cast off

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:

cast off

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.**

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About Katie Sluiter

Just a small town girl...wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a high school English teacher, college adjunct instructor, freelance writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.

Comments

  1. I’m sorry you didn’t make it. I was hoping and praying for you the whole time. For what it’s worth, I think you are incredibly brave to even try. It isn’t easy to even try and you did. Love you, friend.

  2. TheNextMartha says:

    Hugs woman. I love your words.

  3. I have a horrible time with rejection too- and it has definitely affected my life- blogging, writing…it is the biggest challenge I have that I hesitate to talk about because SO many ladies I know can just keep going. I can’t.
    I didn’t audition at all so props to you for going. 6 hours. In the snow. That is a major testament to your feeling about that piece- it must be really, really good.
    Megan recently posted…At bat with Yummi PouchMy Profile

  4. I’m no less proud of you that you didn’t get cast.
    Do you hear that? No. Less. Proud.
    Because the very fact that you wrote those words, drove all that way, got that courage to stand up in front of your peers, and read your piece, is something to be proud of.
    LTYM may not be the stage for you this year, but there are so many opportunities to be on the right stage soon.
    Also, I seem to remember that you will soon be published in print. :)
    Hugs my friend. I know you’re okay, but I want you to know I’m here for you. xo
    Alison recently posted…How We Survived International Travel With Two Young KidsMy Profile

  5. Katie, I am so sorry you didn’t get cast. Your post is timely as I get ready to sit on the other side of the table this week when we begin auditions in Raleigh. I do hope you video your piece and let us see it. I’m sure it is wonderful.
    KeAnne recently posted…Greetings from Hell…I mean Siberia…I mean North CarolinaMy Profile

  6. I wish I had all the right words for you, I do, because you deserve those words. The ones that will make you smile and punch the air and say “I did it and it’s enough”. But sometimes our lives are measured in moments and sometimes those moments hurt and disappoint us.

    I know this feeling you’re having, I don’t tell anybody anything anymore for fear that it won’t come true (I’m highly superstitious these days) and being cut off from sharing the way I normally would feels foreign and unnatural for me. So I felt these words with you. I did.

    you’re allowed to feel hurt and disappointment but you’re not allowed to feel like a cast off, because you’re not. you’re an incredible writer, an amazing talent in our world and a there is a stage for you, one where you are going to talk about Eddie and Charlie and you’re going to shine brighter than the lights…this I know.

    HUGS to you, always. XO

  7. You are right: part of putting yourself out there is getting rejected – but that doesn’t mean that you can’t be disappointed. You are passionate about writing (and I love your words), so how should you just not care when something doesn’t work out?
    So proud of you for auditioning! xo
    Kerstin recently posted…Wasting TimeMy Profile

  8. Oh, Katie.

    I love you so. I hope you know that.
    Miranda recently posted…TimeMy Profile

  9. I am so sorry you didn’t get cast. In three years of directing the DC show I can tell you that sometimes the stories that don’t get told haunt me. It’s a heartbreaking process and all I can say is that its NOT a judgement on you or your writing. I know this doesn’t ease your pain at all. When we want something down to our souls and we don’t get it, it feels horrible.
    But do keep those words coming. And whether you tell people or not, audition again next year. Do.

  10. I could have written most of this post. My piece wasn’t good for the whole of the show. It hurts. It hurts like hell. I am rejected for writing all the time. This time was no different. I’m sorry you can relate.
    Charity recently posted…Sharing With HesitationMy Profile

  11. I know. I feel you. I didn’t make it last year. I didn’t find the courage to write about it as you did. But I cried. I felt shitty. And then I moved on. Huge hugs to you.
    Andrea B ( recently posted…Soup’s on: Easy and Delicious Corn Chowder.My Profile

  12. I have been where you are. My audition piece was about my son, too; although I logically understood, completely, how complicated the selection process is, I was still crushed. I cried. A lot. And I was embarrassed, too.

    Unsolicited advice sucks, but I’m giving you some anyway. Keep that piece alive, and send it somewhere else. Not getting selected does NOT mean the piece isn’t good; it just didn’t fit in this year’s show. You need to believe that, because it’s the truth. You’re a fantastic writer, and show selections are in no way reflective of your talents. I beat the snot out of myself, and let it shake my confidence big time. What a waste that was!

    You’re brave to share the story of auditioning. Don’t stop being brave!
    Missy recently posted…The Internet, SummarizedMy Profile

  13. I’m so sorry. I know the disappointment (I can show you all the rejections from agents) and it totally sucks. But be proud you put yourself out there when so many others did not. I know I will be part of disappointing others who auditioned this past weekend and I’m dreading it. Everyone’s words matter. YOUR words matter. Xo

  14. I’m sorry they didn’t choose your story but think it’s great you auditioned and wrote this follow-up piece. It’s so hard to put a bit of yourself in your writing and share it with strangers. Brava for that.
    Coreen recently posted…Comment on Pour Your Heart Out: Beyond Salvage by ShellMy Profile

  15. I’m so sorry, Katie. I know it wasn’t personal at all, as do you, but I totally get the disappointment and the regret over having to untell people. That piece was beautiful and full of love and heart, and I truly did see you reading it when I read it. I hope you’ll share it someday, and I think Cort had a great idea with the video. xoxo
    Greta recently posted…Project 365: Week 7My Profile

  16. I didn’t make it. Still stings. Three years later. But, there’s a lot of beauty out there, so I write anyway. For who? I don’t know.

  17. I am so proud of you. So very proud. Love you.

  18. I am so proud of you.you are brave and strong and wonderful and I love you.
    Jo recently posted…Why I Love You, My HusbandMy Profile

  19. I think you are incredibly brave for auditioning. I’ve been saying for years that i would be so happy if it were here. Someone did. And I was too intimidated to even try. I admire you a great deal and can’t wait to hear your piece when you’re ready.
    Poppy recently posted…Risks of Outdoor Running (Hint: I’m Not the Only Cougar in Our Hood)My Profile

  20. I’m so sorry. I understand the whole “untelling of people” – both after a miscarriage and after a writing thing. (And after a failed marriage – “Oh. No, actually, we’re not together any more”, after a job interview that ended with a “You would be a great fit, but we thought we’d go a different direction”, and after an audition.) It’s difficult and embarrassing, but like Dory says, you just have to keep swimming.

    I submit my writing everywhere and at this point, the letters of rejection outweigh the letters of acceptance about 50 to 1. It’s hard to keep going, but there’s a part of me – my lovely Spock side – that tells me if writing is a numbers game, at some point something will give. Until it does, I hone my craft, I fill pages with words, and I remember that the places I submit to are tiny corners of an almost infinite world.

    Keep swimming! Remember Georgia O’Keefe: To create one’s world in any of the arts takes courage.

  21. Oh, Katie. This was so hard to read. I get that feeling of embarrassment, the having to untell, the wanting to disappear.

    I’m so sorry. You ARE good at this. You are. I can’t wait to hear what you were going to say.
    Andrea recently posted…Three KidsMy Profile

  22. The people who enjoy the greatest successes in life are the ones who put themselves out there the most. As it so happens, they are also the people who suffer through the most rejections.

    You were very brave to put yourself out there.

    Ellen
    Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms recently posted…5 Books to Chase Away The Winter BluesMy Profile

  23. I’m sorry you didn’t get cast. Rejection is such an awful feeling but it is a huge thing to put yourself out there and you should be so proud of yourself for auditioning. I think your husbands idea for your to record yourself reading it is a wonderful one to consider when you feel up to it.
    Julia recently posted…Valentine’s DayMy Profile

  24. I love you.
    You are so very brave and strong and resilient.

    And remember this: I could never have done what you did. To write something and drive all that way alone in the car, and then read my writing, bare my soul…
    WOW.
    You are just… inspiring.
    And I am so sorry it didn’t work out.
    I do hope you’ll consider doing a vlog of your piece about Eddie.
    Or at the very least sharing it as a regular post.

    I love you.
    You are SO, SO BRAVE, Katie.

    So many of us wouldn’t have even tried or put ourselves out there.
    but you DID IT!
    xoxo
    erin margolin recently posted…Just Write: Delays and DoctorsMy Profile

  25. Nobody likes to feel rejected but glad to hear you don’t regret it. So proud of you for trying and putting yourself out there. That is more than most people can do. I think recording your piece on video is a great idea when you are ready. Hugs!

  26. Well, you know I got the same email and my heart hurt, too. :( I really didn’t expect to get casted, but what still hurt was that it was my story and the rejection kind of felt like they were saying my story wasn’t
    “good enough” but it was *my* story–and that story is sooo personal (and painful in some ways). But, I think it is awesome that you auditioned and I still would love to hear you perform it or read your words. Your story is yours and that is a beautiful thing!
    Amanda Venema recently posted…It’s still my storyMy Profile

  27. Sigh. I’m sorry, hunny. I’m trying out in North Jersey in a couple of weeks and I am So. Freaking. Nervous. I loathe public speaking, but I think it’s important to push yourself out of your comfort zone now and then. I figure at the very least, I’ll meet some cool people.

    I mean, I SAY that, but I know I’ll be just as sad if/when I’m not picked.

    Try again next year, yes?
    Phase Three of Life recently posted…How sensory activities calm my spirited child.My Profile

  28. I’m so sorry, Katie. It would be so nice if rejection were not such a huge part of this whole writer bit. Alas.

    So proud of you for going and putting yourself out there. It’s not easy to do.
    Angie Kinghorn recently posted…KakumaMy Profile

  29. I love you so much. You are one of the bravest women that I know. xoxo
    tracy recently posted…A Little More ConversationMy Profile

  30. I totally feel this. I tried out last year and had convinced myself so much that it wasn’t important to me until it all of a sudden FELT so important as I was reading it during my audition to actual people. My piece was about my son and I got so emotional every time I thought about sharing such an important and essential part of my son’s personality and then felt double rejection when I didn’t get selected, both for myself and for my son (which I realize is crazy).

    Wishing you quick healing and yes I love the idea of the video of the piece! Perfect!
    Heather recently posted…Do You Want to Build a Snowman?My Profile

  31. <3 I don't have any words but I can understand your feelings.
    The Many Thoughts of a Reader recently posted…DiscouragementMy Profile

  32. Oh, my sweet friend…I am so very sorry that you were not cast, but I am SO damn proud of you for auditioning! It is HARD, harder than non-writers realize. And I know you did an amazing job. xoxo
    Sherri recently posted…A Milestone LoveMy Profile

  33. Katie, I wish I could tell you exactly how proud of you I am for TRYING. You wrote a heartfelt piece, and I am honored that I got to read it. Do not doubt yourself; you have a smart and strong voice, and you have so much to offer. xo
    Kristin Shaw recently posted…In plain sightMy Profile

  34. BlogHer VOTY’12 and ’13, In the Powder Room’s first book, “You Have Lipstick on Your Teeth”; McSweeney’s Internet Tendency; Indianapolis LTYM ’13 . . . a short list of my rejections.

    I share this to encourage you and empathize. Rejection hurts, no getting around it.

    Good luck moving forward! Good things to come . . .
    Nicole Leigh Shaw recently posted…Still snowy and cold, come back in MayMy Profile

  35. Oh, Katie. You had me in tears before I even got to the bottom and saw that little note. It makes my heart happy to see that it means something to you.

    I’m going to echo what Missy and so many others have said in that this piece has a place. And so do you. Submitting our work is selling ourselves in a way, and although we hate sales, it’s all about getting many more no’s than you get yesses. But the yesses will come, because you have it, girl.
    Leigh Ann recently posted…a running playlist: 80s alternative editionMy Profile

  36. If this helps at all, seeing you try and not make it gives me hope that I too could try and be okay with not making it. I thought about auditioning this year and didn’t. It’s a thing I think about and then get scared. It does help to see others try and not make it. Because this isn’t like having a fiction piece rejected from a journal or website (though that smarts good and hard too). This is your LIFE and it feels so personal and raw. Thank you for telling us you were going to try.
    Kristin recently posted…There and Back AgainMy Profile

  37. I’m so sorry that you didn’t get cast .. but don’t stop!!
    It’s so brave that you tried – seriously! I almost had a panic attack submitting a post to Blog Her Voices of the Year. I didn’t even have to face anyone Live in Person. Or read the post aloud. Just a few clicks. I think I was even just wrapped in a towel fresh from the tub where I had sweated the worries out!!
    pathetic really.
    but baby steps will get you where you want to go! eventually. ya just gotta keep walking. :)
    Rorybore recently posted…Tuesday Coffee Chat: When I Wake UpMy Profile

  38. You really are an amazing writer. We’re not just blowing smoke. But still, I know EXACTLY how you feel. Wallow in self-pity for a couple of days and then let it go. You deserve to be free of that hurt.
    Jennifer recently posted…SnappedMy Profile

  39. I know the burn of disappointment… I’m so sorry you’re feeling it again now.
    I’m also glad to hear you say that you will not stop putting your words out there. You need to. We need you to. You’ve been such a large contributor to this online humanity space. Your words are invaluable… and i love them.
    Jenni Chiu recently posted…I Want You To Be HappyMy Profile

  40. We’d love to hear your piece that wasn’t chosen for LTYM or anything else you have to say. Come join us at, “We Hear Ya,” on facebook and invite your friends. Anyone with a story is welcome to post! You are awesome!

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