As someone who's simultaneously freelance writing and Tinder dating, to say that I get rejected a lot would be an understatement. Both of these things—trying to find love and make it as a writer—are really hard, and seem to require a super-human level of self-esteem in order to withstand the rejection that the world constantly hurls at you.
I can start out a day filled with hope and belief in myself, and end it in despair. Because it's tough to have all that rejection coming at you all the time and not let it soak in and eat away at your confidence.
And the rejection can feel so arbitrary and mystifying. A few months ago, I submitted an essay I wrote about not being able to get over an ex, and it was rejected because the editor "wasn't able to sell the other editors on the narrative." I didn't realize that the heartbreak narrative was so unmarketable. I then pitched it to another site which also rejected it on the grounds that it was a story that had been told before. So I guess we can't write stories about love not working out anymore because they've all already been told.
Sometimes—often—I get tired and feel like giving up, like I can't push so hard and fight so much against all the No's anymore. Like the world is telling me that it's just not working and it's not going to no matter how hard I try to make it as a writer, or find a relationship that's healthy, a way to interact with a man I have a connection with that doesn't hurt so much. Sometimes I feel pummeled by rejection and like I just need to surrender to what the world has told me is possible for myself.
You know what "works" for the world, what version of my life spares me from the No's and rejection? When I've been an administrative assistant, earning just enough money to scrape by but never get ahead, working on my writing nights and weekends but not having enough time or energy to make any significant progress with it, and subsisting in isolation, carrying around the belief that a relationship is something that's possible for other people but not me, and I'll be alone forever. I don't rock any boats when I live like this, and I don't get many rejections.
But I did that drudgery for so many years, lived that way for so much of my life, believed so deeply in the limitations that the world has imposed on me through countless personal and professional rejections. And I refuse to do it anymore. Because the version of my life that's easy and acceptable to the world is not acceptable to me.
When the world is incessantly telling me No, it helps when I get angry instead of defeated. When I get pissed at the bullshit instead of believing that it's true. When I steadfastly hold onto my vision of who I want to be in the world, instead of being knocked down by the world's limited view of me.
Sometimes—often—I get tired and feel like giving up. So if I'm tired, I can rest for a little while. But then I have to get back up again and keep fighting for what, on my best days, I steadfastly believe in—myself. I can't give up. I can't let the world tell me No. And neither should you.