And no, that isn’t me in the picture above (it’s my sister having a never-ending winter 2014 meltdown) but it’s exactly how I felt early last week.
I felt like I fell flat on my face. Smack. She’s down folks.
Last Tuesday afternoon I got an email from the agent I had approached regarding my children’s book – she didn’t feel like it was a good fit with her and decided to pass. Ugh. (Though she did write me a nice email and encouraged me to find other agents to approach and I totally appreciated the cushioned fall).
The email. The exact email I had been waiting to read for four weeks, though the words did not appear as I had imagined. My first no in this process. Ouch.
That no was like a gentle punch to the gut, and I did feel like I fell flat on my face. I lay there a little too. I let myself marinate in the rejection. This is a writer’s life, I told myself. Dr. Seuss was rejected like 40 times, I told myself. Do push-ups while you’re down here, I told myself.
Now I realize that one no isn’t the end of the world. I also realize that writers need to build pretty thick skin as they are destined to face rejection from time to time. And yes, I also understand that these stumbles will make me grow stronger. But all that being said, sometimes I’d take weakness for a little success, you know?
Last Tuesday was tough. I wallowed a bit. I questioned myself and my creativity. I wondered where the hell I go from here. I was quiet and didn’t talk to many people. I just needed to feel everything that came up and deal with it.
But something else happened last Tuesday that surprised me even more then that no from the agent. My reaction. Sure I felt I’d landed in the middle of a storm in the middle of my leap year, but in the eye of that storm I was OK. I truly was. Yes I felt crappy initially, but even while feeling crappy I didn’t second guess my journey. I questioned my next steps, but not whether or not I’d continue. I knew I’d continue. I knew I was still going the right way.
Last Tuesday’s storm brewed from one no, and in that moment I could have reacted one of two ways: feed it until it became a full on tornado, or brace myself as it blew past and allow it to leave. I chose the latter. Life really isn’t about what happens so much as it’s about how we react to what happens. One no doesn’t change the fact that I wrote a really sweet kid’s book. It doesn’t change how I feel about this book, and I remain just as happy and proud of it as I did when I first finished it and called my mom squealing in delight. One no will not throw me off course. One no will push me forward. One no will make me work harder, finding another agent who will see what I see when I read those words. One no is just that – one no.