“Oh, by the way, this letter arrived for you yesterday”.
My husband plops a slim white envelope on the bathroom vanity. The return address belongs to an arts institution I have sent, not one, but two separate proposals to over the last few months.
My stomach lurches.
My heart pumps a fresh shot of adrenaline through my body.
The Letter I Have Been Waiting For is here. I need only to rip the thin layer of paper to know.
I pick up the letter, walk to the bedroom, and place it on the dresser. I put it address side down so I am not able to read any words through the paper.
I consider the letter and what it might contain.
My stomach flips.
I prepare myself for all possible outcomes.
I try to be rational.
Statistically the letter is most likely to be of the “Thanks, but No Thanks” kind. A tactfully worded note will inform me that, although my work has merit, there just isn’t enough funding or space or need at this time. (I think a successful applicant would receive notice by email, followed by a formal letter, don’t you?) I will sigh and accept the news. I will allow myself a good mope and then move on. I may even convince myself I have more creative freedom this way. (Who needs them anyway!)
As I try to keep myself calm and prepared for the worst, the wide-eyed optimist inside still dares to hope for the best. It reminds me that I spent a lot of time and effort on my proposals. One of them could be successful. My work is worthy. I have had plenty of encouragement. I have done my best. I know acceptance by this institution would mean a lot to me.
I allow myself to dream a little.
There is also a really, really small voice that whispers, “What if both of my proposals were selected?” My rational mind is quick to chastise this voice for going too far, but still….what if? (The term “over the moon” comes to mind.) At the same time, the insecure voice says “Oh no, then you will actually have to succeed! There will be so much more potential for failure.” EEK!
The last possibility I can fathom is the letter pertains to a subject unrelated to my proposals. Perhaps the institution would like me to participate in a survey, attend a conference, or discover a new program. My hopes and fears will be put on hold for another day.
I take the letter off the dresser. I turn it over in my hand.
The letter holds potential for triumph, disappointment, frustration, fear, elation, suspense, success, depression, tears, and relief. If fact, no matter what the news is, I will probably experience all of the above.
There is nothing more frightening than success, except perhaps failure.
So, is the dream alive or dead or something else altogether?
Let me open this letter and find out.