Hello. My name is Viv and I’m a fraud.
I’ve been procrastinating. Again. Although I did write about my quit smoking efforts on September 6, I haven’t published a truly straight-from-the heart blog post since August 24. In other words, it’s been three weeks – THREE WEEKS – since I last wore my heart on my virtual sleeve. Why? Because I’ve been suffering from a serious case of imposter syndrome.
Sure, I talk like a blogger, write like a blogger, and post like a blogger, but am I really a blogger? That’s the kind of crap that’s been running around my head lately. If I were a real blogger, I tell myself, I’d be on the front page of Google every time, or for sure the second. I’d have hundreds of subscribers, my posts would be going viral, and my blogging income would at least be covering my hosting fees and domain, but it isn’t. Clearly I’m a fraud.
It’s powerful stuff, this imposter syndrome.
I remember the first time I felt like a fraud. I was in my early teens. Every summer, my older brother and I would leave our humble family home in England to spend a few weeks with our grandparents in Canada. While we weren’t particularly wealthy, we certainly weren’t poor. Still, our grandparents were wealthier than us, and many of our other Canadian family members were, frankly speaking, rich. I was in awe of their big houses and Cadillacs, the multiple bathrooms in their homes, the elaborate parties they threw, the generous gifts they gave us and the bottomless bowl of cherries in my great Aunt Clara’s living room. I lapped up their affection. I felt lucky and loved. But I never truly felt like I belonged. Perhaps that’s where it all began.
My memory bank is full of experiences like this. For example, about 10 years ago I went to a private spa with a girlfriend just outside London. She had a membership and was dying to treat me to a special day out. Sounds pretty nice, doesn’t it? Let me tell you, it wasn’t! I found myself so overwhelmed by the eager-to-please-me staff, the endless supply of plush white towels, the complimentary toiletries and my friend’s incredible ease with all of the above that I actually told her I needed to leave. I just couldn’t handle it.
And years later, when I was on a second-ish date at Soho House in Manhattan with my now husband, I broke down in tears because I felt like an utter phony. A little context in case you need it: Soho House is an exclusive members-only club. If you’re a Sex in the City fan, you may recall Samantha Jones being thrown out to her great humiliation. There I am, eating breakfast while Max tucks into his scrambled eggs and toast (hardly intimidating) and I start bawling my eyes out. The pressure was just too much. I was convinced I was going to get busted.
Most of us feel our cover’s going to get blown at some time or another.
That’s the reason imposter syndrome is actually a thing! In the boardroom, at a dinner party, in a mom and baby group – we’re all faking it to some degree. Some of us are just better at faking the faking than others. I’m definitely not one of them.
Before I married Max, I was the proud owner of a Toyota Matrix. I loved that car. Compared to the Chevy Cavalier I’d been driving for 10 years prior, it was luxury. I remember my daughter saying, “wow, Mommy, it’s like a truck!” But Max was having none of it. My guy’s a bit of a divo (that’s boy for diva) and he loves a good badge, so when he came into our lives, we traded up to a Lexus. Man, did I feel like a fraud when I started driving that car.
I wear Birkenstocks, for heaven’s sake. I’m not a Lexus kinda gal … but then who is? Six years later, I’m still driving a Lexus, and you know what I’ve finally realized? It’s all bullshit! Seriously. I’m as much of a Lexus driver as anyone else driving a Lexus. Not because of who I am or who I’m not, but because I’m literally driving the damn thing!
As the saying goes, if it walks like a duck, it is a duck. And so it follows, if it drives a Lexus, it’s a Lexus driver. If it goes to a fancy spa, it’s a fancy spa goer. And if it writes a blog, it’s a bloody blogger, no matter how many page views it gets. Now, about that how to I promised you. You’re convinced you’re an imposter. I’m here to tell you you’re not!
Next time you catch yourself thinking, “I’m a fraud,” STOP.
You are NOT a fraud. You just feel like one, and that’s a very different thing. So stop comparing yourself to others. Picture everyone around you naked. And remember, even the famous feel insecure. Celebrated author and poet Maya Angelou once 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.”‘
When is enough actually going to be enough to convince you that you’re the real thing? You heard Maya. She’s written 11 books and still feels like a phony. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how much fame you acquire, how much money you earn, how many awards you win or how many Facebook followers you have. You will never have enough to convince yourself you’re worthy. Just keep being your beautiful, perfect authentic self and trust that you are enough.
Are you with me?