By Kizzy Katawonga:
It was almost 20 years ago.
I was a young freshman at secondary school and she was gorgeous. The keloids on her ear buds like beautiful African earrings.
Her upturned nose always made her look like we were beneath her. I certainly felt that way. It didn’t matter though. I had fallen for her almost from the moment I saw her.
Every evening I'd eagerly lookout for her parents and then go find her and walk her, albeit from a sheepish distance, to the waiting car.
I longed to hold her hand and talk to her. She would wave goodbye, smiling as the car drove off, innocently oblivious to my affections.
I wish this story had a fairy tale ending but nay; she rejected me. Gave me a mwenda (an F for Fail). My young heart was crushed.
It was my first rejection and it hurt. It would be years before I was brave enough to try and open my heart again.
We all experience it at some point in our lives. It’s a part of the human condition and I was recently reminded of its sting and the walls that it forces you to hide behind.
This time, however, my crush is a dream to be a world renowned writer.
Laugh if you will but every one of you who writes or blogs has entertained such illusions of grandeur. Admit it.
It is a known fact that every successful writer has been rejected more times than they'd like to remember. Hardly any writer has found instant success.
That being said, I am in good company.
I love writing and speaking about men and manliness and no, I am not trying to come out of the closet or anything.
I mean I’m passionate about the calling of manhood with all its responsibilities and challenges.
So I felt I had gained enough street cred. to write for one of the biggest man centered websites on the internet.
I got in touch with their editor in chief. A few emails later, I got this in the (e)mail:
“After looking over your site, I don’t think collaboration would be a good fit. The definition of manhood you’re working from is substantially more narrow and prescriptivist than the one we try to embrace…Thanks for your interest”
I, the Apprentice, narrow and prescriptivist? Is prescriptivist even a real word?
That really stung deep. I knew I was good enough for the big leagues but those words viciously burst my bubble.
It said to me that my writing and message simply aren’t good enough for the real deal.
For days I brooded. I quit writing. I threw in the proverbial towel. I mean after 3 years of writing, how can I not be a good fit? Who was I fooling?
Then it hit me. Not Yet. I'm not good enough yet!
But I can be. I just need to keep writing, improving and learning. Yes, I can be rich and famous!
Freshly motivated, I reached out to some writer friends I admire and they gave me excellent advice.
I am now writing with a bold new conviction to make that editor eat his words.
I will not hide in the shadows and cower like I did with my teen crush. I will keep writing until the day all the rejection letters turn into approvals and glowing adulation.
So whatever your dream is today, be it a career, a business or a girl, know this; rejection is not the end.
It’s merely an opportunity to look at what’s not good enough yet so you can work on it until it's bloody awesome.
FYI, if it hadn't been for that teenage heartbreak, I'd never have become good enough to marry the most awesome woman in the world. Eat that!
So don't let rejection get you down. Rejection is really your friend. Sometimes, with benefits. Embrace her.
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