January began a strange month “The Yellow Turmeric” wise. By strange, I mean good strange because for the first time since I created the space I had consistent work and even possibilities of publishing stories outside my domain.
When it looked like all was going well, right in the middle of nowhere, I found a big rejection email sitting in my inbox. Well, it was not NYT big (don’t roll your eyes now! one can be hopeful). Let’s just say big enough for me.
I am usually not great with rejections. Who is? No really, who is- I would like to talk to you. While applying for my Master’s program or various internships, I did face enough to know that for a fact. Strangely, this time my reaction was different. I don’t know if it was the urge to prove myself in this new chosen path of career or a general “show some strength” attitude- I bounced back with more vengeance that needed (or any vengeance needed for that matter). I deleted THE rejection email and all previous correspondences. I sat down to re-work the story I had submitted, the same day. I finished the new version of the story and sent it out to another website the very next day. The story was accepted and published. I actually got good feedback on my article, and it was not just from friends but also from a few readers I did not know (which meant the appreciation was real right??!!)
Sounds like a perfect- “dust yourself up and get back to the race” kinda story? The only thing missing here is a powerful background music. While it does sound all that- for me, it turned out to be a big mistake.
A few weeks later while working on another story, which I got a good start with -I froze. Not just froze, froze- absolutely cannot find another word to type froze. Those feelings of doubt that I had managed to bolt up with a publish button found themselves surging out. Am I really cut out for this? Was it wrong to abandon a career for this? Do I even know what I am doing?
I have never fancied my writing skills, but the need to tell these important stories is what keeps me going. The rejection email I had deleted from my inbox resurfaced in my mind, and this time there was no Trash button, and no amount of reasoning would create a mental one.
It took me a while to dust this phase off. I had to re-read some of the positive emails and comments that I received for my earlier posts. I am constantly inspired by the people I talk to, and I revisited their stories to find a way to keep mine going. I should also add that Netflix gained a lot from this phase of mine. In short, I did everything I probably should have done in the first place, because that is how I deal with rejection.
Yes we need to show strength, yes we need to bounce back, but we each have our way of dealing with difficult situations. There is a natural rhythm to how we respond and react. Showing strength doesn’t necessarily mean adopting a different personality. It’s about finding a way out of the tunnel. I simply tried to avoid the tunnel and found myself lost in the dark much longer than needed. I am back in the light now, but I am also prepared for more tunnels to pass through.
This time- I will.