What a whirlwind 24 hours. My weekend began with a rejection email from a writing contest. No problem. Rejection is familiar territory I can breeze across. Then 12 hours later, I learn I'm selected to participate in the Canyon De Chelly Ultra Marathon in October 2020 (more on that in a bit). Alright, that's better news, right? Especially since over 800 runners apply but only 175 are selected through a lottery process. Not long after, however, a second rejection email for a different writing contest rattles my inbox (I'm a finalist but not the winner). Alas, that familiar rejection territory returns, but my ego sinks me like an anchor.
Art-survival is binary. You're successful or you're not. My problem-solving brain sees no middle ground. And that's dangerous. For instance, if I'm successful, I've got to maintain my stature by heightening my skills. And if I'm not successful, there are opportunities I need to advocate myself for, which requires serious effort. Down, up, down, up. The feeling twists my insides.
I'm not a rollercoaster person. Never have, never will be. The thrill doesn't suit me, any more than actual life's ups-and-downs. Still, it's not always about the feeling. Sometimes it's about the sounds and smells, or in my case, the view.
Inc. published an article titled "5 Ways Mentally Strong People Deal with Rejection" and Number
5 speaks to me:
5. They Learn From Rejection
Mentally strong people ask themselves, "What did I gain from this?" so they can learn from rejection. Rather than simply tolerate the pain, they turn it into an opportunity for self-growth. With each rejection, they grow stronger and become better.
What I'm learning is to take in the view from the curve in the track before my next nose dive. What's spotted are all of my accomplishments and sacrifices thus far, as well as acknowledging versions of myself hopping on this thrill ride. The funny thing is I can get off my rollercoaster whenever I choose. No one is forcing me. And that, my friends, is my takeaway from rejection(s): I know I'm getting back on even though the ride isn't over yet.
So, yeah, I have 35 weeks to train for a 55k Ultra Marathon. Let's chat about that a different time...