Those three words rang through my ears over and over as a child. Each time I wobbled off my bike, tripped over my footwork, or pitched the ball down the gut of the plate, one of my parents would invariably pat my back, guide me into position, and direct me to pick up my head and get on with it.
And I always did.
I survived each scrape, each heartbreak, each injury, each haunting replay zapping like a lightening storm in my mind.
And once I got going--once I took that first step--getting on with it didn't seem so hard. My muscles didn't feel as tight, my joints didn't feel as achey, and my ego always found something else to cling to for an extra nudge of support.
I never seem to remember any of that though when my feet approach thresholds. I never seem to recall my potential for resilience or the probability that I will emerge in a better place. Instead, when I find myself toeing up against a wall--thick, opaque and monstrous--I seem to bow my head, sink my eyes and feel sorry for myself.
At some point, however, I find whatever gumption it takes to lift my leg--sometimes forward, sometimes sideways, sometimes higher up. And I breathe. And I trust. And I push. And I try to pick myself up, wipe off the dirt and get on with it.
And so it was last night when I toed up against a wall of failure, when I read the rejection email for the twenty-ninth time, and wondered if my goal to become a writer was nothing more than a pipe-dream wrought with glitter and glue and naivety. When I wondered if I missed my opportunity long ago when I twirled circles in a city filled with important, powerful people.
But then I stopped.
I silenced that voice and I wrote.
And for that first private minute--just me and the screen--I felt alive again.
I don't need an acceptance letter to make me a writer. I don't need a phone call or an email or a book deal to tell me who I am. I just need to sit for a few moments and let my fingers knit something fantastic with the yarn in my brain. I just need to reach down into my throat, and pull out every strand of cotton choking out my voice. I need to realize that rejection is part of a game I'm only beginning.
And then, I need to believe I'm important enough to pick up, so I can get on with it.