I appreciate that Megan is going for the gut with a lot of these Radvent prompts--today's prompt is REJECTION, and I could easily go down a Teenage Spiral, but I feel like I already wrote about that, and I'm not feeling too teenage tonight.
She's so right on when she writes that "the pain of rejection is always tied to our insecurities." Rejection deflates your ego! Tells you YOU'RE NOT REALLY THAT COOL, THANKS. And that thing you thought you were good at? NOT SO GOOD, SWEETHEART.
When I got rejected from 2/3 of the grad programs I applied to back in 2003/2004, it HURT. Oh my GOD, it hurt. I was soooooo embarrassed and didn't want anyone to know I WAS EVEN APPLYING because there I was, after accolades from my high school teachers and support from my college instructors, being told that I WASN'T GOOD ENOUGH FOR AN MFA PROGRAM. Of course, now, I reread my writing sample and I'M EMBARRASSED THAT I THOUGHT I COULD GET IN WITH THAT because it feels so YOUNG, so UNDEVELOPED, so NOT at the right place to begin a grad program. But at the time, I just felt humiliated and like the universe was really telling me YOU ACTUALLY ARE NOT A GOOD WRITER.
I would sporadically send pieces out to journals over the next couple of years, thinking, "Well, maybe if I could get something PUBLISHED, I could soothe my ego and remind myself that I AM STILL A WRITER and just consider it a fluke or one of those REALLY HARD-TO-GET-IN years." But I kept getting stuff rejected.
Embarrassing, which is why NONE OF YOU EVER EVEN KNEW I WAS DOING IT. What's there to say; "I submitted essays that weren't published." Not really something you TELL PEOPLE ABOUT.
But the rejection still hurt.
Maybe that's why I'm so quiet and taciturn that, almost three weeks ago, I received an acceptance from a journal. I don't think the piece they accepted is my best work, and it's not a REALLY PRESTIGIOUS JOURNAL or anything, but you guys: it's something. Validation. Acceptance, and not rejection.
Why do I want to blast Aaliyah now with "Try Again"? Probably because the important part of rejection is that you TRY AGAIN.
And y'all can GET INVOLVED with one of the High School Crush pieces in about another month, I think--it's an online journal, and I'll let you know when they get it up.