Rejection seems to be the word of the moment. I know I’m experiencing it, as are many of my friends. Recent rejections have struck several fellow writers, and me, hard. That’s not unexpected as a writer. Still, certain places you feel in your gut are the right home for your work, and when they disagree, it feels extra awful. Even when you get a positive rejection, which I’m told is a good thing, it still brings you down. Bouncing back from rejections around writing is par for the course, but when it’s piled on top of other rejections all at once, it sucks.
It’s no secret to anyone who speaks with me that I’ve been eyeing a new career path for a while. I completed a four-part certification course through Notre Dame in Nonprofit Leadership, Grant Writing, and Fundraising and Development at the end of September. I’d signed up before all the lockdowns and job losses began. I had a plan, but you know what they say about a plan; it’s the best way to make god laugh. Through those courses, I was reminded of the 20 years of experience I have in community organizing and human services and how burned out I am. In short, I need a new job.
What surprised me was how much I loved the fundraising course. Both that and grant writing are storytelling. I love storytelling. It’s my favorite. I learned that environmental causes make up only 3% of our annual giving in the US. I would love to change that, but I haven’t gotten very far in that search. When I signed up l for these courses, I had no idea we’d be at such high unemployment rates, and I’d be up against so many other amazing people for so few positions. Not finding a new job yet sucks—more rejection.
Friends are helping me learn how to pitch ideas for articles. I have so many ideas, and I’m trying to figure out how to get them into the world. But between my regular writing, walks in nature, so I don’t lose my mind, job searching, finishing up the courses, going to a stressful full-time job, doing life, and maintaining a good partnership with the hubby, I’m running out of steam. If you follow me on social media, you will see many photos from hikes and walks in the woods. Those are keeping me from losing my mind, but it also means I’m not spending that time looking for a new job or pitching articles. A walk saves my sanity today, while a new job will protect my sanity in the long run. It’s a conundrum.
Then there was the silliest rejection of them all. I suppose you Wouldn’t call it a full rejection, but at the time and with the terrible day I’d had, it felt that way. The hubby and I drove up to Maine after work to close my family’s property over the long weekend, and my kitty Pan pretty much exploded in her cat carrier. We weren’t far from our destination, but we stopped so we could clean it up, in hopes that it wouldn’t get all over her. Pan got loose, which has never happened before, and she ran across the road and into a thorn filled ditch at ten at night. Strangers came out of their pajamas to help us look. We would get close to reaching her, but it was so hard to get through the brambles, and she’d get scared and run.
Pan’s the sweetest cat in the world but also has a bit of anxiety. Luckily for her, she has 4-inch-long fluff, so the thorns she ran through didn’t scratch her up. On the other hand, we were covered from head to sock line in red lines and poke holes. Finally, the hubby called from the other end of the field that he found her. She’d calmed down and dropped to her belly a foot and a half from the drainage pipe. We thanked the amazing strangers and offered to take them to breakfast in the morning, but they declined. We’d searched for what felt like 3 hours, but when we got in the car, it had only been 30 minutes. I cried for the rest of the drive.
I know Pan wasn’t rejecting me. She got scared and ran to hide. The writing rejections aren’t about me or necessarily a judgment on the writing, but there can be many reasons they aren’t accepted. Looking for work right now is just tough. I know all of this, but this blog isn’t about looking on the bright side of everything and always being positive. Sometimes, life is mucky, messy, and murky. Right now, is one of those times. Everything is mounting up, and I feel bogged down. I’m not the only one. I’m going to keep doing my walks and posting pics of the beautiful world around us because that’s when I feel my best. Continue writing. Continue looking for a job that fits me better. And try not to let the layers of rejection crush my soul. It’s the best I can do.
These photos are all of Pan in all her fluffy glory