It’s been a while. I know. I’ve missed it here but I guess I’ve been sort of in a hole for a while.
A friend of mine asked me a while ago how I do it, how I can handle the rejection that comes with being a writer and I told her something along the lines of, you just keep going. Because it was the way I felt at the time.
And then I got turned down.
Not once, but twice in the same day.
For two different submissions. One for my book, the other for a poem.
I thought, no biggie, I’ve had my work refused before, so I took a break for the rest of the day, decided to give my crushed soul a few hours to heal itself and just when I managed to dig myself out of the dirt I got hit with another one a few minutes after I woke up.
Yep, the next morning I peeled my eyes open, checked my e-mail and there it was like Sub Zero’s final blow in that Mortal Kombat game people my age played when we were kids. The “thank you for submitting your work however…” form letter. True it wasn’t an actual fatality, but I was still left spineless, a glob of pummeled, second-guessing jelly wondering what I did wrong, questioning myself, my skills, my education, wondering if my prior publications are all the evidence that I’ll have of my life’s work.
And I’m not going to lie, it’s taken a while to get over it. I knew when it happened I should’ve just forged on and kept at it, should’ve kept on trying and doing all those things that every one of us humans says we should do when we things we don’t want to happen happen, but after rejections four, five, and six, I didn’t want to. For the first time in years I didn’t feel like writing anymore.
I stopped and focused my attention on other areas of my life. Tried to do positive things that I knew would get me somewhere, like picking up my house, planting a garden, spending more time with my family, spending more time on myself, in hopes that it would somehow take the place of that thing that I’ve wanted to do since I was a scrawny wire with a ball of hair and a big nose. That thing I feel I was meant to do, that art that makes my spirit tingle.
I even started another sport.
I’ve never been sporty before paddling, was never a part of any team as a kid/teenager, never encouraged to exercise– in fact, I was always discouraged from doing anything physical but I like the feeling of using my mind to push my body along. So less than a month ago my hubby and I started crossfit.
Like REAL crossfit.
Before this, we did bootcamp (as in Billy Blank style) workouts with people who said they were teaching us crossfit. Yeah. It was nothing like this. So a week and half into it, and what do I do? I go and sign myself up for a two day crossfit competition. Nuts, huh? I didn’t think it was going to be easy, not at all. So why’d I do it? To prove to myself that I could. To come out with a story to tell. For the experience. To say I did a solo competition. To try something new. To step out of my comfort zone.
A little over three weeks as a genuine crossfit member, and:
And I got to watch my paddling sister win 2nd place in our division!
Could I have done better? Who knows? I could’ve trained, could’ve ran, could’ve actually learned how to do the moves correctly instead of taking a week off to nurse my sore shoulder, but it is what it is. No excuses. I gave it all I had and I survived. I’m not going to say it was fun because it was two days of torture, but it definitely made me feel like I can. That I am in control of my life. That my mind is capable of forcing my body to do things… like write this blog.
So that’s where my life is as of today.
Long story short, I’m grateful for all that has happened in the past month or so because I learned something during this aftermath of rejection:
- it’s not easy. It does suck to be told no over and over again.
- There is no correct way of dealing with it– we move through it as it comes.
- Nothing will ever replace the beautiful feeling of doing what we truly love, but the reality is, time is short so we have to either suck it up and move on, or heal quick and move on, because the days will rip by and– life is too short to be unhappy and unwilling to push past our own stubborn minds.
I know it’s easier said than done and that some lessons are best when they are experienced firsthand, but I do hope this finds someone who needs to climb back out of a hole too.