Live-Blogging a Rejection

“Having a dream, Erin, is awesome.

Having a dream and showing up every day, even when nothing seems to be happening, is priceless.

But having a dream and showing up every day, while sauntering, winking, and hugging everyone, is when the floodgates begin to tremble.

The Universe” –Notes from the Universe

Whoop. You’ve caught me at a bad time.

There was a role that I desperately wanted to play, and it doesn’t look like it’s coming my way. Usually you just don’t hear back, or you get a rejection email. But as fate would have it, I was privy to the knowledge that the calls were being made. I’m feeling nauseous and still staring at my phone willing it to ring. With every minute that passes I can feel the cloud descending. Troubling thoughts are racing through my head. “If I can’t get a part I thought I was perfect for, how the hell am I going to get any roles at all?/I should just give up and try to marry a rich dude/I am mad at myself for getting my hopes up so high.” Luckily, I have the power to change the story I am telling myself.

I learned a few years ago that it is within my power to assign meaning to the events of my life. My happenings don’t have to affect my happiness. When I am feeling anxious or upset I can choose to channel negative energy into positive creation. This applies to a wide range  of events, from a simple rejection letter to a national crisis. For instance, when I learned about the shooting in Colorado last summer, I was heartbroken. I was working at a small summer stock theatre, and I felt like the safe little bubble I had been living in was popped. A cloud of sadness consumed me, making it almost impossible to concentrate during work. How did I make the cloud go away?

I wrote letters. I wrote little cards to people I missed from home. My best friends, my sisters, my parents, even some acquaintances I just admire.  I thought about all the things I loved about them, wrote it in a card, and let them know how much I missed them and I couldn’t wait to see them again. Thinking about all those people I love lifted the cloud. I am not sharing this to say “look how nice I am because I wrote cards”. It was a completely selfish act. I did it because it made me feel better.

So here I am staring at this phone, willing it to ring but feeling in my gut it’s not going to happen. I choose to focus my energy on something positive. I’ve writing a gratitude list. A list of all the things I am happy for RIGHT NOW. Obviously I am grateful for my family, friends, and their health. But talking about specifics can be a cathartic exercise that brings you down from a ledge.

  • I don’t have to move in the near future.
  • I am a healthy young woman with the freedom to express myself in whatever way I choose.
  • The Hawks are in the finals.
  • I am learning a valuable lesson about humility, optimism, and faith.
  • Right now its just me. No husband, no children, no one to answer to but my own conscience, and I like it that way. For now.
  • Its summer and I can wear sundresses.
  • I get to spend most days caring for wonderful children I love, and introducing them to the world.
  • I can play my ukulele ANY TIME I WANT.
  • I am going to a dance party on Saturday night, and I plan on wearing a fabulous dress, and dancing my face off.
  • In myself, I have the agency to create my own destiny. Perhaps this setback is a catalyst into something better. A push that will help me create my own opportunity rather than waiting to be chosen by someone else.
  • There is chocolate ice cream in the freezer.
  • Someone invented sunscreen, and therefore I can enjoy being outside as much as I like.
  • I live in ‘Merica!
  • As soon as Will wakes up from his nap, we are going to bring the bubble-gun down to the lake and go crazy.
  • There are always more shows. More auditions. More opportunities. Not getting this role doesn’t mean I can never do theatre again. The next show could be just around the corner.
  • I am lucky enough to have a wide circle of friends; College friends, high school friends, theatre friends, random people I’ve met in the last two years who I have become amazingly close to. There is never a shortage of entertainment or love, so who am I to feel bad for myself ever?
In every great setback in my life, I’ve always looked back later and thought “Thank goodness. If things had worked out the way I originally wanted, I would have missed out on so much.” So I choose to be miracle minded. I choose to believe that there is something else I am supposed to be doing, and its my job to find it/create it.

Rejection is Protection

Consider this: Rejection is Protection.

This is a concept that I already knew, but I like the catchy way summed it up last week. This concept can be a lifeline when you start to feel like a big failure. It allows you to take a step back, examine each rejection and trust that something better is going to come along.

If I got what I wanted all the time, my life would be pretty ridiculous. I would probably live on a steady diet of ice cream and chocolate strawberries, over commit to tons of shows and classes, and have won the lottery ten times over. Thankfully, I understand that what I WANT is not always what is BEST for me. So why can’t we trust that the Uni-verse knows this too? Trust that the Uni-verse has our back, and we will get WHAT is best for us WHEN it’s best for us?

Here is a personal example: When I was in High School, I desperately wanted to study Musical Theatre at Millikin University.  After my audition, my mom and I were ushered into a little office where one of the professors informed me that I was being considered for the BFA acting program, but not musical theatre. I was crushed, and I remember my Mom telling me that “God had different plans for me.” At the time I couldn’t imagine what could possibly be better for me than Millikin’s BFA program.  

I ended up getting accepted to WIU’s program. This was a better fit for me educationally, culturally and geographically. I was at a program that allowed me to thrive and grow in my own way and at my own pace, and I was with my big sister Leenie in a time when family was especially important.  If I hadn’t gone to Western, I never would have gotten involved with the Miss America organization, which completely changed my life for the better. I would have never met the boys I fell in love with, or the teachers who inspired me. I wouldn’t have learned the lessons that have come to define my character. Millikin is a great program that produces amazing performers, but I know now why I was supposed to go to Western. Rejection from that school was just the Uni-verse ensuring that I was in the right place at the right time.

This phrase is so useful. Every time I don’t get a call back, or a guy I like isn’t interested in me, or my lottery numbers are wrong again, I can repeat that phrase and trust that everything is unfolding exactly as it is suppose to. I’m not losing out on something; I am simply remaining open to better opportunities. So next time you start to feel down because you’ve been rejected in some way, take a deep breath and repeat “Rejection is Protection”.