You know, Rejection is one of those things in life that everyone apparently goes through. It is made into this fuel that is supposed to propel someone forward and inspiration for future endeavors. One is not supposed to ,according to conventional wisdom, give in to rejection but move against it and in spite of it. And in some ways, I can agree to all of that and yet still have a space to acknowledge rejection as also like a virus that is uncontrolled. A virus that becomes entrenched in your blood and seeps through your pores. Rejection as this binding force that attracts more and more rejection to the afflicted.
I hope I am never one of those know it all’s , one of those super people who make it thru the fires and spin the “you can make it too” or “you just have to keep trying,”. And that’s not to say I’d advocate for someone to give up on themselves or their goals but to also acknowledge how much rejection can take out of you. How you can “little engine yourself think you can” for years and still never make it. How social and systemic forces dominate against you. How you come in expected to fuck up and never given the grace to at least try. How the game is rigged and for many ,it takes years, decades even before you stop going against the tide.
I’ve experienced rejection in every part of my life chronically. From family , friends, employment, housing, romantically and even socially at large. Out of all those rejections, I think the one that has left a sting the most would have to be romantically. I’ve had that Hallmark fantasy for years of love. Even when I was very young. Back then , I just wanted to hold some boy’s hand and maybe walk in the park. I darkly laugh at myself as a child with these unrealized, almost comical dreams. Cause let’s face it for a young, gay Black boy of husky stature growing up in Harlem, there was no way in hell my little fantasies and dreams would come true. As I grew up, there would be more opportunities to potentially meet that hand holder walk in the park mate but just like when I was a child I’d find those opportunities slim to none. You take me at 21 and by then I’m well versed in my sexuality and my gender identity. But there was also this biting reality that even though I was looking, seeing and being the woman that I am, it did not mean I would have the same opportunities as Ashley or Crystal from around my way. It did not mean guys would be trying to take me out, or introduce me to friends/family, or even be seen in public with me. I accepted this tacit insult as the norm when you date men from around the way as a transwoman.
I went through my twenties experiencing a few different relationships but a theme of them all was the right to remain silent and hidden. These men would often express or not that me being me meant that I had to understand their reasons for the eventual rejection. They never saw me as a woman like any other even when they have feigned so. It is only recently that I’ve had opportunity to assess that , to take ownership of my role in my subjugation as the know it all’s will readily point out to you. I’ve even come to the conclusion that maybe on some levels it’s meant for me to be alone. Or maybe I attract rejection like flies to shit because that’s all I can attract, the men who want to reject me. This line of thinking can be so fucked up because it sends you down a rabbit hole of wondering what’s wrong with you, you critique your physical, your style, your personality, everything from head to toe. After all I am the common denominator, right?
I write all this to say it adds up. Rejection. I only gave a piece of the complex ball of shit bags of rejection that I’ve experienced. I reflect a lot as I write and give them shout outs the know it all’s who will have diagnoses , fixes and words of seemingly inspiration. But I’ve also found those who tell you to pick yourselves and lick your wounds and keep trying to be gaslighters as well. Because on a certain level, it invalidates your pain, it squashes your discontent and it keeps you trapped in this one frame goal achieving way. I get those especially for my fellow Black transwomen, those of us who give up our goals whatever they may be. I understand those who even think about certain things and just tear up for all the trauma and pain. I feel those who are broken and know that no remedy soon come. Rejection is a bitch that hits deep and some of us get that hit deeper.