I’m out of my comfort zone right now. And, surprisingly, it feels fantastic.
I feel a gentle flutter-by within my heart, an energetic rhythm inside my being, a general sense of freedom, or maybe just an I don’t give a [cuss]! attitude of spirit.
You know, I think it’s been fear that’s kept me comfortable in the past. Actually, I think I just might know it has. The other day, I read some simple, straightforward advice.
Do the thing you’re afraid to do.
That’s why I’m out of my comfort zone. I’m doing the thing I’ve been afraid to do, for a long time.
What I’m about to share with you is nothing new, especially if you’re a fellow unpublished, often rejected, and maybe even dejected writer. I’ve wanted to write for as long as I can remember. And I have.
I’ve written poetry, children’s stories, short stories, and personal essays. I’ve also filed them away in boxes, drawers, and cabinets. Years ago, I posted submissions the old-fashioned way, and awaited the snail mail letters of acceptance or rejection.
And they arrived. Only, as a writer, I hadn’t arrived. Which reminds me of another bit of advice I’ve read recently.
Don’t take rejection to heart.
The letters of rejection were sometimes kind – my submission was well-written, inspiring, but simply not a fit at this time. Most often they were routine form letters with no feedback other than the flat-out rejection.
The worst rejection happened while my then 8-year-old little love and I were browsing through a children’s bookstore one day. “Mummy! Mummy!” she shouted, running toward me with an open book in her hands. “It’s your story!” And it was.
And this was the worst sort of rejection – my story was published, only with another’s name on the cover. I was dejected. I stopped submitting my writing. I eventually stopped writing.
It’s taken me years (she’s now a 21-year-old little love who still browses book stores with me) to let go of this particular rejection, the fear that
gripped me I gripped, the comfort that comes from not actually being open to being rejected, and dejected.
Not taking rejection to heart has been a lengthy life lesson for me, but I’ve learned. I’ve learned that rejection is really about the other’s needs, wants, and choices. Rejection really isn’t personal – but we sometimes choose to make it personal, to take it personally.
Dare to put yourself out there.
Around the new year, a free-spirited, free-lance writing heroine asked me if I intended to expand the reach of my blog. Was that a whisper of acceptance? I get warm, happy fuzzies just remembering our exchange.
I responded, telling her that I simply enjoyed writing at my little, free WordPress blog, that I was lucky to have a handful of regular readers, that I had a good and busy day job. Then I dared to ask, “Why?” to which she promptly responded, “Just wondering.” Was that a whisper of rejection?
I dared to share my stories of rejection and the final nail of dejection, to which she simply replied, “That’s good.” What the [cuss] kind of [cussing] writing heroine are you? Then she continued, “That just means your writing is good enough to be published.”
And then it smacked me square in the middle of my soul – it didn’t matter if my writing heroine accepted or rejected my writing, or even if another person’s name was on it, my writing was good enough to be published. She was simply mentoring me, prompting me to realize this.
As I’ve practiced living my life out loud, I’ve begun to write again. I’ve written here at my blog for many months (this post is my 50th – yay, me!), have submitted posts to other blogs (recently published at Tiny Buddha – yay, me, again!), and am currently working on another children’s story. I am a writer, a published writer.
Step out of your comfort zone.
A few weeks ago, our family decided to dine out at a new, local indie restaurant. It’s an Italian diner so I knew what I wanted to order even before we’d arrived – baked manicotti in marinara sauce – dee-lish!
As we sat down I didn’t even bother to open the menu, only to discover upon ordering that baked manicotti was not actually on the menu. I quickly looked at the specials board and ordered something equally as delicious, I’d hoped.
A few moments later, the server appeared again to inform me that the special was no longer available. By now I was feeling uncomfortable – I would have to order something out of my comfort zone, and speedy-quick-like – the server was not going to stand around while I tried to remain comfortable.
I can’t even remember now what it was I did order – it was, of course, as delicious as I’d hoped. I didn’t take my assumption that what I wanted would actually be on the menu personally, and I didn’t take the rejection of what I wanted personally either.
I just stayed with the uncomfortableness, just stepped out of my comfort zone, and I discovered a different deliciousness.
I’m uncomfortable, and I feel fantastic.
I am uncomfortable. Since putting my writing out there, new readers have visited my blog, readers who are likely expecting to discover something delicious. Some have enjoyed what they’ve sampled after venturing over here from Tiny Buddha (welcome, dear new readers), but many who enjoyed my post over there have decided not to return to my blog here (thanks, but no thanks, eh).
That is uncomfortable. It feels like rejection. It actually is rejection. But it’s okay because I know rejection is simply about their choices to browse the menu, maybe try something new, and maybe even return. Or not.
Either way, I feel fantastic.Do you have a story of rejection to share? How do you accept rejection? Has someone you love experienced rejection lately? Share this post. Sometimes just knowing that others struggle with the acceptance of rejection is enough to help.