All Worked Up

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Why do we insist on getting ourselves all worked up over nothing?

We’re running late! Oh no, we’d better hurry up. And, then we get there and have to wait because everyone else is late. Now, we’re early. How did that happen? Being early is suddenly worse than being late. OK, so let’s freak out over that now, or over all the things we must be missing out on because this happened. Let’s freak out for the sake of freaking out. If nothing else, it will give us something to do, while we wait.

In the summertime, about once a week, I lose a flip-flop and I freak out until I find it. Why? It’s only a flip-flop.

Why are the little things such a big deal? Is it because the bigger, more important, life altering things are typically beyond our control?

Why do we sometimes convince ourselves that others dislike us? Or, that they are mad at us? Is it human nature to desire being thought about, even when those thoughts are negative? Sure, we’d prefer positive, but we’ll take what we can get. Or, is it simply our nature to second guess ourselves to the point that we second guess our loved ones too? We’re good enough, smart enough and gosh darn it people like us… right?? Why is that not enough?

Life is a pressure cooker, so why do we feel the need to self-inflict even more pressure? As if the pressures of adulthood, survival of the fittest and the universe combined weren’t already enough!

Last week, I found myself querying a literary agent, who I’d queried three years ago after completing the first draft of my first novel. She rejected me back then. I can’t say that I blame her. Back then, I swallowed the rejection and moved on. It was my first try at writing a novel and she was my first query. My first try at a cartwheel was just as poorly executed. The difference? I gave up on cartwheels long ago. Writing is my dream. I will not give up. Therefore, I will only get better.

Imagine yourself drunk-dialing an X – – or better yet, an X who dumped you! Yuck, I know! Unless you’re a serious masochist, why would you even consider doing that?? With that same rationale, I wouldn’t normally re-pitch an agent who previously rejected me. But, FaceBook influenced me to try again. Damn you, FaceBook!! The agent, it turns out, is a friend of a friend. Yep, FaceBook Kevin Bacon’d me. It taunted and teased me to actually “friend” her, but how lame would that be? “Um, excuse me. You’re my friend’s friend, so, uh, do you want to be my friend too?” I may be lame, but I’m not that lame…

Instead, I went another route, grew a pair and emailed her directly, pitching my second novel this time (while unfortunately reminding her of my first). Admittedly, I threw in our mutual friend’s name for good measure. Yes, I name dropped. It’s so unlike me to do that. And, even more unlike me? I did it without first telling the mutual friend. I know!!! Then, for the next three days, I freaked out over that. I imagined them sipping wine together, laughing at me and quipping, “Val who?”

After a few days, I decided to email my friend, confess and hope for the best. He wrote me back immediately with the sweetest note. Turns out, he wasn’t upset. He didn’t mind one bit. He even wished me the best and meant it. I felt great knowing I had his support. Why did I get myself so worked up??

The next day I lost a writing contest. Here we go again! Although this wasn’t my first loss/rejection, by a long shot, along this crazy and intense journey toward publishing, I got very upset. Somehow, it hit me harder than usual. Maybe I’d convinced myself that I would win. If you know me, that shouldn’t surprise you. I’m always convinced I’ll win. Why did losing this time make me feel like such a loser? It was, after all, just a contest. 10,000 people entered, not everyone can win.

When I chose to quit my day job and write novels, deep down I knew it would be hard. I knew it would involve endless rejection and that I’d need a tough skin. I knew all of that, and yet I’m only human. It’s hard not to take things personally; I’m a person.

It’s OK to get all worked up. I believe it serves a purpose. It reminds us that we are alive with passion. I’ve always been and always will be a passionate person. When I hope and dream, I hope and dream big! Yes, that’s right. I’ve got high-apple-pie-in-the-sky hopes and dreams, and passion for days (weeks, months, years). But, I’ve never had more passion, drive and commitment than I have right now.

I am a writer. I plan to do this forever. I might not succeed right away, but failing is not an option.

Now, where’s that effin’ flip-flop?? I know it’s around here somewhere.

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