I is for Impostor Syndrome

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I’ve been having strange dreams lately. You know those weird, recurring, not-quite-nightmares that linger?

This is the one where you’re some place. Somewhere you want to be, and you can see in, but somehow, no matter what you do,  you can’t find your way inside. There are variations, of course, but that’s the basic idea. You want to be inside; you want to be with whatever happy and successful people are in there.

In the most recent iteration of this particular dream, I was looking into a couple’s bedroom, watching her breastfeed their baby while they entertained their Tribe of Creatives.

They both knew I was there. They waved and smiled, and looked right at me, but they couldn’t help me get inside. I woke up sometime during the waving.

(This all made complete sense, at the time.)

My subconscious could put me in a dream where I’m at the party. It could make me the center of attention, the life of the party.

And yet, it doesn’t. There’s always a wall. Something to keep me out.

Something to say I don’t belong.

That’s not rational, of course. There is space for me in the creative community. There has to be, because that’s the nature of a community. There’s space for the two year old with his first box of crayons and for Michelangelo.

But I don’t want to be at the kiddie table. And there’s always a better table just a few row over.

And maybe I still have work to do to belong there. And definitely to belong at the one after that.

At least I know I’ll be welcome when I get there.

3 thoughts on “I is for Impostor Syndrome

  1. Juneta says:

    Wow, that’s deep. It’s good you are dreaming that means your subconscious is trying to work it out or deal with the feelings.

    Happy A to Z

  2. Eva says:

    Sometime this year, I read about the impostor syndrome in medical students and doctors and realised that was totally me. It seems I go to work every day and just wait until somebody finds out I’m faking it.

    I sometimes wonder when I will dare call myself a runner. I’ve run two half-marathons, but I struggle with running regularly, and I never train well enough to increase my speed beyond that of a turtle in molasses. I wouldn’t call myself a runner, but what would I have to accomplish to deserve that?

    And I would never call myself a writer, though I’ve written – well, a lot. (But never published anything fictional (not yet, at any rate).)

    I don’t really know why this should be so. Or what can be done about it. But I think, when I REALLY think about it, I AM a runner, a writer, a dancer, a researcher. I am all that. I may not be a particularly GOOD one, but hey. That’s not actually part of the definition, is it? 😉

    • Karen says:

      This is so very much me, too. I’m always pushing myself, but I never get to the point that I can confidently call myself a… whatever.
      Of course, if you’re not comparing yourself to somebody better than you are, that would make moving forward hard.

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