So rejection isn’t much fun.
I got a no tonight on a poetry submission. Well 3 poems to be precise. I felt hopeful and good when I pressed send. Like super, super hopeful, good vibes. Like it was strong work that might be a good fit. Being told otherwise at the end of a long day, where supplies were already a teeny bit low, was not the best moment of this Wednesday.
It is part of the process of writing and art though. The inevitable no’s that come when you put your work out there. I have had my share so far, I know there are many more to come. Something one is supposed to get used to and “grow a thick skin” around I suppose.
I have this image in my mind of becoming a rather scaly creature who has the equivalent of extra tough boots for her epidermis. No’s just bounce right off, because I am so big, strong, and impervious. I grow large and impressive in my immunity to no as I just keep getting back up and trying again, impassable, invulnerable to unfavorable results.
Somewhere in my mind, my inner Godzilla just leapt onto the Chrysler building and started scaling towards the top. Despite the team of police, military, and other militant masked men standing down below, shooting whatever they can, I keep going. Nobody stops Dr. Extra Tough. Nobody.
*Insert evil mwhahaha you cannot stop me laugh here, or perhaps a simple primal roar will do… rawr.*
Either way, my noise centers let the general population know I am impenetrable, watch me scale.
I am trying to reconcile this image with this line I wrote in a poem earlier tonight:
I used to think I did not fit into this world very well. My skin never seemed quite thick enough as I stretched it over the sensitive areas of my body and wondered, did anybody else house a heart that felt thin and cold from over awareness and not enough layers of protection.
This over aware heart does not seem to fit with an extra tough rawr epidermis.
And yet I am trying.
Trying to take the most sensitive, vulnerable areas of myself and softly blow on the tender words forming above them, watching them gently arrange themselves into phrases, sentences, paragraphs. Taking the gusts that come from those breaths of winds and casting them to the right places who may appreciate the breeze and add it to their linguistic collective.
Trying to take the most whimsical, joyous, imaginative areas of myself and lovingly rub my hands over them as I grab a pencil, my watercolors, my pastels, and promise I will do justice as I sketch them to being. Trust me, I say, and I will bring your vision to life.
What an odd mix of sensitivity and tenacity this process is.
For me, writing and art is literally about taking some of the most beautiful, raw parts of myself, channeling them into creative vision, then trying to find a way to share that with a larger audience. All while I maintain a resilient attitude, ability to take no for an answer, not take anything personally, and the persistence to get back up and try again when I’m thrown.
The vulnerability to expose pieces of your soul, in hopes you have something worthy to say that others connect with as part of the human experience.
The dignified grit to graciously accept no, not lose heart, and keep believing, keep trying, in the vision you have for your craft. For yourself.
This process doesn’t ask for much, does it?
I didn’t scale the Chrysler building tonight. No was like an arrow that knocked me down off the mirrored glass, made me fall a few stories. Not quite to the ground. Just far enough down that I took a deep breath, looked up, and decided I would take a short break and then climb anew.
I feel like old school Nintendo where Mario dies and has to start over at the beginning of the level.
The summer I was 13, I used to say mean words to the game control in my abject frustration. Pause to get a cup of tea and peanut butter sandwich. Take a deep breath and start all over. Determined to finish the level this time, as I reflected that at least I saved and wasn’t sent back to the beginning of the game.
Mario will rescue the Princess, I vowed.
Eventually I did.
I will take this wise lesson from my 13 year old, Mario obsessed self. At least I’m not sent back to the beginning of the game. My progress has been saved.
Onward and upward then.
I may not have Extra Tough skin and the Chrysler building is far from scaled, but this sensitive heart has learned that when you die before reaching the end of the level there are days where you simply must pause and save. Get a cup of tea and peanut butter sandwich (or wine and gummy bears as was the case tonight, don’t judge). Take a deep breath, and start over.
I’m pretty sure that even Godzilla had bad days and was in need of a good peanut butter sandwich.
They just didn’t show that part.