Rejection spawns reflection, spawns inspiration

Rejection hurts.

For the umpteenth time in the past 4 years, I was rejected for yet another job.  The reason: I’m over-qualified.  I don’t understand what that means but there it is.  I don’t know what we’re going to do as a family.  There is no money to pay the bills, just what little my hubby brings in on disability. There is no doubt my faith is being tested, my sanity is frayed, and my heart and soul are in pain.

This may be true, dear Wesley, but we all need something to make us feel worthwhile, to feel needed and special. And like it or not, we all need money to pay the bills so we don’t end up living on the streets, which is where my family is heading if I don’t land a job soon.

To keep myself from feeling like a complete and utter failure, I did a little reflecting and thought about things that would make me happy instead of sad.  When I left the hospital the other day from seeing my mother-in-law (who I love dearly and is suffering from dementia and C-Diff), hubby and I drove around looking for things to inspire me and my writing.  There just happens to be this awesome affluent neighborhood near the hospital so we took an hour tour.

Here are some places and things that lifted my spirits and set my dreams in motion.

Hulk Hogan's house

If I’m not mistaken, the above house was once owned (or is still owned) by Hulk Hogan.

Gargoyle overlooking Willadel Drive Gargoyle overlooking Willadel Drive2

Willadel Drive is a big horse shoe drive.  There are two of these gargoyles poised at both entrances to the drive.  So cool.

an expansive home that took my breath away

Down the road a ways was this sprawling mansion that looks directly out onto the bay. I’m standing in the narrow (not for sale) lot across the street and still couldn’t get the whole picture.

pretty little Victorian homeAnd check out this sweet Victorian home.  Love, love, love.

Staircase - love the reflection of the clouds in the window

A mile or so down the road, I stumbled upon this beauty.  Look at that amazing staircase to the front door.  I think it was the reflection of the sky and the clouds in that amazing front door that inspired me the most when I took this shot.

A royal view

We then took a ride out to the beachside.  I wanted to see how baseball’s Ryan Howard’s house was coming along.  We turned down a short cul-de-sac where we spotted this beauty.  It’s for sale.  I fell in love with the upstairs balcony.  I can imagine sitting there and looking out onto the Gulf of Mexico, watching the sunset.  *sigh*

Happy Dolphins
Not too far away were these happy dolphins smiling and leaping away in a front yard.  They made my heart happy.

And then, there was Ryan Howard’s monstrous creation:

Ryan Howard's home Ryan Howard's home 2I posted about this home a year ago.  You can read it here.  I would LOVE to take a tour of this place when it’s completed. Breathtaking, huh?  And the Gulf of Mexico is just behind that house.

I am in awe. I’m inspired. I have faith that someday I will have a home as big and wonderful for all my friends and family to come stay.  I have faith someday I will have enough money that I will never have to worry about losing my home, or deciding between food or medicine.  I have faith that someday I will have enough money to take a family with nothing and put them in a home, help mom/dad or both find a job and give them and their family peace of mind.

Someday, I will be able to care for and provide for those I love. Until then, I will do my best to brush off the rejections and take time to reflect on those things that are important while striving to reach my goal.  I will continue to seek inspiration and lend it when I can.  Life is too short to be sad.

What is your inspiration?  What do you do to keep constant rejection from getting to you?




It might have happened sooner…if I’d only moved out of my own way

After searching diligently for 2 1/2 years, I finally got a job.

It all started in June 2010 when the debt management company I worked for laid me off.  I wasn’t too worried.  After all, I had excellent references and job skills.  It wouldn’t take that long to find a job.  Man, was I wrong.  Dead wrong.

Weeks turned to months, months turned to years.  I pushed and pushed to find a job, sending out resumes to places I didn’t really want to work, but what I wanted didn’t matter.  I needed to survive.  I needed to provide for my family.

Every day that passed without a job, I fell deeper into depression.  I couldn’t even get a job at Taco Bell (I was over-qualified).  I began to question my own self worth, but more importantly, I began to question my faith in God.  Every day it seemed He threw more bad stuff on top of bad.  I felt like God’s punching bag.  Then the selfish guilt set it.  After all, there were people all over the world who had it FAR worse than I did.  How dare I complain over my situation?  But I couldn’t shake not being able to provide for my family.  I continued in a downward spiral.  Hopelessness and I became very good friends.

About a month ago I had a serious talk with God.  I told Him I was done fighting, I couldn’t do it anymore.  My life was in His hands to mold and do with it what He wished.  I no longer had the strength to continue on.  In other words, I surrendered.  The moment I did this, miraculous things happened.

People I hadn’t spoken to in ages contacted me.  Doors opened that I’d banged on for over two years with no results.  Two weeks ago I attended a recruitment fair to interview for a position open at an upcoming IT firm.  After standing in line for a half hour to interview, I find out the position had been put on hold.  Two months before, I would have left the fair in angry tears.  This time, I laughed.  It wasn’t meant to be.  Funny thing is, I felt okay with it.  On Feb. 25, a gal from WorkNet Pinellas sent information to me regarding another recruitment fair on Feb. 27th.  I have since found out she almost didn’t send it to me, but changed her mind at the last minute when “a voice inside told me to forward it to you.”  The ease and speed of which everything happened from there is mind-boggling.  I went in for an interview on the 27.  A week later, I was offered a job.  I start March 18!

Needless to say, I’m elated.  There was no struggle, no banging heads, no pleading, begging.  It simply happened.

I’m not sure if this is a job I would have picked for me, but it’s the one God chose for me, so how can I go wrong?  I can’t help but wonder how much sooner this might have happened, if I’d just moved out of my own way and let God do his thing. Then again, He kind of did do his own thing, didn’t He?  I simply needed to acknowledge it and get out of His way.  Who would have ever thunk it.  🙂

P.S.  Thank you, God!  You rock.

Procrastination and friends

I have a confession to make, and it’s not one I’m proud of.  Over the past year, Procrastination and I have become very good friends.  I didn’t want it to happen.  It just sort of showed up in the form of Pity and Sympathy.  I think Depression let it in and before I knew it, they were all having a party, and I was the unwilling host.  I got drunk on their lies, believing I could put life on hold while I tried to figure out the meaning of my life. Where was I supposed to go? What was I supposed to do?

Everyone around me told me to keep swimming, but the words of my new friends were too convincing, their arms too strong.  Procrastination and Depression were the worst.  “Why keep swimming, little fish?  You’re in a tiny bowl with nowhere to go.  You’ll always be in a tiny bowl with nowhere to go.  Chill.  Take a break. We’re here to keep you company.”  Then Pity and Sympathy would chime in with their chorus, “We understand what it’s like to feel all alone, to feel like a failure to yourself, your family, your friends.  It’s okay to take a sabbatical from life.  After all, what good fortune has life bestowed upon you of late?”

Yes, Procrastination and friends found a weak little fish, and they made themselves right at home.  What none of us were counting on was Determination and Pride showing up.

November 1 they came, dressed in armor of defiance and wielding swords of truth.  “Get up!” they said to me.  “Stop wallowing!  Stand with us to rid these freeloaders from your soul!  You may be a battered little fish in a tiny bowl, but right next to you is a giant ocean waiting for you.  All you have to do is leap.”

For the first time in months, this little fish opened her eyes, swam through the sludge in the water, and saw the magnificence and grandeur waiting for me.  I grew angry at Procrastination, Depression, Pity and Sympathy who now cowered in a corner.  Arming myself with Determination and Pride, I grabbed them one by one and cast the from my soul.  Strength and power surged through me.  Faster and faster I swam until I made myself dizzy…and then I leapt.  A smile stretched across my face.  “I did it!  I did it!  I’m free!!!”

Now, I’m swimming in bigger waters and I sometimes wonder if I made the right decision, but when I look back at that tiny bowl with all its limitations, I have no doubts.  I may get chased by bigger fish.  My life in this new world may not be perfect, but I know one thing…I’ll never go back to that dark place anymore.  I’m armed now, and I’ve got some serious swimming to do.  Are you coming along with me? Race ya!


Struggling with self-esteem

Last night I sat on the edge of my bed and broke down in tears.  Up until then I’d been surfing the web, reading the blogs I follow, commenting where I felt I had something to say and applauding them for winning yet another blog award or getting their 1000 follower on Twitter or getting an agent or publisher for their novels.  Truly wonderful and fantastic achievements and I’m so very happy to be a part of it, knowing my writing buddies are moving forward and seeing the fruits of their labors.

So why should this make me cry?

While I was honestly thrilled for them, I was also saddened because it wasn’t me.  Oh, I know this confession sounds horrible and incredibly selfish, but it’s not.  It just hurts somehow, deep in the core of my being.  I’m not sure where it comes from.  Maybe it was because I was told all my life I’m not good enough at anything I did. I was actually told as a child that I had no personality, no one liked talking to me, no guy would ever want me, and the worst – I was completely unlovable, so much so even my own parents didn’t want me and gave me away.  That one hurt.  It still hurts, forty years later.  Even my own kids have told me at one time or another I’ve failed them as a mom.  Don’t tell me words don’t hurt.  They not only hurt, but the cuts they leave behind remain forever.

Over the course of my life, I’ve allowed others to instill their beliefs about me into me, and I believed them.  After all, if so many people said the same thing, then obviously they saw something I didn’t.  Sadly, it’s followed me into my adulthood and it’s a struggle every day to try to find ways to believe in myself, to believe I’m good at what I do.  When I see my fellow bloggers get another award or achieve some fantastic success, I’m not jealous; it’s just a knife in the chest that reiterates to me I’m not as good as them at something I love to do.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m very happy for them and I don’t want something because I didn’t deserve it or because someone feels sorry for me.  I want to get rewarded for hard work and perseverance.  Their success, though, and my lack of it reinforces  the negative thoughts:  ‘you have no personality’ and ‘no one wants to talk to you.’  I am so much more a champion for others to succeed than I am for myself because it’s been beat into me that I will never succeed at anything.  And yet, I keep holding on to that dream of being a great author someday.  That someone, somewhere, will pick up my novel and love it so much that they read it over and over and over again until the binding falls apart, the pages are worn…even dog-eared.  Somewhere in time, my novel(s) will be well loved.

So why do I let others’ success draw me down?  I think it’s because their success seems to come natural for them.  They just open their mouths and people listen and click ‘follow’.  I’ve never had that.  Never.  I don’t even know how to obtain that.  I’m the person who takes 2 steps forward and gets pushed 20 steps back and it’s a constant struggle to push ahead.   Yet, I keep trying.

Why do I care about whether I get a blog award or if people follow my blog?  All of us want to feel loved, needed and special.  For someone like me who feels completely and utterly alone in a room full of people, I have to fall back on my passions, my dreams, to keep me focused.  When I don’t get recognized or passed over for my hard work, I begin to doubt myself, again.  I hear those negative words, ‘you’re not good enough, even at the thing you love doing…writing.  I guess I need the ‘atta boys’.  I need people to say “I appreciate you.”  It’s sad.

So, if no one cares about what I say or what I think, then why write this blog?

I write it because I know I am not the only one out here in the blogosphere who suffers from low self-esteem, and if I talk about it and others read it, then maybe they won’t feel so alone.  Maybe I can impart some wisdom, and if I can help one person with this blog, I’ll have achieved a lot.

This morning when I got up, I shot over an e-mail to a friend, expressing my sadness and my doubts as to why I continue this blog or even write.  I then went for a walk to clear my head, gather my wits and give myself my everyday pep talk.  What do I say to myself?

  1. I tell myself I am a great writer.  Others just don’t know it yet because I have nothing yet to show them. But I will.  It’s coming, and it will be fantastic. (I have to tell myself this several times during the day so I don’t give up).
  2. I set new goals.  I get a clear picture in my mind of where I want to be 2 weeks from now, a month from now.  It helps to stay focused.
  3. I decide how I will celebrate meeting my goals.  It could be a movie, a new dress, maybe even chocolate.  Recognizing the achievement of my goals boosts my confidence.
  4. I try to learn from my mistakes and not look at them as colossal failures.  Very difficult for someone who’s been told ever since childhood they’re a failure (“Jen, that A- on your exam should have been an A+.  Why did you mess up?  Why didn’t you study?”)
  5. I will continue listening to others’ opinions, but I must hold true to who I am.  I will not let others take any more of my heart, my spirit or my soul just to make themselves look bigger and better.  There are those who want to see me succeed as much as I want to see them succeed.  Surround myself with these people.
  6. I will give more of my time and encouragement to others.  I already do this, but I must do more because it lends to gaining positive feedback and respect from others, all essential when building a better self-esteem.
  7. Stop comparing myself to others.  I’m me.  And I have a lot to offer.
  8. And last but not least…never, never, never give up on my dreams.  They are all that I have to keep me moving forward.  If I lose my dreams, I lose me.  I don’t want to lose me.

And…now that I’ve managed to make everyone depressed, I will start my corned beef and cabbage and dive back into my short story (which has a rapidly approaching deadline), and my novel, which will get a publishing contract this year, come hell or high water.

What about any of you?  Do you have self-esteem issues?  Do you find you have to give yourself pep talks every day?  I would love to hear about your personal triumphs.  Please share.

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