Today, I woke in a slightly better frame of mind. Yes, the rejections still hurt. I still have no idea why my work was rejected, whether it even made the shortlist or ended up in the bin on first reading, but it is just one more rejection, another one to write up to experience.
I said to a friend this morning that, maybe one day I will either figure out where I am going wrong or somebody who doesn’t know any better will like what I write and take a chance on me. Her immediate reaction one of disbelief. I immediately assumed that she meant that I should give up now, that my dream was never going to happen. This hooked in to that little child in me who was always wrong, never good enough and I almost cried.
Since I was feeling pretty down and rubbish about myself at this point anyway I took her reaction as confirmation of my beliefs rather than how she meant it. Her disbelief stemmed not from her lack of belief in me and my dreams but rather my lack of belief in me.
This she said was my major stumbling block, that I never believe, even after all these years, that anything I do is good enough. That I seek validation always from external sources, that I give my power away and crumble, I don’t stand up for what I believe in. I hide behind a barrier of fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of the future, fear of my own shadow but most of all fear of who or what I could be if used the power I have.
I argued that I don’t have any power. that to a large extent I am powerless, no one listens to me, I only have to look to my family and home for proof of that. No matter how many times I ask for something to be done I am ignored. Eventually I do it myself.
I give in on other things too, like what pictures we will have on the walls, they are all my husbands, mine or the ones I like are all relegated to the loft. He does this because he knows he can, he knows that I will just capitulate and walk away, that I am unable to successfully put my point of view across. This extends to all areas of my life and comes, I know, from a childhood of being silenced, of not being listened to and I carry this with me always and expect not to be heard so I don’t even try.
My friend tells me that if I want my voice heard in the world I have to first make myself heard at home. I have to claim my power and to do that I have to take my inner child in my arms and tell her she is safe and that I the adult is dealing with life now.
The trouble is that being powerful has always meant something different to me, it does not have good connotations or associations, people with power in my world have always been the ones that turned it upside down, that caused the pain and the hurt. Is that, I wonder because they had not only their own power but mine too, had I handed it over to them on a plate, giving them permission to treat me they way did? Perhaps, but that I think is a discussion best left for another day. Today, I will settle for just having one person listen to me.