We’ve all experienced rejection at some point in our lives. We’ve all been overlooked, passed by, slighted. It happens to all of us, but that in no way lessens the sting in the moment that it happens. Being told that you’re not wanted cuts to the most tender parts of us and can leave us bleeding. That pain isn’t something that is easily dismissed.
But sometimes we experience something that feels like rejection, but isn’t quite the same. It doesn’t have the same sting of being told outright that you’re not wanted, it doesn’t cut quite as deep as being asked not to participate. But nevertheless, it hurts.
It’s the pain of not being pursued.
In Tamara Lunardo’s new book, What a Woman Is Worth, I share some of my experiences of not being pursued. Of having my value as a woman being degraded not because I was rejected outright, but because I simply wasn’t pursued. From my essay:
I never wanted to be reduced to my looks, but honestly, once or twice it would have been nice to be the one being asked to the dance. To be the one who had plans with a boy on a Saturday night. To be the one who turned heads.
Instead, I joked with the boy I liked at the cast party and then went home and cried for hours because he confided that he wanted to date my friend, not me. I exposed my heart to another potential boyfriend only to be told that he just wanted to be friends; he didn’t feel “that way” about me. Time after time I was passed over, ignored, sidelined. These relationships were just for the normal girls, not for me.
I wasn’t exactly rejected – I just wasn’t pursued.
I am so honored to be a part of this project, with so many other talented women voices. And I’m so grateful for the ways that I have been pursued, even when I have felt unworthy of pursuit.