Lately, I’ve felt extremely tired. Physically. Mentally. Emotionally. And yesterday I finally put words on something that had been unconsciously bothering me, imposter syndrome. I feel like a fraud, even though I am part of many communities, many labels. I still feel like an outsider trying too hard.
In the writing community, where I have met wonderful people, even some I would call friends, I feel like a fraud. I can’t write anything more than a few tweets and lines here and there. I have a hard time sitting down to write, I fear the white pages, I fear myself. What right do I have to call myself a writer? I have yet to produce anything. Only trails of abandoned novels; ideas and a few short story contests. My words fail me, they sound stupid, they lack depth, personality. I am just one amongst the many. I lost sight of writing for the sole pleasure of doing it and it paralyzes me.
In the disability community, I have a really hard time owning this label. Not because I am ashamed of it, but mostly because most of my struggles are invisible. I am functional enough. I don’t struggle with chronic pain or physically limiting illness. I keep thinking that some have “worst conditions” and I hate myself for thinking this. I also don’t think it’s how the community works, but I have this fear of being called out; for not being enough. The chronic pain is in my mind. I have yet to sleep restfully. I have a degenerative eye disease that was caught early and that in all likeliness, will remain like this. I have other health problems that while bothersome, makes me hard to tailor my place in the disabled community. I feel like a fraud.
In the LGBTQAP+ community, I struggle to own my queer label. I am a cis white woman married to a cis white man. While my sexual preference definitely puts me in the spectrum, it doesn’t change the fact that I am a boring married woman, in a traditional relationship. My marriage is not open. Polyamory is definitely not for me. I am comfortable with my assigned at birth gender. I am in no way marginal and I have a hard time relating to the queer community where everyone looks so cool and beautiful. Perhaps my vision of the community is warped, but I have yet to relate. I feel like a fraud.
In my beloved fat community, while fat and very vocal about our issues, I feel like a fraud. I don’t have a plus size fashion instagram account. I don’t look as pretty or cute or marginal as public figures. I am not as cool as Roxane Gay. I can’t relate to anyone in the community other than by ideas. I am not fearless, I won’t wear a crop top because a) they are fugly and b) I still hate my body. While I preach fat and body acceptance, I failed to internalize these ideas to myself. I wake up every day hating myself, disgusted by my body. I am a fraud.
In the mental health community, I feel alone. It would be presomptuous to say that I am the only one living with said conditions or loneliness, but I fail to find role models or individuals with whom I share a true connexion, that makes me feel understood. While I am a fearless advocate, I still put some of the stigmas on myself. It’s okay for others but not for me. I would dare to say that at some point, everyone in the community feel alone and misunderstood and I dare not pretend I am unique in this regard.
I am tired. I feel the pressure to perform, to please, to impress endlessly. To feel accepted. To have a sense of belonging. Seeking validation. But it’s all ephemeral. I think about changing my self, but it’s only in superficial terms. I doubt having half shaved pink hair and a septum piercing will make me feel magically belonging somewhere.
I seek an ethereal coolness that doesn’t exist.
Where do I belong? I try to take these labels, the communities where I share interests, beliefs and ideas, but at the end of the day, I feel alone and exhausted. I put so much pressure on myself to be someone I am not, someone I wish I could be. Unrealistic expectations weigh me down, but I can’t shut these voices in my head.
I am not looking for solutions or fishing for compliments. I just realize that even though I have nearly reached my 30s, I am still this little girl longing for acceptance and love. Thinking she has to compromise herself to belong somewhere. I may be trying too hard. I may be looking at the wrong places. My vision is probably skewed. But to shut down this mind chaos, with all these voices that reminds me constantly that I am not enough, that I am a fraud, requires a strength I have yet to gain. Today, I can’t fight them, it’ll have to do for now.