• Talia Basma

Writing & Opinions

I haven't been rejected in a while. The last time was March 22nd, 2020 I believe. (I might be off a few days.) BUT DON'T FEEL BAD. Rejection is annoying I'll admit but it's not what really gets me agitated. The thing about rejection, for me at least, is how everyone else reacts. The sympathy is coming from a kind-hearted place, but when people repeatedly tell you "Oh no, what are you going to do now? Don't let it make you think less of yourself." It has the opposite effect and makes me feel like I'm smaller than an ant. I want to tell them, "I don't know what I'm doing with my life because this was the plan, but things are going off script so please shut up while I try to figure it out all over again." Instead, I smile and tell them I think I'm fabulous and I'll figure something else out (all true statements). They don't fully believe me and that's when I just stop responding (which makes them think they are right rather than aware of how irrupted they've made me).

The University of Ann Arbor has had the honor of rejecting me twice for their MFA program, and I'm not bitter. Did it mess up some high achieving plans? Absolutely. Did it ruin my life? No. It really shouldn't flatter itself so much. It was one of nine schools that told me my writing was being rejected, "but that the rejection has no bearing on my writing abilities." To this, I can't help but laugh. How fragile we must be that they add that in there, it might console some, but it pisses me off. ( I think I have anger issues?) You are a school of people who don't know me at all. You are reading ten of my poems and deciding versus 1000+ other people on who to accept. Let's not even get started on the biases that you have with you as you're reading those poems.

Writing is FILLED with rejections because, at the end of the day, it's so subjective. There are many movies I love that have 50% on Rotten Tomatoes and books on GoodReads with 4 stars that I cannot finish. That's why you have to LOVE your work, love your art (no matter the medium) because other people loving it is just a perk. I do get the warm fuzzies when someone likes what I have to say or something I do, but I can't let every little critique get to me. I take opinions with a grain of salt.

One time a teacher told me my poem was super great, but that if I added to it, I could make it 10x more powerful. I was convinced she was insane, but I decided to give her the benefit of the doubt (she was my teacher after all) and she was RIGHT. I adored that poem's second version so much more and feel giddy every time I read it. One time someone told me to remove the POV of a character, and so I tried it, but to this day, I preferred my version better. My point is that you cannot please everyone and THANK GOD that's NOT your job!!! You are not the only person creating, what you don't create, someone else can and YOU DON'T NEED TO CARRY THE BURDEN OF DISAPPOINTING SOCIETY.

I say all this to help you process rejection. It's not fun, that I can admit, but it doesn't have to bruise you. Some days, when rejection slams the door in your face, it helps you appreciate what you already have in the room as well as the other doors. I'm not going to be getting an MFA this Fall (or probably ever tbh) but I have like 50 other things now waiting for me that I'm STOKED about. Tell me a time you were rejected, but now, in hindsight, it turned out for the better. (It's cathartic to talk about rejection without the stigma of failure!!!)

P.S. The Grammarly Tone Detector is saying this post is coming off a) very informative b) slightly formal and c) a little egocentric. These all are making me laugh but it's not wrong?? Or is it? Am I being helpful at all here? Do you disagree with my assessment of rejection?

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