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Everybody Hurts: How NOT To Deal With Rejection.

“You have to build a brand!” they keep telling me.

“Blogging isn’t about what you do — it’s about the personality you convey.”

“You’re not selling your stories. You’re selling YOU.”

When I started Domestiphobia nearly 5 years ago, I didn’t realize I was entering a life of prostitution.

And I imagine that’s how it happens with some people. You try something new, make yourself a little vulnerable, get drawn into the allure of a glamorous lifestyle, and before you know it, you’re dancing on a pool table and doing body shots off some guy’s hairy stomach, hoping desperately for someone to notice you.

And look. I’ve finally realized —

I can’t sell me.

I mean, look what we’re working with, here:


Sure, this was circa 1995 or whatever, but I really haven’t changed much since then.


I ditched the mom jeans and somehow managed to land myself a really hot husband (the trick is getting the braces removed), but I still have horrible posture, and I’m pretty sure that denim shirt is shoved somewhere in the back of my closet, just waiting for the Shawshank Redemption look to make a comeback.

So it’s time to accept the fact that I’ve never been the cool girl, and I’m not destined to be the cool girl.

I is what I is.

The other day, my friend said something interesting to me. She was worried about whether her brilliant daughter would get accepted into an educational program at school, and she said, “I just really hope she makes it. She doesn’t deal well with rejection.”


I love my friend. I love her daughter. I don’t want to see her disappointed any more than her mother wants to see her disappointed. But it was hard for me not to laugh and say, “How do you think you learn to deal with it? By experiencing it. By feeling it. By letting it hit you again and again so you can realize that while it doesn’t exactly feel like a day at the spa on a Carnival cruise, it’s also not as bad as being told that the ship’s going down and there aren’t enough life boats.”

Disappointment sucks, but you can always recover.

As a writer and general seeker of opportunities, I feel like I’ve experienced the gamut of professional rejection. (Talking about personal rejection would require opening a whole vault of suppressed memories from the Great Denim Era pictured above, and I’m not quite ready to crack the seal on that one.) Sometimes I’ve dealt well, and sometimes I’ve… well… I could’ve dealt better. But each and every time, I learned a little bit more about myself. About what I can take. About how it helps — and hurts — to react.


How NOT to deal with rejection:

  • Don’t treat disappointment with depressants. Guess what? Alcohol is a depressant. One time I made the mistake of reading a rejection email on my phone while I was drinking socially with friends, and it was like my brain was telling me that the wine was Novocaine for my soul — I just needed more of it to get things good and numb. This proves that inebriated brains can’t be trusted, and I also have a horrible tendency to self-psychoanalyze with alternative music from the 90’s.
  • Don’t act like the insecure ex. Listen. Breakups are tough. But 99.9% of the time, a person isn’t going to do it unless he really wants to do it. So no amount of “but whhhyyyyy’s” and “are you suuuure’s” are going to change his mind. If anything, it only strengthens the breaker upper’s resolve that the breaker upee has issues. Just like personal relationship breakups, the only shot you have at getting back together after a professional breakup is by giving them the space to realize what they’re missing. Of course, that might not actually happen, but the idea is to actually give yourself the time to realize that you don’t really need that relationship to survive.
  • Don’t let it affect your overall self-esteem. Every time I deal with rejection, I visualize another coat of wax on my already rain-resistant finish. Those hard little pellets of pain? Just beads of water, baby. They slide right off. (Not really, of course, but this is what I envision when I’m balled up on the floor doing the ugly cry.) Really, denial is key. Or, if you’re too smart for denial, try being unsmotable. Whatever helps you understand that the disappointment is merely a moment with which you have to deal — not a permanent state of mind.

That girl in the denim was really good at bouncing back from rejection, and I’d like to say she’s gotten better with age.

It’s because I finally realized —

The only real way to move past the hurt of disappointment from rejection is to accept who I am, accept when that doesn’t work for someone, and then? Move on.

Professionally, I still need to pitch. To make myself vulnerable. To continue to improve, show what I can do, and find out where I fit. But there’s a difference between showcasing and selling. One involves an apology-free spotlight — you get what you get — and the other reeks of desperation and used cars.

It took a couple of decades, but the girl in the denim is finally figuring it out.

mismatched shoes

It’s only when you stop trying to sell that it ceases to matter if anyone’s buying.


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Maria N Corrales

Beautiful, Katie! Such a great piece. Thank you. I love it and it was a wonderful, humorous, and much-needed reminder. xoxo


Thank you, Maria! :)

Colleen Brynn

Thank you for making me not the only one who publishes her awkward 1995 (or equivalent) photos.


Ha! See? My clothes were WAY worse than yours. ;)

Britany Robinson

Love, love, love. Your denim outfit, that is.

AND this post. Duh. I’ve been dealing with a whole lotta rejections myself lately, but I’m also putting myself out there professionally more than I’ve ever done before. So I’m also seeing some successes! Looking back on how hopeless I felt, every time a pitch or an article was rejected, is becoming almost comical. Even though it still stings just as bad as they continue to come in. Having some successes sprinkled throughout the “no thank you’s” really helps. And when you fail enough (as I have) you’re bound to find the successes eventually! It’s always going to be discouraging just HOW MUCH you have to fail before you finally succeed, but once you do, it all feels worth it. (And we picked these tumultuous career paths so I guess we asked for it, huh?)

I even did a happy dance the other day when I received a rejection from Salon in which the editor mentioned that she did really enjoy my article, despite not wanting to publish it. It’s the little things! :)

Keep pitching. Keep making yourself vulnerable. And most importantly, keep being you!


HA! I mean… there’s really nothing not to love about the denim. ;)

And lady, as a writer you will MAKE it. I don’t remember how I stumbled on your blog for the first time or what the first post I read was about — but I remember you describing dropping your purse on a public restroom floor and it saying, “Don’t look at me.” Still cracks me up! I only follow a very select few travel blogs on a regular basis, and I immediately subscribed to yours because it’s very clear that you make the writing — not the notoriety — a priority.

For what it’s worth.


I like this. Sounds very grown-up.

I think I’ve always dealt with rejection by re-writing history and convincing myself that I didn’t really want the thing anyway and that I was actively giving off signals saying as much so that I wouldn’t get it. Not sure if I really learn anything with this method, but it works really well for not letting rejection hurt my self-esteem.


It’s taken me some time, but I think I’ve finally started to do it. (Grow up, that is.)

And yes — in the paragraph about how to handle breakups, this is kind of what I was talking about. If you give yourself enough space away from what you thought you wanted, eventually you can convince yourself that you don’t need it as much as you thought you did. (Or, in your case, that you never really wanted it.) Some people might think that’s deluded, but I think it makes perfect sense. Because we DON’T ever need things as much as we think we do.


I used to be terribly afraid of rejection. I mean, I still don’t like it, but I let it stop me from doing a lot of things. I would rather not try than face rejection. Now, I know it was much better that I tried.


Exactly. In my experience, regretting not trying feels even worse than rejection. You just have to keep trying!


Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful words, Katie. We all need to hear it, I believe. Sometimes, we can focus so much on WHO is rejecting us that we don’t find the people out there who will accept us and not just accept us, but love us and whatever it is we have to offer the world.


You are spot-on, Jen. It’s so easy to get caught up in the negativity, we forget we can just choose to let it go and focus on the good. I think we all could use this reminder every now and then!


I was a giant nerd growing up. Never had the latest clothes, always had my nose in a book. I was usually ahead in classes (because of moving around not from being brilliant or anything, although I was an A student) so most devastatingly awkward was my senior year since all my “friends” graduated a year ahead of me. I have never been a glamor or remotely cool, but sometime in my 30’s I realized I didn’t give a f*ck! I love the opening about blogging being prostitution, because it so true, or at least it is an addiction. You want to feel that high? You’ve got to do more. Need another hit? You’ve got to do more. Starting last year I was just over it and I am still in that mode. I am doing things the way I want to do it and if it works out so be it, if not, well then there will be a small set of friends who have supported me and probably ain’t going anywhere!


Wow, it’s like we almost had the same high school experience! Except I didn’t move around… I had a semi-close group of friends at school, but my closer ones had already all graduated from different schools — I knew them from work.

I LOVE that you’re starting to do things the way you want! I think it’s going to show more and more through your work. My hope is that people will be drawn to authenticity. If not, it’s still a fun hobby. :)

Saturday Six #138 - Misadventures with Andi

[…] have anyone see your post is a form of rejection. My bella amica Katie over at Domestiphobia shares her thoughts on the topic of rejection in her usual witty manner. Ultimately, and trust me, I think this mainly comes with age, you learn […]

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