Friday, October 5, 2018

Feeling Skunked



Feeling Skunked


Ever notice annoying things happen when you do not have time to deal with them? Murphy’s Law or something like that. And it stinks. In my case, or rather, my dog’s case, it stunk literally.

On the day that I was to board a plane for the ACFW conference, I kept to my normal routine and took my dog, Niko, for our morning walk.



We are fortunate to have a place where I can walk off my pumpkin spice creamer calories while he runs off leash.

Let’s face it, I can’t give up the pumpkin. Nor do I want to, but I’m willing to do the work to keep the deliciousness that pumpkin creamer provides. Sorry…lost focus and I digress. Pumpkin spice does that to me.

Anyway, on that particular morning, the sun hadn’t fully risen, but it wasn't pitch-black dark. So, when Niko bolted into a field, I couldn’t see what he was chasing.

Until it was too late.
With a black tail lifted high, the animal went scurrying into a tree line, and Niko returned to me. I smelled him long before he reached me.


Niko had met his first skunk, and all I could say was, “Are you kidding me?” 
Although he sneezed a lot afterward, Niko really didn’t seem bothered by the smell. I, however, went into a panic. I needed to fix it, and fast. After all, I had a plane to catch, and I had no clue where to start. I didn’t have time to de-skunk (is that even a word?) my dog!

Thankfully, several friends and our amazing groomer, offered a sure-fire fix for ridding Niko of the stench. And, thanks to the help of my adult son, who selflessly offered to wash Niko so that I could make my flight, Niko’s skunk days are behind him.
That whole experience got me to thinking…

Sometimes, we bear the stench of broken dreams, rejection, disappointment, and hopelessness. And those times can sure make us feel like we’ve been skunked.
For writers, rejection is a part of the journey, but that doesn’t make the trip any easier. Rejection is hard, and nobody I know wants to encounter it. Nobody willingly signs up just to be shot down. Nobody wants that nasty book review or the rejected book proposal.

And yet, rejection makes us rethink our story, forcing us back to the keyboard to make it the best it can possibly be.
Is rejection skunking you? Is it defeating you? Are you wondering if there’s ever going to be a time when you get a thumbs-up instead of a thumbs-down?


Maybe it’s that promotion you’ve been working so hard toward. The sale you thought for sure you’d made. The agent that seemed so interested in representing you. The positive pregnancy test you’ve longed to see. When those things don’t happen, it's easier to ask, "Why bother to keep trying? Why not give up and save ourselves the heartache?"

Because we can’t.

Hope springs eternal for that dream, even if it’s only an inkling of an urge…oh you know, about the size of a mustard seed? Yep. That small. We’re holding on to that hope. Because there’s this part of us that wonders…what if we give up today and then discover our dream would’ve been realized tomorrow? What if we've given up too soon?
Like Niko, we might struggle with getting rid of the stench of rejection. It might weigh us down or make us feel less than. It might be the voice that seems louder than all the others, telling us we’re not enough, that we’ll never make it. Rejection can sure feel like a skunk attack.

For Niko, the de-skunking required two lengthy baths, some intense soaking in the soap, and a final grooming appointment. It wasn’t easy. He had to be committed. At least, his owners did.

And he had to know that all of the time – even the waiting time – was worth it. The process was necessary to rid him of the stench that had drenched his fur.
Friend, I don’t know where you are or what it is that you’re enduring, but can I encourage you today and tell you that waiting for your dream is necessary? And if rejection or disappointment have left you feeling skunked, know that hope—even a teeny tiny portion of it—is all you need to keep the dream alive. Get that odor of rejection off you and keep dreaming. Who knows what tomorrow might bring?


21 comments:

  1. Beautiful words of encouragement, Sharee, and bless Niko's heart. I went through the same thing with our dog once. It was a challenge.

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  2. Thank you Mary! This was my first up close skunk experience and definitely not one I want to repeat.

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  3. So sorry about your dog's misadventure, Sharee, but glad he's all right, and that you made your flight! Also glad you were able to see the positive side of it all and use the experience to offer comfort and encouragement to others. Thank you!

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    1. Hi Laura!! Thank you for stopping by to hear poor Niko's story :)

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  4. Great words of encouragement, Sharee! We writers tend to live in a bubble and it's easy to blow things out of proportion. Yeah, rejection stinks (pun?), but after a hearty round of coffee and doughnuts, we can easily (most of the time) reframe the experience and try again!

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    1. Amen Cynthia! Sometimes a little cyber hug helps to remind us we're not alone.

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  5. Good morning, Sharee.

    Through the years, we've had several dogs get sprayed by skunks. It's never a pleasant experience. (If you've never seen the old movie, The Night of the Grizzly, I'd recommend it just for the skunk scene...)

    Rejections definitely stink, but you did such a good job reminding to keep hope!

    Niko is such a beautiful dog. We used to have a German Shepard named Quigley. They are so smart.

    Rejections definitely stink.

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    1. Connie!! I'm so glad you stopped by! Quigley is the perfect name for a Shepherd. I love it! I must admit, I'm horribly biased when it comes to GSDs...they're just beautifully intelligent animals. I guess I should've given Niko Stranger Danger lessons on skunks...giggle. And I will definitely have to check out The Night of the Grizzly. :)

      Praying hope outweighs rejections every single time.
      Hugs!

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  6. Oh, Sharee! I can't imagine what a frenzy the skunk encounter put you into, knowing you had a flight to catch! Ysy to your son for coming to the rescue! -- Thanks for the encouragment. It's so much better when we realize we are all dreaming together, and when we feel skunked, we're not alone.

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    1. AMEN Karen! And yes, my son got to be my hero that day. Too cool. Dreaming is so much fun together with writing friends!

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  7. Sharee, your encouraging words are so appreciated. Those skunked times are not fun. I was panicked when a skunk wandered through our yard this summer. It didn’t stop, thankfully. I can’t imagine a pet sprayed just before a trip. Oh, my!

    I love your thoughts about clinging to HOPE as our dreams come true. From small seeds of hope, big dreams can grow. Blessings!

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    1. Sherida, you're so right! Keep planting the seeds. Hope does not disappoint!

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  8. Sharee, I’ve been skunked in my writing life more times than I like to remember. And you’re so right, it’s not fun. Your words are a welcome encouragement to keep on persevering.

    I’m so thankful Niko is smelling sweet again. Hopefully that will be his one and only encounter with a skunk!

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    1. Oh Terri, I wish we could chat over pumpkin spice lattes and laugh about our skunking incidents. There's gotta be comic relief in this writing journey somewhere?

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  9. SSharee, we had a skunk go through our yard and I only smelled it when our border collieX raced to the back door and threw himself against it to come in. I was sure he'd been sprayed but once I got him inside - nope! He was fine, just shaking in his boots, lol. I guess he ran faster than the spray or something but the yard sure stank for a few hours. I got lucky! But you're quite right with this metaphor, rejections in life and with our writing do stink and are hard to take. Especially if they pile on one after the other. But sometimes we can outrun disaster like my Apollo and learn from the experience to on what to avoid the next time!

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    1. Laurie, I love that analogy! And kudos to your Apollo for outrunning that skunk.

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  10. Oh, I want to introduce Niko to my Lucy! She's a German husky and looks a lot like Niko. All I can say is "Skunks are no fun."

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    1. Oh Pamela, I'm guessing Lucy is gorgeous and that your house is fur-covered like mine? We joke that we have a German SHEDDER. Giggle.

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  11. Oh, my. What a way to start the day. Glad you made it to ACFW and you know if I’d be around, I would have done a walgreen’s run for you, darling. So good to see you at the conference! No more skunks for your doggie!

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    1. Ms Lenora, you will forever be my Walgreen's-Heroine who saves the day :) And yes ma'am, Niko and I are officially boycotting all skunks from here on out.

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  12. Sorry I'm a day behind, Sharee, but what a wonderfully encouraging post!! I'm sorry that happened to you (and Niko!) but I love a happy ending (and a clean-smelling one, too, LOL). ;)
    It was SO FUN seeing you at ACFW, and I only wish Nebraska and Georgia weren't so far apart!
    Hugs, Patti Jo

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