Fourteen-year-old-me was not entirely an introvert, but a shy and anxious teenager with horrendously wonky teeth. Early teenage years are an awkward age for anybody, but it was made worse for me when I arrived at school with two rows of bright pink braces and a red retainer glued to the roof of my mouth. I couldn’t talk without sounding like a lispy version of Bugs Bunny and being the geek that I was, I had a debate competition the following afternoon. Mortified didn’t even cut it.
Despite utter embarrassment at every public speaking event, I was a happy awkward teenager. But like every other girl my age, I became sucked into a world of Snapchat filters and Instagram followers in a desperate bid to grab the attention of the boy I liked in the year above – only to be left feeling unworthy of any attention at all as I compared my gnashers to the pearly whites of social media influencer after social media influencer.
Whatever insecurities social media fuelled inside of me, one thing I have never been is placid. With that in mind I decided to create a blog discussing the unrealistic expectations of social media (I thought it best not to use YouTube considering the state of my speech). The only problem was that it was an entirely anonymous blog with the total read count of four: myself, my parents and stereotypically, my grandma. Then one day I found the courage to tell my best friend about the blog, who in turn, told everybody else. Three months later and another good friend suggested that I wrote a review on a local gig we had gone to. One week later, I interviewed my first band.
The blog then became an odd amalgamation of the occasional rant, warnings about climate change and band interviews. Nevertheless, I discovered my love for having a voice and a platform in which to express it – no matter how small it was. I’m also glad to say that my teeth are now straight, the retainer is out, and I no longer fear my voice on recordings.
I promise this isn’t an advert for Invisalign or WordPress - ABT is a blog that aims to support the underdog. From revealing the truth behind our Instagram pictures and supporting local bands, to raising money and sparking conversations about those most silenced in our society, ABT has one aim: we want to create a community where no-one gets left behind.