During my senior year of high school, my whole grade and I went on a senior retreat. On our way to the retreat, my guy friends and I sat in the back of the bus and claimed that area as our own.
When getting ready to leave the retreat later that week, my friends and I discovered that a group of girls had overtaken our spot in the back of the bus.
Rather than quietly picking somewhere else to sit like normal people would, we resorted to bullying and body shaming those girls on Twitter. We didn’t use their names, but they knew we were referring to them and were incredibly hurt by our comments.
I look back on that moment with deep regret now having a greater understanding of the harmful effects negative words and insults can have on others. It’s no laughing matter.
Now, in my role with Car Window Poetry where I help people encourage others using words, it’s clear to see that my past and what would eventually become my future don’t necessarily match up. But I’m so grateful that heartbreaking moment didn’t have to be the end of my story.
In many ways, it served as a new beginning.
Your story matters.
Not just the moments of regret, or the good ol’ days.
All of it.
And even though you can’t change your past, no part of it has to dictate your future. How you choose to use your past here in the present will dictate the kind of life you live and impact you have.
What you can’t change, use.