Rejection is divine protection. I’m not a religious person, but I totally believe that. I don’t remember to believe it when it’s happening though. Rejection is the worst. Plain and simple. When it’s happening we believe the rejecter is the be all end all. They have all the power. Our worth is whatever they tell us it is. My idea sucks. I’m not good enough to be with them. I don’t have enough. I’m not wanted. Of course, there are people who say they can handle rejection like a pro. They drink it up. Tell them no thanks and they circle you until you change your mind. These tend to be the people who had a rough life early on, persevered through it all, and found their way out by proving people wrong and believing in themselves. Well, we all weren’t lucky enough to grow up in the ghetto with someone telling us we were worthless. Some of us unfortunate ones had parents who thought we were wonderful. Who’s lives were filled with adoration and cuddling. We are the ones who have it rough, for the record. We aren’t prepared in any way for life’s rejection. We get sucker punched whenever someone criticizes us and assume the attacker has simply made an inconvenient mistake. How could they not want me? My mom says I’m perfect. She’s right about everything.

It takes a while to even hear these new outside voices who don’t approve of all our choices. When I was eleven and had a mouth full of braces, including a built in retainer that I had to tighten with a key every night, and thought it was funny to match the color of my rubber bands to the season, I didn’t pay attention to the haters. All I heard was my mother’s voice telling me it was cute. I thought I could get any boy in my class, no exceptions. But once I hit fourteen and got fat arms, my world fell apart. I obviously hated my mom at this point because I hated everyone. I killed her voice. I was so mature, I didn’t need her input. Once it was gone though, and I heard what everyone else was saying, life got a little different. I couldn’t handle the pressure of living up to everyone else’s standards. They were such harsher critics. I didn’t think I was up for it, so I figured I would just go the other way and see if anyone believed that I didn’t care. My version of this involved me putting on thirty pounds, dying my hair purple, piercing my eyebrow, and using the word ‘fuck’ a lot. None of my friends parents wanted their kid hanging out with me. Of course little did they know I was an innocent girl under it all. I wasn’t doing drugs or having sex, I was just trying to beat the system before it killed me. My bravado was thin, anytime someone tested it with criticism, I had to hold back tears. No one liked my attitude, I was a bitch. I didn’t know how to stop though. I’d taken it so far, how would I ever turn it around? Unfortunately the more I wanted to give it up and start over, the deeper into it I went. I decided to take a bit of a short cut. I thought there was no way I could reinvent myself with all of these people here who know me witnessing it. So I moved to Switzerland. I looked online at the farthest possible place I could get to for eleventh grade, found a school in a tiny village in the middle of no where, and decided that’s where I would go for the next year of my life.

I was determined to turn things around. As scared as I was at the idea of being so far away, I knew I would make it the most important year of my life. To this day, it still is. Except this year when people started saying I look like Taylor Swift. That’s made it a close second. Anyway, when I showed up in Switzerland I saw myself as the self conscious, tough exterior, kinda fat for Malibu girl who was going to make enemies fast. But that’s not who they saw. Unlike the environment I was used to, these people were focused on more important things. Like being interesting. And they taught me how to be interesting with them. They didn’t care how skinny I was or wasn’t. They wanted to know who I really was. So I became the person I wanted to be. I got straight A’s for the first time in my life because no one thought it was cool to sit around ditching class and saying how much you hate your teacher. I starred in the school play because I wasn’t ashamed to admit that I wanted to be an actress. I fell in love for the first time with the cutest guy in school who thought I was the most beautiful girl he had ever seen. I learned to speak French (which I’ve totally forgotten now. Don’t judge, its hard to keep it up). I traveled to cities I’d never heard of, and met people from places that I couldn’t find on a map. It was exactly what I needed to grow into myself.

When you’re getting the same perspective over and over again, you miss out on a lot. You start to think that everyone is in on something that you aren’t. You wonder if you just aren’t getting it and everyone else seems fine. Now, obviously going to boarding school in Switzerland is one way to discover that, but there are ways you can do it without such a dramatic departure. Mostly just by deciding that no one else gets to choose who you are besides yourself. That if you have your sights set on a life that isn’t understood by the people around you, then maybe they just aren’t dreaming big enough.

So, now I’m twenty eight and I feel pretty good about myself. It goes up and down, but I certainly don’t cater to what I think people expect from me. I’m not so evolved that I was willing to go to my ten year high school reunion a few weeks ago though. No thanks. I didn’t want to give those people another chance to steal my soul! I didn’t even want to have to admit that I was the same person they knew. I was too afraid to show my face because I didn’t know how I was going to feel, but I did know that if I stayed home and watched a movie I wouldn’t be missing out on anything there. You could say they kinda won by me avoiding the reunion, but whatever, that’s not how I’m going to look at it and I’d appreciate it if you stuck by me on this one.

But really, what is it that draws us to the people who aren’t giving us attention? I don’t know about you, but I love attention. I only want to be around someone who’s dishing it out, and to me exclusively for the evening. Personally, rejecting me is the best way to get me to never call you again, or return your text, or sleep with you, or ever let you know that I noticed you enter the room. But that doesn’t mean I won’t obsess over why you don’t want to marry me and beg me to have your babies. I’m a catch! I don’t really know where this is going, I got a little side tracked. The inspiration for this was a recent night when I was smothered in attention coming from every angle, every person, saying everything I would want to hear, but when I woke up the next morning I couldn’t stop thinking about the one slight ego bruiser of the evening. I’m not built for rejection. It confuses me. I want to right it. I want to change it. I want to understand it. Isn’t that obnoxious? Well whatever you would say to me to change my perspective on it, you should say to yourself the next time you focus on someone’s criticism of you. Because you’re better than that. The only time I’m judging someone is when I’m feeling insecure. No matter how strong someone is, they have a vulnerability that they’re hiding. No matter how beautiful someone is, they have a flaw they’re ashamed of. No matter how complete someone seems, they have room to grow. And there is always something you have that they don’t.

Does that make sense?