This year is different. I got that shit behind me and all I have to look forward to is reconnecting with a group of women I love in a way which borders on creepy.
I entered the essay contest.
You guys, I spent months on this. I wrote and rewrote the essay and felt pretty good about submitting it.
So, the essay didn’t win.
I was unreasonably disappointed.
I have pretty thick skin. You can’t do this shit and take rejection to heart. Rejection eats you alive. I don’t like being turned down, but disappointment is always fleeting.
Maybe, always is too strong of a word.
Sometimes, not often, I get really bummed out by rejection.
It occurred to me that sometimes writers have to go through the stages of writer grief.
Melodramatic self-flagellation: I suck and I’m never writing again. I’m going to goddamn learn how to knit. Only I will probably suck at that, too. And then what? I wasted a fuck ton of money on yarn. God, I am such a loser.
Envy/Horror: 95% of me is elated when my writer friend’s are successful. You know, like getting an honorable mention in the 2018 Erma Bombeck workshop essay contest. 95% of me is jumping up and down and doing a happy dance. The other 5%? Yeah, that 5% is just nothing, but a writhing ball of envy. Ugly, stupid envy. Which is where the horror comes in. I hate envy, but it does exist. Fortunately, as with the stages of regular grief, envy passes.
Questioning everything you’ve ever written: Should I be embarrassed by shit I’ve put out there? Well, of course. I mean, anyone who shares the way I do has definitely overshared. But maybe more than I thought. Whatever you do, don’t fucking go back and re-read everything you’ve ever written on this blog. It’s terribly self-indulgent. Cut it out. Now is not the time for cringing.
Apathy: Whatever. I mean, I guess I could add up a few successes, but they aren’t that impressive. But who cares. I have Netflix to binge. The Defenders isn’t going to watch itself, you know.
Contemplation: What can I think of to do that is better than writing? What? Nothing. Nothing else is as good as this, so stop being a goddamn baby.
Circling back around: So, I lost. Shit happens. It sucks and I hate trying to process these negative emotions. But here I am and…hey….yeah, just blog about it. Hell yes. Monday is covered. We haven’t dried up yet.
Anyway, I worked through my feelings.
Here’s my entry about being a terrible cub scout leader. I’m not going to lie, I am disappointed as fuck to lose, but am happy I get to share it with you guys.
There Are No Bad Cub Scouts, Only Bad Cub Scout Leaders
I’ve never successfully organized a handbag. I have no idea why I thought I could organize activities for young boys.
Volunteering as a cub scout leader wasn’t my worst decision in life. Buying a hermit crab habitat and marrying my second husband were worse decisions, but still, being a cub scout leader wasn’t a good decision.
I didn’t inherit the craft gene.
I got the “binge watch vampire shows” gene, which isn’t a helpful skill for being a scout leader.
For our meetings, I would buy a lame craft kit. The kids spent 10 minutes complaining about it and another 50 minutes running around shouting until their parents picked them up.
As the season wound down, I was told each troop would create a project of their choice for the “See How We’ve Grown” gala.
My idea was to get a poster board with markers and let them draw what they wanted.
It looked as well thought out as one might imagine.
My favorite was the picture of a dog taking a crap.
The week before the gala, we looked at our contribution and collectively agreed that the poster sucked.
So, I did what I do with all my failed craft projects.
I covered it in glitter.
Here are some of the other troop’s projects:
Marjorie Wilhelm’s group invented bubble gum that not only provides an entire day’s vitamin C, but can also be stretched into a makeshift shelter.
Rex Mayer’s group built a portable water filtration system that is now used by Sherpas for Mt. Everest expeditions.
Jill Hauck’s group raised money and built a community miniature golf course complete with a working volcano and a self-serve sugar-free cotton candy machine which spins tasty cotton candy from kale.
Renee Mellor’s group used interpretive dance to depict the unwavering spirit of scouts throughout the years. There wasn’t a dry eye in the audience. Especially the boys in my group, but that was because they rubbed glitter into their eyeballs.
Our project was last.
Muffy Talbot, the MC, paused for a moment and said, “Troop C has provided the sparkle for the evening! Good job, boys!”
I still feel like I owe her a gift basket.
We walked off stage and I could feel the boys’ reproachful eyes boring into me. I rifled through my purse for tic tacs, gum, or something to give them as a peace offering, but I could only find grocery receipts and pennies.
I’m reasonably sure none of them went on to become Eagle Scouts. I’m not sure though. We didn’t keep in touch.