Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Rejection is Not an Assessment or a Humiliation…Right?

As a poet, I should be better-prepared to be rejected. Over the years, I have received hundreds of rejection slips for hundreds of poems, manuscripts, etc, and only very rarely did I feel that they had any bearing on the quality of my work. If only I could have that same confidence about myself!

Though it’s been mostly a very happy week over here, I’ve been laying awake with very jealous, hurty feelings about the Mayor of Kittentown. It’s isn’t so much that he belongs to her now; it’s that he officially no longer belongs to me. I’m bothered by the difference between being able to belong to multiple people and only belonging to one—instead of just having a different heart, I worry that I might have a deficient one. I think childlike thoughts like “How could he just throw me away?” in spite of the fact that I broke up with him about two and a half times. I knew we weren’t going to fall in love, I always encouraged him to keep looking (which looks, in retrospect, like its own kind of cruelty…) but the loss of our physical friendship is hitting me hard, it’s breaking my heart, making me feel a little bit dismantled.

Rejection bogs me down. For whatever reason, his rejection seems to negate everything good that he made me believe about myself: that I could trust a man, that I could have a happy bisexual life, that I’m can be beautiful and sexy to men. Somehow it feels like he took those things away just by not wanting me anymore, that I need him (and Bill, and Fireguy) just to have those hot feeling back, but I understand intellectually that that’s just not true.

These men so far, things have gone so wrong with them that I feel as if I have failed a series of entrance exams, that I failed to qualify for their gender. Losing each of them has been so exquisitely painful that it’s hard to feel connected to the good things that have happened, to all the real progress that I’ve made.

I tend to mistake rejection for facts: Bill said he couldn’t have a serious relationship with a poly woman, so I felt unlovable. Fireguy didn’t like being written about, so I thought the project itself made me unlovable. MKT’s simpler (?) idea of love makes me feel like I’m too hopelessly, messily complicated for men.

And I AM complicated, but that doesn’t mean that there won’t be a guy who’ll love me for it—I believe those are called, uh,  polyamorous guys—who’ll be willing to share his life with me. Two of the men in the previous paragraph identified as monogamous, and the other was a heartbroken mess, so I don’t think I can make any generalizations about them, other than 1. Duh, date poly guys and 2. Don’t be a rebound redhead.

I would love to have back all of the good physical lessons I got from them, to not have the hot self-discoveries cancelled out by the fact that they’re gone. Not too long ago, in a Poly Weekly episode about minimizing scene drama, either Minx or her guest said something like “Just because someone disagrees with you doesn’t make you less awesome.” I would LIKE to think that just because someone doesn’t want to fuck me and/or fall in love with me doesn’t make me any less lovable and/or hot.” No one can turn back time and take away those experiences—no one can take any of it away.

Of course this goes back to the heart of this project—learning to approve of myself so that I don’t have to wear myself down trying to gain approval from others, except in fun ways, of course. I started this quest for my inner Bettie Page because I wanted her confidence, the way the looks boldly into the camera, the way she returns the gaze. She is not going to shrink timidly into nothingness when the lens turns away from her, and neither am I.

Dear Divine Whatever,

Please help me to collect and feel whatever good they’ve all given me so far, to take it in as fuel to bravely move forward, believing in every glance and touch and step, having faith in whatever radiates out of me at my proudest, most joyful moments.

(To which I can imagine the Divine Whatever saying: “Good girl. So pretty.”)

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