The very nature of rejection is generally bad… After we are rejected, no matter what kind of denial we’re thinking about here, a person feels less than ideal. Some kinds of rejection are harder to take than others, like being refused by someone you have feelings for… honestly, I think that kind is the hardest. But there’s all kinds of rejection from friendships, community and the kind of rejection I’m currently experiencing… unemployment.
My biggest flaw, at least what I think is my biggest flaw, is that I’m never happy with just settling for the good things I already have in my life. I never truly stop and think to myself, “yes, I’ve made it and I’m happy with where I am. If nothing changes, that would be great.” There’s always something I could improve upon, there’s always something I feel could be better. I get it into my head that I could take a bigger stride or a longer leap and I just can’t put it out of my brain. From that point forward, I wont rest until I’ve defeated whatever beast I set out to conquer. The problem is that, some beasts aren’t necessarily meant to be “conquered.”
In my life I have been unsuccessful… to say that I haven’t failed would be a big lie. When I was in my bachelor’s program I originally set out to be an art restorator hoping to be like Sigourney Weaver in “Ghostbusters 2,” happily cleaning and repairing beautiful works of art in a big and fabulous museum somewhere in New York city but minus the ghosts (how did she even get that job? Wasn’t she a musician in the first Ghostbusters?).
Three quarters into my degree and I couldn’t cope with the unbelievable amount of chemistry the job required so I moved on. I felt conquered by my own ability to grasp the science needed to do the work, like my own abilities were lacking so much that the dream I created for myself crumbled into a million pieces. It was a hard reality for me that took failing a course twice and finally passing on the third try with a C to figure out… I still have trouble with letting go of that, I still take it as one of the big personal failures of my life. There are other situations where I also had to come to grips with my own limitations, to loosen the reigns and realize that I could not control every aspect of my life… but the bits that really frustrate me and get me down, grow out of the crap that is rejection.
So I come to Denmark. I think, “this will be my opportunity to be somewhere new and show the world outside the U.S. how awesome I am.” I felt that, coming from Southern California with tons of work experience, I would have no trouble just going on Linkedin and picking out the job and the pay I wanted. My skill would speak for itself, I wouldn’t even need to try. 60-some applications later and I still get the same rejection letters, the same replies that my college degree isn't in the correct field or that my experience isn’t in the global marketplace or that I don’t speak Danish well enough or that I’m a little older than the position is meant for… I could go on. The point… rejection is hard and it wears a person down. I am not as awesome as I thought I was… I am not as humble as I assumed of myself… my skin could be thicker and learning the language is more than important, it’s a must for most. You begin to collect these shortcomings and the only thing this collection brings you is grief.
To be rejected is to find the limitations of what we want to achieve and to be forced to make a decision… do we stand at the wall, stare blankly for a moment, decide it is too high and move on? Or do we work to find a way to get around this lumbering obstacle because what’s on the other side is worth it?
The rejection I’ve experienced here in Denmark is truly unreal… nothing I do or say seems to be exactly the right thing to do or say… but I made the choice, I decided to come here to find a better way for myself and for my family or to at least learn something from all this. Six months ago there wasn’t anything anyone could have said to me or showed to me that would have made me decide to not be here right now. So I must continue to pay the price for my choices and realize that the only person at fault is myself. I took on the rejection willingly, I agreed to be here for at least two years to teach myself and my family about what it’s like to be in another culture, to be uncomfortable and to work extremely hard for what you want. I borrowed the money, I paid the bill… Now I just need one lucky break to bring me back from the edge. Until then, the learning continues.