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The Art of Rejection

22 Dec

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After sitting in my drafts for a bit I’ve yet to come up with any new, profound points about experiencing and consequently rising above rejection.  I’ve also been temporarily paralyzed by my (most recent) personal meeting with rejection.  Hopefully I avoid sounding like a whiney millennial because… none of those are here right now.

In the last two weeks I made it to the final round of candidates for a dream position of sorts, had quite the encouraging interview (with encouraging activity from the interviewers), and waited for a week in high but realistic spirits.  A week later I was smacked in the face with the most generic rejection email.  It was almost as though I had never talked with anyone affiliated with the organization.  I refreshed my inbox several times to insure I did not read the message incorrectly.  But of course, there it was, the rejection just comfortably sitting there–mocking me.

It’s almost comical how many instances of rejection we will experience in our lifetime.  That little girl didn’t want to hold your hand in the sandbox.  Your body rejected your first navel piercing.  The girl with a constellation of freckles (damn I’m sounding like Thought Catalog…) and honey eyes politely rejected your offer to take her on a date.  Your professor rejected the topic for your final paper.  Your dream job and others like it send you a sugary coated e-reject on a weekly basis.  The list infinitely continues.  Rejection is the gift that keeps on giving (among the other “gifts” that keep on giving).  Yes, it is a gift if you take the necessary steps and use it as a catalyst for growth and success!

Here are my steps:

Step 1 is a completely natural response to disappointment and should not be skipped.  After every other failure comes back to haunt you,  I think it’s appropriate to spend a short amount of time acknowledging your sadness.  What a great way to remind yourself that you have feelings, meaningful goals that you would like to accomplish, and have made efforts to reach them.

I find myself suspended in step 2 whether or not I’m going through the stages of rejection.  I know my generation is supposedly stuck in the “existential vacuum” and I am completely corroborating that notion.  However, existential does not necessarily equal nihilistic, apathetic, or lazy–which are additional terms that often get thrown into the vortex of immobile millennials.  

Step 3 is somewhat like a passive rebellious phase for me. My mind begins conjuring up images of me traveling to exotic destinations and being transparent; rejecting western values, corporate America, and the white picket fence portrait (Note:  I already generally reject these notions to lesser degrees).  Ultimately, I am all bark and no bite.

Alas, the light at the end of the rejection tunnel reveals itself as step 4 slaps you back into reality.  Your friends and friendly strangers are there bandaging your wounds, giving you lollipops, and offering you all kinds of next steps that never even crossed your mind.  Confidence regenerates and you’re feeling stronger than ever.  You even appreciate the rejection because with it came experience and evidence that you are trying to level up in life.

Leveling up requires the final step of getting back out there.  Change your approach and typical patterns that seem to result in rejection.  Maybe there’s a different strategy or perspective you did not consider because it’s unfamiliar to you.  Tweaking your routine will yield other results and get you one step closer to that life goal.

This is the simple way in which I experience rejection.  I probably sound dramatic but it’s not my fault because I’m involuntarily hyper-aware of my emotions. Embrace rejection.  You were rejected for a reason so kindly thank the Universe for nudging you in more correct directions.

My Coming Out Story.

18 Oct

At 23 posts I suppose it’s about that time I share my “coming out” story with my readers.  My apologies for my lack of posting (if anyone cares).  I’ve been a tad busy trying to be a real adult, which is rather challenging…  And my apologies for how wordy and unnecessary the following stories will seem:

I consider myself quite fortunate to be one of those lesbians who subconsciously knew she was different at about age 10.  I recall chasing girls around the playground and wanting to hold their hands much more than the boys; and that didn’t seem strange or abnormal to me at all.  I just knew that it was girls who made my stomach do backflips, and it felt good, and I wanted more.  To this day I still remember the girl that stole my heart at the jungle gym.  She’s married now (holy shit I must be old.  23 isn’t old), but even still when people ask me when did I know I was gay, I always mention her and my heart flickers a bit because she’s the one that started it all.

In 8th grade when girls started to experiment with boys and talk about them all the time I remember participating in conversations but I felt disconnected.  But like every year of my life it seems, there was a girl I had a crush on and we had this (what I thought) was an unspoken attraction.  I didn’t know what we had and I was probably misinterpreting everything per usual, but there was a reason I cried the day she moved and I never saw her again.  Such a sap I am.  In between her was another crush on someone who used to be my best friend (I know we were 2 way crushin’ on the first girl) and we played softball together.  GO FIGURE.  All the attractive and cool guys wanted her and she eventually picked one of them to be her long term boyfriend.  I was devastated especially because I thought we had some weird unspoken attraction as well.  I’m hardly wrong about those unspoken attractions.  Fast forward a few years and what do you know she’s dating a woman and they’re still together to this day!  All the while with these crushes, my ultimate crush was on this “gothic” beauty Amy Lee from Evanescence.

If you took a peep at all of my notebooks and binders from 7th grade though High School there was a 96% chance that Evanescence symbol would be scribbled somewhere.  This woman was the first significant female celebrity crush I had.  I owned every poster, magazine cover and article, CD, saw her in concert, and even had some autographed concert tickets and a belt buckle she apparently wore during one of her concerts.  Needless to say I was completely obsessed.  Fast forward to the latter days of High School and I was ready to come out to my friends.

The great thing about my High School friends (who are still my good friends) is that they were and still are the forward thinkers, the intellectuals, and the “hippies” so to speak.  I couldn’t ask for better friends.  I told different groups of friends at different times and they all had the same reaction: Explosive laughter and a bunch of “we’ve always knowns.”  What a relief. I  knew they would react that way but your first time coming out to meaningful people is difficult.  Fast forward to my freshman year of University and I was ready to come out to my parents.  *cue foreboding music*

Ah yes, the dreaded coming out to your parents.  What a stressful and anxiety ridden period.  Before I came out I bought Chaz Bono’s (then Chastity) book Family Outing: A GUIDE TO THE COMING-OUT PROCESS FOR GAYS, LESBIANS AND THEIR FAMILIES and studied the pages as if I had finals that week.  Once I felt confident enough in myself with the backing up friends and my roommates, I plotted my plan (I’m so grateful for the friends I made at University because they really helped me through a lot and I truly could not ask for better confidants).  I decided the best way to communicate with my parents would be to write two heartfelt letters because I wanted to make sure I was as thorough and clear as possible.  My parents are divorced so I had to do this twice.  I strategically gave my dad his letter a couple hours before he left for a week long vacation.  Mind you it took me at least an hour to build up the courage and hand it to him before I ran away and buried my head under pillows.  He read it, cried, hugged me, and apologized for making gay jokes in the past and proceeded to explain to me the kind of environment he grew up in and their opinions on gay people.  I eventually gave him the Chaz Bono book and he still has it in his desk drawer.  I’m unsure if he ever read it or not.  Overall I think it was a pretty successful coming out.  Although I was told a year or so down the road that he thought I was going through a phase.  That was about five years ago and surprise I’m still falling in love with ladies.  Giving my mom the letter was much easier.  I stopped by her house when she wasn’t there and left the letter in one of her drawers.  I called her and asked if she got it and of course she didn’t because I put it in the one drawer she never looks in.  After she read it she called  and laughed at me saying she’s known since I was in 6th grade.  Who knew?!  She then called the local PFLAG organization and had a conversation for whatever reason.  Coming out to my mom was a success as well.  I’m sure there were some feelings of sadness because I am her only daughter and you guys know how moms are.

At 23 years old I have the joy of saying I’ve never been rejected by any family members or friends.  At least not explicitly rejected.  My parents and I have never talked about my sexual orientation since I gave them the letters, which is understandable.  My family doesn’t really talk about dating or people we’re interested in because we’re all very much our own  private entities.  Whenever I do have the pleasure of finding a girlfriend I will not hesitate to introduce her to my family.

One thing I didn’t talk about in my story was the  depression and void I felt before coming out.  I think I touched based on it in my previous post, but if you can imagine it was horrendous.  I didn’t even feel like a real person.  It was more as if I was watching someone else on a little television with bad reception in a dark room.  The closet is truly suffocating and you’ll never be able to start your life until you acknowledge those feelings.  It’s one of those clichés that are overwhelmingly truthful.  So for anyone that has yet to come out, I highly encourage you to.  Seek the right people out if you need help whether it’s a friend or a stranger online.  Seek me out.  Life is much better on the outside, I promise.

Where are the Lesbians Between the Pages?

26 Mar

In the waning era (Hallelujah/hopefully) of Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey, my inner-lesbian-spirit has been indefinitely vomiting all over the place.  As I wrote in an earlier entry (Read Here), all of my friends are hot blooded heterosexual women and some of them have read and even thoroughly enjoyed reading these series of… novels?  Imagine myself as I sit trying to comprehend the appeal and want to find a charming, dominating, heroic, type of man.  I can’t, because I don’t want that obviously.  Not all heterosexual women want that either of course.  What I’m gathering at is that in 2013, it is like searching for a needle in a haystack trying to find any inkling of a lesbian romance in a novel.  In fact, finding a lesbian romance between women over the age of 17 seems to be a made up concept not available on mainstream bookstore shelves.  Although, some material may be available in smaller, more independent book stores.  Or maybe a feminist book store like Women & Women First.

If you don’t watch Portlandia then you probably have no clue about this. You should watch this show though because it’s hilarious.

The first time I sought out a story that my lesbian spirit could relate to, I thought Barnes & Noble would be a great place to start because they seem to have everything and if they don’t they can find it for you.  I eagerly walked in and headed straight to the desk where I asked the attendant where I could find the LGBT section in the store.  He then proceded to tell me that they were in the process of eliminating that section because people have been arguing that segregating the books into their own category is not conducive to progression… Or something like that.  Basically, treating the books as something different than other books is not ideal.  Personally, I’m okay with the section because it makes it easier for me to find the things I want!  Nonetheless, there was one book case that had a shelf labeled “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered” nestled between I believe African American and some other marginalized culture.  I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised to find half a shelf of material for me to pick from.  None of the choices were fiction, and there was some erotica, personal accounts, and short stories.  The book I was looking for was located in the Young Adult section, which makes sense but I was hoping to find more than what I did.  I’ve read two books so far that explore young girls discovering their sexuality while unsuspectedly falling in love with another girl.

I think both books are proficient in describing the pain, fear, and sometimes denial from loved ones, that comes with acknowledging one’s sexuality for the first time.  I completed  Annie on my Mind today.  While the book’s 1982 publishing date is a bit dated, I thoroughly enjoyed the story of Liza and Annie.  It’s nice to get a perspective of obstacles faced by the LGBT community growing up in a time before the Internet and explosion of user created content.  Your information either came from small entries in Encyclopedias, or if you were brave enough, you checked out books about homosexuality in the library.  Keeping You a Secret was published in 2003 and does a better job illustrating a more modern day homophobia.  The type where people have the opportunity to be appropriately informed about homosexuality, but choose to remain ignorant about it.

2003 was a decade ago and I think it’s time for more romance plots to be between two girls (or women).  There’s been a clear increase of lesbian visibility on television so I’m hopeful there will be a change in the literature department soon.  Obviously this will require more lesbian authors to emerge or those willing to attack such a controversial subject with accuracy and passion (also publishers and whatever else comes with publishing).  I know there is an infinite number of lesbian short stories and fan fiction available online, but it’s not the same as holding a physical book in hand, knowing that someone thought your story was important enough to print and publish to the world.  Young girls struggling with their sexuality deserve to see themselves in the books they read.  If anything, they deserve to escape to a world where they can feel comfortable and safe inside the pages of a book.  If I don’t see anything soon maybe I should try writing something like my story.