It had nothing to do with the way she moved her hips when she swayed to the music blaring out of the speakers. Perhaps it was her ample derrière and the possibility that the high waist pair of jeans she wore had been painted onto her skin. Maybe it was her skin, void of blemish; a canvas on which God had placed His masterpiece. I need to remind you that this was in an era where a face beat meant a slap and not the current sorcery that makes angels out of gremlins. She was but a cherub manifest.
I was young and impressionable, starry eyed, with a face vastly and extensively dotted with pimples; a talking jackfruit. Looking at this goddess sway across the floor of what was then Club Silk (a nightclub I regrettably discovered a little too late in life), made me feel a certain way. Could this have been the love I had heard about in ballads and read about in fabled tales? This feeling deep within me, was that the same way men felt before battle; the point at which they knew they were ready to give it all and take it all…at any cost? But what was I to do with and about it all?
I was in a trance just watching her. I lost all hold on my thoughts as they wandered off to far and distant places; our first date, the warmth of her touch, if my wedding suit would be a 2 piece or 3 and if we would be buried side by side to spend eternity together, our flesh giving new life to the earth that would consume us.
I had to make a move, i had to let her know that I was what she had been waiting for all her life. I had to find hitherto transfixed legs, walk up to her and start what was going to be an incredible story. Suddenly the bar was her kingdom and the stool upon which she sat, was her throne. I was the dashing prince from a land yonder, marching forth to conquer her heart and her land
“Hi, I’m Robert” I said to her. The music must have been a little too loud because she did not respond. I cleared my throat, raised my voice smiled a little wider and tried again. She turned away. I thought that perhaps she imagined I was calling Robert the bar man. I moved over to her side, close enough to leave no doubt that she was the object of my affection and attention…and tried again. She looked at me the way a queen would a pauper; up at first, then down and back up again. It didn’t take her long because you see, I am not the tallest of people. The words that followed were like a host of arrows raining onto a lone emissary on a battlefield, defenceless, exposed, unexpected; “I heard you the first time, and I was hoping It would be the last time”
She stood up and left, my heart, tongue and soul in tow. I was shattered. My ego bruised. Hurt at my very core. This was my first real taste of rejection.
Before then, I didn’t know what it was like to try but fail, especially at something that had consumed you. To put in your all, believe in everything within and without, to get you whatever it is you sought. Only to be turned away from a destiny that you believed was yours.
A lot has changed since that night. They years have rolled by with haste and so have the events that come with them. I have less acne although every so often I will be attacked by a breakout as if to remind me that we are never truly free from our past. On the flip side, some stuff has remained constant and I don’t just mean my height. My disdain for the potty on wheels (better known as a Vitz) also still prevails. More importantly also, I continue to face rejection; less from the ladies because I have since stopped trying to pick up girls in the club. You see, not only are they prone to assume that you are a prowling hyena and hence have their defences up, but also because makeup artists have conspired with brewers to sell you an illusion of beauty and grandeur that vanishes the moment she has a shower or your hangover sets in…whichever happens sooner.
Back to rejection; I have faced rejection in many forms and manners. I have set out to pursue opportunities in business, career and other fortunes and been turned away countless times.
Like on that night, it still stings just as much. It still pushes me to question my adequacy and tempts me to doubt myself. I however, with time have learnt also that rejection doesn’t have to be a slap in the face, but rather, it can be a nudge in the right direction. How? Well it all depends on how quickly and objectively you look at the situation thereafter, including the various players, internal and external. Rejection should push you to ask yourself why? Why didn’t I make it? What could I have done better? Is it me? Is it them? Is it it?
The moment you stop the wallowing and answer those questions, you inadvertently set yourself up to be better positioned to win the next time you try. And try you must. Stop you mustn’t. A very wise person once told me that you can’t get a “no” all the time.
You only get closer and closer to your “yes” with every subsequent NO!