Rejection: Wherein Safia learns a valuable lesson from "Jackass"

September 24, 2011


I avoid it.

I bet you do, too. 

I am very successful at avoiding pain. I don't roller skate. Ice skate. Skate board. Wake board. Boogie Board. Ski board. Ski. Wind surf. Surf surf. Bungy jump. Wrestle. Thumb wrestle. Mud wrestle. Mud run. Run run (anymore). Turkey run. Cannonball run. Canon balls. Dive. Run by the pool. Play pool (because I'm afraid on of the balls will hit my fingers, and I'm especially vunerable to finger pain). Play darts (because what if I throw out my shoulder or one stabs my eye.) Play tennis. Play softball. Play baseball. Go to air shows. Go to car races. Ride bikes. Drive ATVs. Fly planes. Hike outside of the city. Break dance. Salsa dance (toes could get crushed). Swim in the ocean (sharks & sea anemones). Swim in lakes (turtles and sticks). Swim in creeks (slimy rocks and big head busting rocks). Walk on grates. Walk on ledges. Walk on coals. Walk in the street. Walk under palm trees (coconuts). And I definitely do not walk on the wild side ::cue rim shot::

To give you an idea of how acute this is. I had a once or twice in a life time opportunity to walk on a glacier...and I didn't. 

I went to here (Banff National Park, Lake Louise).

Was going to walk on this glacier.
Until I saw this:
You can fall into the cracks and die! Worse yet, you could fall in the cracks and be COLD! I hate being cold!!!
You get the point. Baby's got issues (I'm baby).

What's worse is that when I hear of someone else doing something that could potentially cause them pain, I warn them of their impending pain, unsolicited, therefore injecting them with my fear. I'm like the Rick Perry of HPV shots over here (topical!!!).

I just realized I do this fear stabbing thing the other day. It's compulsive. I can't help it. I innocently want to share my knowledge of the probability of them getting themselves into painful situations so they can avoid it. I'm doing them a favor, right?

What's funny is that I wouldn't consider myself a fearful person. I wouldn't say I'm afraid of all of the above activities. I'm not phobic. I like a good (pain-free) thrill. I'm not afraid of dying. 

It's worse: I'm afraid of living...with the pain. 

A few months ago I read an article about how rejection can cause the same receptors in the brain to light-up during an MRI scan that light-up when the subject is put under physical pain. Interesting. Then last week I read another article about the psychological sting of rejection: if you are rejected by a someone, even someone you dislike or is a stranger, it hurts your brain. I'd imagine the same rule applies in professional situations.

I'm writing about rejection today because I've experienced a lot of it these past couple of weeks. Two of the writing "contests" I entered this year rejected my submissions. They weren't good enough. I have been socially rejected a few times in the past couple of weeks some professional, a few "romantic." 

It sucks. Really badly. And I can't help but beat myself up over feeling hurt. Why is it sticking with me? Why is it throwing me for a loop? Why am I dwelling on it? Because of those articles, I think I have an idea as to why: I think of the rejection and it hurts me. Physically. It makes me feel bad because it makes my brain feel bad. My feelings are hurt and my brain hurts. It's a double-whammy. 

The task for me is this: how do I keep going through life without totally avoiding the things in my past which have caused me emotional/mental pain? How do I put myself out there again and again? I don't do it physically. How do I expect myself to do it in other aspects of my life?

To answer a question as old as time: you just do. You do. Or you don't. But if you don't your world is going to be really small. You won't ice skate on a beautiful Minnesota lake. Or hike up Kilimanjaro. Or walk (slip and fall) up a glacier. And I'm okay with that. 

But I'm not okay with not putting myself out there to reap the rewards of life you get from showing a colleague a script I wrote or saying hi to someone who could be a new friend or becoming vulnerable to a lover. 

And it hit me: Is fear of bodily pain, and fear of what your brain thinks is bodily pain when you experience rejection, why Jackass is so popular. Is this why I personally respond to it? 
R.I.P. Ryan Dunn
These guys continuously put themselves out there, physically, with the full knowledge that the end result is PAIN, but they do it anyway. Sure, they're doing it for money and fame, but they're also spitting in fear's face and doing it regardless of their mortal safety. 

                                   Jackass Movie Stunts
Are "butt fireworks" the emotional equivalent of asking out a guy/girl? 
                                   Jackass Movie Stunts
Is human bowling the equivalent of entering a karaoke competition? 
                                   Jackass Movie Stunts
Is the wheel chair rocket the emotional equivalent of moving to LA to pursue a career in filmmaking ?
                                   Jackass Movie Stunts
And is sticking a car toy up your ass the emotional equivalent of living your life to the fullest? Both could make for a fantastic story or rupture your colon.
Does any of this make sense to you? In some weird way, it makes sense to me. 
I have to put myself out there and risk the, what my brain thinks, is bodily pain. I don't have to go surfing and get ripped up by coral or slammed in the head with my surf board, but I don't want to hide out completely from life.
The Jackass guys are ridiculous and are most deserving of their show title. That being said, I envy the hell out of those guys. I always have. And I always will. And when I give someone I respect a script, or say hi to a guy at a bar, or try to make a new friend, and I get a big fat NO, NO, and NO from them, I'll try to remember that it could be way worse:         
                                       Jackass Movie Stunts
At least I'm not chugging a beer with my butthole.

I love LA!

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