When I was a little girl dreaming of making headlines, this is not what I had in mind. I got what I asked for… at a great cost.

People ask me if I have any regrets from that day. The PC answer is, “No regrets!” The reality is much deeper and more complex than that.

I will always wonder how my life would have been if I hadn’t taken that ride in 2005. There’s nothing unhealthy about wondering, because it isn’t my focus and it doesn’t keep me from moving forward with what I have been given. I reflect rather than dwell, and that makes all the difference.

“Never look back” is not one of my mantras. I look back to remind myself of how far I’ve come with a body and mind that have been through the ringer. Taking a break from the constant push towards my next goal helps me to get a clear view of the bigger picture, take a deep breath, and gain even more gratitude for what my life has become.

This is especially helpful on days when I need a reminder of how strong I am, because even the toughest of us experience self-doubt. Looking back on all the hardship I have faced and overcome helps me stay confident and truly believe that I can survive anything. I can do anything.

I wouldn’t be who I am without the trauma I have endured. I wouldn’t be where I am without the choices I made to heal, grow, and transform. I did that for myself, and I am so very grateful for the opportunity because it shaped me into a person I am proud to be, and someone I love unconditionally.

This is the beauty of thick skin.

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