I am a fraud

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.

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4 thoughts on “I am a fraud

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  1. Okay here goes:
    1. You are a writer. Do you see this whole post that your wrote in an intelligent and articulate manner that conveyed your point to the reader in such a way that they not only understood you, but related to your troubles. That is literally what being a writer is. You may not be an author, because that does require writing a book, but you are indeed a writer.
    2. My dad is 100% disabled, most people don’t realize it. They think being disabled means being stuck in a wheelchair and unable to do anything. He has an endless set of issues that he does struggle with, but people don’t see it because they’re not living with him, all they see is the times when he feels good and is out and about. Disability isn’t something easily perceived by others no matter what the problems are.
    3. There is no such thing as a traditional marriage, we’re all weird people finding other weird people that can be weird with us. The insanity that goes on behind closed doors with my husband would wig people out. And I’m not talking kinky stuff, I’m talking our strange humor and the junk we say. So being white, straight, and hooking up with just one person doesn’t mean you’re boring it means you’ve found the person who completes you. Guess what, no matter your color, gender, or sexual preference that’s all anyone is looking for. That one that completes them.
    4. If it makes you feel better, I have no idea who Roxane Gay is, but I do know who you are, so I think that makes you pretty darn cool. And no matter how much someone teaches body acceptance they all have that part of them that bothers them. It may not be how chunky they are, it could be that they hate their nose, or that they’re too short or too tall, or if you’re me, my hair. I hate my hair, it’s why I’m constantly dying and cutting it, and probably why I love to cover it with a hat.
    5. Feeling alone, afraid, and cut off from the world is what it means to have a mental illness. Nobody with any such issue feels at one with society. I don’t even think society feels at one with society. And yes technically there are those that may have it worse than you, but that doesn’t make your own struggle any less real.
    6. The biggest problem you seem to be suffering from is wanting a label to attach to yourself, but people aren’t products that sit on a shelf with a label to let you know exactly what they are. We’re a mix of chaos. I read a lot, I have a book with me at all times, so yeah I get labelled as a book worm/nerd, and the most ridiculous thing is when people are surprised by how much TV I watch. Like I can’t both read and be a TV junkie. People like labels because it makes their lives easier. Then they don’t have to really get to know someone, they can just place them in a stereotype and move on with their life. There is no perfect fit into some group, there’s only being a perfect you. Be you. Be a little bit of everything and then some. Because trying to be anything other than you will only leave a void in the world where the you that you actually are is supposed to be.
    And that’s all I have to say about that.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Wow! Everything you wrote strikes a cord with me. After years of bad mouthing twitter, I finally joined the platform almost two years ago (can’t believe it’s been that long already O.O). The first couple of months was spent hiding in the shadows. For one, I didn’t know how anything worked and assumed tweets mostly consisted of “I ate a cheeseburger today” or something less important. Second, I was afraid to jump in and say anything because who was I to speak on any topic especially one I had little experience in or just stumbled across. It’s so difficult to know whether or not you have enough “experience” in something in order to join the conversation. But in the end I realized that any experience is enough to voice your opinion.

    I have so many interest yet everything online keeps telling me to pick a label and stick with it if I want to gain followers (followers want to see consistent content they say. If they followed for writing then they want to see writing not you talk about your favorite anime). But my heart wouldn’t let me listen so my account is a cluster of things I enjoy. And I’m happy for that because I’ve met so many incredible people in each hobby. But still I feel like a fraud.

    A few days ago a new follower came to me for advice on how to get their writing out there. I was shocked, grateful, flattered, and ultimately wanted to hide under a rock. Because who am I to give them advice when I have no clue what the heck I’m doing. This is all still so new to me and I’ve never published anything, I barely post on my blog. But I guess that’s the fun part, feeling uncertain, being afraid yet still pushing forward and doing it anyway. So I gave them the advice I knew (whether I believed it to be the greatest or not) and they were grateful.

    I’m starting to feel off topic but I guess the point is everyone feels like a fraud and that’s okay. We live in a world of frauds. No one knows what they’re doing, they just keep pushing forward and doing their best. It’s hard with society and social media (and even when you’re trying to publish with genres) to not feel like you must fit into a label. But not fitting inside a label is what makes us real and complex (and not a two dimensional character from a book). So that’s a good thing! Be who you are and believe in yourself ^_^

    Like

    1. Thank you! Your feelings and questioning are valid. What came out of this post is that it ignited a reflection for a lot of people about their own imposter syndrome and how we deal differently with it.

      The important thing on twitter is not about your # of followers but building a community and finding people with whom you share real interest and be authentic. Writers (or else) with whom you can rely for help, support and lift you up.

      I also think we should rethink how we identify and view labels more as a fluid continuum than boxes we try to fit ourselves in. We can be all of them,
      You can reject them all. It’s all about your journey. For some labels help them affirm their identity, find their community. Others don’t. It’s all up to you but I am working toward seeing them more in a fluid light than conforming myself in a box. You just end up feeling trapped and suffocating. I hope this help. Your voice matter 😘

      Liked by 1 person

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