Saturday, 4 Dec 2010

Rejected, Dejected and Old Baggage

My grandmother called me this morning. I knew I shouldn’t have answered the phone, but she’s been trying to reach me all week, so I felt like I should just find out what’s going on. But I’m in an awful mood today. Why I’m in such a bad mood is sort of lame, but my grandmother’s call was a good reminder of why things like this upset me as much as they do.

So, here’s the kind of lame part: the Disney Social Media Moms application process ended yesterday and left me feeling really hurt and sad. If you know me, you know I’m used to being overlooked for blogging things. My blog isn’t huge and no one cares that I have tens of thousands of readers weekly on About.com. They generally aren’t interested by how much I give back to the community or if I’m a nice person. I sort of accept it with as much humor and grace as I can, even when I feel left out. I have plenty of wonderful things in my life, so I try not to let the bad things bring me down. But this particular process was just really hard. There was conflicting information and I wasn’t sure I’d even be invited to apply (I wasn’t last year). And then if I did apply, would I get in? So when they said it would be first come, first serve, I knew they didn’t mean that quite so literally, but I thought it gave me a fighting chance. When I got my registration (as it was called) in, I felt pretty good. Registration was open for 2 hours and I got in about half way through. So receiving a rejection noticed that my application hadn’t been processed in time was a surprise, to say the least. Finding out that people who had registered after me had been accepted was even more surprising. And hurtful. I actually asked if I had done something to remove myself from consideration. Bottom line is that I’m not the only one this happened to. It happened to lots of us. But when I look at the list of people who are going, it still feels personal. These are people I attended with last year. People who have been invited over and over again to Disney events. And then some people who I’m not familiar with at all.

When my grandmother called this morning, I was thinking about this whole situation. I was trying to move past the hurt. I mean, I’m thrilled for the people who are going. I knew there was a chance I wouldn’t get in, but I hadn’t anticipated the process being setup to make me feel so bad about it. It’s Disney. Disney strives to make everything magical, even when they’re giving you bad news. Disney doesn’t set you up to have a bad experience and make you feel like you’re just not welcome.

My grandmother started out the conversation by saying that she had talked to my grandfather and his wife. I was immediately on edge, since it’s a sore spot with me that I’ve never even met this man. He has never once acknowledged to me that he knows I exist. She told me that she was extremely upset with him because he had sent his (60-something-year-old) son a birthday card with nothing in it. I interrupted to remind her that my own father (her other son) had never sent me a birthday card at all. “That’s not the point,” she told me with frustration. Apparently, the point is that he HAD sent money to my teenage-mom-twice-over half sister for her birthday. The same half sister that my biological father had doted over, even as he was ignoring my birthday.

And that’s when it hit me. I expect this. I expect to not be included. And I handle it with as much grace as I can muster because I’ve grown up not having any other choice. I mean, if the people who are supposed to love you most don’t care about you, you can’t really expect anyone else to, either. An ex-boyfriend once accused me of sabotaging our relationship. And, although it wasn’t quite so simple, he was right. I tend to hold back and wait for something bad to happen. I assume people in my life won’t stick around very long, and I assume that if there’s a special list, I’m not going to be on it. I don’t sit around feeling sorry for myself. I make a lot of excuses and then I just accept that that’s the way things are.

But for some reason, this Disney thing hit me harder than usual. Probably because I have always loved Disney and the idea that Walt built a company around the philosophy of making people happy. He engineered his parks to evoke certain emotional responses… they look expansive when you walk in eager to start your day, but look smaller as you’re walking out, tired from a day of fun. And, until I started blogging, there were no special lists to enjoy the magic of Disney. That was available to every one. We’re taking our kids to Disney World next week, and I’m trying really hard to let this feeling go. Just when I think I’ve done a lot of emotional healing, things like this crop back up and remind me that my baggage is still there, waiting to crop up…

[Edited to add: It was definitely not first-come, first-served. They have said that "there were quite a few factors involved." But the criteria for me isn't important so much as a process that made me, and quite a few other people, feel really bad.]


16 Responses to “Rejected, Dejected and Old Baggage”

  1. Cathy Herard Says:

    What a well written post and I can relate to you on more levels than just the Disney part of this. I sit here this morning still very unsettled. Unsettled at being lied to. If you want to *choose* attendees then have the decency to ADMIT it.
    I realize, though, that this is bigger than just me not into a conference. This one affected my entire family. That stings way more. I hope that you enjoy your vacation because THIS whole fiasco is more about the social media end of things, not the parks and certainly not Walt. I have a feeling he’d be a bit ashamed.

  2. Jodi Says:

    You are the queen of our little Boston Parent Bloggers family – don’t ever feel rejected :)

  3. Christy Says:

    I think queen might be a bit strong, but thank you. Just feeling down today and trying to figure out why I’m so over-the-top upset!

  4. Tiffany@Lattes&Life Says:

    Huge hugs. I had the same revelation this morning, after sleeping on all this. I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t let the disappointment and sadness go. Why I felt so bad about *myself* by not making the cut. But I have many of the same feelings as you. Lots of never being good enough througout my life. And the Blogosphere intensifies those feelings ALL THE TIME. I just wish the powers that be had been upfront about this process. So many hurt feelings could have been spared. Instead, there are now so many families hurt, disappointed, and confused.

  5. Life As I Know It Says:

    This is such a great post…good insights. It’s funny how so much of our past creeps up on us in unexpected ways. I feel the same way a lot – expecting not to be included. And I know a lot of that comes from being a youngest child in a big family.
    Re Disney: I didn’t get in either. The whole process was vague and not well run. But, like Jodi just said, you are the queen of the Boston Parent Bloggers. We didn’t get a chance to talk at Barefoot Books, but hope to run into you again soon at a future event :)
    chrisanne

  6. melanie Says:

    My heart is broken for you in more ways than one. I know how you feel on the family end and I also know how you feel about feeling excluded in life. It’s been an issue I’ve faced and I can’t say I’ve had the same grace as you. Quite the opposite sometimes. You are a loving, intelligent, brave person. Your time is coming. You cannot send as much good out into the world like you do and not have it boomerang back at you some point. Something wonderful is on your horizon.

  7. Ida Mae Says:

    Well written, and I can completely understand where you are coming from. I hope the pain from the hurt fades quickly. And I personally am looking forward to the next time we can chat.

  8. Rebecca Says:

    At the end of the day you’re in good company. I was more upset that my daughter was with me when I registered (because I was doing it at her swim class!) and she was so devastated when the rejection came in. I felt terrible too and then realized, well – I can plan a trip to Disney myself!
    Of course that was good enough for my daughters, but for me the feeling of being hoodwinked stuck. That’s the part that feels icky right? Don’t get my hopes up and then smash them – and then make me feel bad for feeling bad!

  9. Christy Says:

    I just wanted to thank everyone for the nice comments. I am feeling a lot better – writing it down helped. =}

  10. MusingsfromMe/Jill Says:

    Love this post. I do not understand the process that Disney used. Was it first-come-first-service or not? I registered at 3:23 p.m. so probably I had no chance to get in, but I’m still mad that I wasted 1 hour and my husband took 30 minutes out of his workday to register us. Why didn’t Disney just set a date to turn the applications in and then hold a lottery after the date? A lottery would have been much fairer than a reg. process that allowed people to register early and still not get in. How is that possible anyway?

  11. Krista Says:

    If it helps, I really don’t believe those that gotten in were “chosen,” or I wouldn’t have gotten in. I truly believe they took all the registrants who submitted before the cut-off time, and then randomly selected the right amount. It’s the only thing that makes sense to me, but it would be nice if they just came out and said that so people could stop feeling so badly about it!
    I actually feel guilty about getting in, when I’m not looking to make money from my social media efforts. I just want to make more connections and be part of this larger community. Being engaged with moms (and dads!) all over the country has made me a better person, and I want to continue to expand those relationships. So I feel badly that I get to have this amazing experience, and so many well-deserving people are left out and feeling dejected about it.
    :(
    Thanks for the post, and for all the great content.

  12. Niri Says:

    Hey – just saw this. Sorry things did not work out. If there is one thing I know it is that you love Disney but who knows there may be several awesome surprises next year – and maybe Disney may be one of them.

  13. kim/hormone-colored days Says:

    I’m sorry for the treatment you received from your family over the years. It certainly adds context for why this was so upsetting.

    I have to sheepishly admit, esp. since we tweeted about it, that in the end I did get in. I got an email from Disney late Friday in between running after school car pools and getting ready for my younger son’s Chanukah concert at synagogue.

    I am confused as anyone. I was not invited last year, I was not invited to our local Dinner with Disney, I didn’t even get the heads-up email about this year’s event.

    Even as someone who gets to attend, I’m not happy with the lack of transparency in the registration process. Based on what I saw happening on twitter during registration, I’m as confused as everyone else.

    Even though I’m excited, this leaves feeling more like timidly whispering from a corner, “Um, yeah. I’m going,” than putting Mickey Ears on my avatar.

    The organizers got flack last year; they’re getting flack this year, one has to hope that the third time will be a charm.

    As for you, keep writing, stay involved in the community and hold your head high because, as I mentioned over at MomBlogMagazine, I think good things are in store for you for 2011.

  14. Mommy Reporter Says:

    I see now how this situation is hurtful for you… Please accept my apologies if my post hit a nerve with you. I know it’s not fair, and I know that it is disappointing, but please never underestimate your true worth or value, especially not in relation to this.

  15. Angela at mommy bytes Says:

    Hugs, baby, hugs. You are so much more influential than you know (a few hours with you and now the kids have Xmas trees in their rooms and Kinectimals to look forward to soon.)

    I had a similar experience with my own dad, who ended up leaving everything in his will to his girlfriend and her daughter and not me, his only biological child. Pshaw!!

    Have a great time at Disney with your family and not all the encumberments of being a social mom.

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