November 15th has been a day of reflection, sadness and a lot of emotion for me for the last 7 years. My life changed forever on this day 7 years ago. I became a different person.
Two days ago I spoke to a large group of college women at a “Girls Night Out” event. Normally when I am asked to come speak at events I talk about my company and what I do. I discuss the difficulties of growing up a girl in today’s society and I educate on self-esteem, body image and sometimes sexual health. This time I chose to do things differently.
My speech was my life story. It was the first time I spoke publicly about the things that occurred in my life that led to what I’m doing now. I discussed all the events that led me to who and what I am today. The bad decisions I made and the situations that were out of my control. There were 4 specific years in my late teens and early twenties that were filled with shocking circumstances. I wanted to share my story in hopes of inspiring, motivating and opening the eyes of these young women.
The last tragic thing that I’ve experienced was on November 15, 2006. A day that I remember vividly and one that replays in my mind often. On this day, a life that changed mine was taken, and because of that, the life I once knew was gone as well.
We all deal with things. Things that break us down and things that build us up. This broke me, but only for a short time. You find strength that you never thought you had. In my case, the strength was powerful. I learned, I overcame and I turned tragic sorrow into motivation and appreciation. The man who accepted me and my previous mistakes and the man I spent 17 months of my life with, helped pave the way for who I would ultimately become. Today, November 15th, I celebrate him and the lasting impact he’s had on me.
If you want to know more of the story you can read about it in last year’s post: “6 Years Ago Today…”