Dealing with Disappointment

This time of year is perfect for Lent. At this point, everyone is getting a little sick of winter. We are tired of waiting. We’re ready for the snow to be gone, for spring and flowers and sunshine to return. And yet, somehow, winter always lingers. It doesn’t just disappear, it gives way in fits and starts. We just have to wait.

Naturally, that waiting process can lead to some disappointment. Like, “I’m going to go for a walk in the sun! Oh – wait – it’s snowing again. Dance video time.”

There are many other disappointments that crop up/ For example, not making it to the next round of ABNA. Getting another rejection letter from a journal.

When I was younger, I handled rejection pretty poorly. I was like one of those plants that curl up when you touch it… when I was rejected, I totally collapsed into myself. And that’s still something I’m working on. Even though I have good self-esteem, even though I feel loved and worthwhile and valued, a rejection still takes me aback.

What I’ve learned is that every time I get a rejection I have to go through a mini-grieving process. Denial, anger, bargaining, despair, acceptance (DABDA for short). Now, this is nothing like the grief for losing a family member. If I had that kind of grief every time I were rejected… I’d need to talk to someone!! The mini-grieving process may only take 3 minutes.

Denial: “Wait, they sent this to the wrong person. My name is spelled wrong.”

Anger: “How dare they spell my name wrong!! Punks. They’ll be sorry they rejected this masterful piece of work.”

Bargaining: “Maybe I could resubmit. Maybe if I change every word they’ll like it…”

Despair: “I’ll never get into this magazine.”

Acceptance: “OK, they didn’t like this one. I’ll try again another time.”

The important thing is to move through the stages and to feel them and get past them. And the more I do, the less it concerns me if I get a rejection. It’s more like, “Oh, really? I forgot I did that… guess I can submit that somewhere else now!”

What I have learned since I was a little girl is that magazines, contests, etcetera are not rejecting ME. MY worth is based on something entirely intrinsic. I am fearfully and wonderfully made (and I don’t say that to boast, we all are!)

Psalm 139:13-15 “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

No, They (magazines etcetera) are rejecting something I have made, and my handiwork will only get better with time and effort and patience. Waiting is hard but it’s part of the process.

Time to get back on the horse and… I mean, back on the computer and WRITE.

The Beginning…. of Lent

I have toyed with blogs in the past, but passion for the subject always eluded me after the first couple posts. Don’t look too hard, you might find those ghost blogs still drifting in space with my name on them.

This first entry coincides with two important things. First of all, it is Ash Wednesday, which means yesterday was Shrove Tuesday. Last night, I didn’t have a very wild Mardi Gras as I was working. The highlight of the evening was getting supper in spite of having what I call a “split float” – going to two different floors on the same night. Everyone has a horror story about those, I don’t. I expected to maybe get 15 minutes to eat. God bless the charge nurse who sent me to a full dinner.

Yes, but speaking of Ash Wednesday. Growing up in a Bible Church, we never really gave up things for Lent (or Quadragesima, as I prefer to call it. Haha.) . In fact, we didn’t even really mention it too much. My Catholic friend always gave up sweets, and I always looked at her in disbelief. No sweets for 40 days?! More recently, our vegetarian friends became vegan for Lent. No cheese for 40 days?!!! Now that we are Presbyterian, it is a bit more kosher (pardon the mixing of metaphors) to give something up.

The talk of giving things up makes many people, including myself, uncomfortable. I think I may just not be at the point where I can give up a luxury without making a big deal of it. Sweets are indispensable, especially in February, especially in Minnesota, especially right before Valentine’s Day. Maybe Facebook? Six weeks is a long time to be cut off from reading about other people’s trials, tribulations, and omphaloskepsis (and the occasional cute baby picture). Especially as Match Day, focus of another post, will be happening right in the middle of it. Therefore, I believe I will instead add something – this blog!

The other significance of this date is the preliminary round of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award (henceforth ABNA) was announced – and my pitch made it through! Small victories, everyone. Yes, last summer I wrote a 60K word novel called Driving Out Fear and now I am figuring out how to get it out there while working on sequels.

Back to the season of Lent. I see from Wikipedia that Lent is to be given over to prayer, penance, repentance, almsgiving and self-denial. Eeek! Well, in that line of thinking (penance, repentance… nuns?) we did go to see Nunsense in Mantorville last weekend, and it was very good. But the whole thing was a gift from our friends, so I can’t even count that towards almsgiving. Enjoying the performance was hardly an act of self-denial.

I shall really have to work on this observation of Lent business.  And with that… off to work.