You would think by now I’d pretty well figure I’ve got my shit together, at least in some dimensions.
Let’s look at my resume for a moment.
- I have two women I love very much, and who love me back.
- I’ve successfully published two articles on KinkAcademy.com, which is not exactly a bottom-tier source of kink and BDSM information and opinion:*
- I’ve written a dating guide for submissives which, despite small sales, everyone who’s read it says they’ve really enjoyed and gotten a lot out of.**
- I’m planning a workshop with Scarlet Eva next week at the Lucky Labrador Brew House in Portland, the first I’ve ever actually performed.
- I have websites like BoldPleasures.com reaching out to interview me on my thoughts about kink and polyamory.
- I’m modestly well-known and earning a bit more respect every day within the circles in which I roam, largely on the Web but with some real-time interactions sprinkled in there too.
Given all this and from the outside looking in, this certainly doesn’t look like the resume of someone who has much to worry about on most fronts. My rational brain knows this, and keeps telling me not to worry.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret.
I’ve spoken elsewhere on this site about my struggles with depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder. These are some of my greatest vulnerabilities, and I relate them openly because I know there is no shame in having these struggles. In fact, there is power in being able to say, to myself and others, “You’re not alone. I’M not alone. A million someones out there are dealing with the exact same things and know exactly how you feel.” There’s strength in numbers and knowing even though sometimes my own mind is my worst enemy, there are people out there who love me and get what I’m going through.
But one of my greatest weaknesses, and one I rarely talk about, is “impostor syndrome.”
Wikipedia defines impostor syndrome thusly:
Impostor syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenon, fraud syndrome or the impostor experience) is a concept describing individuals who are marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and have a persistent fear of being exposed as a “fraud.”
Hmm…nope. Doesn’t sound like ANYONE I know… /sarcasm
The problem with impostor syndrome is this:
Impostor syndrome says, no matter what you do, no matter how hard you work or try, no matter how well you do ALL THE THINGS, none of it matters. You’re still just a giant fake, a fraud, a phony. All your hard work and the knowledge and experience you’ve put time, money, blood, sweat and tears into doesn’t mean a thing because no one cares. You know fuck all ABOUT fuck all and you need to just sit in the corner, let the “adults” talk and hope that someday, someone will magically appear and wave a wand which suddenly gives you the platform.
But that’s not going to happen either, so we’re back to just sitting in the corner and letting the “adults” talk.
My impostor syndrome is playing up extra hard today because I had a rough day yesterday within House Unicron, which was compounded by a distinct lack of cooperation from outside types, erratic bus schedules and a number of other issues which basically left me grumbling, surly and wondering if I’m capable of doing ANYTHING right. (The answer, of course, is YES…but it’s no good trying to tell me that when I’m in the impostor headspace.) Now follow all that up by a night in which I got to sleep at 3am, only to be back up at 5am for absolutely no discernible reason and haven’t been back to bed yet.
To be perfectly honest, the whole mess left me in maybe not the greatest condition to be able to see my own strengths for what they are.
That’s the hell of impostor syndrome. It tells you you’re not good enough. It tells you you’ll never BE good enough. It doesn’t matter how much you know intellectually you bring to the table when your own brain is whispering at you in great detail about just how much you suck now, and will always and forevermore suck.
And it’s hard to convince other people to believe in you when you’ve got your own mind telling you that YOU shouldn’t believe in you.
So this is where that resume I posted earlier comes into play.
It’s not there to stroke my ego, or show off to the world how fucking great I am.
It’s there to remind me I’ve been through some things. I’ve put a lot of time and effort into the things I’m doing, and I’ve given them my all. I’ve made my mistakes, yes, but I’ve also had some fairly major victories and achievements which I would never have believed five or ten years ago I was capable of. I’ve come back from some very dark places, and I’m still standing, stronger and taller than ever.
My brain’s going to keep trying to convince me I’m an impostor.
But I know what I bring to the table. And I’m going to keep bringing it.
I’ve come too far to do anything else.
Suck it, impostor syndrome. You’re not going to beat me. Not now, not ever…because I know who I am and what I’ve got. And standing beside me are two amazing women who believe in me, even when I don’t.
And I will continue to prove myself worthy of them, no matter the cost.
*Yes, I know I’m damning with faint praise. In all seriousness, Kink Academy is the first website I always recommend to people who want real talk about kink, and no, it’s not just because they’ve published a couple of my articles!
**If you’ve read Fantastic Dominants and Where to Find Them, I’d be really grateful if you could spare a moment to post a review. Writers really do live and die by the feedback they receive from their readers, and reviews help us get the word out to others who may enjoy our work too!