kids, loss, and rejection
esperanza had her first rehearsal of a new play last night. she was invited for a callback last week, which is sort of like getting a revise and resubmit. we didn't get the good word, however, until hearing the director's phone message after tor's game on friday. a real part in a real play!
actors must somehow find a way to bounce back from frequent, totalizing, and crushing personal rejection. sound familiar? academics must summon the same resiliency when our work -- work that we believe represents the very best contribution that we can hope to make in this world -- is rejected by editors and funders. esperanza has been through the ups and downs of the process several times before, so we were braced for any outcome.
i awaited the director's voice message with the same sense of excitement, optimism, and dread that i felt while opening those first few fat envelopes from asr and ajs as an assistant professor. i was probably a little more nervous on friday, but kids'll do that to you. i'd been banished to the living room because esperanza wanted to receive the news in private. i understood completely, since i've always opened those fat envelopes in the privacy of my office (or, as a privacy-deprived grad student, in a bathroom stall of the wizversity's social science building). i eavesdropped, of course.
i don't post pictures of esperanza online or reveal much information about her because ... well, let's just call a spade a spade here ... i'm accepting and enforcing a gendered double standard with regard to sharing private information online. there are also important differences between tor and esperanza with regard to age, size, self-defense skills, and temperament. if, like her older brother, she were a defiant 6'6" black-belt, i'd probably worry less about posting her picture.
as for the lad, his mustangs tasted rejection in the form of a close 21-14 overtime road loss. they plummeted from fourth in the state AP poll down to the ignominious others receiving votes category. the picture above captures the usually-swaggering mounds view offense in an apprehensive early moment -- i'm not sure whether this coincides with a we wuz robbed penalty (there were a few of those) or a dang, these are some strong/tough/fast s.o.b.s moment.
as with my article rejections and esperanza's lost parts, however, i'm confident that something good will come from this tough loss. the lads have two games to get well before second-ranked arch-rival cretin comes to town and three games before commencing a playoff run. by steeling the nerves, stoking the fires, and focusing the concentration, a tough rejection can be just the prescription for future success.