Rejection and Change

I follow Mary Carroll Moore’s blog on writing. Her posts have the best insights about writing and the most helpful writing exercises that I have ever encountered. But her recent post called “Acceptance and Rejection – Balance in the Creative Life” not only struck a chord with me as a writer, but with me as a rejected wife.

Like a novel that’s been rejected by publisher after publisher, I have been rejected by person after person. The divorce felt like the last straw, like an accumulation of rejection that is more than I could stand.

Mary wrote in her blog that discouragement comes from “the process of losing heart, losing perspective.” That it’s hard for writers to recover when their work is rejected — “It’s hard to imagine how you’re going to move forward, especially when you read other (wonderful) writers and sigh with the impossibility of being that good.”

I compare myself and my life to the women who have long-term, happy marriages. I compare myself to the woman I was replaced by. I compare and I wonder what’s wrong with me. Comparison — it is the root of all evil, the creator of dissatisfaction and low self esteem.

“As creative artists, we want our work to be viewed and appreciated, but this by itself won’t keep us going. We need to do it for the love of it.” Mary wrote.

Maybe the same goes with living our lives. Rather than seeking approval and love, why not just do what you do for the love of it?

I went out with a couple friends this evening and part of our discussion was about feeling more and more invisible as we we age. And how we just want people to see past the outer shell to the glowing, adventurous, interesting person underneath the not so young skin. That may be the hardest part about aging, the not being heard or seen as the people we really are. But then my friends see me. They “get it” and that’s why I love being with them.

I’ve been making a list of what I’ve always wanted in a partner — my dream guy. Not with the intention of searching for a person that matches my list, but of becoming the person that my list describes. I seem to come up with a more meaningful inventory by doing this rather than just trying to think about “goals” for myself or what I want to do and be. Because consciously or subconsciously, the things I long for in someone else are characteristics that I value. How can I expect a person to be something that I myself am not? Plus I believe we draw to ourselves and we draw out of the people already around us whatever it is we are putting out there ourselves.

Mary Carroll Moore described the process of revising one of her manuscripts to the point that the changes she was making had larger implications, requiring changes throughout the book. It’s frightening to move forward, not knowing exactly how it’s all going to turn out. But as Mary wrote, “There’s the joy of developing skills–if you keep on keepin’ on.”

I can see how changes I’ve made in my life have mushroomed in unexpected ways that have nothing to do with what I initially set out to do. This is sometimes frightening, but does make me curious to see how it will all turn out.

At times, I can recognize some positive things that have come out of the changes in my life, like wonderful new friendships and continuing to push myself to new riding experiences. Other times, it’s not so evident or easy to see the good that exists. But the hope and promise are there.

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  1. First of all, you and Luke are lookin’ good!

    It’s very interesting, your perception of things. Not having been through what you have, I have never felt that invisible thing as I have aged. It sure is related to your self esteem. I’m so glad you have good friends who recognize you for who you really are and can be there when you need them. And curiosity…that is a plus too. I know I don’t really know you, but the Maery Rose I have been reading has made enormous strides since I tuned in. Even tho you have been through some rough patches…man, you have moved on and grown in front of our eyes. You do keep on keepin’ on! At first (however long ago I discovered you) most of your posts involved your x. As time passed, you took us to many other places and did not have the need to write about him. Look at you. A new house, a new barn, skiing with Java, going on that riding vacation, out to California, riding your bike and filling the basket…all that does not sound like a woman who is letting grass grow under her feet. You are still able to have quality in your life and tho you won’t ever forget it, the past is the past. One of my favorite things about you is that you make kick ass coffee. That’s a good sign. I see you as a very interesting person who is grabbing on to what life has to offer. Keep it up.

  2. Lori – Thanks for giving me an outside view of things. I often forget the steps forward I’ve taken because of the bad days I have here and there where it feels like I’ve gone no where. I have the feeling you had parents and other people that loved you and you were secure in that. From what I’ve seen of people that certainly helps create a person who weathers the storms better. And from what I see in your blog, you also have a very full life, not just with busyness but you are surrounded with so many great friends and family. And not just once in awhile, but all the time. That helps too and if anything, it’s what I’m trying the hardest to change about my life. Thanks again for all the times you stop by and “see”. It helps more than you can imagine.

  3. What a wonderful post Maery. One thing that I hope you never leave off your list of things you want in a ‘perfect’ partner is this: he MUST cherish your ability to put words to your heart. If anyone close to you is not truly valuing that piece of you, they are missing all of you. You can not write as you do without the soul of an artist. You can not manufacture these words, they are not ‘pre-owned,’ they are created by you and you alone. I also believe that some of a person’s best work comes in a period of great sorrow. It always comes down to letting the pain open you to the real you, that part of you that only gets accessed when truly needed. I had a quote with me tonight when we met, that I have framed at home and I wanted to share it with you. “Each one of us who travels further than the obstacles will know a different kind of life from that time on.” You my dear friend, are in the process of traveling further than the obstacles, and I want to see you on the ‘other side’ of those obstacles, after you have walked through the fire. Your words are giving voice to your path of pain and allowing you to really be ‘in’ it rather than go around it. I feel quite certain you will be standing tall and proud as you emerge from the fire, and I will be there smiling with my hand held out to walk with you 🙂 Kathleen

  4. I have to ad to the list too- funny, smart, interesting, and something you don’t find too often in people– authenticity. You are so real Maery and that is such a great quality. You manage to keep your sense of humor and verbalize what you’re going through even when you yourself have a hard time defining what it is you’re feeling. You are such an amazing person, and Lori is right– you’ve taken HUGE steps since I’ve gotten to know you. I’m very proud we’re friends. 🙂

  5. First of all being a writer is NOT for the faint of heart. Some of the greatest writers of all time who will go down as classics took rejection after rejection before a publisher would take a second look at their work. For some it was truly a ‘fluke’ that they were discovered at all.

    Second girl, you have made great strides…I’m talkin’ leaps and bounds your life. I’ve watched you grow in self and confidence so much over the past year. Are ya gonna have a bad day every now and again??? Sure shootin’ ya are but honey today you bounce back with spirit and humor in the next post.

    Love you for the woman God created you to be and others will follow. I promise. As you know His plans are not always our plans…that’s why we find ourselves in places we never dream of and handed opportunities beyond our dreams.

    God bless you sweetie and have the best weekend!!! :o)

  6. I realized as I looked in the mirror today that I didn’t visualize myself as the person reflecting back at me. I still see myself as young, because that’s what’s in my heart. I get it too…

    Thanks for a thought-provoking post. One line resonated:
    “As creative artists, we want our work to be viewed and appreciated, but this by itself won’t keep us going. We need to do it for the love of it.” Mary wrote.

    I think that’s true for everyone… not just creative artists but all of us.

  7. Thanks for reminding me of this… this is who I used to remember to aspire to be…

    The Invitation
    Oriah Mountain Dreamer
    Canadian Teacher and Author

    It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living
    I want to know what you ache for
    and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.

    It doesn’t interest me how old you are
    I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool
    for love
    for your dreams
    for the adventure of being alive.

    It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon…
    I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow
    if you have been opened by life’s betrayals
    or have become shrivelled and closed
    from fear of further pain.

    I want to know if you can sit with pain
    mine or your own
    without moving to hide it
    or fade it
    or fix it.

    I want to know if you can be with joy
    mine or your own
    if you can dance with wildness
    and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your
    fingers and toes
    without cautioning us to
    be careful
    be realistic
    to remember the limitations of being human.

    It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me
    is true.
    I want to know if you can
    disappoint another
    to be true to yourself.
    If you can bear the accusation of betrayal
    and not betray your own soul.
    If you can be faithless
    and therefore trustworthy.

    I want to know if you can see Beauty
    even when it is not pretty
    every day.
    And if you can source your own life
    from its presence.

    I want to know if you can live with failure
    yours and mine
    and still stand on the edge of the lake
    and shout to the silver of the full moon,

    It doesn’t interest me
    to know where you live or how much money you have.
    I want to know if you can get up
    after a night of grief and despair
    weary and bruised to the bone
    and do what needs to be done
    to feed the children.

    It doesn’t interest me who you know
    or how you came to be here.
    I want to know if you will stand
    in the center of the fire
    with me
    and not shrink back.

    It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom
    you have studied.
    I want to know what sustains you
    from the inside
    when all else falls away.

    I want to know if you can be alone
    with yourself
    and if you truly like the company you keep
    in the empty moments.

    © 1995 by Oriah House, From “Dreams Of Desire”

    word verification “shuck” as in time to shuck my fears and the isolation I use to protect myelf?

  8. Kathleen – What a way to choke me up. Thanks. It’s a new experience to have people say something positive rather than critical about me. Another good thing that has come out of this obstacle. You know, you really are quite the writer yourself.

    Sue – Ditto what I wrote to Kathleen. You two have been such a big help to me and I am so thankful for your friendship.

    Nezzie – It’s interesting hearing that I’ve actually progressed somehow. I guess it’s hard to see it while you’re living it. It helps to be validated. Thanks.

    KB – Yes it is true for everyone, and not only that we want our work to be seen and validated but that we want ourselves to be seen and validated too.

    Anonymous – Thanks so much for showing me this poem! It’s great! And does give me exactly the kind of characteristics I want on my list.

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