Rejection is nothing new.
My first really painful, burned-in-my-subconscious, experience with rejection – besides never being liked by my first major crush (BURN) – was getting rejected from Columbia. My dream school of years and years. I always knew it would be stretch, but when I got that rejection in the mail, I remember literally screaming and then bursting into tears. I know, this sounds dramatic. But as a 17-year-old, on the brink of such a scary change, your dreams are all you have.
Rejection in always a step in front of you. It’s what holds you back. It’s why you don’t stretch the limits of the world and apply to a dream job, or decide to be the first female president, or follow in Jack Kerauoc’s footsteps. It’s debilitating. Because failure is so damn hard.
And the late-twenties are interesting years. Where people finally start to follow (and succeed at) their dreams. I’ve seen friends and acquaintances accomplish phenomenal things, and I couldn’t be happier – or more proud. And I know it was probably a long road, and that they probably tried really hard, and they probably got 100 nos for every yes. But since people don’t talk about the hardships, we assume that only we have it hard.
On that note. In December I finally got up the courage to submit one of my short stories to a few literary journals. I had been working on it for about three months, and realized that if I kept editing it, it would lose some of its magic. So I bit the bullet and just did it. Sent it along to four journals, made stupid ass mistakes in my cover letters because I was that nervous, and then immediately shut down my computer and walked away from it. And have been too scared to write (short stories) since.
And yesterday was the nail in the proverbial coffin. My first rejection letter. It wasn’t personalized (the top percent sometimes is), it was clearly a mass form that they sent out to all the writing fools. And my heart legitimately stopped. I mean. I knew the chances were slim, and there are a thousand and one journals out there, and that I will still have a chance to get published, but that first rejection just set an awful precedence.
But today was different. I woke up and came straight to my computer. Unearthed another short story that I’d written (and love), and got it going. At some point, if you believe in yourself, things are bound to start happening, right?
From now on, I’m going to force my rejections into resilience. Maybe then they won’t hurt so much.