I’m looking in…
That line really speaks volumes to me about my life. I often seem to others that I’m in the mix of things getting involved being super friendly. In truth I’m not, for me I’m as the song lyrics by Staind say on the outside. That line sums up the nature of this blog or at least what this blog means to me. You see I want to talk about impostor syndrome and for me it’s that, the fear of being discovered, that keeps me outside. It keeps me from becoming part of any one thing because then everyone would know.
Know what you ask… well it varies for me depending on the situation and remember this is just my experience with it for others it might be different. Although if this can help someone understand the fear someone goes through with impostor syndrome then well I’ve achieved one good thing at least.
With my closest and dear friends those I’ve known 10 plus years and those I’ve met more recently I fear you’ll discover me for what I am. A terrible person, selfish, a bad friend, arrogant and rude. I sit waiting and watching convinced that these people I respect as highly intelligent surely will work out what a terrible person I am. You can’t all be friends with me because I truly am good or kind, it’s but luck, by chance and I fooled you all well. That’s tiring I must admit I spend so much of my time convinced you’ll all catch me in this lie that I’m constantly over worrying, apologising & trying to make up for a thing I may not even have done other than in my head. I honestly don’t think I’m smart or funny or any other positive word.
Within the d&d community, well one day honestly, I think you’ll all chase me out, probably with pitch folks. Every time I’m invited to do something, join pocket mimic, join encounter RP… there have been other twitch channels that have approached me, the other collaborative work that I’ve been involved with, well I’m waiting. Waiting for someone who will realise I’m a fake, that I know nothing, I can’t d&d and I certainly can’t DM. How my players haven’t discovered that I’ll never understand! It truly baffles me some days to why anyone would think I bring value to the community or have a valid voice or opinion I mean after all it’s not talent that has bought me this far. It’s nothing but luck, the right place at the right time or good blagging skills. I can list you 100 reasons why and none of them are that I’m talented or skilled, my only talent lies in my ability to fake it.
Work well the idea of being an expert of knowing what I’m talking about baffles me. I listen to people agree or commend my work and really, I’m not sure how they don’t see it. I hear the words come out of my mouth and to me anybody could say them, there is nothing new or profoundly clever in what I say. Currently I’ve been involved in a massive, complex and important bit of work and people keep looking to me for advice. Me??!! And then they listen it terrifies me that they haven’t seen the truth yet. What I truly am an expert in is faking or the sell. I can dress it up and sell it in pretty words. Mostly I’m hoping that thing I once read is true as I hope and pray that people don’t discover I have no idea! I mean I don’t even think of myself as clever or capable. Yes, I have a degree and yes it was a good grade but I scraped that, it was a fluke, somehow someone took pity who knows, but it can’t have been skill or talent right?!
The hardest battle is that this isn’t every day and the intensity isn’t always the same. This makes me feel and sound like I’m flip flopping. One day I may say to my players for example ‘ok I finally see what you all see and maybe I got this DM shit’. Eventually, it maybe hours it might be days or weeks the voice will say ‘but you know it’s just luck, Right?! Just chance you managed to pull this one off’. I live in this perpetual battle of one side of me condemning and the other slowly getting weaker in the battle as it stammers ‘no… but… well actually…’
So, I don’t join in more than I must. I make friends but I keep most of them at arm’s length, in the year that I have moved I’ve had so few of my oldest friends or people from my closest group over. There is an element of subconscious distancing I’m giving them the chance to make that polite exit from my life without a scene. I don’t tell them this of course as there is a chance they might stop me instead I make myself look busy in the hopes they forget. Then of course it becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy because they don’t reach out and stop me from doing the thing they have no idea I’m doing. Then I can go ahha! I was right look at them not fighting for my friendship they realised I’m not worth it.
It’s the same with the creative endeavours, everyone I know is so impressed I’ve punished two short stories. Well that’s easy, it was fluke and a friend was publishing them, she took pity on a friend who wanted to try their hand at writing. In truth I honestly know this isn’t true her publishing house is something she’s worked hard and she wouldn’t publish shit for the sake of a friend. However, it’s easier for me than accepting the truth… that I might actually be good at something right? My brain skirts from that thought.
I know this is not fair, I do the people closest to me a disservice after all these are intelligent, passionate, inspiring, strong people they are not fools. I’m slowly learning to listen to them to trust them. If I trust them with my life then surely, it’s not any hard to trust them on this? Some days it is easy, others well the voice whispering to me is louder. I’m learning to talk about it so that people understand the complexity of the relationship I have with myself. I’ve had both talking therapy and CBT I know the tricks and tools to manage it, trying to look at it with a different perspective. I’m learning to trust, if you don’t think I’m a fraud maybe I’m not. It’s a slow process and one I need to think about daily as every so often something new will happen and boom the thoughts are there ‘you’re a fake!!!’, ‘you’re a fraud!!!’.
And mum before you email me or leave a comment (although always much loved and appreciated) I know in theory the truth of what you’ll say it’s not that I don’t. I get the mechanics that with a good IQ for example I must be intelligent I just don’t really connect me with that thought. I’m also ok for me this is less about confessing a thing I’m in the midst of, that I need help. It’s a frank look at what my brain says compared to what you all say is the truth, what deep down I probably know as the truth….
When the impostor syndrome hasn’t got me in its grasps.
Finally, it’s an honest look at the thoughts around it and to say you’re not alone, I get you. I know how hard it is to sometimes accept that maybe you are all the things people around you and your achievements show. Have faith in the people around you for they have faith in you. Maybe reach out… talk… Step inside.