These words have an uncertain future. The letters that are arranged to form the words, that are separated by punctuation in accordance with grammatical rules, have high hopes of becoming representations of thoughts and ideas, hopes and dreams, fears and insecurities.
But will these letters and words, commas and periods, hyphens and semicolons earn their rightful place on the virtual page with one click of the “publish” button? Or will a decision to hit “delete” instead erase their dreams of immortality, tossing the sentiments into oblivion?
Will the ideas represented by this collection of nouns and verbs, adverbs and adjectives, prepositions and participles be for my eyes alone? Or will these vulnerabilities disguised in questions and hypotheticals, sarcasm and criticism survive to face the possible rejection that comes when they open themselves up to external review?
As I type, I wonder at the fate of these words. Will they remain locked inside a cerebral vault, hidden from prying eyes? Or will this assortment of words take the ultimate leap and submit themselves to an online writing competition, accepting the risk of judgment and rejection that comes along with any contest?
The fear of rejection has a tight grip over me. It always has. The taunting face of rejection stares back at me from my mental mirror. It stands guard over my words, quieting the ideas that yearn to be shared. It holds court over my choices, favoring the guaranteed successes to uncertain risks. It steps on my self-esteem, after first kicking it in the gut.
I sense rejection’s mocking, jeering presence and I wonder how I will respond. Will the fear of rejection keep me from participating in the contest, thereby removing the possibility that rejection can heckle me with its nasty chant of “you’re not good enough?” Or is it my turn to stand up to the fear of rejection, recognizing that competition provides motivation for improvement and the opportunity for constructive feedback?
I am inclined to hide these words and shelter myself from potential rejection and any accompanying blows to my confidence.
But I’m sick of cowering in the corner wondering what might be. I am tired of letting fear’s handcuffs shackle me to inaction and the status quo. I have grown weary of the spitefully diabolical voices of rejection, doubt, criticism, and judgment.
Enough, I say. Enough.
This time the fear of rejection will not win. This time I win, if only because I chose to play.
I am linking up with Yeah Write again this week. Each week a number of talented writers link up to read and be read. I am proud to have earned an honorable mention last week for my post “Hands and a Song.” It is truly an honor. Check out this week’s entries. You can vote for your favorites from Wednesday night to Thursday night.