I didn’t get in to my first-choice college – which, at the time felt like the worst kind of rejection.
Worse than when that boy with the spiked blonde hair told me in 7th Grade homeroom that I’d always be too ugly to get a boyfriend.
Worse than when my father moved to Florida my freshman year.
Worse than when I didn’t make the high school softball team.
I sobbed. I wailed. I called the school’s Director of Admissions. But, as it turned out, there was no mistake. No electronic error. The wrong letter was not placed in the envelope bound for my parent’s house.
I simply wasn’t accepted.
I let the rejection seep in and stain the rest of my early college experience. Never mind that I was accepted to three other schools. Never mind that I ended up with a near full academic scholarship. Never mind that I graduated as Class President and in the top 10% of my class.
None of that felt as big as the rejection – and that same line of thinking followed me through college, grad school, and into the work place.
No matter what I did do, I always (always) focussed on what I didn’t. What I didn’t say in a meeting, how much I didn’t raise for a worthy cause, the mistakes I didn’t catch before someone else picked them up and put them on parade.
The fear kept me marching, but it never let me enjoy the music, and that makes it impossible to keep the beat.
Lately, the marching’s been heavy and the music a bit distant. So, tonight I took a free dance fitness class at the library.
And I got nearly every step wrong…but I worked up a good sweat, and had more than a few good laughs – and that felt pretty right.