Teen Talk Hotline was launched through my own experiences of being bullied at school due to my sexual orientation.
I remember feeling so scared to come out of the closet, and at the time of me coming out of the closet, I had no one to count on. It wasn’t the best moment in my life even though I would have loved if it was because that’s when I was authentically becoming myself. There were moments when I felt as if I didn’t have a voice, and this led to me becoming depressed. It’s sort of like feeling like you don’t matter in the world and that feeling is something I don’t want anyone else to feel.
People see coming out as something that should be looked over but in reality those same people don’t understand how much strength it truly takes for someone to tell others “I’m gay” for the first time in their life. Before I came out, I was overthinking to the extreme, and I predicted most of the things that did happen to me, including being rejected by the ones I called friends and family. Let alone rejections from those I loved, I was also being bullied at school by my peers and my mental health was on a decline. I had to do something for not only myself but for those who had other terrible experiences in their life. At age 15, I launched something that was bigger than myself – Teen Talk Hotline – in an attempt to give myself and others a voice.
Growing the platform isn’t easy to do and it’s also something that I am still in progress of doing. It takes a lot of experimental concepts that typically fail to find the branding. However, one thing that will forever stay in our brand is kindness. Kindness is so important yet so rare to come by in your daily life. One small act of kindness can have ripple effects in someone’s life, and I feel as if more people need to understand that this is something that can save lives. Kindness is also so simple to do! It can be as little as having a conversation and listening to what someone has to say. Their voice matters and for all we know, it could be something that they needed to get off of their chest. Looking back on the situation I went through when I came out of the closet, I wish people expressed kindness towards me and supported me during that difficult time. Just one person could’ve changed everything for me!
Reflecting on everything, Teen Talk Hotline was purely launched based on kindness. Not only did I create it to help myself get through a difficult time, but I was also helping thousands of people get through something that I don’t even know about because it was done indirectly. We need more of that in the world.
There’s this quote: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” It reminds me that everyone has the power to provide a kinder world for yourself and others. That should be a small, yet doable priority for everyone in a world full of hate. The act of kindness can eliminate a hundred acts of hate.