Merriam-Webster defines rejection as, “the act of not accepting, believing, or considering something: the state of being rejected”
In a world of trauma, you don’t have the opportunity to know who you really are. You look for love and acceptance from all aspects of life. It gives you a spirit of perfectionism making you think that one day, everything you do, will be done perfect. Rejection will have you looking desperate without you even realizing it.
I began modeling and competing in pageants at a very early age. Due to returning back to Baltimore, I was removed from that environment. I was reintroduced to modeling in my teenage years, but on a larger scale. I believe it was in my senior year, along with one of my instructors, we co-created a charm club. It was created to assist in building self-esteem and learning proper etiquette. It made me feel great because I was not accepted overall in school.
Even today, there are still classmates that do not interact with me. I was the captain of the Pom-Pom squad, a choir member and ran track and field, but not really liked much by my team members. On the outside, people believed I had high self-esteem and some thought I was arrogant. If they only knew.
I was a young woman dealing with an identity crisis, not understanding why people in school did not like me. I dressed nice, so I thought. I believe I was cordial and friendly, until you crossed me, then I was through with you. I stayed in fights and honestly could not tell you why. What I do know is that I would not let anyone say what they wanted to me, so verbally and physically, I fought back. I found myself dealing with more upper classman, because my classmates really did not like me, male or female. It hurt to the point that I would shut down and began really staying to myself.
In my dress and my actions, I was crying out for attention. All we ever want is to be loved and accepted by people. My school mates had no idea of the ‘other life’ I was living. I had been molested and trying to figure out who I was and where I fit in. Not knowing where, I just flowed with everything and never questioned it. In that hurtful place of unacceptance, I learned of another gift, singing.
My music teacher Ms. Gardner, pretty much made me perform my first solo in school. I loved singing, but that was at home or with my favorite auntie. I remember after my first time performing, people coming up to me and telling me they did not know that I could sing, my response, “Me either.” Ms. Gardner saw something in me that I did not know was there. Singing with the choir, you are heard, but not in the way you are when performing a solo.
That introduced me to another group of people that I would call friends. Lamont Thomas was a well loved vocalist at our school whom I had the brief opportunity of dating. He was a gentleman, a very gifted singer and funny. At this time I began to realize that I had few female friends and many male associates. I guess you could say I really had plenty of associates and not friends.
Hanging out with Lamont and just listening to him sing was good enough for me. I can see him at this very moment sitting at the dining room table at my parent’s home, looking nervous. He found a way to always keep me smiling and that was enough for me. The joy of song, his friendship and laughter was taken away through death. I had no one to turn to and that was painful for me.
My new outlet was getting back into modeling. After barely graduating, I turned back to modeling. I signed up with John Casablanca, which was a costly lesson and pretty much did nothing for me. I later signed up with Odyssey Modeling and began taking classes.
I met an array of wonderful people, that did become lifetime friends. Returning to this arena allowed me to meet great people, and get to know myself a little bit. I was still seeking attention at this point, but did not know it. I set out to become a supermodel at the agency and anywhere else I could fit in and was liked. In meeting new designers and makeup artists, I was doing just that.
I was attending model call after model call and booking photographers to help build my portfolio. I was being hired for numerous runway shows and receiving extra modeling lessons on the side. Being 5’0″, did not help but because my stride and attitude was that of a 6’0″ model, I was well on my way.
My popularity as a model was increasing because I broke the barriers. I broke them so much so, that designers began to create garments just for me which was unheard of. I was participating in photo shoots and realizing that I was good and became a chameleon. It was fulfilling, but I was still hurting and broken on the inside.
I met a photographer by the name of Eric, who I would shoot with often. I was still young and very naïve. Very trusting of any and everyone. Needless to say, one day I found myself shooting nudes with Eric. It was something he suggested and I thought it would be okay, don’t ask me why, but rejection played a part. How you might ask?
Well, I wanted to be liked, accepted and continue to receive free photographs. I don’t recall ever saying no to anyone, because I wanted them to continue to like me. Eric and I continued to shoot together, until one day I decided against it. I never heard from Eric again and I was okay with that.
What happened, was I beginning to feel better about myself, or was my conscious getting the best of me? I never allowed anyone to photograph me in the nude again after that. Something inside of me was changing, and it was still a struggle. I wanted to be liked and loved, but not in that manner. I found myself turning down offers for shows and photo sessions. I still loved what I was doing, but looking at it from a different perspective.
I continued on with modeling well into my adult life, but having more pride in myself and treating it differently. I matriculated into training models and in doing so, we always had the casting couch conversation. I knew the tricks of the trade and how being uninformed would literally have you selling your body and soul for promises that would never happen.
When you learn that you are not your circumstances, your trials and tribulations, you grow. In taking time to heal, getting to know yourself and moving forward is a process, and well worth the time. Now, I live for Retta. I dress for Retta, I wear make-up when I want to for Retta.
I am out of commission for wearing high heels right now, but wearing them is also for Retta. I do things for Retta. I am living to learn how to completely love Retta and every aspect of her. Retta is now saying no, without any feelings of guilt or sorrow. I am loving on myself more and more so that self-rejection is no longer a spirit I carry.
Even now, I still see how some of my classmates, church members, co-workers look at me and turn away quickly without saying hello back or interact with me at all. What is greater about these events now, is that I respond differently. I quit trying to fit in and stand out on my own. Whereas I use to be the problem, it is no longer me.
I want the best for everyone and you don’t need to interact with everyone. Some do not have your best interest at heart and they aren’t even sure why they don’t like you. If they do know, they are not bold enough to tell you. Sometimes in life, we do things that we are not aware of until someone points it out. We have done it throughout our entire life span so we think it is okay. It shows that we don’t have each others best interest nor do we love them, when we don’t inform them of possible unknown behaviors. I can handle being alone better, although sometimes I don’t like it.
How do you begin conquering rejection? First, you must declare that you fall out of agreement with rejection. You must denounce rejection and fall out of alignment with it. Let rejection know that it is no longer welcomed in your life. Second, stop rejecting yourself! Self-rejection is hatred of self.
You are rejecting every good thing that can come into your life. Love on yourself and become accepting of everything you deserve. You have to get to know who you truly are as well as who God made you to be. Find verses in the Bible that states who you are in God and recite them daily. Celebrate your victories, celebrate yourself. Treat yourself well. Take yourself out on dates. Speak healing, wholeness and life over yourself. Change your language. Speak love, strength, beauty, and loving words to yourself.
Those are just a few ways to begin healing from rejection and self-rejection. If you need more indepth assistance, you can complete the contact page on my website.
Knowing and loving yourself is one of the greatest things you could ever do.