A Head Above the Rest
Krista Kay Rabenberg was born and raised in Mobridge, a small town in north central South Dakota. Growing up, Krista was always a head taller than everyone in her class. At the age of nine, she remembers her dance instructor telling her to not grow anymore otherwise the recital outfits would not fit her. This was the first time Krista found herself wishing she was shorter and also became aware that being different is less than desirable.
In middle school, Krista found herself extremely insecure about her height. Finding shoes that fit without adding height was another challenge, reducing her options to men’s tennis shoes and sandals as dress shoes (which are less than ideal during a South Dakota winter!)
Being obviously different, Krista was a target for bullying. The antagonism was not limited to the school setting, it expanded into the community. There wasn’t a day that went by without her height being addressed in some way. This reinforced Krista’s insecurities and she longed to be average.
Krista had gotten tired of beating herself up over something of which she had no control. As she looked at others that embodied confidence that weren’t considered “average,” Krista realized that confidence radiates from within no matter what type of physique a person may have. From then on, Krista walked tall with her shoulders back.
She has learned the art of teaching people how to treat her by demonstrating self-confidence. Loving yourself is a shield against people that project their own insecurities onto you. How people treat you reflects who they are, not who you are.
Just as Krista was gaining a new appreciation for herself, tragedy struck. The summer before her senior year of high school, Krista’s mom, Karen, died unexpectedly from a heart attack. This taught Krista unforgettable life lessons:
- Life is short.
- Life is unpredictable.
- Life is precious.
- Always put love above pride.
She relied on her dad, Marv, as her main source of support. He is the ultimate example of hard work, unconditional love, and perseverance.
Krista could have taken many different paths to deal with the intense grief but she chose basketball – just as her mother would have wanted. In 2006, Krista signed a contract to play basketball for Northern State University (NSU) in Aberdeen, SD. Krista played 5 years at NSU and ranked in the top 10 for blocked shots in the country. In 2011, her senior year, Krista’s team made it to the NCAA DII National Tournament and won several awards for defense, offense, and academic honors. Krista graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in sociology.
Krista decided to further her education and enrolled into the Counseling Master’s Program at NSU in 2011. After a year of school, in May 2012, Krista flew to Melbourne, Australia and played one season for the Ringwood Hawks. In 2014, Krista graduated with her master’s degree in clinical counseling.
A passion for helping people is why Krista started motivational speaking. She believes that her life experiences and education have given her a unique perspective and she is excited to guide people towards self-acceptance, confidence, and happiness.
When asked what she hopes people learn from listening to her speech, Krista answered, “I hope you are motivated to take control over your happiness and shift your focus and energy towards what you can control. Lastly, I want people to walk out of the room and be proud of who they are, not ashamed of how someone else sees them.”