Limbo

Yesterday was a weird day. I feel like I say that all the time now, every day. But it was weird and something was eating away at my brain and I let it consume me. By the time I went to bed I was super agitated. Everything was annoying, the book I was reading, the sound of my husband breathing as he slept, the way the covers shift as we sleep. I went to sleep angry and when I woke up I felt a little numb.

Last night I dreamt about an essay I submitted a few months ago. I was told in a form letter, at minimum, it would be 3-4 months before I heard back about this essay and I’ve reached the 4 month mark and am wondering why it is taking so long to reject something I know will be rejected? It’s the primary reason I submitted it, for it to be rejected. I wanted to put a lot of effort into the essay, submit it to a place where I had a less than 1% chance of being accepted and then process the rejection. Sending it off was supposed to be a catalyst for me to submit even more things, but instead it’s left me in a state of limbo where I need it to be rejected so I can make a little imaginary hashmark on an imaginary list and then take another step forward.

But in the dream it was accepted and with a mixture of glowing praise and warning that it still needed work, a lot of work. I’ve become increasingly aware of how much I use the word ‘that’ and it was pointed out in the first draft of edits. Too much of that. There was also mention of how there was some trepidation about accepting it because it might be better off somewhere else and did I know how much work was coming my way? This essay could be a book it said, it could be the jumping off point for so many other things and as I read the words in the dream and then scheduled a video conference with a team of editors (?!?!) who were assigned to fix this essay I was confused. This was supposed to be a rejection.

The numbness I felt when I woke up this morning was masking the worry I feel now. Have I somehow convinced myself this essay should be published? If so, this is dangerous territory. It will make the acceptance of the rejection so much harder. And so I am sitting here, still in my pajamas, typing away and wondering when the relief of rejection will come. Every so often I see a writer tweet about imposter syndrome and how even successful writers have a bit of it, feel like their work is a sham. I just wonder if mine isn’t imposter syndrome at all, if that nagging feeling in the back of my mind that I’ve made a huge mistake is a recognition of the fact that I have indeed made a huge mistake.

This is taking a dark turn. What I really want to point out is this: yesterday’s mood was awful, today’s mood feels potentially worse and despite that feeling, or maybe because of it I’m resolved to be productive today. To write more than a 1000 words and to finally submit some of those words somewhere, anywhere. Limbo is no fun when all you want to do is move forward.

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