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On Rejection

A Facebook friend of mine recently posted cheerfully about his work being rejected.

There’s a parallel to be drawn here between modeling and writing. Bear with me.

As a model, rejection was a daily occurrence, and it felt deeply personal. How could it not? You’re being told yes or no based largely on your DNA. Or something as woolly as “not the right look.” It would take a sense of self much sturdier than that of a 21-year-old me to distinguish the difference between rejection of my "self" and rejection of my body. What could be a more personal rejection than that?

But with time comes a hint of perspective.

We take things personally because they matter. Because I was counting on that job or this date to work out. Because the guy or the gig or whatever the thing is is bigger than the thing itself. Because the thing would have granted me a definition of sorts: I’ve made it. I’m wanted. I’m special. (Or I just really really needed to make rent.)

When selecting a photographer for an architectural project, a model for a photo shoot, or a format for an upcoming book, there are just a lot more to consider than the person and the work represented. Fee, fit, office politics, dozens of things affect the final decision.

In a large enough organization, there are stakeholders, each with their personal tastes and biases. It’s easy to demonize the editor or casting director for not getting your “look” or “style” or “talent.” But it could very well just be that the job, gig, or particular issue of the magazine isn’t the right fit for you.

Sometimes, it’s really not about you. And there’s relief in that.

Or you’re just not there yet. Like my friend Constantin said, it’s a numbers game. This is where the parallel between modeling and writing ends. You can’t change your looks, but you can keep writing.

A version of this post originally appeared on Medium.

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