Story and Photos by Asher Reeves, Distribution Manager for 22 West Magazine
Failure comes in all shapes and sizes. Too big, too fat, too thin, too masculine, too feminine, too much or too little. If you have a skill or talent that someone doesn’t recognize, then that is their bad. Just because your gift isn’t recognized by someone does not make you a failure, but it does make them one for not choosing you. See what I did there? I made it seem like they were a failure for not choosing you! I didn’t even have to explain who or what the scenario was, you already did that. I learned how to do the same thing. I turned my first declination from Long Beach State into a learning experience. In addition, I have been rejected romantically by a myriad of people and took those “losses” in stride. I completely switched up and turned rejection into a positive experience, and I’ll tell you how.
Rejection is a hard pill to swallow and even when it’s swallowed, it hurts. There’s a way in which you can turn every situation around and I know it’s hard, but it’s worth it in the end. For example, the first time I applied, I got rejected by LBSU. I felt like a failure because I couldn’t attend the school that my family and friends got accepted to. I came to terms with it quickly after applying to a community college, but the mindset kept coming back. Year after year my friends kept asking, “How many years left until you join us?” to which I had no clear answer.
Eventually, I joined the Vietnamese Student Association at LBSU. They knew I wasn’t a student yet they accepted me as one of their own. For the first time in a while, I didn’t feel like too much of a failure. In fact, they encouraged me and gave me the initiative to attend LBSU. I looked back at my options and reflected on myself and my choices over the past few years. Then, I realized that yes, I was rejected, but no, I wasn’t a failure and that everyone moves at their own pace.
Whenever failure is the end result, people find solace in blaming themselves. It’s even worse when people are complacent about beating themselves up. If someone chooses not to date you based on superficial preferences or on race then that’s their problem. Imagine this: you end up dating that individual and they made an “exception” for you. They still have internalized prejudice looming in the back of their head and would you want to be involved with that? Bullet dodged, in my opinion. There are too many good people on this vast planet to stress over one person. Some think of rejection as failure, I think of it as a new fish in the sea I have a chance to catch. Consider dating as trial and error with food. I love cheese, for example. But I hate bleu cheese and bitter cheese. I wouldn’t have known unless I tried all kinds of cheese. Now I know a pepper jack grilled cheese in toasted bread is the perfect type for me. And without trying bad foods, I would’ve never found this five-star meal.
We all have things to deal with, obstacles to overcome and roadblocks in our way. That’s just how life is. But if you’re here and able to read this then you must be in a good enough place. Reflect on your life and do not let one bad thing overcome the great many things you’ve accomplished.
Now enjoy the rest of your semester and I’ll leave you with this one quote from my grandpa that always stuck with me, “Good, better, best. Never let it rest until your good gets better, and your better, best.”