So, for my Wednesday Writing Wisdom post, I’m going to partially reblog something from 2016 with some new content because I still deal with this monster all the time.
What is this monster?
Not Marsie the Cat.
Not Gabby the Dog who looks like she’s about to eat her brother’s head.
It’s Imposter Syndrome
How I Battle Imposter Syndrome
So, recently I was having a big period called, “I Suck At Everything.” It’s pretty much a variant of the dreaded Imposter Syndrome.
What is Imposter Syndrome? It’s when you feel like everyone is suddenly going to realize that you are:
- A big fraud.
- You suck
- Basically a big, sucky fraud that’s about to get called out by the YOU TRULY SUCK YOU LYING FRAUD PATROL WHO HAVE EXPRESSIONS LIKE THIS
And lots of amazing people have Imposter Syndrome. What kind of amazing people? People like Maya Angelo who has said,
“I have written eleven 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.”
So, yeah, Maya Angelou, THE Maya Angelou has it, which kind of only makes mine worse because I think,
“Um… I’m not that cool. I’m not even worthy of having imposter syndrome.”
This is even though I logically know that I’ve been on the NYT bestseller list, some of my books were bestselling books in other languages and I’ve even received awards for writing and I get happy reader email. And even though I just looked up “Carrie Jones Quotes” and found all these things I said that someone put to pictures/photos.
(Yes, I did just google myself). My mom always used to google me, but she’s dead, so I can’t rely on her to tell me things about myself – or all the other Carrie Joneses in the world – any more.
Anyways, here is the thing:
Logic does not matter when you have imposter syndrome.
Some people think Imposter Syndrome comes from feeling like you’re more important than you actually are. This might be true for others, but – ohmyfreakingword – seriously? I barely think I am doing anything halfway good enough to make this world a tiny bit better. This is so not my problem. It’s totally okay if it’s part of yours though.
My personal Imposter Syndrome is linked to my I DO NOT DO ENOUGH syndrome. For instance if I don’t make a TO-DO LIST and strike things off each day, I will feel like I accomplished nothing all day. If I accomplish nothing all day, I hate myself, feel guilty, and go to bed depressed. So, I always try to make to do lists like this:
This visual representation, PLUS the advice of a friend on Facebook (Yes, they do exist), made me realize that I had to do the same thing with my imposter syndrome. I had to start collecting visual evidence to convince myself that I don’t completely suck.
I remind myself that I have been called out before and I have survived.
As someone who was connected to our local, mostly volunteer fire department, I witnessed our community come together a lot.
It is a beautiful and glorious and sometimes harrowing thing to see firefighters leave their families, dinners, jobs and go out and help other people.
I blogged about this once and a large, pedantic man caught me off guard less than a week later and berated me for writing schmaltz. That schmaltz was my heart.
I was devastated. I was irate. I survived.
You can survive trolls and bigger baddies, too, like your skirt falling in NYC in front of a line of people waiting for a taxi, or a bad review or even a bad spouse or the school calling crisis response because you’re kid (who has autism and tends towards hyperbole) whispers, “I hate math so much, I’m going to kill myself.”
I try to remind myself of all the things I have survived, sleeping in a car, witnessing a terror attack, sleeping with the enemy, massive amounts of seizures, assault, in order to realize that people thinking I’m a fraud? Calling me out for sucking? It will hurt. It does hurt. But it can be overcome. Other people have overcome so much more.
Reminding myself of the bad things that I’ve survived isn’t something I like to do because I don’t want those things to define me. I don’t let them define me. But sometimes, it’s good to realize that being a survivor is something I can be proud of.
That picture up there is me being super classy after my graduate school gave me an award for being an outstanding alum. Katharine Paterson gave out the award. Yes, THE Katharine Paterson. So what did I do? I put it on my head and giggled. So glam. So chill.
Anyway, some people have imposter syndrome that comes from comparisons. They see someone else doing awesomely (in the book world, a prize, a list, an invitation to a conference) and think, “I suck because that is not me.”
Mine doesn’t work that way.
Mine is about fear not about envy. Mine is about the fear that I will be ridiculed for who I am and how I think. Mine is about the fear that my abilities are not enough. (Honestly, I can barely tie my shoes because my mechanical skills are so awful.) Mine is about being so poor that you don’t know how you’ll survive, about the pain from being betrayed, about being hurt physically, about public ridicule because of your political views or decisions, about cognitive degeneration, about not fitting in because you grew up outside of what society’s norms are. My fear is about things that have already happened to me and I don’t want to happen again.
My imposter syndrome is about exposure even when I have already been exposed, which is why I am doing the podcasts, “Dogs are Smarter Than People” and “Loving the Strange.” I am facing that fear.
My imposter syndrome is about a society where truth is never good enough because truth is not pretty enough. My imposter syndrome is about a society where people ridicule your heart, your kindness, your vulnerability and other people applaud that.
My imposter syndrome is about fear.
That’s all it is.
So I remind myself with my notebook that I have had joys, that I have had tiny, kind interactions, where I have touched other people’s stories and gotten to glimpse at their truths and their lives and how amazing is that? It is amazing.
My notebook is to remind me that no matter what happens in the future, I have had those moments, been blessed by them, and lucky. It’s to remind me that you can’t be an imposter when all you are doing is being yourself. Your self.
Go be yourself, people.
Go write your stories! The world needs to hear them.
NEW BOOK ALERT!
I just want to let everyone know that INCHWORMS (The Dude Series Book 2) is out and having a good time as Dude competes for a full scholarship at a prestigious Southern college and getting into a bit of trouble.
Here’s what it’s about:
A fascinating must-read suspense from New York Times bestseller Carrie Jones.
A new chance visiting a small Southern college.
A potential love interest for a broken girl obsessed with psychology.
A damaged group of co-eds.
A drowning that’s no accident.
A threat that seems to have no end.
And just like that Jessica Goodfeather aka Dude’s trip away from her claustrophobic life in Maine to try to get an amazing scholarship to her dream school has suddenly turned deadly. Again.
What would you do to make a difference?
After his best friend Norah was almost abducted, Cole Nicholaus has spent most of his childhood homeschooled, lonely and pining for Norah to move from best friend to girl friend status. When birds follow him around or he levitates the dishes, he thinks nothing of it—until a reporter appears and pushes him into making a choice: stay safe at home or help save a kidnapped kid.
Cole and Norah quickly end up trying to not just save a kid, but an entire town from a curse that has devastating roots and implications for how exactly Cole came to be the saint that he is.
Can Cole stop evil from hurting him and Norah again? And maybe even get together? Only the saints know.
From the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of the NEED series, Saint is a book about dealing with the consequences that make us who we are and being brave enough to admit who we love and what we need.
BUY NOW! 🙂 I made a smiley face there so you don’t feel like I’m too desperate.