my mom with her medical missions and providing medical care to people in impoverished areas. In 2015, I raised money to buy Diva Cups for girls on their periods, and last year I taught a class teaching students about terrorism and genocide. I travel to various places across the world to get a better understanding of different people and their cultures. I even write articles about the people I have met on my travels. I call out people in my real life and online who say the things I used to.
I’m not listing all of the things I’ve since done to boast or brag, it’s to show that character growth is still possible after people misstep or falter. I have surely grown as a person since those tweets, and those tweets shouldn’t reflect on Affinity or the writers because they were tweeted long before Affinity was created. Of course, I won’t forget the things I said, and people shouldn’t either but I haven’t talked in that way in years. I have matured as a person, I have grown.
“More than anything, me creating a platform for teens regardless of sex, gender or race has been the biggest measure of my growth; and I will continue on this path to a better me. “
At the end of the day, tweets are not just tweets. One or two tweets can affect the way people think and view things. The things I’ve said are not excusable, but I can only better myself from here. Let my case serve as an example that things you post on the internet live on.
Many people may choose not to support us anymore based on 5+-year-old tweets, and that’s fine and understandable. But there will also be the people who will still support this wonderful publication. Either way, we will continue to move forward and post better content. Past tweets shouldn’t reflect on the writers because they didn’t tweet them. More than anything, me creating a platform for teens regardless of sex, gender or race has been the biggest measure of my growth; and I will continue on this path to a better me.