Story on Failure

City: Los Angeles

Industry: Tech

"You will never see that field again," my coach yelled as she held my shoulders. 

I was recruited to a D1 college to play lacrosse. I started as a freshman and began to have pain in my legs. I believed the pain was because I was weak, so I worked to be in top shape the summer going into Sophomore year. Two-a-day workouts. Crazy diet.

I came back to school in the best shape of my life, but I lost feeling in my legs during a fall scrimmage. I couldn't play. Sometimes my legs were completely numb, sometimes it felt like they were being squeezed between two cinder blocks. I cried and put cold beer on them to numb the pain. 

I went to six doctors who didn't know what was wrong with me. I cried every time they told me I was "undiagnosed," worried I was imagining everything, that I was somehow a "fake". My coach became frustrated with me, "Are you sure you feel this pain?" 

Eventually I was diagnosed with Popliteal Entrapment Syndrome, a very rare condition. I had surgery that put me on bedrest for two weeks, then worked through physical therapy and conditioning to get back on the field.

Junior year I got back on the starting lineup. My first game back I missed a clear catch from our goalie and the girl next to me had a straight shot to the goal — she scored. I immediately got ripped off the field.

"You will never see that field again," my coach yelled as she held my shoulders. I didn't see the field again and cried many nights that year, hating myself and replaying the memory over and over again.

I quit my senior year. Bored with my newfound time I wrote a column for our daily newspaper. It went viral, so I kept writing. Eventually that column led me to a job as an early employee at a tech company that ended up being a Unicorn. I learned a lot and wouldn't be where I am today without it.

Failures are beyond painful when you're in them. But now I try to keep going, try to know that I'll find my right path – a path I may not understand or may not know exists.