Who hasn't been rejected at one or more times in their life? We all have. There are no exceptions. I think what matters in our life is how we handle rejection.
|Me (right with arms folded) with my two younger brothers and my Aunt Mabel (next to me) and my Mother - 1950 - a very insecure boy|
When I was younger (from 1 to 17 years of age), I didn't handle rejection well. I was totally cowed. Being raised in a household where my father was consistent in his putdowns of me, I was effectively brainwashed into believing that I was unworthy to occupy space in this world. I wish I could say my Mother compensated for my father's thoughtless cruelty but she didn't. My Mother was too busy raising three very active sons and keeping the family together in spite of my father's numerous infidelities during the early years of their marriage. In the later years my father quit working (at 51 years of age) and my Mother went to work to support the family. She wasn't around, she was at Pepperridge Farms with her sister-in-law on the layer cake line doing their best Lucy and Ethel impersonations.
|My Mom and Dad with their three young boys - "Pop" didn't really want us - check out the body English - no hugs from him.....ever|
When I was in third grade my Mother insisted on me getting a part-time job. She said "You're going to work." In retrospect it was perhaps the best decision she ever made for me. Even better than getting into a fight with my father over his cruelty to me.
|Me - the picture of low self-esteem 1952|
She got me a paper boy job. I had my own paper route at 10 years old. I learned responsibility. I didn't have time to sit at home and brood over "woe is me, no one likes me." I was too busy.
Every day at the end of the school day I took my bike and went to the Sam Charles News Agency to pick up my sixty plus Philadelphia Evening Bulletins, and 20 or so local paper including the West Chester Daily Local News and the Coatesville Record. I wish I had pictures of me and my bicycle and those canvas bags of newspapers but I don't. I didn't get a camera until my 12th birthday and by then I didn't even think of asking anyone to take a photo of me on my bike with my newspapers.
A few years later my Mother also got me a job cleaning offices. I did that in the evening for .55 cents an hour. And on the weekends I worked at the Downingtown Farmer's Market at the Brill Brothers Meat Market (how appropriate for a young gay guy) on Friday right after school (I would get off the school bus and go directly to the Farmers Market) and Saturday from 11 am to 11 pm. Yes, I had three jobs at once. It wasn't my choice, it was my Mother's choice but I did what I was told. I didn't question it, and I didn't resent the fact that I had three jobs. It kept me busy and probably out of trouble but I wasn't the type of kid who got into trouble.
Because I had three jobs I didn't have time for school social activities. I didn't get involved in after school activities until my junior year at high school. And that was because I didn't have those jobs any more. The only reason I didn't have those jobs was because we moved to the country and I couldn't walk to my job or ride my bicycle.
Because I was always outside the mainstream of my fellow classmates and "had to work", I considered myself "less than" because I didn't have the privileged life of most of my classmates who didn't have to work, got allowances and were assured of a college education after they finished high school. My Mother told me when I entered ninth grade "Take a course that you can earn a living at because we can't afford to send you to college." Another reminder that I was an outsider and "not good enough" but in retrospect a good decision because I took typing (which I am doing now and have always done since 1958 and never regretted) and learned how to make a practical, if not lucrative, living by office management.
A pause here, I apologize for the length of this posting and lack of photographs (I'll try to put some relevant ones in). As is often the case when I start a post on one subject I sometimes take a left turn and venture into another area. Now back to our program:
Because I learned self-reliance at an early age I think I gained the resources to handle rejection.
Oh the times I was rejected in high school. Because of my lack of self-confidence and awareness that I was "different" (gay or "homosexual" as my gayness was referred to at that time in the Fifties), I think I helped contribute me being rejected. The worst was in gym class when it came time to choose up teams. I was almost always the last to be chosen except if there was really a total misfit in gym class. I used to pray that Charlie Stimson would be in our gym class so I wouldn't suffer the indignity of being chosen last. And then there was that one time that is forever ingrained in my mind. All the sides for the teams were chosen and everyone ran out into the field and NO ONE CHOSE ME! I was left there. I think that's when I realized I was going to have to learn how to handle total rejection.
In the years since then I have been rejected thousands of times. Either for jobs that I applied for (and fired from two jobs), rejected for friendship (many times) or the Big One, rejected for being gay. Hey folks, you either learn to deal with the rejection or you go crazy or criminal and to me neither one of those was an option. Of course there is the other option, become hardened and cynical which has been perhaps the greatest challenge for me in my life. I've seen and known those hardened and cynical people. To me they are not nice people. In fact, they're hardly human. I don't want to be like them.
Like most people, I want people to like me. That is a very natural human want and I am no exception. But I realize that there are those people who don't like me for a number of reasons. Either because I won't let them control me, or I'm not in their social strata or, the Big One again; because I'm gay.
This past week end I had my family reunion again. This year I had the least attendees I've ever had. I don't consider the weekend or the reunion a loss because the folks who came really enjoyed it and they like me. But I can't help but think that a lot of my family members didn't come because this was the year that Bill and I got married, which I publicized extensively. I'm not one to hide my gayness. I'm not ashamed of being gay. Never have been, never will be.
Just a few minutes ago I went onto Facebook to check a family member to see if they were still Friends. Nope, gone. I've been unfriended. Why? Probably because I'm gay. I can think of no other reason. Rejection. Yes folks, even at this late stage in my life......rejection again.
Also, I recently had a scare that a new found friend had found greener pastures. I saw the specter of rejection again. Thank God I read that wrong but it did bring to fore that, as much as I think I can handle rejection, you know folks I'm just as vulnerable as I've ever been. I don't think any of us can ever really handle rejection well.
|Me probably contemplating the low turnout at my family reunion this past weekend - I got caught off guard while Mark was testing the lighting for his camera|
All I can do is look forward, put my nose to the grindstone, continue on with my life and be the best person that I can to myself, my friends (who don't reject me), my co-workers, my neighbors and the stranger at the supermarket who I let go in front of me in the line because he or she has fewer things than I do.
I'll admit that sometimes I'm tempted to just go into my bedroom, curl up with a good book and lose myself to the world. But instead I will "tough it out" and appreciate those who do care for me and let them know that I love and appreciate them. Those who reject me for whatever reason....well....that..... is ..... their loss.... isn't it?
So there, I think I've made my point and I now feel purged of these negative feelings, for awhile anyway.
Remember back last spring when a distant relative of mine threatened me with bodily harm if I dared to "step on his parents' property" when I made the trip to visit them in North Carolina for my genealogy research and to also introduce my cousin and his wife to them? My cousin objected to my "gay lifestyle" and thus banned me from "stepping foot" on their property.
This weekend I had my family reunion. No one could ban me from my own reunion that I organized and paid for but they should could boycott the reunion and they did. Still not a good feeling but one that I will get over, I guess.
|I get a hug from my cousin Beth at our family reunion this past weekend|
So what was the point of this blog? Damn if I know. I guess it's just to say when I think I have everything under control something comes out of left field to remind me that I'm never completely free of being rejected again.
It'll take me a while but I will concentrate on the good in my life. That's what I always do when the Dark Clouds appear. The Black Dog. Concentrate on how good you have it Ron.
I have my loving and devoted Bill. I have a new wonderful BF Pat.
|My new buddy Pat - best thing that has happened to me in a long time|
|Me and longtime friend Bill B.|
|Me, Anne Marie and Spo - Blogger Buddies!|
|Me and my longtime friend Lar - from the 1880's|
I have a lot of good in my life folks and I'm not going to let this latest round of rejection throw me off of my game. Just ain't going to happen.
|My friend Ed and I at Just in Thyme last week|
Have a great day!