Sorry about the title, but I don’t think I’ve thrown a good dick joke out there yet, and my portfolio is 100% incomplete without it.
A few days ago I touched a little bit on the majestic failure that was my first phone interview. I pointed out that none of us should let rejections faze us, something that is, of course, easier said than done, and that we should instead continue to push on through until we accomplished our goal. I talked about the importance of self-care when accepting a “no” but otherwise didn’t really go into much deeper detail on how exactly to get past that ugly word unscathed.
Step into my bedroom (giggity) for a moment.
I’m about to make a horrific confession for which there is no redemption: this is my inspiration wall, which I got the idea for from Rachel Berry in an episode of Glee.
I watch Glee.
Truly, my life has hit rock bottom.
Despite the fact that I utterly hate the character of Rachel Berry with the passion of a thousand burning suns — I find her completely irredeemable — I found her inspiration cork board to be a great idea. Her version showcases her five-step plan on how to achieve her goals of being a Broadway star. I may have the same nose as her, but my singing voice sounds like a dying llama with vocal nodes, so a Broadway board really didn’t do me much good, and I don’t have a particularly good plan as far as how to get hired by Blizzard. At the moment it pretty much consists of:
- Assemble portfolio.
- Apply for jobs.
- Preemptively move home to California in the hopes that this makes me a more desirable candidate.
Essentially, it’s the game industry version of dropping out of high school and moving to Los Angeles or New York City to get discovered.
My inspiration wall is more of a reminder to myself not to give up. Though I’m beating up Shas on a regular basis, it’s sometimes hard to avoid feeling sorry for myself, or like this is all hopeless and I’m being foolish to even think I could possibly accomplish what I’m trying to do. When I start to get depressed, I simply look to my right and see an onslaught of arguments as to why I should ignore my jerk of a brain and remind me that yes, I am a worthwhile and capable person. These arguments are:
- The “story” my mother wrote about my life
- My NaNoWriMo 2012 winner’s certificate
- The “Don’t You Wish Your Girlfriend Could Mermaid Like Me?” bumper sticker I got from mermaid camp
- All of the sweet letters and cards from my friends that I can find
- The email letting me know that I had gotten a phone interview
- The rejection letter stating that I did not get the job
- A collage of direct messages from fans and idols of mine, kind comments on Twitter, my blog stats since the anti-bullying post, and photos of myself doing the following: attending a gallery opening of my photography, in the middle of my first professional modelling shoot, walking in my first runway show, hanging out with one of my music idols, my first public bellydance performance, and posing for a “promo” shot at mermaid camp
- A small award for “Best Boobs” from last year’s Valentine’s Day party
- The veil for my upcoming wedding
- A full-length mirror
Most of the stuff up there is pretty self-explanatory, but undoubtedly a few items will seem to be strange choices.
To begin, a lot of you are probably wondering why I have a rejection letter taped to my wall. Why on Earth could I possibly want that staring me in the face? Because rejection is an important part of succeeding. Anything worth doing is worth fighting for, and nothing that really matters comes easily. Someday, when I’ve made it onto the design team, I will look back through all of the rejection letters and smile because the missteps make the end result all the sweeter. I learned a lot from that phone interview (comedy option: that I should not be allowed to talk to other humans ever) that I can apply to my next one — and there will be a next one. At the time I’m writing this I have six applications in with Blizzard, all for positions that genuinely interest me. I won’t settle for something I know that I won’t enjoy or for another company that I don’t really want to work for just to get into the industry. Reach for the stars, or don’t reach at all. The path may be a little longer to get there, but in the end, it’ll be a lot less time and energy wasted for everyone involved. This one job didn’t come through. ‘Kay, there’s still six other ones that might, and if those don’t, then there will always be more jobs opening up. I believe in fate, somewhat. Maybe if I had gotten this job I would have hated it. Maybe I’m about to get a call for my ultimate dream job, and if I had accepted this one, I wouldn’t be able to take it. At any rate, it’s a reminder to me to work harder next time, and that yes, I am fallible. The humility keeps me hungry.
My wedding veil is there to remind me, like the letters and cards from my friends, that I’m loved, and that whatever I do, I’m not alone. The Fiance is along with me for the ride. Where a lot of people think I’m foolish or naive for going after such lofty goals, he’s a third party who believes that my work is genuinely good, and not just good, but good enough. If the stress gets to be too much, I know I can turn to him for support. It’s also an example of a dream that I never thought possible coming true. I had resigned myself to dying alone because I truly felt that no one would ever be willing to put up with me while I went chasing after my goals, or be able to accept me for the weird nerd girl that I am. I used to dream of finding that one person, my soulmate, to serve as a partner in crime, though I never actually believed it’d happen. Since it did, there’s no excuse for me to give up on my other dreams.
Finally, the mirror. When I go to my wall and reread these things, I can glance at my reflection, and remind myself that I am the one who accomplished all of these things. These are the experiences I am made of. I set out to write a novel, and I did. I wanted to be a mermaid when I was five, and it may have taken me twenty years, but I did it. I don’t always like the girl I see staring back at me through the glass, but I can’t deny that she’s pretty remarkable with a grand and storied life that most people would probably think was at least three-quarters fabrication. Also, I had no other place to put the mirror. My bedroom is kind of small.
Is it hokey? A little bit, but it works for me, and I think that we all need reminders of our own worth and ability once in a while.
I also created a special playlist in iTunes for myself that I put on whenever I’m filling out applications, making connections, writing, or feeling lost.
- Almost There from The Princess and the Frog
- A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes from Cinderella
- The Edge of Glory by Lady Gaga
- The Voice Within by Christina Aguilera
- Knockin’ Down Hesitation from the Sailor Stars musical
- Rashiku Ikimasho from Sailor Moon
- Stargazer by Blood Stain Child
- Rebels of the Sacred Heart by Flogging Molly
- Shake It Out by Florence + The Machine
- Coming Out of the Dark by Gloria Estefan
- Hold On by Green Day
- What You Waiting For? by Gwen Stefani
- Wig In a Box from Hedwig and the Angry Inch
- Go the Distance from Hercules
- Part of Your World from The Little Mermaid
- Her Song by Hungry Lucy
- When I Am Queen by Jack Off Jill
- Insecure by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts
- Doors Unlocked and Open by Death Cab for Cutie
- Dream On by Depeche Mode
- Red Fraction by MELL
- Terror by My Ruin
- You Can Do It by No Doubt
- Rebel Girl by Bikini Kill
- Absolutely Not by Deborah Cox
- Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger by Daft Punk
Again, it’s cheesy, but by surrounding myself with positive messages and affirmations, I can stand up tall, no matter how many times I get knocked down.
This doesn’t just extend to a single situation, either. I’ve started to apply it to everything else in my life. I make a mistake? My bad, and I won’t do it again, but I’m not going to hide under a rock and cry about it for the rest of my life. Somebody’s a jerk to me? I’ve got even more people on my team. Setbacks are a part of life, and every road has bumps in it. Even once we achieve our goals, that doesn’t mean we should get complacent. Keep doing whatever it is you do as passionately as you did on the way up. Pretend like you’re still at square one. Fight to get noticed, and once you do, keep fighting to prove that you deserve the attention and accolades.
The point is that rejection is nothing to fear. Without rejection, we don’t learn anything. It forces us to be flexible and creative, to reevaluate ourselves and keep from becoming stagnant. Rejection doesn’t mean we’ll never be good enough, it means we know what detours we need to take and what we need to improve.
Realizing just how much you have in common with Rachel Berry, however… that’s something to worry about.