About a year ago I was struck by an NPR show that discussed the difference between men and women that submitted their work for publication.
In the discussion they revealed that, for the most part, when a man's submission was rejected, but they were encouraged to submit again, they invariably did so, each and every time.
When a women, however, was given the same feedback, more often than not, the woman was never heard from again.
While I was gobsmacked and saddened at hearing these results, I was not surprised.
In fact, I could relate to the woman's response upon receiving such feedback. In my younger years, I would have internalized such a 'rejection' as a sign that I, in general, was not good enough.
These days I tend to be made of sterner stuff (although not always), but it requires a concerted and conscious effort, on my part, to keep going despite the setbacks, denials and or rejections.
Interestingly, this morning I heard an interview between two female writers of the satire news show, "Full Frontal with Samantha Bee."
In their discussion, Samantha Bee and Jo Miller discussed the striking difference between men and women entering the predominantly male field of comedy writing.
As Jo explains,
"When I was at the Daily Show, we would have interns, college kids, every semester and at the end they would gather in the writer's lounge to ask us questions and we would ask them questions about what they wanted to do.
There'd be half men, half women and we'd ask them, 'do you want to be a writer?'
We'd go down the line and the men would all say, 'Yeah, I'm going to be a writer, I'm Jake and I'm going to be a writer.'
And the women would say, "I'm Amanda, yeah, maybe, someday, I'm not good enough, we'll see, I don't know. I might go into teaching."
(After listening to this over and over again) I just had a meltdown.
Somewhere between the unearned confidence of the men and the unjustified self censorship of the women, lies the truth. Yes, none of you are good enough, you just start it. You do it and you get good."
Don't you just LOVE that phrase?
"somewhere between the unearned confidence and the unjustified self censorship lies the truth."
This statement is both brilliant and beautiful and speaks to our tendency to think in terms of black and white (we are either everything or nothing, in or out, good or bad), as well as the documented tendency for men to inflate their skills and efficacy and women to deflate it.
Rather than discuss the whys of these differences, however, I'd like to get to the heart of the matter...regardless of cultural upbringings, gender biases and conditioned beliefs.
After all, it is my opinion that,
the true truth lies in the space before thought.
Within this space lies a place of pure possibility.
Within this space lies our beginnings.
Within this space lies our full potential,
devoid of doubt or shame or insecurity.
And so, we must begin there,
over and over again,
safe in the knowledge that
with perseverance will come skill and confidence and ability.
Thought can be a double-edged sword; it can be our greatest ally and our greatest foe.
In all that we endeavor to do or to be,
we MUST NOT allow thought to hold us back,
we MUST NOT allow thought to be our undoing,
we MUST NOT allow thought to deter us from our life or our longings.
We MUST persevere and persist,