Late last year, I tried submitting some stuff to Thought Catalog. You know, to "grow my audience" and for the bragging rights. I was pretty sure I'd nail it. I mean, I write about love and relationships and growing up all the time, right? How hard could it be to get in?

Well, I didn't get in.

Around the same time, I tried to submit poetry for the local collective. Got an email back saying I didn't make the cut. It wasn't what they were looking for.

Last summer, I tried to submit the best 300-word short story I can get to a National Bookstore contest. Nil.

This year, I've sent out a bunch of job applications that went unanswered and unreturned.

But I'm still writing, still at it. Why?

Is this me being masochistic?

In school, I was the standard-issue over-achiever. The naning girl. I liked to win, beat out the competition at things that I knew I was good at. I hated not winning. I'm supposed to be the best in everything I do. I needed to check all the boxes. I needed to be perfect.

It was only later that I realized that I got it all wrong.

Recently, I read an article that said kids who excelled in school don't cope with failure as well as other kids did. They had a hard time bouncing back because they were so focused on excelling that they forgot all about learning. They were told all their life that they were the best; failure was a foreign concept to them.

Which is just wrong, because, in the real world, failure is something you need to be well-acquainted with.

And that's what I realized, too.

It wasn't about winning; it was about learning. Making mistakes meant you were supposed to learn something out of the experience.

Failing, and getting back up made you more fabulous. Falls made you more resilient. 

And in my case, rejection meant I just gotta keep trying harder. 

I learned that there's always going to be someone better than me. And I gotta keep learning, keep doing, keep being better.

It made me evaluate my choices. Made me take at all the angles in and look at things from another perspective. Made me more resolved in getting to the goal.

Maybe that means I'm still the naning girl inside. But better now, because I'm not focused on checking all the boxes. I'm more focused on learning from the experience and enjoying myself while I'm at it.

Here's to failing fabulously and still being shufa.

All the love, 

K x

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