How I Rediscovered Myself Through Rejection
In this column submission, Retno Daru Dewi G. S. Putri writes about how through rejections she was then able to rediscover herself.
Words by Whiteboard Journal
This is the umpteenth time that I got rejected by men.
As far as I can remember, one told me I cannot be dominated. Another seemed unsure of his own sexual orientation and even offered me to find a boyfriend to cover up his guilt. One was too scared to reveal his true self out of his fort despite all of the green signals we had been sending to each other. Even when I lived on the other side of Earth, a guy from Chicago told me he only liked me platonically after all of the flirts he tossed toward my direction. The list goes on.
This time, however, is different.
He is properly educated and humble. He also understands investment and keeps on improving his working ethic. He seems like a guy who has a healthy relationship with his mother, too. All of the characteristics I was looking for was within this friend/workmate of mine.
But maybe I was wrong.
My best friend of 20 years told me to list the pattern of my seven ex-boyfriends and eight jackasses who have been visiting and leaving without committing. She pointed out the fact that all negative traits of those men have decreased from one person to another but one; emotionally unavailable. The guy who has just left this new fresh wound seven days ago is emotionally unavailable. He said he liked me no more than just a friend. The same level of likeness towards his best friend, he added. Whatever card he pulled out, my over-analyzing brain is still trying to solve the puzzle. Also, without any specific toxic quality coming from his way, it has been very hard for me to move on.
But maybe I was wrong.
I started to critically examine myself; why I want someone who I can embrace like a lover now. Why I cannot just start applying for another postgrad program. Why I am not that challenged by my job anymore. Why I am too tired to travel and escape. Why I cannot just begin submitting some academic journals that I have promised myself to. Why I feel so confident that I want to settle down now. Why am I feeling bored? Why is adulting so annoying?
Every time I googled information on overthinking, most of the articles relates that habit to introverts. Apparently, an extroverted human being like me does not overthink. We feel anxious. Anxiety is what extroverts own. Whatever the label is, on the night of my rejection day, I found myself crying on the floor begging for God to take the pain away. I could not take it anymore. I was crushed. I am crushed. Rejection is hard. Rejection hurts.
I woke up the next morning feeling like a toddler was sitting on my chest. It was so hard to breathe. On my way to work, I told myself that I should be proud of myself. I mean, I got up and drove to work! Turned out I was not the only one thinking that I deserved a pat on my back. A friend adored me for my bravery. He thought what I did, coming out to the guy I like, and how I did it was decent. I never thought expressing your feelings to the person you cherish can be such a big deal. Not to mention heading to the place where you meet on a daily basis, with all the blood and bruises, after they told you that the feeling is not mutual.
I guess I have to thank my parents for this. They told me and my brother to express our thoughts and feelings. This is why I prefer to tell him how I feel rather than holding it in and letting it jumble my mind and body. Also, they raised me to be independent yet caught me every time I fall. This is why I am willing to take the risk of being disappointed or excited with whatever his response will be. I know that I have a home to run to. With an amazing family like mine, I will be alright.
But maybe I was wrong.
Healing takes time. It does not matter how hard my support system tries to help me, if I refuse to help myself then I will be lost. I then decided to distract myself by doing one of the things that can make me happy; travelling. On day four of my heartbreak, I spent quality time with my mother by traveling to Purwokerto to visit my great aunt, an 80-something young lady who used to work as the head nurse in big hospitals in Jakarta and Purwokerto. She does not marry. I guess in her era men were very insecure with a strong independent woman like her. I mean, I can still find tons of men like this today. I am pretty sure there were more in the 50s.
Surrounded by my loved ones has opened my eyes. I realized that I should be thankful. Falling for this guy has given me a chance to get to know another side of me that I have never met before. A strange personality I have never thought I possess. This guy’s rejection has also proven, again, that I have the best support system which is more than strong to lift me off the ground. Moreover, the disappointment has provided me chances to fix my relationship with my mother, myself, my family, and even God. Before he expressed his platonic emotion towards me, I was lost trying to figure out whether I can have him as my special someone or not. It felt like there was no turning back. In my head, he was the one I need.
But I was wrong. I found myself again.
This is the umpteenth time that I got rejected by men. However, this is the first time I have grown swiftly out of it by persistently putting myself first.