It’s so interesting to me how one “No” can reverberate in my head and heart with the rattle and roar of a runaway train.
I got rejected yesterday. I’d applied for a travel grant to help me afford the writing trip I’m planning to take in the fall. I might not have needed the grant so badly if I hadn’t had to move at the end of last year — something I didn’t know was on my horizon when I first started putting money down for this trip. Moving was so incredibly expensive and ate nearly all the savings I was going to use for my trip, so the grant would have been such a help.
But that won’t be happening.
This grant wasn’t a chicken I was counting before it hatched. I did a good job of not fixating on it, not dreaming about how I would use it. I came up with a plan to save and pay for the trip that worked with my post-move finances and didn’t involve the grant. I thought about other things entirely. When the email slid into my inbox yesterday, my heart leapt a little … and when I opened the note, my heart sank a lot. A LOT.
Of course, this rejection triggered the return of my forever-nemesis, La Impostora, Impostor Syndrome. I’ve been saying incredibly mean things to myself all day — about how I was never a contender for that grant because nothing I could have proposed writing about would have been worthy, about how I need to cancel my trip all together because it’s too expensive and I should make space for someone who would really get something out of the experience, about what a failure I am.
I don’t like talking to myself this way, and I haven’t fallen into this particular pit in a long time. And I never would have imagined that being rejected for this grant would hit me this hard. But here I am, La Impostora sitting beside me — not to offer comfort but to make sure I can hear her as she ticks off all the reasons I need to forget about being a writer and accept that this burst-balloon of an existence is the best I’m going to do. (If you’re thinking she’s mean, you’re not wrong. She isn’t very nice. Not nice at all. She knows all the most painful buttons to press, and she’s happy to press them, over and over and over again.)
Part of me is afraid that she’s right about my needing to give up on this trip. It is very expensive, and I really don’t know if my scrimp-and-save Plan B is as workable as I want it to be.
Maybe I need a bit of a cry and then a good night’s sleep so I can wake up tomorrow remembering how much I totally deserve this trip, this writing experience, this adventure. And I will find a way to pay for it because I am worth all of that, every last penny.
It’s the annual Slice of Life Story Challenge over at Two Writing Teachers! With hundreds of folks participating, there’s more than a little something for everyone … and plenty of room for you to join in!