My name is Katie Gorsky. If you’ve known me for any length of time you should have probably observed that my growth game is strong.
Our high school motto at the Academy of the Holy Names in Albany New York was Esse Quam Videri: to be not to seem.
In September 2007 on my way home from work, overnights at the UPS hub loading trucks, balancing my day job of a licensed insurance sales person at a local State Farm agent, I swerved to miss a deer. Oddly enough, in my day job I told people every time I sold an auto policy to hit the deer because that is a comprehensive claim and not a collision. In the moment of course, I swerved to miss a deer. My right tires of my 2000 Volkswagen Jetta grabbed onto the shoulder and then went through a telephone pole and landed in the brush when I say through I mean the telephone pole landed up right behind my car. It was about 4:30 in the morning, I was only about 2/10 of a mile south of our house I climbed out of the car and at that point I just wanted to go home go to bed. Over the next few months we learned what impact that accident had on me both physically and in my brain. Things that I could once do automatically were challenging. Going to the grocery store was overwhelming. I had a lot of pain. I had five discs in my neck that weren’t where they were supposed to be.
Though an unfortunate event, I don’t think it was a mistake. Through the neurology office I met a PA who said I really think you need to see a chiropractor and so began my wonderful relationship with multiple chiropractors which let me avoid spine surgery.
It was the doctor from the insurance company that gave me a personal referral to the premiere brain therapy firm in Albany; the place where nobody got in. This man’s job was to not help me and he connected me there. I spent two years in brain therapy driving to Albany once a week, would be about two hours in the first session then I would curl up on the love seat in the waiting room and sleep for a solid hour before my next appointment
I was the kind of girl who used the calendar because she liked office supplies but I knew everything on my calendar, I knew the dates, the times, the addresses everything. I only had it because I have the Staples addiction.
I became the person that had three binders and four calendars in her house because I didn’t remember what day my every week appointment was on. Once the team got me to a place where I wasn’t making much more progress, but they had given me systems and I had binders, sticky notes and sticky notes and more sticky notes and tricks and ways to retrain my brain I was set off on my own but now I had to find my path.
I knew I wasn’t good at sitting in an office all day which is why I was working overnight at UPS to do something physical and sweaty that ironically used my brain a lot because I was really quick to memorize all of the ZIP Codes of each truck but my brain didn’t work like that anymore.
When we moved to the farm I stopped overthinking chickens and we started adding on more on because they were easy or less difficult than I thought they were going to be. People kept suggesting we go to the farmers market. I personally could not handle the Farmer’s market, it hurt my brain, it was overwhelming to deal with parking, to deal with who had what, to remember what day it was and what time it opens early and what time is the afternoon and they were just too many challenges. I was making menus a month at a time for myself so I’d only have to go to the store once because it would take me a couple days to catch up and refocus after I did my grocery shopping. I could make my menus and then I get to the farmers market and they wouldn’t have what I needed and the menu will start falling apart and then the budget will fall apart and then I just felt more behind than I was when I got there...if I remembered what day it was that it started at 3 o’clock.
I started writing a business plan to expand the dairy so that maybe my husband would have a night off once a week if we could justify hiring somebody. I knew I still had the capacity to learn anything, I still read, I still learn things every day and new information stayed. The brain is a very liquid entity I may have lost things, I may have had to re-train pathways, but I never have been afraid of hard work.
Coming from a business background which is actually what I went to school for, I just didn’t feel comfortable with the business plan for the dairy. There’s gonna be a lot of debt, I wasn’t confident in the market, I don’t like the lack of control over the market especially with a huge debt load. I explain this to my chiropractor one-day. Know what she said? “Change it.”
Sometimes it just takes a little perspective and a little nudge and a little reminder to remember that you have the power to change things. You are in charge of the trajectory of your life. So I changed it.
We were already selling eggs off the front porch of my falling down garage, we expanded to the meat birds, we started looking into pigs and everyone kept saying why don’t you go to the farmers market and my customers were asking me how to cook things and telling me that they didn’t have time to cook and that they wanted to eat well but they just don’t have the time and it’s overwhelming and we can’t go to the farmers market because soccer is on Saturdays.
I wasn’t the only one.
While in business plan course through Cornell one night there was a guest speaker named Carrie, she was raising chickens and pigs and laying hens and I was like you know that sounds pretty good so I started asking her a lot of questions
Through this process, I found a way to do all the things that I love that I feel that I am talented in, while working from home and not commuting.
Most importantly, I’ve become me. I realize that I don’t have to do what everybody else wants me to do. I don’t have to have long hair because that’s what girls have. I don’t have to speak the way certain people think I should speak. I don’t have to dress like anybody else thinks I should dress. I can walk the way I walk. I make decisions for me. I have become very focused on what I put my energy into I have removed people from my life who drained energy from me, they were too much work.
I cut my hair off, I got piercings, I got a tattoo and every decision I’ve made has made me more authentically me. Each one has empowered me. I am completely confident in each one of those decisions and that’s all that matters. I do not need the approval of anybody else. I really don’t care if anybody else likes my decisions, not to sound snotty, but it really doesn’t matter
If you’re not happy with my decisions oh well, they’re not your decisions to have made or to be upset with.
While I’m far from perfect and have plenty of areas where I want to grow and expand my knowledge and my skill sets and at some point find a little bit more balance and have fun once in a while.
I can, for the first time in my life, say I am me.
Esse Quam Videri