There are moments along the way that stop me in my tracks. Today — during the Q&A session after our first show on this leg of our tour — we had at least one of those moments. Toward the beginning of the session, one bold young student stepped forward and asked if this was a true story. I answered “yes, all of this happened to me” and there were audible gasps in the room. I’ve experienced this before and I’ve found that, after they learn that information, students become even more involved in the Q&A and want to know more. Today was no exception and, by the end, I was the one gasping.

Here’s why: in rapid succession, three students asked me questions that I hadn’t previously addressed in this way. One student asked me whether I still get bullied today. I answered honestly: after enduring some significant bullying behavior from grown adults related to my work on this project within the last two years, I find that I’m still being bullied.

A second student asked me what kind of bullying still really gets to me. I thought about it, walked to the edge of the stage so that I was standing directly in this student’s line of sight, pointed to myself and said that, to this day, I remain my own worst bully.

Then, one young girl stood up and, as directly as if she was asking me the time of day, asked, “How do you fight your fear?”

It was an extraordinary moment that still sends chills down my spine. I took a moment to digest what she’d asked and then, with outstretched arms pointing to either side of the stage, I said, “by doing this.”

The Q&A session went on for a few more minutes after that and, as is typically the case, we ran out of time before we could answer all the questions. If I stay thinking about that too long — about the kids who aren’t able to get their questions answered because we’ve run out of time — I get distraught. I’m comforted by the fact that they have my website & social media handles and that they can reach out to me, should they need.

As we exited the building, we were greeted by two rows of students waiting to walk to their next class. As I walked by, many of them put out their hands asking for high-fives. I didn’t miss one and even took some selfies and did some more impressions as the kids walked away.