Rejection 101

Evlin Dubose

Visuals: Rachel Lee | @r_chell__

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CONTENT WARNING: Suicide ideation 

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Lemme learn ya some hard truths, friend, because they were hard for me — as a writer, as a human. Rejection is the great big ‘ooo’ of the modern generation, the cruel mistress of success, the bummer of all bummers.

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Rejection is arbitrary. 80% of the time, it has fuck all to do with you: as a person, as a concept, as a creator, or as an agent of chaos in this wild world. It will more often than not say nothing about you, and everything about the source of rejection. 80% of the time, it’s not you.

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Rejection is specific. 10% of the time, it is definitely you. You are human and have flaws and those flaws will be absolute flaws, I promise. We all have them, and they are faults for a reason. Let go of the illusion of perfect, because it is a lie offering a seductive alternate reality where you are free of judgement and rejection, and because it is utter bullshit. You will fuck up. You will fall short. You will be judged. You will (and do) have flaws. We all do. But seriously, when was the last time you liked a character in a story who was so perfect that nothing was a struggle? Yeah, I can’t think of one either. They would be infuriating (and boring) as hell! You have flaws. But they do not define you, make you, or break you. They just mean that 10% of the time…

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Rejection is right. I was devastated when my pilot script got rejected from three different places. It was the best writing I had ever done! All my friends loved it! But years later, rereading it? Yeah, it sucked. I would have rejected it, too. Fair cop. You can change and improve, as a creator, as a job-doer, whatever! If you were making your best stuff now, then there’s nowhere for you to go. Creating crap is a rite of passage; there’s no shame in having a misfire or forty. It’s almost required.

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Rejection is wrong. Because rejection can be arbitrary, and because (and I cannot state this enough) no one knows what they’re doing, you will be unfairly rejected. The haters will be wrong. That ex will regret it. Those bigoted assholes will be crucified by history. And absolutely none of that will stop unjust rejection from occurring. Other people will fuck up and it will hurt you and yes I know it sucks. I know. Something can be quality and still not make the cut. Two people can be amazing and still not be right together. It’s not fair. It shouldn’t happen, but it does, anyway. Fuck you, universe.

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On that note —

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It is okay to be hurt. Rejection stings. It burns. It aches in your soul. It is lonely, and gutting, and you are not wrong for feeling wounded, regardless of the what, why, or how. It is so, so, so okay to feel hurt. 

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It is not okay to be vengeful. It is never okay to come after someone who hurt you, no matter what happened, no matter how excruciating the rejection, or how unfair, or how extreme. It is never okay because I promise you, it will never make the rejection better, nor undo what happened. I wish it could, I truly do; everyone wishes their hearts out that they could make things better. But this is a losing battle. And you will never be able to guarantee you were absolutely right to take vengeance into your own hands. Work respectfully and smartly to right the wrongs of the world, mend mistakes, heal hurts. But violence? Malice? Terror? You may feel these, or want to dole them out, but all I can tell you is: two wrongs will never make a right. Never.

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Rejection is inescapable. You are going to get your ass kicked. This is part of living, of taking risks. They don’t call it gambling for nothing. Every high has a low. I promise it is going to happen, no matter what, no matter how big or small, but…

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…Rejection is not forever. You can change. You can learn and evolve. Pain fades, confidence grows. Your personality, intelligence, talents, and skills can always be cultivated and refined. Always. I promise: nothing is static. Rejections today can be acceptances tomorrow. I don’t care how deep and dark your hole is, how long you’ve been alive, how tangled your feelings and behaviors are, how ingrained your hurts, things change. No matter how small or slow, they change. This time last year I wanted to kill myself, but then I realized I flossed my teeth now and never used to: things, no matter how small or slow, change. And if you were accepted as this—right now, if this was your peak—how boring would the rest of your life be? Don’t you wanna know if you can push yourself further? Aren’t you curious as to what could come next? Don’t you wanna see where else you can go, and what else you can be? 

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I am.