Impostor Syndrome

I recently read a phrase in a blog that I greatly enjoy, impostor syndrome, it immediately powered every light on my panel. That! Exactly That!  I suddenly had the words to how I feel in every aspect of my life.

I am eternally waiting for someone to walk up to me and say, “what are you doing here, you are not qualified to handle this, you can’t be in charge”.

When I say every aspect I really mean EVERY aspect.  From as early as elementary school, when I would walk into the private school I attended each morning I did so with an anxious stomach, just certain my class mates would have realized I did not belong.  In high school, every time a teacher called me up to the desk I was sure it was to tell me there had been a mistake and I was not supposed to be in honors or advanced placement classes.

This feeling has continued throughout my life.  I was always bracing for someone to take my kids away with an astute, “you have no business raising these babies” or for my husband to suddenly announce that our marriage was over because I was not able to be a good wife.

Despite this constant feeling of my fraudulent behavior being on the verge of  discovery I kept moving forward.  I started college when my children were 3 and 5.  I took a position teaching preschool when they were 6 and 8.  I showed up to all their activities and volunteered for all of their groups.  Now, I work in a non-profit agency helping people to get back on their feet and to achieve self-sufficiency after struggling with poverty.  Through every single thing I did I waited for someone to suddenly realize that I had snuck in under the radar and to quickly eject me.

So far no one has caught on.  I still feel everything tighten up, the anxiety build and the uncertainty scream in my head before every phone call or conversation, but I am here.  And I want to thank the others that came before me and stepped out despite how hard it is and spoke about this feeling.  And to Jenny Lawson, The Bloggess , thank you for helping me to laugh at myself because I see myself in everything you write.

Now, I am going to get back to work before anyone realizes that who they have running this place.

I have written 11 books but each time I think ‘Uh-oh, they’re going to find out now. I’ve run a game on everybody, and they’re going to find me out.’

—Maya Angelou


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