The men came with trucks. To the naked eye, they looked like movers. In and out they passed the length of the trailer, hurriedly, sweatily, carrying boxes upon boxes back and forth, like ants.
“Can I get you an iced tea?” I asked.
They gulped them down like dogs. I wanted them to like me. I didn’t know if they’d really be able to sell my mother’s pewter knickknacks at auction—nor her collection of John Grisham novels, her wooden end tables, or the bed in which she’d lain when the blood clot had hit her lung—but I sensed that my survival depended on their mercy.
You’d think that an orphaned young woman would have tits of brass, and an attitude to match, but no—not then I didn’t. Back then life felt a lot like standing in the middle of a battlefield, unarmed, perpetually begging everyone for their charity. Everyone around me was the adult, while I was suspended in time as the child, and I deferred to everyone. From bosses to friends to foes to the parking lot attendant, I obeyed orders and nodded like a good girl, desperate to stay in the world’s good graces. (I mean, can you imagine what would happen if the parking lot attendant didn’t like you?)
It wasn’t until much later, when the world’s mercy finally failed me, that I discovered a much better alternative:
For me, starting my own business was an exercise in learning how to trust myself, more than anything else. With every single decision you make, you learn that you are capable of doing so; with every transaction, you discover your own authority.
Perhaps this is what entrepreneurship has given me most: it has taught me how to fight for myself.
And perhaps this, more than anything, is why I champion it so. Not because business, in and of itself is so miraculous. But because business, in the context of everything else?