Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Impostors at every level

The funny thing about the impostor syndrome in writing is that we often forget that it breeds itself and proliferates.

At my day job recently, I was nominated to help our Union (Join the union, pay the dues, unless you aren’t into things like sick leave, 40 hour work weeks, health insurance, vacation). So I have to go to the employer who will surely be bringing a lawyer to the table.

A lawyer.

Why am I intimidated by a lawyer?

I’ve been thinking about this a lot. For some reason, lawyers have always had a place in my mind as the pinnacle of modern professionals. They dress nice (I have nice clothes, too). They have a fancy degree (I’ve got one of those, too). And they have confidence (uhmmm…).

To be frank, I have considerably more education than required to be a lawyer (I have more education than is required to be a surgeon), so it’s not their intelligence. So why do I feel like a complete fraud going to talk to them?

Part of it is that I have always viewed myself as the underdog. I have never come into a situation and thought for sure I would win a fight. I didn’t feel adult enough to buy my first home (or my second, to be honest). I feel like most people got off the train when they were younger and started believing in themselves as adults long ago, and I somehow missed the stop—honestly I was probably playing D&D at the time. In fact, I’m sort of terrified that someone will show up with a clip board and say “Rena, you enjoy things too much to be on this Very Serious Panel That Discusses Very Serious Things. Go home, impostor.”

So here I am, a little shocked to find that everyone at every level experiences some impostor syndrome. And for me, my impostor syndrome is tied to me feeling like an outsider. I have never fit in, and I’m not going to start now just because the other side of the table has lawyers.

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