Am I Really An Impostor?

Effy touched on this in her blog post today.  You can read that here.  Some good stuff, I tell ya!!

Impostor syndrome and authenticity, am I either?  Something I struggle with daily.  I always feel like I have no right to  call myself a writer or an artist or a photographer. When someone asks me what I do, the words get stuck in my throat and I glance around for someone to save me from the conversation.  I have no confidence in my voice when I even manage to utter one of those words.  I feel like an impostor or that I am not being authentic because I don’t have much to show for it.

All my life, I’ve been told who/what I wasn’t and who/what I couldn’t be.
Like when I was a kid, I used to say I want to be a doctor or nurse. And my mother would reply, you can’t do that you hate needles, you hate blood.  Needles yes…I mean I was a kid and some grown up coming at me with a sharp object scared the shit out of me.  I can’t really say I was afraid of blood though. Not that I can honestly recall because as a kid I can’t remember seeing any.
Or I’d say I want to be a teacher.  Her response was, you can’t be a teacher, you hate school.  I had a love/hate of it really.  I loved learning history or practicing penmanship.  I was that weird kid that  would ask the teacher if we could work in our penmanship books even after she made us take pages and pages of notes off the blackboard. I didn’t like nuns authoritarian ways. The corporal punishment I saw some of my classmates experience just for not comprehending a topic.

She didn’t want me to go to college. Said I didn’t need to waste time on a piece of paper.  I only got a year in before I ended up moving out of state.  My first three semesters, I was on the Dean’s List.  I was so proud of myself.  The last semester, was just about after I got married and then my Grandma had a mastectomy. So my grades went to shit. I didn’t
re-enroll after that and then we moved.   He wanted me to study something business related because he thought I’d help him run his business.  Free labor.  I couldn’t do the Algebra required with the business courses.  It’s like a foreign language to me.  He promised to help me with it, but when it came down to it he belittled me instead.  Made me feel stupid.  I ended up switching majors to one where I could have been a case worker for young children.  He was pissed!! But I enjoyed my classes and was happier. But when we moved, I couldn’t go back to school as I had no way to get there.

Back in 2005, when I first really tried my hand at writing.  I had some ideas of a story I wanted to write.  The not yet ex tried to appear supportive and bought me a laptop for Christmas that year.  I still don’t know why really, I had a desktop I was using that was fine and it’s not like I went anywhere to take a laptop with me.  Back then, I wrote everything by hand and when I couldn’t write anymore I would then type it up in a document on the PC or later the laptop.  I would edit and add as I went.  It’s a system that works for me.  After a while though, he started criticizing what I was writing even though he knew nothing about it.  Then he progressed to telling me what I should be writing about and how I should be doing it.  He would take jabs at me veiled as jokes like are you getting paid yet, you’re not a writer unless you’re getting paid for it.

A year later, my Grandma died and I couldn’t find the words to write.  I have been struggling to find my writing voice since. And still over the next couple of years he’d still make those stupid “jokes” about am I getting paid yet.

In 2008, I found art or it found me.  The first class I ever invested in was Connie from Dirty Footprints class BIG.  Around that time, I also discovered Tam from Willowing and not long after I found Effy and Suzi Blu and some of the other art journalers out there.  I was fascinated by the idea of art journaling.  I wanted to take the next step after BIG, but couldn’t. I’m still a little bummed about that.

But then the jokes came about art. And some crap about making money.  I had even less space then to create in.  I pinned brown craft paper to the wall and then pinned a sheet of poster paper  on that. That’s how I did BIG.  My laptop still has paint splatters on it as it was directly below my “easel”. I struggled through art journaling on my desk in front of my key board.  I saw so many classes that I wanted to take but couldn’t. He controlled ALL the money.  I’m still surprised he let me take BIG.

If something I did gave me joy but didn’t benefit him in any way, it was mocked.  He would acted supportive at first or in front of others.  ALWAYS in front of others.  But if I wasn’t making money from it, to him it was a waste of time.

So all his snide comments would ring in my head about how I couldn’t be something if I wasn’t making money from it.  It didn’t matter if it brought me any joy or what it did for me.  All the words thrown at me over the years just ring in my head often and sometimes quite loudly.

I feel like a fraud if I call myself a writer or an artist.  I’m not published.  I’ve never even finished a book or story.  I’m not in a gallery. I have nothing worth selling.  I don’t even create consistently.  I feel like an impostor.  How dare I call myself any of these things!

But that’s how my brain works.  I think even if I wrote something that made some money or  even sold a piece of art, I would still feel like an impostor.  I don’t feel like I am  worthy to call myself writer or artist.

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. angelsloveyou
    Apr 28, 2019 @ 12:59:45

    I have a little bit of that feeling like a fraud too. But we are not frauds. We are sensitive souls who are trying to find our way. Most people don’t take the time to be open to our feelings and blog about it. You are doing this. You are a seeker, an artist and a writer even if you don’t get paid. Yes I understand how you can feel this way of course, but really this is not YOU. It is just an old nasty belief that came from someone who ____________ you fill out the words. Big hugs ❤


  2. ascentedpath
    Apr 29, 2019 @ 07:12:47

    I totally get the imposter feeling, I”m glad he’s an ex. He definitely hasn’t been the support he should have been. You are a writer if you write, you are an artist if you are. Keep doing what you love, because you love it!


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