Growth, Grief, and Collecting Rejections

Hey! I’m still here! And I’m doing really well.

I wrote this on December 31, but I thought about how I was going to write it long before that. Here it is.


I find talking about my year to be difficult. When it comes to putting polished thoughts together, my well is either dried up or covered up and about to explode, geyser-style.

I’ll start with some numbers.

In 2018, I set a goal for myself. In early September, I decided I was going to collect 20 rejection letters by the end of the year. That required me to put myself out there and apply and audition and submit like crazy. This goal was inspired by writer Kiki Schirr. My to-do list was called, “What can I get away with?”

I got away with some neat things, though I fell short of 20 rejections.

I got approved for my dual degree. I got to unofficially TA a non-major ballet class through the dance department. I nominated my dad for King Dad, and he got runner up. I got cast in an Illinois Theatre department show called Because I Am Your Queen. I got a couple of auditions, and I’m still waiting to hear back for a couple more. And, I got rejected 14 times. Getting used to the word “no” by seeking out opportunities that are out of my league has served me well.

In 2018, I wrote. So much. I filled two whole journals, and I’m almost through another. I counted my entries, and I wrote on approximately two thirds of the days in the year.

Today, all I see are the messy half-sentences of an overwhelmed college student, but 30 years from now, I’ll be thankful that I wrote everything down.

In 2018, the world beat me up a little, but that’s okay. I think that I needed it. I lived too squishy and comfy of a life to be the kind of artist that I am becoming. And that’s not to say that one must suffer loss and pain in order to make good art. That’s not true. All I know is that now that I have known loss, I know gratitude. Now that I have known pain, I know how good it feels to be happy. The lows are low, but the highs are even higher now.

Neither grief nor growth is a linear process. It feels like I miss Grammy Dot more every day. But, if you plot my growth on a graph and average out the high highs and the low lows, I’m on an upward trend. I still feel all over the place, but that’s what being 19 is all about.

Here’s to 2019. The last of the teens, both for the millennium, and for me, too.

#happynewyear #2019

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