i hate rejection. somehow, for some reason, it's inherent to the way the system functions. for every person that receives an award, there are thousands of people who don't. in my eyes, this is just wrong. it kills self-esteem, it discourages, it humiliates. it starts when we're little kids, and it continues on and on and on. my brother, when he was just a little kid, kept a ledger in his tiny toy safe of awards that i'd won versus awards that he'd won. the scales weren't balanced, it was self-destructive, it wasn't fair to his ego at all. it was a symbol of an unjust system, the competitive dynamic for approval throughout our childhood, throughout our lifetimes. in my perfect utopia, everyone does what they're best at, and they aren't judged or rewarded by anyone but themselves. in this perfect world of mine, there's no greater than or less than. there are no expectations. everyone is recognized for their individual gifts.
i recently applied for a grant. i worked really hard on it, i had a great idea and i felt that i articulated it well. i was among hundreds of the best artists of washington state who applied, and i was rejected. when i got the customary email saying sorry, nice try, i cried. it's not that the money or the recognition are so important to me. but it certainly bruised my ego. it teleported me right back to my 19-year-old self, and the day i got the letter of rejection from western's art department. that letter said, more or less, you're not good enough to study art here. coming from a public school, where i thought education would be equal opportunity, i was insulted, angered, and hurt. so i worked my ass of, and i tried again, and the second time i got admitted. but i never forgave, and i never forgot.
Today, i scoured the grant winners. I wanted to see firsthand what they had and i didn't. and of course, humbled, i was able to glean some inspiration. congratulations to me.
"I think all great innovations are built on rejections." Louise Ferdinand Celine