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Take Back the Night

Last spring I had the honor of giving the keynote speech at University of South Florida's (USF) Take Back the Night event. A night before my 29th birthday I stood in front of a crowd  and spoke about my life; the event that broke me and how I have begun to rebuild. This was the first speaking engagement where I had my parents present. As delighted as I was to have their support,I would be lying to say I wasn't a little extra nervous. I planned to disclose more details about the attack and how I processed life after it than I shared with them before. In some way I felt even more raw and vulnerable speaking to my loved ones than a crowd full of strangers. To add to my anxiety less than an hour before I had gotten unrelated bad news that had me head spinning.

  As I found my place behind the podium I took a deep breathe, my first of many, that I had written reminders for on my paper. Sometime when I am nervous I forget to slow down and breathe but eventually it melts away. One of…

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