The old adage “The first cut is the deepest” really has some merit. I’ve been sliced so many times now that the scar from the original wound is barely noticeable. I can’t even recall some of the earliest painful experiences…The good, the bad, and the rejection…
“Oh that stinks!” she said truly feeling some emotional pain… she’s got some skin in the game. “Naw – That’s no big deal – I’ve been rejected so many times in my life? That’s nothin’.” I laughed.
“I feel so bad for you – I hate that! It reminds me of when we were in school and the guys would have to ask the girls to dance, I felt so sorry for them.” Lainey, my friend and editor said. The rejection letter from another agent I’d queried regarding my latest manuscript that prompted our impromptu, coupled with Lainey’s analogy took me back in time to some of the first cuts – the deepest cuts… the ones that reveal the reality of this life, the ones you can’t forget.
I was immediately transported back in time to a skinny kid again, with crooked teeth and more than my fair share of acne. The only thing worse than navigating the “Walk of Shame” with your buddies watching was walking it without them. It took time… It was easier jumping off cliffs, defying gravity, and risking life and limb; those acts were like a cake walk compared to the courage it took to walk across the gym or dance floor to ask a girl to dance.
It starts as a group effort, “I’m gonna ask Corrine to dance!” would be a typical statement to my pals, not much different from their declarations. The response from the gang would vary, “Dude! – She’s so out of your league!” or, “No you’re not, you don’t have the guts!” That was a good one. That was the equal to the previous generation’s being called “chicken” or “yella.”
Of course shoving of shoulders and chests was part of the ritual… Meanwhile back at the ranch, the girls were watching, thinking what idiots we were… I’ve come to believe that women get an extra dose of wisdom at birth… After procrastinating most of the night and not much left of it, some of us would take that walk. The lonesome walk, the one that has to be taken alone.
“Just do it, man!” would come the spurring. Then the walk… The walk that seemed to take a lifetime was filled with determination, courage, and hope; the same ingredients required by all of us in life who dare to strive for more of anything. In hindsight, it was kind of a no-win proposition for kids who cared way too much about what others thought about us. If the potential dance partner would say “Yes,” they (and I) would laugh and make fun of their pal while cutting the proverbial rug, but worse than that was the awkward smile and the dreaded, “No thank you…”
The embarrassed grin and dim lights could hide the hot flash searing your face and stomach as you turned and headed back toward your support group that showed zero mercy, but yet completely understood the trip back on the famous Walk of Shame. “Oooo! – That’s gotta hurt!” would come the responses… Yup, like a knife being twisted after inserted…
With time, we gain perspective and wisdom. The first cuts prepared us for real life and all of us have been rejected in one way or another over the course of our lives. While this might be overused adage it’s loaded with truth, “You learn more from losing than you do winning.”
Without the rejections in life, how would we learn to persevere? Maybe the rejections and the deep cuts are really the training processes designed to prepare us to share great gifts with a world that can’t find the value in things like, oh… saaaay, taking that trip of no return down the oh so long Walk of Shame?