truest stages of rejection


moma stephanie klein web1

It’s the worst when you allow yourself to get excited. You begin to plan a future wrapped around this one hope. It’s really happening! And then, someone takes a furry turd and smears it on your corduroys. And dammit, they’re the pants you’ve been breaking in around the house; you’ve finally got them molded to your body, not too clingy, not to crotchety, a faded fall perfection of pant. Shat on. You don’t bother cleaning it. You just sit there, looking down at your feces thighs, before finally piping out, "Of course."

When you get that disappointed, you kinda get all quiet, and sit with it, wait for it to settle in, you don’t want to say it aloud. You feel a little dead inside, like everything just turned dull and muted. Your stomach hurts; you feel heavier. You have to go to the bathroom, but you just sit there. You, you’re not even hungry. You want to tell your parents, you want to be comforted, to crawl back to the safest place you’ve known and to camp out there, even if it’s an unhealthy address. You just want to park it there for a while, to lick your wounds. You get the ‘rhea.

Small tasks take too much energy—what’s the point? What follows is the zombie bunny mouth bum stage. Pajamas, sweat shorts that were stained with bleach, a tee-shirt where you chewed the collar, putting it in your mouth all the time to hide your double chin—not that anyone’s looking—it’s just your version of baggy clothes for your face. You could braid your leg hair, and it gets so bad that you even watch re-runs of reality TV. Hair frizzed, too many empty 100-calorie yogurts on the floor. You’re bummed, and you need something to get you out of your funk, something to look forward to again.

Risk is scary because of this. But we all know in the end, we can’t have anything really great unless we put ourselves out there again, work harder, move forward, and keep going. It’s an opportunity. It’ll open a different door for us, or make us turn our head in a different direction, revealing new, revealing what we’d been neglecting or missing. Rejection forces us to confront our lives and our choices, and gives us a chance to focus on something bigger, better. The whole point in all of it? So we remember to wash our pants. And yeah, to grow, to learn, to get more enjoyment out of life and love.

The fact is, retreating, taking time to lick your wounds and take cover for a while is just part of the process. You have to give yourself some time to regroup, to listen to your sadass music, to mope, to watch your reruns. Eventually you’ll emerge from your cave of sadsack carrying a battle ax and singing an abba song. So for all you “Quit your whining” folks out there,  let the people in your life be disappointed, give them the permission to mourn their losses. I don’t know how long is enough, it’s different for everyone, and each situation… but what I do know is that I know when enough is enough… it’s not something I need someone else to tell me or dictate. It’s my inner compass not your clock.

A YEAR AGO: Jews and Shellfish, *Finish This Sentence

5 YEARS AGO: Signs, Patching Things Up


  1. I’m sorry for your disappointment…. but yeah I can relate to everything you’ve described, I live here.

  2. This really hits home for me today, Stephanie. Just lost my job yesterday and finding it to be a mixed blessing. Time to get showered, and move on.

  3. Thanks for this today!
    I got fired a month ago…and found out today that I didn’t get a job that I was really counting on…and I am just sad.
    I am a firm believer that things have a funny way of working themselves out…and that this wasn’t meant to be…but that doesn’t make it feel better!
    I will be in my cave, shoving doritos in my face, and watching reruns of Good Times on TVLAND. Good thing fall is here…and sweatpants are acceptable!

  4. This post made me really miss spending time with close girlfriends. (Men just don’t seem to come up with this kind of wisdom.) I just moved to a new part of the country and can’t wait to make some new friends. Maybe a trip “home” will help hold me over until then.

  5. Thanks Stephanie, for relating! It helps to know that someone else is out there. Now how the heck do we get out of this craptastic place?

  6. Stephanie, I’m sorry for your disappointment, but can so relate to what you’ve written. I am a speech pathologist with a private practice and have been hit upside the head over the last few months by this economy. I’m poised between “hunker down and wait” and “get out there–time for a big change”. I think so many people really have their backs to the wall right now. It’s hard to trust that things will shift, but if you don’t trust that, you just get dragged down into a really dark place. Down deep, I do believe that things do happen in the perfect time-space sequence; it’s just hard to see that when you’re in the middle of all this turmoil. Maybe we can all take a collective deep breath?

  7. Well said, Stephanie. So many people are struggling with one after another dissapointments, as your readers note. Sorrow shared is sorrow lessened and your thoughtful and sensitive words are helping lots of others know they’re not alone in the sad parts of their lives. A mitzva.

  8. Thank you for writing this. It’s exactly what I needed to read today and at this stage in my life.

  9. This is it. This is why I read and attempt to write…Recognizing truth in another person putting experience into words (even down to the ABBA song). Thank you.

  10. thankyou… ia m so sad these days… feel i am useless and that i am a burden n people around me. i want to die.. ur post gave me a ray of hope.
    i have been so much getting rejected in job and my professional life seems a muck.

Leave a Comment