"You can read your thing in front of me -- and the cats."
This is what my husband says to comfort me and make me laugh. I'm being sad and pissy about not being chosen to read for the BlogHer Community Keynote
It works. I laugh. But when I walk away, I still feel sad, jealous, and angry. I'm surprised by how disappointed I feel. Then I sit down at the computer and decide to write about it, because what else is there to do but write?Man, that last line was trite. No wonder my submission wasn't chosen as one of 16 among hundreds. Clearly, I suck. I'm not funny. I'm not poignant. I don't have a way with words. I'm never going to hack it as a "real" writer, whatever that is.
Okay, so I don't really believe all of those things. One rejection hasn't completely done me in. There was a time when I would have immediately jumped to those conclusions, but not now. Still, I do feel a bit like that guy from Sesame Street who tried his hardest to bang out classics like "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" or "Yankee Doodle" on the piano and ended up banging his head off of the keys instead, crying out: "Oh, I'll never get it! Never!"
But you know the most annoying thing of all? Even in the midst of this hotbed of ugly emotions, the lesson of the situation crystallized almost immediately: I don't do many things that carry the possibility of rejection.Aw, man! You mean there's a nice little lesson wrapped up in this uncomfortable feeling?
So now I'm disappointed and
annoyed. Can't I just behave like a bratty five-year-old for five more minutes? Can't I just throw myself to the ground, kicking and screaming, bemoaning how unfair it all is?
I throw myself down kicking and screaming alright, but the lesson comes anyway. And like all realizations that emerge from uncomfortable moments, it's true: I don't risk rejection. And then the obvious significance of that epiphany surfaces: Is this why I keep putting off pitching articles to national magazines? Is this why I haven't figured out where to send my essays? Am I insulating myself from
Oooh, see that typo? I accidentally wrote "failure" instead of "rejection." Isn't that telling?
I went through a time with my freelancing
when I was convinced I was -- and forever-would-be -- a failure. I really did weep and wail that I'd never get it
. You want to know the crazy part? This came after
I'd already had some significant and encouraging success. Heck, I quit my day job
to freelance fulltime, confident that I could make a living at it. But then life got hard and I let various things overwhelm me. It became so much easier and more convenient to play the victim card. And you know what happened? The more I wailed that I'd never get it, the truer it became. My fear became a self-feeding parasite. The more I feared "failure," the more I "failed."
At the beginning of this year, I finally decided that I had to make one last stand and go down fighting. And do you know what happened? Of course you know what happened. Once I stopped focusing on the fear and potential failure, everything fell into place. Work rolled in, I picked up new clients, and my income in the first six months of this year is more than all
of last year.
Over and over again, we must learn what we already know. So I guess that means it's time to stop playing it safe. This relatively minor but important rejection has pulled back the cloak from my fears, exposing them to the cold wind of self-awareness. I have nowhere left to hide. Not even hackneyed metaphors can save me now.
Labels: blogging, BlogHer, life, writing