In life, we are all destined to face rejection from time to time. It’s how we handle those setbacks that determines our success.
In a Facebook post that has gone viral, Rae Trujillo of Longmont, Colorado, shares her own inspiring story of facing adversity head-on and coming out the victor. Rae faced hard times early on in her life, including having parents who didn’t value her or think she would ever amount to anything.
What separates Rae from others, though, is that no matter how many people told her she wasn’t good enough, she never allowed herself to believe the lie. Deep down, she knew she mattered, and she knew she has what it takes to live the life she’d always dreamed of.
“When I was a kid my mom told me I was a mistake,” Rae wrote. “When I was 13 my dad said I was trash. When I was 15 my English teacher told me I was gonna be nothing but a high school drop out.”
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When Rae turned 18, she was a single mom of one daughter whose parents had kicked her out of the house. She describes herself as “alone, hungry, and scared” during this time in her life, and although she tried to earn a living working minimum wage jobs in her native state of Texas, she could barely make ends meet and wound up sleeping in her truck.
When she was offered a job working as a stripper at a club, she accepted. Little did she know that working as an exotic dancer would cause legitimate employers to think she wasn’t right for their jobs, leading to a vicious cycle and even more rejection. Growing up, she had always wanted to become a firefighter and EMT someday, but when she applied at Tarrant County College Fire Academy, her application was rejected.
“When I applied for the Fire Academy, they wanted my employment information. So, it was either explaining the ‘gap’ or tell them the truth. I did what I felt was right. I told the truth. The admin looked at my application, snickered and said ‘I’m sorry, there’s no way I can accept this.’ Then threw my application in the trash.”
Rae continued to face roadblocks no matter what she tried to pursue. Her former husband denigrated her intelligence every chance he got, telling her she wasn’t smart enough to go to college. Defying his opinion of her, Rae did go to college, where a professor squashed her ambition to become a welder.
Did she listen to that professor? You better believe that she didn’t! Rae never gave up on herself no matter how many other people did.
“So life went on. I let it go. I made my money, got my daughter and I into an apartment, then left stripping behind. In turn, I had my son, I found art, became a welder, which lead to becoming a tow truck driver. After 3 years of working crashes, I found myself wanting more for myself. Not just for me but for my kids, because they deserved a mom to be proud of.”
Rae had never truly given up her dream of fighting fire, even though her ex-boyfriend was the latest in a string of people to tell her she wasn’t good enough. She decided to give it one more shot, hitting the gym and studying hard until she was finally accepted into the fire academy. She soon got her EMT certification and moved to Colorado for a chance at a better job, and she’s never once looked back.
Now, all these years later, she finally received her first EMT uniform.
“Although you may see an EMT uniform… I see the 6 months of working on an ALS ambulance. The 6 months I need to apply for one of the top paramedic programs in the country. But what you don’t see is the interview I have at the end of the week for the first fire department I’ll ever work for…. yes, this is the beginning. The beginning of an end to hard work, and the start of even more sacrifices I’ll have to make to be a firefighter/flight medic one day.”
“Point is, people will doubt you. Let them. Just don’t ever doubt yourself,” she wrote, adding, “Even though the doubt, my falls, the mistakes I made at 18 trying to just survive.. I kept going. Even when I wanted to give up. If I can do it…. so can you. This is your beginning… just like this is mine.”
It can be hard to really believe in yourself, but Rae is a shining example of the good that can come about with hard work and determination. She was simply never going to be content if she didn’t strive to be the best Rae she could be, and she was gentle with herself along the way. While she may not be proud of the time she spent stripping, she’s not embarrassed either. She did what she had to do at the time in order to get to the next level — and now look at her! What an accomplished young woman. We’re sure her kids are so proud of their mom.
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