TALK 8 - San Jose, California


This store didn't have a marker like the other ones so I made my own. 😂

We've been staying with my chosen family since we got back from Yosemite. We leave their house and make our way down to San Jose. Stop at Trader Joe's for a resupply. Get to the parking lot wicked early. See the space I'm speaking in. I'm a bit distracted. Forgot my list, THE list. Can't find my stickers. Or business cards. Forgot to put on mascara, which is the only makeup I wear these days. Something I ate isn't sitting right. This is not how I like to start a talk.

People start trickling in, and I feel my energy perk up. I start to get into speaking mode. Sometimes this feels like a character I play, one who is confident, sure of herself, and here to make a difference. Sometimes Speaker Sydney feels like a cape I wear, some armor I put on. Which is funny, because my talk exposes my gooey center. It pulls no punches. It breaks open tough conversations.

I forget one of the most important parts of the story and have to circle back to it, but nobody notices.

I get through it, though my voice cracked and hot tears well up at the point in the story where I start connecting dots.

As I'm telling this story, I'm dreaming of how I can turn my stories from Yosemite into a talk like this. I've learned so much since the TCT, and have even more to give.

We head out to the van to give tours and a couple follows us out. They share that their daughter is a survivor. They want to bring her to the talk in Mountain View. They aren't sure if she'll come, but they want to try.


My heart melts every time parents come to see this talk. Because when I told my dad about my assault, 12 years after it happened, he told me my story was bullshit and I better get a new one, because nobody is buying the one I'm telling.

So I thank them for trying. For showing up. For not centering their pain, for trying to help their daughter. I pretend they're my parents, and I say everything I wish my parents would be here to hear me say.

I really hope I get to meet their daughter. I just want her to know she's not alone. I want to hug her and her parents and thank them for coming.

For showing up for her.

For believing her.

For helping her heal.