Upon Wit’s End: How the Near-Fatal Sting of Rejection Invokes Passion

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ALL WRITTEN AND ARTWORK ARE THE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OF PSG LOPES. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, 2019. 

When I was twenty-eight years old, I was smack dab in the middle of working on my master’s degree. A few years prior, I had just gotten fired for the first time in my life and I was so lost, so depressed, and I was essentially an empty shell of a woman. I lived in my bathrobe as I wrote paper after paper trying to finish up my degree. I overate and ate the worst possible foods ever, I watched a lot of t.v., I played online Scrabble endlessly for hours when I wasn’t working on school work, and I isolated myself from the outside world. The only thing that was going right for me was my educational path which I clung to for dear life.

One afternoon, my sister came home from work and forwarded me this writing contest. She told me to give it a shot and that the prize money was worth at least entering. So I did. I wrote this short story called, “A Breath of Freedom,” which I happened to include in my Dark Musings Poetry Anthology: Volume 2, nearly ten years later. Anyhow, one day I received a letter saying that I had won third place in the competition and was awarded $500. At the time, I had never cried so hard with gratitude. I had desperately needed that cash. I was able to use that money to buy my family Christmas presents that year. It was a true Christmas miracle. I even took my mother and sister down to Princeton to receive my award. I was even in the newspaper for the first time in my life. That period in my life was truly momentous and I will always be grateful to my sister for passing along that opportunity. I also remember showing my father that piece of writing. This was way before his diagnosis with dementia. He was a writer and artist as well and I remember him telling me that my story was corny after he read it. Instead of congratulating his daughter and encouraging her to move forward with writing, I was met with resentment and jealousy. I shook it off and didn’t let that sully this incredible event that happened in my life. This came at a time I needed to regain confidence, regain faith, regain the belief that somehow, someway, everything was going to work out alright for me. I needed this push in the right direction. I went on to finish my masters and work on my doctorate subsequently after and spent several years after that substitute teaching and long-term subbing.

In 2016, I was once again at a difficult crossroads in my life. I was laid off from a really wonderful teaching gig I had acquired. Being done with schooling, and wanting to finally start my life, I, yet again, was ousted from this security net I was provided with and found myself once more lost, uncertain of the future, scared, and most of all poor. I had to do something, and fast. I had been wanting to be a writer for as long as I could remember. When I went to Virginia the first year for my residency hours while working on my doctorate, I came across several amazing individuals. This one person, I will never forget, said something so profound on the last day of our residency that it stayed with me to this day. He said to our professor, “You’ve awoken a passion within me that I never knew I had.” That is what writing provided for me. Writing gave me a voice, which I never had before. Writing gave me a passion, which I was never allowed to have before. Writing became my salvation, my redemption, my hope, my peace, my sanctuary, my escape from all that ailed me. Writing became my therapist, my best friend, my confidante. Writing became my past time, my joy, my anguish, my pain. I spent hours, upon hours writing down everything that had ever hurt me in my entire life–every painful memory that still entraps me to this day. Writing gave me a release, gave me a reason, an excuse to finally let things go. Writing gave me permission to finally be the human being I had always wanted to be. Writing gave me purpose–a reason to get up in the morning. Writing became the one and only thing that no one could take away from me.

Since I’ve started writing in 2016, I’ve released so many pieces through Amazon. For funding, I’ve submitted side pieces to hundreds of organizations, magazines, contests, freelance opportunities, etc. But I had not been able to have a lightning strike for me twice since that day in 2009 when I won my first contest. Ten years later, technology is booming at its highest peak. Social media is swelling with promising new writers who practically step over each other, so desperate to be heard. My work has persistently gone unnoticed for years. I receive rejection more than I hear praise. If it wasn’t for my voice over artist/editor/mentor/newfound friend I’d quit completely. She has become such an advocate for my writing and encourages me to keep going every day.

 

blog picture july 19th, 2019

Writing provides me with so many ups and downs emotionally. There are some days where I feel so triumphant for how successful I was with my writing progress. I can belt out six thousand words in a day no problem and re-read everything and I feel such pride for how much I have grown as a writer over the years. Then there are the setbacks when I receive yet another discouraging rejection letter. I feel trapped sometimes. I feel like time is running out for me. Heavily in debt and fearful for my future, I often wonder how I became this foolish. I often blame myself and punish myself for not being “normal” like everyone else. I hate that I’m different. I hate that I stand out. I hate that my path has always been more difficult than other people. I just want to be like everyone else. But I know I never will be.

It’s been one heck a year for me. I have had to re-teach myself how to be strong and independent and break myself away from that mentality of being someone’s fiance. I hated that at first. I resented it even. I felt like Bella Swan from Twilight during the time she was away from Edward. You live your life and the time passes by around you but you’re not living. You’re barely breathing. You’re barely eating. You have no memory of the months that zoomed past you. You’re just surviving. Surviving was the very least my body was capable of in those lonely winter months. But then the sun comes out one day and its bright triumphant beams hit you smack dab in the eyes in the early morning and you wake up finally transformed and metamorphosed and you think, “Finally.” You finally breathe, eat, smell that fresh air, and feel the magnitude of what you’ve been through. You recall the harsh lessons learned. You become more protected, more guarded, more aware of your surroundings. You trust less, but you’re still you to the outside world, just this more polished version. I am not my mistakes. I am not my past. I am not my failures. I’m more than that. Way more. And with every rejection I receive, I’m only that much more determined to keep trying. To keep improving. To keep writing like I’ve never written before. If you don’t believe in me, who cares, I’ll keep writing until I find someone who will believe in me. I don’t write for you. I write for me. I write to keep going in this crazy world. I write for meaning, for inspiration, for perspective, for peace, for sanity. I write to make others see that triumph really does spawn from tragedy if you just keep going and let that sun reach your face. I will not give up. I will not allow you or anyone else to dampen my spirit any longer. Reject my words but somehow, somewhere, someway, someone will embrace me and I cannot wait for that day and tell you all about it.

PSG Lopes/The Moonlit Goddess’ Amazon Author Page: amazon.com/author/psglopes

The Melancholy Dance That Became My Battle Cry: Dark Musings Poetry Anthology: Volume 3: The Wilted Perennials of Yesteryear

ALL WRITTEN AND ARTWORK ARE THE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OF PSG LOPES. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, 2019.

Continuing this week’s theme of revisiting each of my written work, I decided to write about my last and latest poetry anthology: Dark Musings Poetry Anthology: Volume 3: The Wilted Perennials of Yesteryear. Today’s blog discusses what my inspirations were, where I came up with the concept for this piece, and why it defined this new and improved version of myself for 2019.

2019 didn’t start off at all how I had anticipated. 2018, 11:59 p.m. Ireland time, 6:59 p.m. EST, New Year’s Eve. This was the last minute that I had a fiance, I had the prospect of a life in Ireland, I had hope for a brighter future that wasn’t filled with misery, depression, hopelessness, anxiety, extreme and painful poverty, and sheer and utter disgust and hatred for myself as a failure of a human being. My ex filled ideas in my head that I could have a fulfilling life with him and I wanted so much to believe that. I so wanted to be that girl in those fairy tales that were whisked away by Prince Charming and finally had her happily ever after. I salivated at the thought with the prospect of change and hope that this man would be my one true love and I would live and die with him happily in our little love nest in the middle of nowhere in Ireland. That’s the life I had hoped to have and at the time I couldn’t imagine anything better.

I am so impressed by how the next turn of events occurred because they truly felt like a plot from a movie. Midnight struck, his time. I decided to go and look into his Facebook page and kept clicking on pictures, and other people’s FB pages on his feed and then BOOM! The reveal. And it wasn’t what you’d expect. Yes, a betrayal but not of the cheating variety. My heart sank. A huge part of me died that evening. I wanted to die that evening. Everything I ever hoped for died in just sixty seconds. Spending my entire life pretty much being morbidly obese, you pretty much have it drilled in your head that no man will ever love you and you’re going to die miserable and alone with eight million cats. This man changed that perception for me. Before I found out he had betrayed me, he made me feel loved and made me feel that I was worthy of someone else’s love. Weight didn’t matter to him. We are inseparable. Two peas in a pod. Twin Flames. Or so he had me believe.

I’m not going to delve into much deeper into the events that occurred because that’s not the point of this blog. The point is what happened afterward. After making a clean break, I decided that 2019 would be a time to find myself again. Recapture the momentum I had previously before I met this guy and learn to live life with just me again. Being with him for two years, I was nestled in this safety cocoon. The best way to describe the feeling is that feeling you get after reading a really good book series and when you’re finally done you happen to look up around you and realize you are not part of that book series. You have a life of your own and you must continue on living that same dreary life. Upon looking up and seeing the world for what it truly was, I was so depressed, so scared, so uncertain about everything. I felt like a complete loser, a failure, someone who couldn’t even be successful in a relationship. At that moment, I felt like I was indeed the biggest fuck up on the planet. I have literally ruined every single thing I’ve ever had. Being engaged granted me a sense of pride and I loved being this person’s fiancee. I loved the exotic belief that I was going to move overseas. (My box of crap is still there which I will never see again in this lifetime). But there was something about him that in the back of my mind I knew I couldn’t trust. I had intended to go to Ireland in September 2018, but I completely choked and ended up not going. First of all, having crippling anxiety I am not good even in a car by myself so I didn’t have much hope that I could get on a plane alone. My mom had asked my fiance to come here first so that I could fly with him and he declined. My mom told me right then and there that that was a surefire sign that he was not the right one for me. I also was reluctant to leave because my father was pretty unstable at the time and I just didn’t feel right leaving my mom and brother with him while my other siblings were working full-time. They relied on my assistance and I knew that they were not going to be okay without me.

There were so many things running in the back of my mind, but there was also a lack of trust of him from the beginning. He was erratic, flighty, flaky, switching from job to job. He was poor too and he just wasn’t solidifying on a path that would bring him prosperity. I ignored the warning signs despite my family’s pleas. I was deeply in love. Being in love was a potent drug. One that I had never really experienced before and one that I hope to never experience again. The whole ordeal was so troublesome and I’m only now feeling somewhat comfortable in my own skin again.

One of the constant themes of our relationship dealt with farming, flowers in general, geraniums, wildflowers, etc. So upon our breakup, I derived the concept of the Wilted Perennials of Yesteryear as the title of my latest poetry anthology. Perennials being flowers which grow back every year. We had talked about growing our own vegetables, flowers, etc. on his land. So that theme always intrigued, impressed, and inspired me. The idea of them being wilted to me, symbolized the loss of dreams, loss of hope, loss of a better existence. He promised me a pre-Raphaelite existence. A life where we stood hand in hand walking into the multi-colored hues of the fiery sunset experiencing all of life’s ups and downs together. But that was ripped away and is now but a distant memory that seems like several lifetimes ago but yet having it only happened last year, hence my use of the word yesteryear.

I started working on this anthology right away as the new year started. I had compiled all of my floral photography that I had taken over the years and then furiously wrote poem after poem after poem of heartache, loss, betrayal, disappointment, disgust, hatred, madness, sadness, desolation, bereavement, anguish and pain. I not only wrote about my ex but wrote about feminism, about the pain of my dad’s illness, frustrations of family life, and even included a short horror story which I called “The Clown-Covered Canvas” which was inspired by two paintings I found in my dad’s closet as I was reorganizing the attic to convert into my bedroom/office space.

All of this work together became what is now known as Dark Musings Poetry Anthology: Volume 3: The Wilted Perennials of Yesteryear. This piece was so much more than just poetry to paper. This piece helped me merge into the woman I am today because of the events that occurred at the beginning of the new year. It made me stronger, more confident in my work, and was really the first piece that made me feel like a true writer. Unfortunately, this piece is the most expensive piece I have up on Amazon and that’s because it’s a fully colorized photographic experience that accompanies each poem and story. Like Volume 2, it’s colorized and expensive because it costs a lot to print colorized photographs and digital art. This piece deserved to be in full color. To me, the colors added to the imagery of the poetry.

I incorporated a lot of different types of poetry in this piece too. Volume 2 featured my first attempt at an epic poem. For Volume 3; however, I wrote sonnets, limericks, haikus, elegies, couplets, free verse, acrostics, villanelles, sestinas, ekphrastic poetry, concrete poetry, epigrams, ballads, epitaphs, tankas, odes, and more! I really utilized my skills and challenged myself to branch out and try new writing techniques and I definitely feel this was my most mature piece to date. I’m highly proud of this book. What is most amazing was this was the first writing piece that was featured in a newspaper article since 2009. In 2009, I won the 3rd place prize for the Ella T. Grasso award sponsored by UNICO. The prize was for my short story “A Breath of Freedom” which is featured in my Dark Musings Poetry Anthology: Volume 2: The Storm Over Vermillion Fields. The newspaper article spawned much-needed confidence to seek out other methods of advertising my work. It also inspired me to reach out and interview a fellow creative for the first time on my own Podcast. So the broken version of me merged with this new, improved version of myself who believes in herself and the work that she presents to the world.

This book will always signify to me who I am now and how I should never sacrifice or compromise my values and standards for anyone and that being alone is better than being with someone who makes you feel alone. The Wilted Perennials of Yesteryear is a book for any woman who wishes to regain their sense of strength, to reclaim their power and aims to provide the confidence, the perseverance, and resilience to overcome any adversities and challenges life has thrown at us. This piece is my love letter to any woman who felt wronged or betrayed or blindsided. For every woman who felt slighted, embarrassed, shamed, gaslighted… As the great and powerful Chaka Khan sang, “I’m every woman.” Thank you for reading today’s blog!

For this and all of my other works please visit my Amazon Author Page here: amazon.com/author/psglopes.

VISIT THE MOONLIT GODDESS PATREON PAGE HERE