It’s very tempting to take every rejection personally. A stab in the heart, or in the back, if you’ve really got your hopes up. But what’s the point? You’re fresh out of school and to the rest of the world, you’re a debutante with stars for eyes.
I’ve been seeking out freelance gigs because writing is fun on its own but it’s even more fun if you’re paid for it, if even in the most meager amount possible, but I’m finding that my particular brand of transparency (e.g. complete and earnest) isn’t working out so well. Like in speaking, my written conversations say too much about myself and not enough about… what? How mysterious and interesting I can be? If that’s what’s valued, I can be nothing. I can capsize my ego and shrink down to the size of a dust mote, or perhaps you’d like me to stretch myself thin like gold leaf and wrap myself around whatever idea needs gilding.
This is, of course, a dramatization, but it’s not without its truth. I built up credentials upon credentials — which, admittedly, probably mean jack shit, because every time I count on this “real life experience” to lead me somewhere, I find myself stuck in the proverbial mud, anxieties and apologies up to my lips, sinking under — surprise surprise — the claim of inexperience. Unfamiliarity. Not knowing — and not even knowing what I don’t know.
When it came to getting a job out of college, naively, downright stupidly, I thought I had it lined up — and then the floor dropped out from under me. Yes, I have a paying job now. Yes, I like it*. But the job that threw me into the “experience” hamster wheel in the first place was something that I wrangled into existence. I made it — and thus, that’s how I kept it. And, blissfully, ignorantly, I thought that I could treat other things the same way.
I don’t have that luxury. I don’t have that assumption of trust. But I get my hopes up because I want, I need, to make this writing thing work, and the hurt, however I try to steel myself for it, stabs and spreads like disease in the vein every time.
It hurts more because I spent so much time trying to figure it out. I played by the rules, and played nice to the point where it drained me. I’m not owed anything in the world, so when things don’t click into place the first, or second, or third time, I just have to try harder. Work harder. I’m financially sound and I’m happy. Most people aren’t so lucky, and the curtain falls.
There’s no point in moping. Seethe, then let it go. Put the sweat in, learn, and maybe one day, you’ll hit gold.
*For another day…