by Shefali Banerji
Do you know how hard it is to stand up to rejection? The mother of all disappointments!
Of course you know. You, like me, have faced rejection at some point of your life.
Love, job, probably those publishing houses? Still, I think (and I think so quite highly!)
that I know more of rejection than you. Why, you might wonder or you might not,
(since probably you are not even remotely interested) but I am going to tell you, nonetheless,
because I am persistent like that.
Know what? I am a woman and, good heavens, a writer. A woman writer! Such an atrocious muddle! Consequently, more prone to… let me think of another word for it, (and here I check my smartphone dictionary for synonyms) dismissal, exclusion, abandonment?
Certainly not! Rejection. And so I will write a poetic prose tonight.
Because I am done with, I am done with rejections!
But before I attempt upon an elegant, ornamental, dazzling work, let me get down to the history of my rejections, for background work is important. Merely few years after I was first introduced to the sunny-side of the world, society encroached upon the light, and punched me in the gut. I was fat, and that too without being pretty. (A crime, a crime! A horrendous transgression! How do you even dare to exist?) Hence began the series of disappointments.
In grade 3, auditioning for the part of ‘Beauty’, bam! came the first disappointment.
Darling you have to be beautiful to be ‘Beauty’. We thought it was obvious. No, they did not put it out so blatantly. I was just eight.
And it sustained, continued for a long time, and lo, enters a certain Prince Charming upon the scene! Love happened and I was still fat. (Damn you woman!) So he, who claimed to have “feelings for me” couldn’t really love me. God forbid if his friends find out he’s dating a fat girl! The jeering from his peers that he’d have to face! But damn, making out is acceptable.
That would make a King of a Prince, a man out of a boy. And I? The insecurities of a lifetime crash upon me, and I… I yield; because attention is much better than rejection, isn’t it?
Literary rejection is a different world altogether. Countless rejection mails, polite in their words: ‘Delighted to see such talented, young individuals come up. However sadly, your submission doesn’t fit our requirement.’ And then others proclaiming, ‘your words are too bold for our magazine’. Too bold? My words are the only boldness left of me, the rest of all is cowardice. My entire being is a raiment of timidity. So let me keep my boldness and you keep your travesty. But for how long? How long indeed?
After countless rejection mails I sit down and procrastinate being a published poet. I must tell you, I procrastinate a lot. Because it’s my mind, my imagination, and that’s the only individuality I have, stripped of every other identity, in this mechanized world, except for the labels of “fat” and “ugly”. “Ugly” and “fat”. “Voluptuous, voluptuous”, I correct myself relentlessly, but my mind knows better. So I sit down, pondering upon lavish, sophisticated, flowery phrases. (I have to make it to a literary journal this time!)
She treads tenderly upon grass plots and flowerbeds, whispering divine sweet nothings into the lovers’ ears, as ephemeral as the stars on a wintery night, as soft and vulnerable as fresh blooms sprinkled across the acreage.
But that’s all I have for you. That’s the end of my grace, for my boldness is pounding at the window of my mind, and I have run out of sheets of paper because each of them is inked with my rage. Dear god, here here, I have written another bold piece. I’ve performed another blasphemy. The Lord save me from another rejection.
Shefali Banerji is a dreamer, procrastinator and work-shy poet-writer from India, currently pursuing her Masters in English from University of Calcutta. She loves poetry and reading, and is more fond of animals than she'd ever be of humans. You can visit her blog or follow her on Instagram. She tweets as well.