Doubt gets to the best of us. It creeps in like an annoying fly buzzing around your head. Should I be doing this? Can I do this? It’s too impossible. I could fail. Then what? I’ll have wasted my time.
All of these thoughts have flown around inside my head at one time or another. When I was in college trying to figure out what I wanted to be, before I got married, while I was married, during and after my divorce, while trying to manage a business and during this campaign.
I used to be utterly petrified of failure. So much so, that the very thought would give me anxiety. Failure was not an option. Failure meant I had done something wrong. Failure meant I was less than. I realize this is completely irrational, nor is it healthy to be that afraid of failure. But I was.
My first real test at over coming failure – falling off my horse, resulting in a traumatic brain injury and losing my short term memory. I was forced to stare failure in the face. I had not been able to stay on my horse and I was injured. To make matters worse I literally couldn’t remember where it went ALL WRONG. No one knew what had happened and caused my accident. Did I do something wrong? Did something scare my horse? Was it a combination of the two?
While recovering, I realized I had two choices.
1. Become filled with anger and consumed by frustration.
2. Accept my failure and start asking for help.
Naturally being fiercely independent and strong willed, I do not ask for help. Help makes me feel vulnerable and weak, it takes away my independence which is really a huge source of my security.
I’m not sure why, but I started asking for help. I began explaining to people that I couldn’t do x, y, or z because of my accident. This is something I never would have done before.
It took me eight months to simply feel human again. A month later my husband told me he no longer wanted to be married. Just like that. He said mean, terrible things and my accident played a part in it.
Two BIG failures in a row smacked me in the face. I fell into oblivion. I was an empty shell, that didn’t care whether I sank or swam. I can remember wanting to disappear. Just fade away into non-existence. It was a dark place.
That darkness is a place I never want to go back to. With the help of family and friends I fought tooth and nail to get out of that place. They don’t know it, but I would tell myself, if Mom and Kristine can fight to heal and survive, then so can I. They are a big reason why I put my big girl panties on every day. I could hear their voices in my head telling me to get out of bed, put my clothes on and breathe. That’s it, that’s all you have to do today.
And so I did. For a long time my daily expectations were that simple. Then it became now go to work. Slowly it became now think about he future and creating a new life for yourself. Who is Rachael Loucks?
I have always wanted to run my own business. My entire life I admired this about my mother. I wanted to do that. So as part of the new Rachael Loucks I thought now is the time. At the time I didn’t realize it was too soon after my accident and divorce to tackle a dream that BIG. My body emotionally and physically couldn’t handle it. So I had to give it up. I put myself out there, took a risk and had to explain to others why I was walking away. It was hard, but not as hard as my accident and divorce.
That final failure used all of me up. For a very long time I felt like I had nothing left to give. Not to anyone. And more importantly not even to myself.
So I took a step back and told myself to just be for awhile. Simply exist. Do you know how hard that was for me?
During this time I learned a lot about myself and failure.
Failure isn’t so scary. I am grateful for my failures. Through them I learned who Rachael Loucks is. I am kind, beautiful and smart. I am on my way to becoming strong, courageous and wise. This is who I want to be.
I didn’t even come close to raising $30,000 in 30 days for my 30th birthday. I could list this as another failure and walk away. Here’s the thing, I am genetically engineered to be strong willed and determined. Some might even say stubborn. The beautiful thing is I am 30 for a whole year. I can continue to share stories and support the dreams of women daring to pursue reality. I refuse to give up on this campaign just yet.
Why should you or anyone for that matter make a $30 Empowerment Investment?
I could list a lot of reasons. I could say so other women have resources to overcome domestic violence, sexual harassment or assault, or so women can enter the world of agriculture and manage their own farm or food based business.
But I think at the end of the day you have to make that choice for yourself. You have to decide that investing in empowerment is important to you.
To me it is. I understand what it feels like to be told you cannot do something because of your gender or what it feels like to experience sexual harassment. I have seen my female friends get treated differently based on the color of their skin. And I have decided to try and do something about it. To start a conversation in my own way.
Proceeds from the 30 in 30 campaign will benefit the Women’s Center of Greater Lansing and Michigan Food and Farming Systems. Both of these organizations work with women to remove barriers and help them overcome an obstacle so their dreams can become a reality.