A letter to all those who have, and continue to, fail

HOLAAfrica, HOLAA, ithongomusings

It is just 2 pm, on this winter afternoon in the whiteman’s land and I have so far received three rejection letters. The first one arrived in the mail this morning. There is something about ripping open a letter you have been anxiously waiting only for it to begin with,

We are sorry to inform you”.

My hands shaking, as I opened it and moved past the fatal first few words, I couldn’t make out any other letters as my eyes clouded with tears.  You see, I am no stranger to rejection, I have experienced a couple of those in my love life. The heartbreak, the feeling of betrayal, usually it is easier to move past those (at least for me) because you can attach a face to that pain.

But how do you deal with a rejection that possesses no face? The letters always read so detached, like someone copied and pasted the same message they drafted ten years ago.

The other letters came by email.

With each one I opened, I felt my light dim a little. It was like someone actively reached out and squeezed my heart with just enough force to stop my breathing and let go just in time for me to catch my breath.

You might be wondering why I am typing this; even I keep asking myself ‘what the point of this is?’ I want to talk about failure, and how we are taught to approach it. I didn’t know I associated failure with shame until I started feeling like I was backed up into a corner with no way out.  It felt gassing in a crowded elevator where everyone could smell your rotten smell.

I wish as a society we normalised failing. When sharing success stories, they use failure as a hook, something one overcame and success is a reward. But what happens when you keep hitting wall after wall?

Where is that story of repetitive failing? It may not be a bestseller, but it might just be enough to start a conversation and what we struggle so much to hide.

So this letter is for the student struggling with funding because you followed your dream, for the entrepreneur who keeps getting the “We will see or let me get back to you on that”. I am not saying everything will be fine. I am sharing that someone else has experienced what you are going through, the constant doubt of am I good enough, should I settle for less?

It is okay to take time off. Hell, you can even give up the fucking dream and jump on another if you think that that is what you need to do. And if you are in for another fight, then give it once again all you got.

In all this, I wish you random kindness from strangers, because sometimes, all you need is to find the unexpected in strange places.

Yours in the struggle,

Jackline Kemigisa  

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