This year I decided that if I wanted my writing to be somewhere, I had to actually put effort in to get it there. This is easier said than done.
Despite being told I’m good at this little thing I do, I don’t completely believe it. I’m a pretty avid reader and in no way do I feel like my writing stands out among all that is out there. Yet people encourage me. They say I do this thing well and that my writing should be elsewhere.
That flatters me. A lot. I like to be flattered.
So I decided to take those flatteries to heart and send my words out in the world to see where they would land.
Did I mention my fear of rejection? My fear of failure? My fear or people pitying me? My fear of the shoulder shrug followed by that thing people do with their mouth when they discover that maybe you aren’t as awesome as you let on. I think it’s called disappointment. Or that “oh. you didn’t get that. huh.” and then they never ask you about your hobby again because they don’t take it seriously anymore and maybe you shouldn’t either.
The thing is though, that when you decide to try out for stuff, submit to stuff, audition for stuff, the thing is that you are probably going to get rejected more often than you get accepted.
Rejection makes me feel stupid. It makes me feel foolish. And it makes me feel embarrassed.
I try really hard not to be too hopeful when I submit my writing places. I try not to make a big deal out of it. I try to say nothing for fear of having to “untell” it.
When I first found myself pregnant in the spring of 2007, we went ahead and told people. Then, just weeks later, we had to untell everyone. It felt like God rejected me as a mother. I had gotten that email that said, “we are sorry, but we cannot include you in this year’s New Mother’s Club”.
The pity and the looks and the feeling of rejection burned in my face and my heart every single time I saw a new face for weeks. Friends and family who found themselves blessed with child were hesitant to tell me about it. That felt awful.
I know that having a baby and getting published or cast for something are not the same, but the feeling of rejection when it doesn’t happen, come from the same place in my heart and soul. There is the same burn of embarrassment and disappointment.
I didn’t make the Listen To Your Mother cast for Metro Detroit.
I don’t regret auditioning at all. It was a lovely experience and the women who are running this thing are beautiful souls. I love them madly. And NONE of this is about them. It’s about me. It’s about how in my head I logically know that my piece just wasn’t right for the show, but my heart and soul feeling wretched anyway.
I have zero regrets about driving 6 hours round trip for a 15 minute audition. None.
I do regret telling people I was going to try.
You see, people who had no idea I had this “talent” found out and were so impressed. They have asked me about it. They are pulling for me. And now I have to tell them I didn’t make it.
Will they think less of me?
My mom was going to be in that audience to hear me read something I wrote for the first time. I was going to get to show off to my parents.
It sounds silly to me when I read that over, but I didn’t do anything athletic or performance-based that showed my talents ever before in my life. I was hoping to make them proud.
When I told Cortney the news Saturday night, he asked if I was Ok.
“Yes. I’m fine.”
I wanted him to stop looking at me. I wanted the entire thing to go away. I wanted everyone to forget I had ever said anything about Listen to Your Mother at all.
I wanted to disappear.
The hardest thing about not making it isn’t that my piece wasn’t what they were looking for or that I wasn’t good enough in that moment, but that the piece I wrote won’t be read.
My piece was about Eddie.
Somehow this makes it all burn deeper.
The words I wrote about boy won’t be read from a stage.
I didn’t realize it until I got the rejection email, but I wanted so badly to talk about my Eddie. I wanted him to get cast. I wanted his story out there because I never want him to doubt my love for him.
And I wanted to buy a new dress.
I told all of this to Cortney in the dark quiet of our room at bedtime Saturday night. After the lights were out, the TV off, and the “I love you’s” said, a tear rolled onto my pillow as I said, “I’m sad about not getting cast.”
“I know,” he said quietly.
He proceeded to tell me how proud he is of me and that’s it’s Ok to be sad. Then he told me that I should NOT just tuck the piece away in my memory box, but read it. Read it on video.
I am not ready to do that yet.
The piece is tucked in my journal, pushed under my bed.
I’m trying very hard not to tuck my feelings under there too, but to let them process.
I am Ok. I am.
Besides, I look at this little reminder of love before going to sleep and upon waking up each day:
I will gather myself up and I will put my words out there again.
Because it’s what I do.
**Thank you, Leigh Ann, for YOUR words above.**