Vulnerable, Unashamed, Brave.

The Giving Keys is such a beautiful mission. I chose to give a key to a SoulCycle instructor who I connected with immediately, as she opened me up to vulnerability. There is more to the story than I told her, however, and so as she encouraged us in class this morning... DO the thing you've been meaning to do.

And this is that...

I decided to post my story now, as the 10 year anniversary of my rape is weeks away. Yes. Rape. It took me almost 6 years to admit it to my family and even therapist, as well as my close friends. It took me up two years ago to realize I'm not ASHAMED, nor am I a victim of my circumstances. I try to participate in as many advocacy awareness events as possible but unfortunately rape is still so stereotyped that women and men are hesitant in admitting their stories.

When I chose to take up SoulCycle, it was a month after I broke up with my ex-boyfriend who was "the one" for me. (And this is coming from a girl who never cared about marriage or kids.) It was a mutually heartbreaking breakup, as he was very ill and underwent a surgery which would never leave him the same or ready for commitment. I supported him throughout it. I'll never regret that support because he was so supportive and understanding of my story and never looked at rape as excess baggage like many men do.

I gave and gave and gave my love until I felt depleted. I was exhausted. and more importantly, I had no love left for myself. So my walls went up immediately as they naturally do.

Vulnerability terrified me. I had no idea what life was without my love. I shaped so much around him. From movies in the park, to doctors appointments when he was at his worst - he had my whole heart. It felt like I had my chance at a love for life and it passed.

I went to my first class, which happened to be the first one in my city at the new studio and Jax was my instructor. I was the first person in the room and she set me up on my bike. She made sure I had the foundation of my ride to let my soul breathe for 45 beautiful minutes. I never once expected that I would tear up to songs during a ride, connect so deeply with the messages she sent us through her mic... I truthfully haven't had therapists that allowed me to open up so deeply with myself; my vulnerability showed its beautiful face and I became BRAVE.

The key I gave to Jax had BRAVE engraved on it. It was the least I could do to show how much I appreciate her unlocking my soul, and my freedom in the most serendipitous way.

bravery leads to so much growth and i've grown stronger since meeting my buddy, jax.

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