This fall has brought me a bountiful harvest of rejections. Creative works, day job hunting, even my Ebay sales took a header. No one wants what I got to offer.
It happens. I’ve learned to try try-again. Send the story to the next market, send my resume to the next the non-profit, and snap pictures of the next round of vintage goodies. I’ve lived through 100% of my rejections so far; let’s hope this recent batch has the same survivability.
What makes this particular batch blog worthy, other than the avalanche aspect is that a lot of my co-workers in the lit world have basking in well-earned successes. Awards! Sales! Offers of Mentorship! All sorts of good stuff.
I’m overjoyed for all of them. They worked hard; that hard work got noticed. But I can’t help sulking a little bit. I worked hard too. Where’s my good stuff? I know the answer, “down the road, keep plugging.” And that their success doesn’t mean there isn’t enough room at the table for me.
I can be happy for my friends and frustrated for myself at the same time. A lot of the articles I’ve read on professional jealousy talk to the being happy for others side. And I think that’s important. Jealousy is a wretched hole to fall down, and all to often a long, prone to backsliding, climb out of.
Not defending jealousy. But, I am kind of, sort of defending feeling frustrated about your own situation. As long as the two don’t entwine. As long my failures and their success aren’t viewed as symbiotic. It’s okay to be down during low times. Even when they happen during other people’s highs.
Smile, says “congrats”, be there for them in their successes, as you’d them around for yours. Mean it, too. Because you’ll want them to mean it. Share their successes with the hope that next time, it’ll be them sharing yours.
And feel down in the spaces in between. In your journal. On your blog. Within the pages of your next great work. Hell, even share your frustration once the glow from their success has burned off. It’s important to validate their work and success. It’s important to hold your own aspirations and emotions as valid.