15 years ago this year, Fashion Bzaar, was born on the world wide web for the first time. What was never supposed to be a gigantic news agency was once a small entertainment blog that I did as a hobby and for a grade in secondary school. I was never emotionally; literally, or physically prepared for what would happen because of Fashion Bzaar — mostly because I had never expected it.
It blew up, and, it blew up fast.
By the time I was about 14, Fashion Bzaar was the 203rd most visited website in the United Kingdom (in present day its the 78th ) according to Quantcast and other scoring websites available online. This part right here essentially accidentally made me one of the world’s most popular blog publishers. But, how?
I’ve never truly reflected on how I accidentally became famous and people suddenly collectively connect me in person with the likes of the well-oiled machine that has become The Daily News. I never in a million years imagined that people would spend hours a day visiting this newspaper, viewing dozens of articles, hanging on to practically every word that I say.
I’ve been “Famous” (emphasis on the quotes) for as long as I can remember. The Daily News has accidentally catapulted me to a status that I never knew existed, perhaps, even a trust that I had never experienced in my real life. People from all over the world e-mail; tweet, text, and even call in every day asking me about news headlines and if something is accurate from competing newspapers.
It t ook me 15 years to realize that in various forms I had become an ‘entrepreneur” and depending on who you ask I have on all accounts become a “Celebrity”. A status quo that I never truly accepted because people would laugh in my face at the thought of myself doing something to chase my dreams or follow through with a goal. Being told that I would be nothing and amount to nothing when I came out of the closet.
It was harsh. But I made it.
But I’m terrified. What if I say something that incites a riot? What if I say something that makes people think wrongly of something? What if I misstep and give people the wrong impression? I’ve never had a mentor to guide me through what a life like this is, a life, where you’ve been given an extraordinary opportunity to speak to the world.
And by speak to the world, I mean, speak to the world on a colossally large scale.
I recently read a very intriguing interview starring Selena Gomez in her first American Vogue issue. It rang all true to some of the things I to have dealt with sort-of growing up in the spotlight as a major blog/newspaper publisher online. When people finally started t o connect the dots and my name grew to collect its own form of recognition, I, didn’t know what to do.
I had become isolated; consumed, and often irritated that my voice had become suddenly amplified by means I never truly understood. There are times that I wish I could rewind the clock and never actually have taken control of this newspaper. Times that I wish I could go back, like Selena, but in my own life, to being that nerdy suburban boy who achieved near genius-level grades in school. I had dreams; hopes, high-stakes at Ivy League institutions — but they were ruined.
This life; the internet, internet trolls ruined any chance I’d ever get of attending an Ivy League Institution or getting a job as a Forensic Scientist or in Public Office. As a normal human being, my life has been virtually over for years, because, the internet has consumed much of my life unwillingly due to other blogs feeling as if they can violate my right to live and say what they wish without consequence. The unfairness I have faced over the years has resulted in one singular way that I feel: Vengeful.
But I’m not supposed to feel that way. According to the internet, I’m supposed to lay down and take it. I’m supposed to read what they say, but say nothing, remain quiet. I’m supposed to let my loved ones; family members, and friends see the horrible things people have said about me — but — make no effort to retain my reputation.
15 years later, I’m taking a stand. There are blogs out there that have accused me of having HIV; engaging in criminal acts, sleeping with children, and tax-evasion (among other things). I have lost some of my most beloved dreams due to these blogs, and now, to save me from anymore struggling — I — intend to take them out.
Nobody should be given the power to hide behind a keyboard and essentially destroy someone’s life. Nobody. People abuse the “Constitution” and “Our Rights” so much that they’ve gotten “Freedom of Speech” confused with criminal behavior and harassment.