*No names were changed to protect identities. Sorry guys, that’s too confusing.
Do you ever go to bed thinking about your life and how you got to where you are? You look at one moment and realize that it was that instant, that exact second, that you became the person you are today? Yeah, I didn’t either until Becca told me I should write about it in a blog post.
I think my “moment” was about a year ago. It happened fast for me, it’s like I blinked and suddenly my whole life looked different. I grew up hearing horror stories of the Internet and the dreaded “Internet friend” turned serial killer ready to chop me up and put me in a freezer in some storage unit. We’ve all heard those stories. I’m assuming you’ve heard them anyways. For this post, just pretend you did even if you didn’t.
So, back to my moment. I was sitting in my first Mass Media class in college (how fitting…) when my phone went off. I saw I had gotten a DM on Twitter from this girl Carrie. We had talked once before, just briefly and not really even a conversation. I opened the message and she had sent me a picture from Grey’s Anatomy. That was a year ago, almost exactly, and we’ve talked everyday since then. That first message from Carrie was the beginning for me, I realized that I could have a whole new world of friends… they would just be behind a screen. I’m not going to pretend that didn’t freak me out a little at first because it did. I’ve since gotten over that fear, but it’s a valid concern and I’m sure I’m not the only one who has felt that at some point.
Since then, I have connected with so many people via Twitter and even Instagram. Now, sometimes I just sit in my bed and think about my life and how dramatically it’s changed in the past year. If I hadn’t made a Twitter account, I wouldn’t know some of my best friends. I would not be typing this right now. I most likely would not have this blog, I wouldn’t be doing the same things in school… my entire life would look different. This isn’t me being dramatic either. I’m 100 percent serious when I say that the Internet changed my life.
I don’t even want to think about what my life would look like without my “Internet friends” and the connections I’ve made because of social media. It’s depressing and boring and sad. I would probably still be studying Biology and would still hate it, but I never would’ve said anything. I wouldn’t have just gotten off a plane after meeting the cast of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal. I wouldn’t be me. Not the “me” I have grown to love anyways.
I have learned so much about myself. I have learned that I have a passion for traveling and cooking and writing. I’ve learned how to get opportunities that I normally would’ve been too scared to ask for. I know how to get my name out there and I know everything I get is because I worked for it. I’m more outspoken, I’m not shy, I’ve even started my own… has it reached organization status yet? This is not an ad for MPM, so I’m not getting into that right now. But, these are all things that I feel like have been waiting to come to the surface, and with the help of the Internet, I finally got there.
When Becca told me about doing a blog post about this, we were sitting in a Starbucks in Los Angeles waiting for Scandal PaleyFest to start. Three things you should take note of from that sentence:
- Becca goes to school in Boston. I would have no idea who she is if it weren’t for the Internet. Let alone be chilling in Starbucks with her.
- I was in Los Angeles. That’s a four-hour plane ride for me. Travelling is something that happens a lot now.
- We were on our way to a panel with the cast of Scandal. WHAT?! If someone would’ve told me a year and a half ago that I would do that, I would’ve laughed at them.
So, obviously, I’m doing new things, I’m doing exciting things and I’m doing them with some of my best friends. This is not a post to take away from all of my friends from home. I still love you all just as much as I always have!
Another thing I’ve learned from the Internet and the friends I’ve made is this: it’s ok to let people go. Not everyone in your life is going to be there for you the way they should be. They won’t make an effort, they may dismiss your accomplishments, they may get defensive when you talk about friends they don’t know. This has happened to me and it sucks, I’m not going to lie. BUT if a person is your friend, they will be happy for you, they will be your cheerleader. And unfortunately for me, as I’ve begun figuring out what I want and how to get it, I’ve lost people. It hurts but it’s life. Eventually, I’ll realize that maybe I didn’t actually lose a friend; I just lost someone I made up in my head. Maybe that “friend” never existed in the first place.
The Internet has allowed me to reach a potential I never knew I was capable of. I’ve done so many things this past year that I never thought would happen. I took a picture and spoke with my favorite actress and a woman I’ve looked up to for years, I’ve written articles for people I’ve never met, I started a movement and it blew up because of Twitter. I’m being interviewed now. People come to me for advice. People come up to me when they recognize me. They tell me I’ve inspired them to become activists in their own homes, in their schools, on their campuses… nothing makes me happier than those messages.
To Carrie: thank you for being the first friend I made on the Internet.
To Marina: thank you for always being there when I need to yell and scream and cry, this is a bond I know will last a lifetime.
To Becca: my Hillary Clinton and Kerry Washington stanning queen, thank you for inspiring me to get active in politics at home and using my voice.
To Denise: ALL THE WAY FROM THE NETHERLANDS! Thank you for every piece of advice you’ve given me and all the Adidas outfits you tag me in, you’re the reason I have no money. (she knows I’m kidding… kind of.)
To Shaye: thank you for making the MPM a national project, you’re the first one to take it to other places and I am forever grateful for that.
To Lina: You’re the cutest little bean (I can say that, she’s younger than me) and our Snapchat streak is legendary.
I know I’m missing people but I want all of you to know, no matter how many times we’ve spoken, I wouldn’t be where I am without you. Your support and encouragement means more than you will ever know.
So yes, the Internet did change my life. I am where I am today because of it and I can’t think of a better place to be. 2017 is already shaping up to be one of the best years of my life, it’s only March and I’ve already met so many new people and done so many new things… I can’t wait to see what else (and who else!) comes my way.