I have experienced a multitude of rejection in my life. This does not make me unique, rejection isn’t all that special. It’s a part of everyday life.
It really is nothing personal.
From a young age I knew that I wanted to be an actress. Ever since I watched Rene Zellweger in a tiny silver dress in Chicago, and with a juicy bottom cascading down a Fire man’s (fire person’s) pole in Bridget Jones: and realised that it was the same woman.
I decided to audition for drama schools when I was 17 and I experienced my first full frontal slap in the face from rejection. Sometimes it came in form of an email, a letter, sometimes it came from a man with a clipboard who failed to read out my name. Occasionally, it happened face to face, ‘you’re just quite average’, ‘have you considered a different career?’, ‘could you just do it…differently’.
The first time I received all seven ‘not this year’s’ from drama schools, they loomed over me for weeks afterwards. They hung around like a fly on a hot day or a smell of a bin that needs to be taken out. I felt overwhelmed by the fog of failure and saw no light at the end of the tunnel. When I did eventually surface from self-pity and the fear that I may never reach my assumed potential, I gained the courage to audition for something else.
The cycle goes on, audition, rejection, audition, rejection and suddenly your failure begins to act as a torch, highlighting the success of people around you that ‘just got lucky.’
Every time I walk into a high street shop, I face a kind of rejection. Often a shopping trip feels like hangers and hangers of clothes that probably won’t fit me and if they do, they won’t look quite right. Even when they do, the price tag wags it’s finger and blatantly reminds me to put it back where it came from and walk away.
I sample milkshakes for work. In the woke of the detrimental effects that the dairy industry is having on our planet, and the fact that no one really wants to drink a shot of milk on a Wednesday afternoon when its 6 degrees outside, rejection is plentiful.
“Would you like to try some organic chocolate flavoured milk?”
“Wait, cow’s milk?”
“Yes, cow’s milk”
“Right, lovely, thank you, have a great day”
Rejection after rejection, in a pathetic fallacy of the cold, chilled-goods isle of a Planet Organic in Devonshire Square.
When boys that I’m infatuated with decide that they just don’t love me anymore. I feel a shift in their response to me, to my jokes, my date suggestions and my touch. They look through me, searching for the right words. The right words that will wash their hands of me with the least amount of pain afflicted, and therefore guilt on their conscience.
Break-up’s feel like one of the ultimate rejections. Not only is a person erasing you from their lives and vice a versa, but this is a person to whom you have shown everything. Left no stone unturned. Warts and all. They know everything about you, and it’s only at that point that they decide that you’re not quite for them.
When I apply for a job that I’m not qualified for on paper, but I’d be bloody good at if they just let me through the door.
When I rush home from the train station to see the kids that I used to nanny for, and I’m greeted with blank faces and tantrums rather than a showering of love and affection.
When I expect my parents to be free to pick me up at the station, but they’re at a steak night with Beccy and Robbo.
When I want a movie night but, the girls all have plans.
When I send an extremely witty message on bumble and get no reply.
When I spend weeks on a piece of uni work, and just about pass.
You get the jist.
So how, when the world seems to be against you, closing every door and you’re left stranded like Joseph with nothing but a technicolour dream coat, how do you keep trying? How do you accept rejection and allow it to fuel your fire rather than piss all over it?
I don’t really have the answer and if I’ve learnt one thing, it’s that to continuously pick yourself up, is hard. However, in the wise and over used words of Kelly Clarkson (Almost 98% sure that she is not the origin of this quote) “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”
From unsuccessful auditions, I have learnt how driven I am. If I wasn’t, then I wouldn’t keep going back, putting myself in a spotlight open for criticism and unwanted opinion. From the boys that decided not to love me anymore, I dodged a bullet. I escaped being stuck with someone that didn’t think that the sun shone out of my backside. They unchained me from mediocracy and taught me to respect my worth, not to settle for anything less than I am giving out. Clothes that do not fit me teach me to just stay naked and not bother with clothes because skin is enough?
No, even I don’t believe that one.
They teach me to eat a carrot rather than a whole packet of bourbons and to shop somewhere more accessible and accommodating. Milk haters teach me to be polite. Ignored job applications teach me to knock on every door and penetrate every inbox until someone acknowledges my existence. The kids being underwhelmed by my presence, reminds me that I am not God and their world’s keep turning even when I am not there.
When I am ignored on bumble it teaches me that if Jane Austen knew that this was how I was attempting to find a suiter, she’d be turning in her grave and if they can’t be bothered to move their thumbs to reply to an instant message: then they probably won’t be that good at giving head. When I don’t get the grades that I think that I deserve, I ask for feedback and I make sure that I never make the same mistakes again.
I don’t believe that rejection is negative. I believe that it is difficult and challenging, as are all good things.
Ellis didn’t feel utter fulfilment and pride when she climbed Kilimanjaro because it was easy.
Overcoming rejection is just like climbing a mountain, it’s tiring and tedious and fucking painful at times, but my God when you get to the top…
the view will be so worth it.