Originally Published in the April 2014 Issue 6 of "The Mainsheet"
I will never let rejection stop me from accomplishing my goals. I will never let rejection keep me down. I have been rejected plenty of times, so I have become very good at being rejected. I mean it. My ability to be rejected has almost turned into a skill.
I was rejected when I was 1 1/2 years old. My biological father decided he didn’t want to be a part of my life anymore. I have had zero contact with him since.
I was rejected in first grade. My classmates told me that I should not be able to go on an Indian Princess Trip to Lake Arrowhead because I “didn’t have a daddy.” I was too afraid to tell anyone how much those words hurt me.
I was rejected by God. My grandmother, my second mother, the woman who picked me up from school every day and held me until my mom came home late from work, died unexpectedly from a rare autoimmune disorder that 1 out of 1,000,000 people get. The last time I saw her she was in the hospital. I was in my white first communion dress she got me months earlier when she still had her curly black hair and warm Irish smile. I didn’t have a chance to say goodbye.
I was rejected several times within a 36-hour period in 9th grade. I had applied to Community Service Advisory Board after going to 7 weekend events, running a community service club for over 3 years, doing weekly service, and showing a commitment to service since I was young: rejected. And 18 hours later I was rejected by Peer Mentors.
I was rejected in 10th grade. I thought I fell in love with a boy (for the record, 16 year olds do not know what love is). He didn’t love me back: rejected. I couldn’t even look at myself in the mirror anymore.
I was rejected by an organization I had put my heart and soul into. I wasn’t acknowledged for all of my hard work, blood, sweat, and tears at a really important event. A girl who had her parents do all of her work for her was acknowledged instead.
The collective time I was rejected was when I recently ran for ASB president. I lost. I have run for student office in 4th, 5th, 6th, 8th, and now for 12th grade and have lost every single time.
I am not telling you these things because I want attention. I do not crave sympathy or pity. We all have our struggles. And in the big picture, my rejection pales next to what so many people experience. I am telling you these things because I am not embarrassed by the times I have been rejected.
I have never let rejection take my happiness from me for long.
I am an advocate for change. I speak out for cultural issues. I have people in my life who I feel immeasurable love from. (To my mom, my grandfather, and the Chadwick faculty, I love you. Thank you for being my allies and rocks).
I have never let hate wash over me for too long. I can’t hate; I can’t hold grudges. Like the Energizer bunny, I try to keep going despite the obstacles thrown my way.
Life is full of rejection, but rejection has made me strong. Rejection has made me resilient. Rejection has helped make me who I am. You can either choose to be down in the dumps and sad when something doesn’t go your way, or you can choose to fight.
Rejection from a college, from a guy, from a girl, from someone you trust doesn’t have to make you jaded or bitter. Most of the time, rejection is not about you. It’s about someone else, and it’s about things you can’t control.
I choose to say “I love you, I love you, I love you” to the hatred and the no’s and the rejection. I choose to take that rejection and try to become something greater and better than I could ever dream of. I choose to rise above rejection. I choose resilience.
Don’t cry for me, Argentina. I may not have the titles I used to seek, but I instead choose to forge my own path. I build myself up by creating my own titles and following my passions and opportunities to lead and stand out. Rejection has led me down a path where I can know myself intimately. I am not happy all the time. I definitely do not get everything I want. But I work hard to be the best Kate I can be. Nothing or no one is able to stop me from striving to change the world.
Photo Courtesy of Kate McEvilly