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Disappointment

            I applied for a fellowship related to my teaching gig at the synagogue, which would have included a free trip to Israel this summer, but I didn’t get it. It was a long shot, because I didn’t have all of the prerequisites, but I applied anyway, because my boss recommended me for it, and because I wanted to go to Israel. It was a big reach, though, and I pushed myself to fight for it, and pushed myself to imagine that I could handle the trip to Israel in the heat of the summer, and I got as far as being wait-listed, which isn’t bad. I know I can apply again next year, and, really, three weeks in the heat of the summer in Jerusalem was probably more than my body could have handled, but…rejection is rejection.

“You were going to go to Israel without us?!”

            It was painful to feel all of that wanting again, too. I’ve almost gotten numbed to all of the hope and rejection around my writing, but this was a new kind of thing and the anxiety and pressure and hope of it didn’t sit well in my particular nervous system. It’s easier just to not think anything big or new is possible, because then I can go along day by day, living in the present, and managing my small amounts of energy while working on long term goals one step at a time. But hope and excitement and possibility revved me up again, and got me thinking about the future, and all of the things I want (and don’t have yet), and all of the things I can’t have and can’t do.

            It’s as if there’s a certain amount of hope my body can tolerate and anything bigger than that is overwhelming and sets up a roller-coaster ride I don’t want to be on. And I’m realizing that I’ve been actively stopping myself from trying a lot of different things, for fear of getting on the hope-and-rejection-rollercoaster. And that’s not good.

“Would I like rollercoasters?”

            I envy people who can tolerate more anxiety than I can, because they can take more risks in life without worrying as much about the mental health consequences if they fail. I want to become one of those people.

            The sadness I’m feeling now, for the most part, is that I don’t have a plan for how to get to Israel yet, and I really want to go. But this opportunity came up out of nowhere, so maybe others will too. And in the meantime I can continue working on my Hebrew, and saving money to pay for the eventual trip, and most of all working hard to build up my tolerance for the hope-and-rejection-rollercoaster, so I’ll be ready to take the risk when the next opportunity arrives.

“I’ll just rest here while we wait.”

If you haven’t had a chance yet, please check out my Young Adult novel, Yeshiva Girl, on Amazon. And if you feel called to write a review of the book, on Amazon, or anywhere else, I’d be honored.

            Yeshiva Girl is about a Jewish teenager on Long Island, named Isabel, though her father calls her Jezebel. Her father has been accused of inappropriate sexual behavior with one of his students, which he denies, but Izzy implicitly believes it’s true. As a result of his problems, her father sends her to a co-ed Orthodox yeshiva for tenth grade, out of the blue, and Izzy and her mother can’t figure out how to prevent it. At Yeshiva, though, Izzy finds that religious people are much more complicated than she had expected. Some, like her father, may use religion as a place to hide, but others search for and find comfort, and community, and even enlightenment. The question is, what will Izzy find?

About rachelmankowitz

I am a fiction writer, a writing coach, and an obsessive chronicler of my dogs' lives.

73 responses »

  1. Someone once said, “From failure comes success ” Persevere. You are stronger than you think.

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  2. Maybe you’ll get to go when the timing is even better. You know that saying, “be careful what you wish for,” right? Still, getting hopes up only to have them dashed is a bummer! By the way, I’m writing a novel about a young woman who struggles with fear of failure and anxiety. I wish you well, friend.

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  3. To encourage you, you can get over your anxiety. I am living proof. 20 yrs of crippling anxiety and doctors telling me I needed hardcore antipsychotic and antianxiety meds. It is all the way the world does not believe in God that if we have anxiety but it is actually a blessing that we have it. Anxiety is our body saying we are out of balance. Something is wrong. Negative thinking and a toxic environment keeps us there. Very slowly rid yourself of toxins. Recognize negative patters and behaviours and fight them. Also take good care of your stomach by eating lots of vegetables and fruit. Also take vitamins B12 and Vitamin D. Do light exercise daily. 8hs sleep a night. Israel is beautiful. I plan to move there in about 10 yrs, but Israel, first, is a state of mind that is ONE with the self. It is a place that knows the truth that we are love. 🙏 Be healed, friend.

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  4. Perhaps there will be an opportunity to do volunteer work in Israel. That might give even greater meaning to the visit.

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  5. I understand about the anxiety of thinking you could be a contender for something big. It is easier to want small things. Hugs!

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  6. Keep trying. Jerusalem is my favorite city on earth and our trip to Israel three years ago was unforgettable.

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  7. Keep on with your Hebrew. That may well be useful when you get to Israel. I believe you will get there somehow. Just a feeling in my bones about it. And I love the photos in this post. Those little faces show so much understanding and emotion.

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  8. There’s a lot of positive stuff in the conclusion here, Rachel. It sounds like you’ve found a way to work through your disappointment and look ahead to realistic possibilities. That’s terrific!

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  9. Rachel, you should feel proud that someone encouraged you to apply and recommended you. You should take pride in knowing that you followed through and that you actually were shortlisted. That is an achievement in itself. Take the next chance when it arises and watch yourself shine. Israel is waiting for you to visit!

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  10. I’m sorry you didn’t get chosen but your right, other opportunities will come, and you never know, they may even be better ones. Sending a big hug. Xx

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  11. Rachel, U like that you are continually working toward your ideal trip. It will come. I missed an excellent opportunity to travel to China with my school district. I was crushed. A few months later I had to have major surgery. Had I gone, i am not sure the outcome would gave gone as well. We went later, at an increased price but the trip was amazing. Keep working toward your goal and visualize it happening.

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  12. Sometimes when you miss out on something you think would have been good, you might also be missing out on something bad. Right now, you don’t want to be over there so close to the war zone. Be safe and keep your dogs happy.

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  13. Just don’t give up.Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

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  14. Years ago I applied for a fellowship. I didn’t get it. I applied again the next year and did get it. Hang in there.

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  15. I’m sorry. Rejection is tough. I recently entered a piece of creative writing for a contest, and I wasn’t prepared for how much it would sting when I didn’t win. I thought I had gotten used to rejection, and it was a wake up call that we’re all human and rejection hurts. I hope you are able to get to Israel another way.

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  16. It wasn’t a “No” it was a “Not now”.

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  17. I have never been an anxious person, but I also don’t cope well with rejection. In truth, I doubt anyone does, so you are not at all unusual. Those who appear to brush off rejection (in any form) are probably just as disappointed inside, even it they seem to not care.
    Best wishes, Pete.

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  18. Sorry to read you didn’t succeed but that’s not necessarily failure. You knew the likelihood of success without the prerequisites was unlikely, so it’s a success in that you applied and put everything into it.

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  19. Although the Israel trip would have been marvelous on its own, it was an opportunity that might appear later, in a more user-friendly form later on. I hope this happens for you.

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  20. Glad you are still up for taking a risk despite this disappointment. Perhaps this has helped define what you really want. Best wishes for trying Mx

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  21. So sorry it didn’t happen for you this time, and hope you get another opportunity.

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  22. I hope you make it. I always like the words you put into the dogs’ mouths

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  23. Rejection is painful but you weren’t rejected just not included. I know, silly thought but it is true. It sounds like it might not have been a good plan for you anyway. Remember whatever is done is DONE. Let it be and try to stop ruminating. At least that’s what I try to tell myself. Sorry for your disappointment.

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  24. I mistakenly “replied” to Sheree. Sorry. Here’s what I wrote: Sounds to me like you’ve got this figured out, Rachel. Just stay with your plan (unless of course, an unexpected opportunity hits!)

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  25. I’m sorry the opportunity didn’t come through. And with you I will hope for another. And generally I hope you get to Israel. i don’t know what to say about the heat. If there is a better time of year to be there, maybe you’ll get to go then.

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  26. Another brave and unflinching honest post Rachel – you are incredible. This minor setback will just make the trip even sweeter when you get there

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  27. I know this might not be much, given the sheer number of comments others have left. But permit me to quote the book of Ecclesiastes: There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens … a time to search and a time to give up. (Ecc 3:1,6)

    The trip to Israel may not have pushed through, but think of it as an extra preparation period that God has given. There is a time to save up on money, to sharpen linguistic skills in Hebrew, and more.

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  28. It’s hard to put yourself out there, but the only way to make a goal happen is to try.

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  29. Some of the best things in my life have come after I didn’t get something I was sure I wanted. I hope you find a way to get to Israel when the weather is more tolerable for you. I also hope that you continue to find ways to get your hopes up a manageable amount.

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  30. At least during your hope-rejection rollercoaster, you’ll have that cute little dog for daily smiles.
    Art

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  31. So sorry you didn’t get the trip this time. Keep working towards your goal. As far as the anxiety…I think we all have it and we all deal with it differently. It affects everyone differently. I don’t have it nearly as bad as some people, but it’s there and it is real. Some days are better than others. Baby steps. We just have to keep trying. I think you deserve to go to Israel and I hope that you get to go there soon.

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  32. Your pups are adorable! Rejection is never a fun gig…I hope you get to go to the Holy land one day.

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  33. I hope you get to go and you will! I went over 12 years ago and I have a major fear of flying – I forced myself to do it – sending wishes that you will go and soon!

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