2014 was an interesting year full of some hard life lessons, emotional turmoil, and a lot of growth. Here’s some life lessons I learned this year.
###Fighting your demons is hard### August 2013, I was sexually assaulted by a massage therapist. Instead of burying the pain, I decided that this time I would work through it. And you know what? Dealing with trauma sucks. It is way easier to stick your head in the sand and tell everybody and yourself that you’re okay. It means random panic attacks, intense bouts of crying, and worst of all: being honest with yourself that you will never be the same. It sucks because you don’t know what’s wrong and why it’s happening or when you’ll get better. But it gets better. Then it gets worse. But ultimately, it gets better.
###Asking for help is even harder### Admitting that something is wrong is really difficult. Asking for help and allowing people to help is even harder. This year I was very open and honest about what happened to me and the results surprised me: people were really supportive. It’s easy to think that you’re all alone when you’re going through rough times, but it turns out that the people who care about you still care about you even when you’re struggling. And opening up about “taboo” subjects like sexual assault makes it easier for others to feel less alone. I can’t tell you how many people reached out to me to tell me their story about assault. Even more people reached out to offer their support. I realized I have some really good friends who are there and who care. And that’s a great feeling to have.
###Doing what’s right for you, even if it’s scary### I bought a motorcycle. I love my motorcycle. I had always wanted a motorcycle but was scared of crashing and dying. But in January 2014, I decided what the hell? I’m going to do what I always wanted to do and buy my motorcycle because I can! Motorcycles are terrifying and I crashed, but I got right back on and haven’t looked back. It still is the best purchase I’ve ever made.
###There’s something out there more important than you###
This year I decided to do more than talk about giving back and co-founded Skittles, Twilio’s diversity initiative. Our focus was to increase diversity and inclusion in tech, and I’m happy to say it’s found a good home at Twilio. There’s a lot of problems out there, but there’s also a lot of really great people out there who want to help. It helps me get out of bed in the morning knowing that I work with people who are truly passionate about making a difference and helping to change the face of technology.
###Public speaking is pretty great###
This was the year of getting out there! I spoke at some pretty big conferences like Google I/O and IgniteSF. I was even on TV! Check out a full list of my public appearances here.
###Traveling is a must### I went to Europe for the first time this year, and it was an amazing experience. I had always wanted to go to Paris and finally got to go to the land of cheese, croissants, and art. I went to museums and cried from happiness. It was a truly life-changing experience and I cannot wait to travel more.