Many of us are so afraid of rejection that we run in the opposite direction avoiding it at all costs. There is something so completely paralyzing that happens even before taking that leap and trying it anyway.
Last summer I received countless rejections. Every grant, every workshop, every submission and every application for writing programs I submitted to was met with a lovely rejection letter. The reasons varied, but most were all the same, their responses spoke about “why my submission or I did not fit what they were looking for.”
Of course I took it personally. Of course I was devastated. Of course it was a huge blow to my ego, spirit and soul. On the outside I handled the rejection with ease, with class, and with grace. But on the inside I was completely destroyed. All of the sacrifices, all of the losses, all of the opportunities and money I have turned away in order to make this dream of mine a reality was being met with rejection and of course I thought that it was ME.
I believed I was the one being rejected and it felt terrible. Being accepted is something I believe IS important, being recognized and accepted by our peers is important, being recognized in the arts is important… all of this is somewhat important. We want to know that we are valued. We want to know that our work matters. We want to know that all that we are doing isn’t in vain.
When an author becomes a New York Times best seller, they are recognized as a BEST SELLER for the rest of their lives, even if what they put out into the world after that moment is complete crap. They can always say they were a best seller. But what about the rest of us, those who will never make that list?
Where do we turn for that validation and recognition?
For as much as we want to believe that “we don’t need acceptance from anyone,” I disagree. Of course its not the end all be all… of course we shouldn’t change who we are are in order to be accepted. Of course we should never sell ourselves short. But lets not pretend. We do want to be accepted. And last summer I felt with every rejection that I was not being accepted for me.
So what do we do with rejection? What can I learn from rejection?
You know something…?
As I reflect and meditate on rejection I am remembering my youth… I am recalling a time where I didn’t care what:
I never looked outside of myself, or to others to tell me who I am, and I certainly never needed their validation. It was never about proving anything to anyone. It was about proving it to myself. Coming to Makalu is about me, its about showing myself that I CAN DO THIS! Yes other climbers can do it faster! Yes other climbers have more training! Yes other climbers are better! However, I have nothing to prove to them… I am the one doing this. I am doing the work.
As I continue coming down this mountain, I am discovering so much internal strength. I HAVE been recognized, I have been acknowledged and I AM accepted by the greatest forces I have ever known. In terms of my place in the world, my writing and my life… I AM validated and my work is valuable and I don’t need outside forces to give me this.
I will not fear rejection!
It has always been about the work. I think somewhere along the line I lost site of this. An MFA program does not define me. I am a writer without titles and degrees. I am a writer because I do the work. I am a writer because I know who I am. I am writer because I was born this way.
The thing is… not everyone is going to like me, my work, what I say, and how I do it. But none of that is my concern. I will continue doing the work. I will keep submitting. I will keep reaching. I will keep writing. I will keep climbing knowing that with every ascent there must be a descent and I will love myself deeply during this process.
So rejection…BRING IT!!!! I will face you, release you and I will submit again and again and again. I will keep submitting remaining open to all the YES’s making their way to me.
As I come back to my core I will remember this and not allow rejection to paralyze me again.
And so it is. Namaste. Aché
✿✿Note to readers following our journey: Now that we have begun our climb I will not be posting to facebook as often. Please follow my blog at the top of the page. Thank you for your love and well wishes.
With all my love,