I’ve been battling a lot lately. Battling is really the only way I can describe it.
Work’s been hellish and cruel. Life’s been hellish and cruel. I’m really, really struggling.
Lately I’ve been dwelling a lot on the notion (and manifestations) of rejection. It’s pretty simple - people see someone or something that they don’t like, and they reject it. Rejection comes in a lot of forms, from overt to covert, but it’s always the same sentiment: “I do not want this.”
It’s no surprise to literally anyone that I’ve been rejected a lot, in a lot of contexts. Enough rejection changes people. It’s certainly changed me.
Past a point, rejection stops becoming a mild disappointment, a frustrating null-outcome, a teary heartfelt goodbye to things that could’ve been, and it instead becomes a weight on that person’s back. It’s heavy, it’s omnipresent, it’s lighter on some days and heavier on others, but it’s always there.
It’s not really possible to forget rejection once it accumulates far enough.
Let me be real with you - if you’re reading this and I haven’t spoken to you in a one-on-one context in the last few months (and that’s being generous), one of these things has probably happened:
- You’ve rejected me
- I’ve rejected you
- Neither of us were really close enough for rejection to be a factor
Rejection happens for a ton of reasons! I might’ve called you a bigot, and you might’ve been upset at being called out, so you refused to talk to me. I might’ve refused to talk to you. Either way, I’m better off, and you… well, you’re probably still a bigot.
I might’ve voiced some concerns about the company you keep, and you might’ve taken that really badly. You might’ve chosen a bunch of dickheads over me, because they’re your dickheads, and I’m just… me. (This one’s happened a lot!)
I might have reached out to you and asked for help. You might have completely and utterly failed me in your duty to provide support, whether it be as a friend or as a colleague. In that sense, your rejection only barely beat mine chronologically; I do not have time, patience or energy for such behaviour.
I might have failed you. (This one’s also happened a lot.) To that, I have two things to say: I’m sorry, and I try my hardest to be better each day that passes. (To those that care to look past whatever it is about me that causes folks to reject me, I hope my efforts are visible.)
In other cases, rejection can be really violent, volatile, passionate. It can happen with fury, or scorn, or under the pretenses of justice. Sometimes it’s done with the best of intentions, to protect oneself, and sometimes it’s done with zero care about the consequences.
Rejection fucking sucks. It’s never a good time to have to draw lines when people are invested and feelings might get hurt. (Assuming you have empathy about that sort of thing.)
Rejection’s also really dangerous! People naturally seek acceptance from their peers; we’re social creatures for the most part, and we need company to stop us from going mad. Enough rejection can set people on dark, lonely roads, that don’t end in good places.
Unfortunately, rejection’s almost always both unambiguous (see: He’s Just Not That Into You) and persistent (“I’m too busy, sorry!” rarely ever becomes anything else). In a long enough life, rejection becomes a list of people who have chosen to reject. Each one’s a sad story, and when the list gets long enough… you have a life full of sad stories.
It’s easy to see why folks chase acceptance so desperately, because the alternative ranges from momentary sadness to killing yourself.
I’m somewhere in the middle, right now! ⭐ Hi! Hello! I’m Kara and I’m struggling with depression! ⭐
Dealing with the weight of rejection is getting to me. It’s hard. I feel the burden of having to keep living, while so many before me have observed me and said “nope”.
If this whole concept of “the weight of rejection” is foreign to you? Good for you. You can stop reading now.
Otherwise… I hope some of this resonates with you.
I expect a bunch of samey questions/comments to be made by folks who read this, so I’m going to get in early and answer them to save us both the trouble.
Q. You can reach out to me anytime you need support!
A. If we’re not already talking, you offering a shallow “here if you need support” is not going to change that. Sorry to be overt in my rejection, but there’s a reason we’re not in communication; whether that’s you or me is beside the point.
Q. Have you tried-
I’m not asking you for either a solution or to be my solution. That’s not what this is.
Q. You’re kind of rough around the edges, maybe that’s why people keep rejecting you!
A. You know what, yes, but there are a lot of people a lot rougher around their edges than I am around mine, and they’re doing just fine.
Q. Why not change? Be nicer, be more relatable, people will like you!
A. I’m not giving up my identity to score cool points, <Generic Authoritative Figure>.
Q. People have their reasons for rejecting things, you know! You should respect that!
A. Why do you think I’m writing about rejection? If this didn’t matter to me, would I go to this level of detail?
Q. Geez, what do you actually want, Kara?
A. One of these things:
- I want to not have to sell five of my seven days in a week to a fucky corporation in exchange for the right to not starve to death.
- Failing that, I want about half a billion dollars, so I can both do everything I want in life, and as part of that, enact a real, tangible, systematic change in the world.
To get a little more realistic… I can’t change the world. I can’t change people. All I can control is myself, and right now, this human is suffering from Severe Pilot Disenfranchisement. I’m sick of existing in a world where rejection, indifference and an abundance of sadness is my reality.
I don’t want this. I didn’t choose this. I’m running out of reasons to keep going with this depressing facade of a “life”. I don’t want to keep giving my limited energy to sources of rejection; they don’t deserve me, and I deserve better.
What I want, is for life to stop being as utterly garbage as it has lately been.
To the many, many rejections that I’ve encountered, and no doubt will continue to face…