Perspectives: Facing Rejection
The Bitter Pill

May 16, 2012 Print version       Other articles by this author

Sometimes I wonder what I'm thinking when some of these topics come to me in terms of writing. I say this primarily because a lot of the things I've chosen to tackle as of late, while VERY relevant and timely are rarely if ever easy to talk about.

I'm always up for a challenge, so in that respect I guess maybe I'm just staying true to form...or it could just be that I'm profusely committed to doing the work of healing some things within myself in order to experience more joy, freedom, abundance, and PEACE in my life on a more consistent basis. All of this being said, a few months ago when I got the "bright idea" (or direction) to talk about loss & grief, I also thought a lot about rejection & how much of a role it can play in dealing with loss & ultimately working through feelings of grief. Initially, when the thoughts came forth about these things I figured I'd lump them all together but in hindsight I now realize that rejection is one of those "whoppers" (at least for me) that deserves some specific attention and examination all its own.

Part of what makes things like this so puzzling for me is the fact that it's hardly uniform. It's almost never the same each time it shows up. There are some times when I run head first into experiences with rejection & it doesn't bother me. Then there are those times that it stings so much that it not only paralyzes me (temporarily), but it also unearths a wealth of things inside my head & heart which remind me how much work I still have left to do on my self. Whenever it happens to me & I feel "somekindaway" behind it, I have to really sit & ask myself what's underneath. Rather than cower and run from it, my way is to run head first into whatever is wrong & try to figure out what's going on so I can gain a deeper understanding, deal with it, and eventually move on.

Rejection can take many shapes, forms, and it can also serve some very useful purposes. I've had to face it as an artist. I've had to deal with it while exploring employment opportunities. I've had more than my share of it when it comes to dating, love, relationships, and affairs of the heart. That's the one area which I can honestly say is the absolute touchiest for me. I've faced it as a black gay man, dealing with issues of race, sexuality, gender, & HIV status.

Nobody enjoys rejection. That's a given. It is however a part of life that all of us have to face, and learn how to deal with. As it pertains to our lives as black LGBTQ people, it's clear to see that much of our lives are ruled by a fear of rejection. It's something I feared with all my heart years ago when coming to grips with my sexuality, and again when I tested positive for HIV. The first thing I thought about was how I would tell my parents & my family and I was terrified about what they'd each mean in terms of them not understanding, judging me, and flat out cutting themselves off from me. When viewed in this light what I realize now is that I was afraid of the possibility of having to stand alone. Even for someone such as myself whose quite comfortable being on my own, the thought of my parents taking their love away because of my sexuality scared the hell out of me. Thankfully that didn't happen. Still, I had to face very real possibility that something like that could have happened because sadly, it's a reality for far too many people. What that experience did however was solidify my relationship with God and strengthen me as an individual.

As I sit with this in the present, I can honestly see much how rejection has truly served me. Sometimes, it's been a blessing because of how it has driven me to keep trying & not give up. It's been extremely useful in the way of building my confidence, thickening my skin, and causing me to focus on what really matters. Many times in my past I've dwelled on situations & attempted to figure out what I did wrong or ultimately deduced that I wasn't enough because of someone else & their shit which usually never has ANYTHING to do with me. That being said, what rejection has done is forced me to pay attention to some areas of my life where I'm still wounded & need to heal. It's also helped me to understand how far I've come over the years. Some things, situations, & people just don't deserve that much of my attention & the energy spent thinking about certain experiences of rejection can go to far better use. Truth be told, Brave Soul Collective itself is a bi-product of years of "run-ins" with rejection. "You're too much, you're not enough, you can't do that, this isn't possible, etc, etc, etc." When I hear any number of those things, there's something inside me that clicks and says "aight...WATCH ME"

Rejection is about discernment. It's about being strong enough to stand alone, CONFIDENTLY. It's about being of support to and for yourself, when no other support system is in place. Rejection can hurt like hell, and it can also catapult you into a realm of power & capability you never imagined possible. It can feel like a curse, but ultimately as far as I'm concerned, it's ALWAYS A BLESSING - even when in disguise.