As an only (biological) child of two parents who both worked in the field of mental health, I was given a lot of attention. And so were my feelings. Though I have quite a bit to say on THAT matter, I will refrain for the moment and summarize for your reading pleasure. In short, I was not given ample (i.e. any) opportunity to experience the discomfort of failure or rejection. If I received any feedback that was anything short of "you're PERFECT!" I assumed I had majorly fucked up and proceeded to have an earth-shattering meltdown.
Fast forward to the college years and you can see how this well-meaning parenting technique had the opposite of its intended effect. I had no coping skills for dealing with failure. Scratch that. I had no coping skills for dealing with ANY negative feedback. Once, I received less than perfect marks on an essay. I remember running to my room and crying like there had witnessed somebody die horribly. You know the kind: sobbing, tears pouring down like snot, inhaling in gasps that resemble some kind of dinosaur. The professor's comments on an essay were as follows: "this is not your best work," he wrote.
I don't mean to imply that I was a total mess all the time. I was only a total mess most of the time. And the degree of my messiness was in direct proportion to the amount of bad news I had received. I wasn't accepted to the competetive senior writing class. Cried for a day. I wasn't chosen as a candidate for a fellowship. Cried for two days.
Fast forward again to the unemployed years. Like I've said, I am trying my hardest to fully embrace the gift that is full-time motherhood. But there is a particular brand of resentment that comes with not having a choice in the matter of employment. Scanning the classifieds for a job in the middle of nowhere covers my whole psyche in a thin layer of depression. Finding a job that moderately fits my skill set but pays like shit is a depressing icing. Making it to the interview round of a job I didn't really want in the first place and NOT getting it is the cherry on top. Repeat ad nauseum and life feels pretty grim.
But hey, at least I'm not crying all the time! Hooray me! Way to go! I'm tops! (Go ahead, insert your praise for me here ____________________________)
And now it's time to make a choice. I'm tired. Literally, I'm exhausted from feeling so sorry for myself. So I've decided to stop waiting around for some guy to maybe see that I might be the best person for their minimum-wage position. I've decided to start a small business in the nearest legitimate city (a mere three hours away). As soon as I wrote the check for the deposit on my tiny (and WONDERFUL) office, I could feel my soul start to shine from behind its cloud. This decision is empowering and frightening and risky. And it's a perfect opportunity to reflect on my resume of rejection and finally appreciate all the practice.
Because there is a very real possibility that I will fall directly onto my face in this business venture. I might acquire zero clientele. I might lose a few thousand bucks that I didn't really have in the first place. And you know what? It's going to be okay.
So thank you, hiring official that went with the bilingual lady. Thank you, ice queen, for helping me learn my own limits of tolerance. Thank you, professor who recognized that I could do better. Thank you, little M and D, for giving me two absolutely suitable reasons for keeping well away from the workforce. Thank you, Po Bronson, for the epiphany. And thank you, Mom and Dad (and steps!) for doing the best you knew how to do. Truly. I know now that life is a spectrum, and that staying on the end that reads "you're perfect!" would be a rather boring life, indeed. Boring AND impossible.
So here I go, diving into the deep, opaque waters of the unknown. Maybe I'll swim gracefully, maybe I'll doggy paddle, but what I sure as hell won't do is drown. Even if I fail, I will. Not. Drown. I'm taking a deep breath now. And I'm jumping in.