Imposter Syndrome

Two weeks ago I went to an event that my friend, Jen, threw. She owns her own coaching and consulting business called Plucky that focuses on building healthy relationships at work. In an effort to support women in the workplace by promoting conversations between women about work, she developed this networking event called #PluckyWomen.

I hadn’t gone to one because until a few weeks ago, I had hung up my writer hat for some time and hadn’t worked in a real capacity outside of childrearing in two years. Plus, as an awkward introvert who suffers from anxiety, networking events aren’t exactly my thing. But the idea of Brimming came to me and I was really tempted to actually do something about it.

So I went. I hadn’t launched Brimming yet. I had written a few posts and mostly focused on the design of the website. I felt like as a full time mom, I didn’t have much of a right to be there (imposter syndrome strikes). But Jen is unbelievably gracious, welcoming and inclusive to the point that I knew she would be totally supportive of my showing up, even if she didn’t know why at first (she was and I owe her so much).

So at the last minute, my husband agreed to put the kiddo to bed and I hopped in my car to drive downtown. To a bar. On a weeknight. At the very least, I was getting a spontaneous night off, which felt pretty bad ass. I listened to Show Your Work on the way,  because I’m a fangirl who can’t get enough.

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When I arrived, it was just me and Jen for awhile. I told her all about my hopes and dreams. Like, actually. All my desires as a writer and what I hoped to accomplish with Brimming. More awesome, interesting and successful women showed up. We had a great conversation about work and motherhood and how it all related to imposter syndrome, the theme Jen had hand-picked for the month to center our discussion around. (I obviously told them about Show Your Work because it is so excellent and touches on so many of the topics we were discussing, imposter syndrome included.)

 

I have and have had imposter syndrome in spades with my career change. I didn’t go to school for English, creative writing, or anything in the writing field. I got my degrees in Psychology and Social Work. There’s a fair bit of essay writing and character deconstruction to be sure, but it’s not a formal education in the world of writing.

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Sweet summer child, your journey awaits.

I worked as a social worker for several years, to varying degrees of fulfillment, but always had a story brewing. I would write scenes in my head, jot down notes in the middle of the night, journal every day. I utilized writing therapy with my clients, an effective tool and also an excuse to write. I wanted to write, I had always wanted to write, but I just hadn’t been aware or brave enough when I was younger to really pursue it.

When I burnt out of the field, for it being unendingly strenuous and criminally underpaid, I decided that it was time to give writing a real shot. I started out knowing nothing. I kind of still know nothing. I’m the Jon Snow of writing. And it was tough to start from scratch. No network, no writing buddies, no insider knowledge. It was a lonely path I had chosen, this early thirties career about-face.

I felt like such a fraud. I often still feel like some chick with a keyboard who fancies herself a writer. A wannabe. Like my dreams are absurd and that the career I chose for myself at the age of 18 should have been the one I stuck with.

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The writer in her natural habitat.

But I had to do it. I have to do it. Writing fills me in a way that nothing else ever has. My anxiety eases, my mind clears, my fingers fly and I am transported to a place where breathing is easier, time doesn’t exist and the constant movement stills.

It can also be when miracles tend to happen.

My best friend texted me the other night at 10pm to tell me that Lainey and Duana, of Show Your Work and LaineyGossip, had given me a shout-out on this week’s podcast episode (“Rihanna, Robert Pattinson, and “that f-cking boat movie”“). The very podcast I have written about. The very podcast I had talked about at the #PluckyWomen event a mere two weeks ago.

I rushed in disbelief to the website, my heart racing. There it was.

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Say what now?? #fangirlforlife #Illevenchangemynametoeve

And then, even more astonishing, they TALKED ABOUT ME AND BRIMMING ON THE PODCAST ITSELF. WHAT?!?!

ME. This imposter who has no idea what she’s doing.

They discussed how much they enjoy hearing how their listeners are working, how Show Your Work inspires us listeners to engage in and pursue our work, and encouraged me, and all of us, to keep working hard.

I cried. I listened again. I sent it to my husband. He cried (okay, teared up, but still).

I am floored. I am beyond stunned. Honored. Proud.

I’ve been so afraid to put myself and my writing out there. To expose these vulnerable sides of myself, to admit once and for all that I’m giving writing the full effort. That I’m not half dabbling in one career and half giving up on the other.

Brimming was just an idea. After years of hand-wringing and talking myself out of it, I finally decided to just go for it.  The #PluckyWomen were so supportive, they held me to my deadline of launching a week after we had met. This shout-out on Show Your Work a mere one week (!) into the life of this blog will be all the motivation I need to keep going.

Women supporting women is the most powerful tool we have. 

So for me, Brimming is my ever-evolving coming out party. I don’t know what my career holds. I don’t know that I won’t need a day job. I don’t know so much.

But what I do know, is that I am no imposter.  I’m a damn writer and I’m going to keep showing you my work. I hope you’ll join me.

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