Asking a girl out... could anything be more terrifying?
Growing up was a nightmare. While my mates were proudly losing their virginities, I was 'happy' (as I called it then) to remain single.
"I don't have time for a girlfriend," was my excuse for forever being single.
To be fair to myself, I was actually super busy trying to make it in the world of music. I was seriously motivated to make something of myself...
... at age 16.
On nights out as my buddies played tonsil tennis with anything without a penis, I was playing slam and it was making me gag.
Even when a girl approached me, my heart would suddenly start doing the River Dance.
And Flately, my dear, I did give a damn. (A.P).
My hands would sweat until I could no longer hold the beer, which then resulted in a severe case of dry mouth.
Not my best memories of adolescence, to say the least.
But I've gotten over all of that now... thankfully... finally... at age 32... and after all the turmoil I can look back and see what I feared the most.
And here's what I figured out: It was the thought [the fear] of being rejected that filled me with dread.
There's nothing like the fear of something happening to prevent the thing you fear from happening, happening!
Rejection happens... especially when you're in the arts, such as writing.
There're people who will not even attempt to write a book, a short story, or a poem, simply because they already have rejection, that is, the fear of rejection, firmly placed at the forefront of their minds. Therefore their creative outlet remains trapped and unexplored, and sadly unexpressed. Voiceless.
(Note: Be aware of those who criticise you for putting yourself out there... are they the ones who don't or refuse to put themselves out there? Pay careful attention to this.)
Has it ever occurred to you that rejection could feel good?
It all boils down to your perception.
I was massively inspired by The War of Art by Steven Pressfield.
Pressfield says that getting rejection proves that you're in the ring. You're fighting for what you believe in. Therefore, all that matters is that you get back up again for another round. Those who don't get knocked down are those who are out of the ring, because they're scared of breaking a nail.
I made music for nearly a decade. During that time I learnt so much about how to handle rejection. I sent off countless demo CDs, all with the hope of getting signed. Did I hear back from any of the labels? Does the Pope go trick or treating?
(A friend heard one of our tracks being played on the radio. The DJ was a recording artist and it was his label that picked us up.)
Having said all of that, I thought you might like to look at a rejection letter I recently received from a literary agent:
Thank you very much for submitting your material to us. Our agents have now had a chance to look at it and we are sorry to say we don’t feel that we can offer you representation. Because of the high volume of submissions we receive, unfortunately we are not able to give you more detailed feedback than this. However, these things are very subjective and someone else may well feel differently about your work.
Thank you again for letting us take a look at your material, and we wish you the best of luck in finding an agent and publisher.
If you're a writer then expect something similar, that is, if you've got past the fear of receiving it. But it's not all that bad, really, is it? It's a part of your journey that you're going to have to learn to embrace.
So go on, send off that manuscript, upload that story, send off the script, enter the poem, pick up the paint brush... or even ask you know who out for a drink.
Ding! Ding! Round 2!