Rejection. I have slowly become accustomed to it. Sadly, annoyingly, frustratingly accustomed to being given the "Thanks-for-playing-we-have-fine-parting-gifts" pink slip. The whole of my life these last few years has felt like one failed interview after another. I get one opportunity to put my best foot forward, am judged, found lacking. Days will pass. Achingly silent days. And then the formal rejection arrives. I am beginning to think that I am the only one in the world who feels I measure up to whatever arbitrary standards are set by whoever it is that judges me and finds me woefully inadequate. It makes me doubt my own skill set. Makes me doubt my ability to fill the bill. I tell myself that it is because I am overqualified. The world is not ready for someone with my amazing skills. That I am so wonderful that others pale by comparison, and so I must be culled from the herd so others will not feel lessened by my presence. It is a good lie. And one I repeat often, especially at night when my demons gleefully remind me of recent failures.
It does bring me to the edge of the abyss. I stare into the darkness that only recently released me from its grip. I won't go back. I refuse to let the abyss gain even the lightest grasp of my soul. But it is there, waiting. Patient as eternity. Repeated failures, continuous rejections, makes me doubt my choice to stay the course, be who I am, not present a false face. I want to be Me. The true, unabridged version of Me. I will not dilute myself in the vain hope that if I am just less Me than I will be deemed acceptable. I will not censor my glee. I will not edit my truths. I need to be everything that makes me the unique individual that I am. But I am lonely in my aloneness. The nights are long and dark. With each new rejection comes a moment of doubt. My stance weakens, my resolve wavers, if only for a moment. But that moment feels out of time and space, an eternity of fear, weakness, melancholy, panic, tears. It really is just a brief moment. A moment when I feel that the true, unabridged Me is not fit for publication, that I must censor, rewrite, edit, tweak, throw out entire chapters. I feel as if the world has deemed me unacceptable. And I don't know how to cope with that. And so I don't cope, I try to ignore the pain of rejection and move myself out of range. Yes, I do look back over my shoulder, analyze and reanalyze my actions and words, hoping to find some clue as to why I was not chosen, I look over every second, hear words, feel emotions, wonder at the failure, and convince myself that it is not me. I am not to be found wanting. I am the unappreciated, unclaimed prize. And this prize is not to be given out willy-nilly to the first person/job/situation who steps up to the plate. If I am rejected, it is not me that loses. I console myself with the knowledge that despite my aloneness, I am unique, I am being true to myself, I am unabridged, uncensored, unedited, raw, honest, and true to Self. That is where I stand. It is where I remain. It is Me. And I do not reject Me, I embrace Me.