“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

Why me? How could something like this happen to me?

The first time was my freshman year in college. I couldn’t believe I had gotten into my dream school. Eager to change the world, I knew I’d study politics. But that dream quickly turned into a nightmare. I met a boy. He was older and always the life of the party. Young and naïve, I was lured in by his kindness and flirtations. He stole my right to choose and robbed me of my joy.

Feeling like a failure, I left my dream school and life took me down a different path. I moved back home, transferred schools, and decided to study business. But I survived, I overcame, and eventually I thrived. I regained my optimism, my joy, and my strength.

The next time was a week after I moved to a new city. After college, I recommitted myself to a life of purpose-driven work and joined a nonprofit. As I opened the door to my apartment, I heard footsteps behind me. My nightmare replayed itself as I struggled to keep him out and he forced his way in. But this time, I fought back and scared him away.

These experiences made me into who I am today: a fighter.

I will fight for what I believe in.

I will be a voice for the silenced and oppressed.

I will use the opportunities I’ve been given to make a difference in the lives of others.

I will not be afraid.

I now ask, why not me? Because I am strong, I am resilient, I am a force to be reckoned with.

— Tracy Williams