“You’re not good enough.”
“Why can’t you be more like him?”
“You just don’t fit in.”
“You’re not handsome enough.”
“It’s just beyond your reach.”
“We’re too different.”
“I don’t want to lose our friendship.”
I can’t remember my father leaving. I can’t remember his face. I know almost nothing about him. And, most days I don’t think about it, not because I’m on the run but because most days… it doesn’t concern me.
I do remember my past lovers. I remember the words that were shared. I remember how the days that followed made those same words untrue.
I cannot forget the times in my life that I was told (even if indirectly) “no”. The rejections that I’ve felt have dug their way into my heart. They echo through my ribs on the quiet, lonesome days.
When life seems distant, the hollow emptiness begins to open up into sorrow. It clings to me, and on those days, I cannot help but cling to it as well.
It slowly pollutes each of my relationships until all I notice is the phone that doesn’t ring, and the smiles that are not returned.
I know rejection. I dare say we all do. And not just the recent memories of careless words and unrequited love; but the long forgotten hurts that haven’t left us. However I rationalize it, the rejection I felt from my father having gone, will never really leave me.
God seems to often leave me with little different than the others. My walk of faith is riddled with “not good enough” ‘s and “you just don’t fit in” ‘s. The constant threat of punishment for my failures is a steadfast reminder that I’m not who I’m supposed to be.
The pain begets the question, “What do I do with this?”.
I’ve tried stacking my affirmations next to my rejections, but they never seems to measure up. I’ve tried to will away the cold words. I’ve tried to fill the hollow spaces that have been left with more than I can recall. I’ve always come up short, and so I’ve rejected myself as well.
I’m beginning to think though, that none of these ever had a chance at being successful approaches. The words that have been set loose can never be gathered again. What’s been done, cannot be undone and cannot be justified.
But it can be beaten.
It’s been said that we should make lemonade from our lemons. I’m beginning to think that they should be eaten as they are and the seeds spat back into the faces of those who gave them to us.
Maybe we should take in the bitterness and use it to empower the search for something sweet. Maybe we should take the rejection and frame it on our walls. Maybe it’s time to hang those cold words above our mantels and let the lingering pain drive us to bliss.
Let’s lay the hurt beneath our feet. Let’s tread upon it as we rise to meet our dreams. Let’s take the words that have linked themselves like weights at our heels and turn them to balloons in our hands. Let’s remind ourselves that those who have rejected us have no say in our destinies.
And let us rise up.