The morning after she lost her bid for Texas governor in 2014, former state Sen. Wendy Davis (D) woke up, filled a glass with warm Champagne, and "took a shot for courage."
Davis had just lost badly to then-Attorney General Greg Abbott (R). She drove to her campaign headquarters to address her staff that morning, but once she got there, she wasn't quite sure what to say.
"I opened my mouth, and something from the most honest part of me tumbled out: 'I fucking hate to lose,'" Davis recounted in an essay that was published Tuesday in Lenny Letter.
Davis, who famously filibustered a Texas anti-abortion bill in 2013 for 11 hours, wrote that even though she had been brought up to hate losing, the race hasn't discouraged her from taking on fights she knows she's unlikely to win.
"What are you willing to fight for, even if the odds are stacked against you, even if you’ll most likely lose? In answering that, you’ll find what’s really important to you. You’ll define not just your dreams, but the essence of who you are," she wrote.
"In my 52 years, I’ve found that the things worth fighting for are always the hardest. And there is so much to be gained in fighting the fight, even when we fail. I suppose that is why I stubbornly resist the temptation to leave my home state of Texas, where movement toward progressive values can often feel like an unattainable goal."
Since losing the race last year, Davis has worked on initiatives to empower women and increase voter turnout in Texas.
Pointing to a number of setbacks for progressives in her state, such as the passage of the anti-abortion bill she filibustered and the failure of an anti-discrimination ordinance in Houston, Davis admitted that she still thinks "losing sucks. And it's OK to hate losing." Still, she said, those losses shouldn't deter people from trying.
"If you fail, fail big! Fail with flair! Fail trying to do something real, something hard," she wrote. "And when you do, own the journey with pride. Look at each battle scar you’ve earned as a tiny crack that will heal and make you stronger than you were before. And, as we’d say in Texas, get back up on that horse and ride to see another day."
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