Back when I was in fourth grade we lived within walking distance to my grandparent’s house. Every time I would see one of my uncles or aunts arrive for a visit I would race there in excitement.
I loved visiting with my relatives. One of those visits is indelibly imprinted on my brain. I can’t recall the exact details; I believe I was in school when they initially arrived. I just recall hearing part of an ongoing conversation as I hopped on the porch to knock on the door.
My grandmother was discussing my parents with my aunt. I paused, hand raised. I didn’t want to interrupt them. Being a nosey child I wanted to hear what they had to say so instead of announcing myself I stepped back and listened.
My parents were described as drunks; failures that could no longer support themselves. It didn’t matter that my dad had been in an accident that caused him to lose his leg; they were drunken failures nonetheless.
According to my aunt it was a shame that my parents had created me. I was a waste of humanity because, due to my environment, I would never amount to anything.
I took those words to heart but not in the way that she expected. Deep down I told myself that she was wrong. I would amount to something. I didn’t know what but I would figure it out.
But she was right. I am a failure.
I barely scraped through high school. I ended up pregnant at 19.
I failed college twice. I failed, not only in my selection of a life-mate, but in my attempts to keep the marriage going. I failed my first attempts at being a writer.
I even failed my attempt at suicide.
I failed the Army. I failed my first attempts at starting a business. I failed to sell Avon. I failed to sell Tupperware. I failed to sell phone service. I even failed with Amway.
Failure after failure piled up behind me. My husband would laugh and tell me that I would never survive without him because I was unable to accomplish a single thing. I was lucky that he had rescued me, had saved the local slut after she’d F***ed up and gotten herself pregnant.
I would never amount to anything.
After each successive failure I would have a good cry, dust myself off, and try again.
I became a successful dog breeder after being given two registered animals in a WalMart parking lot. I used the money to purchase a mobile home with the eventual goal of escaping my husband. It took years to work up my nerve and arrange things but I did it. After years of misery I achieved a divorce.
I graduated computer repair school and started my first successful business. I’ll never forget the shock I felt when I earned $1,000 profit my very first month.
I succeeded in juggling four jobs plus the workload of being a single mother. I worked full-time in fast food during the day and divided my evenings and days off between computer repair, working for a cleaning business, and doing the books for another company.
I succeeded in raising my kids without the financial support of a man. I had to get help sometimes but I did it.
Finally, after decades of failure, I achieved financial freedom after I started this website and taught myself how to write and publish books. I rested on those laurels for several years.
But I failed again. I failed to take my own advice about multiple streams of income. I had preached for years to family and friends about the risk of depending on a single source of income. I knew better. I knew from experience just how hard it could be when you lost your only job for whatever reason. But I was cocky. I’d made it. I was free.
I learned that lesson the hard way once more as I watched the changing world of the Internet pick away at my royalties. I even failed to acknowledge the change at first.
I achieved financial freedom but I failed to keep it.
So I did what I do best: I had a good cry, dusted myself off, and moved on. What’s one more failure when you have so many already? I went back to work in a public job as I analyzed my mistakes.
I may have failed but I am not defeated. I will fail as many times as it takes in order to achieve success.
How many times have you failed? Please share your stories in the comments below.