The other night, I got a rejection letter for my poetry. It was polite. It said that my poetry didn’t fit with what they were doing. I read: “Your soul doesn’t matter and you don’t even deserve to wield a pen.”

Rejection is difficult. It is one of those things that we have to face, but it hurts when we face it. It doesn’t just feel like our work is being rejected, it feels as though our souls have been deemed undesirable. I just know now that I am going to end up in Purgatory because Saint Peter is going to reject me and Lucifer will be like, “Meh, not my type.”

It’s okay though, because I will be a lounge singer in the local club and have a back-up band of other undesirables and the entertainment will be bad, but I will be all that is available. Captive audience. Not so terrible now, am I?

I used to be of the mindset that one rejection just means that another opening is around the corner. It is hard to be of that mindset right now. I feel like opportunity went out the window, taking happiness and my future with it. I know that is not the case, logically. But, emotionally, I want to rant and rave and argue that my life is over. I turned 34 a little over a week ago and I feel like time is running out.

When I was in college (the good ol’ days), I had plans to be published by 25… Then, it was 28… 30… Now, I just hope for it to happen one day. I recognize that I have many years ahead of me, but there is a crunch. Also, I feel like mental illness stole my brain. I want to scream at mental illness. I want to declare war on it. I want to do battle. I want to vanquish this beast that has stolen so much from me.

However, I have to sit back and think on how much this beast has given me. There are brilliant people with mental illness. They do amazing things. There are myriads of people throughout history who are revered for their arts, but they also had mental illness.

I know this is something that I bring up often, but it is something that gives me hope. Plus, some people were not revered in their lifetimes, but they passed along some of their spirit of hope to others in another era.

I just have to keep trying and recognize my strengths. I write truths. I write the truths of my characters and try to make sense out of the world around me. The world includes a lot of pain and suffering, but there is still beauty. How can we reconcile the two polar opposites? I write about it. I want recognition of both.

This rejection letter destroyed my soul and my yearning for writing for about two days. I cried, but ultimately, I will keep writing. I may not ever be published, but it helps me reconcile the ugliness of this world with the beauty that comes in patches of awareness.

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