I chose pond because we are going to discuss Thoreau a bit today, as I discuss why I’m writing now. Why I have huge imposter syndrome in everything I do. Why imposter syndrome is so deadly and unnecessary, how it’s a form of perfectionism and comparison, and how both are the death of joy and progress. I might dally around the idea of creative writing, run-on sentences, eschewing grammar perfection, and my love of the humble ellipsis……and not caring how many periods I use in them. (OH MY JIBBERS CRABST NO THAT IS WAY TOO MUCH — so me LOL)
Anywho skipping stones… this actually came up with my Psychiatrist visit the other day. I told her how my life seems interesting and full from the outside and people often marvel at how many things I’ve done…but I realized not too long ago that it’s because I’ve been skimming the surface of life. Hopping, skipping, jumping from one thing to the next w/out ever really going very deep. OH sure at FIRST I’m going deep dive. Like that first stone that you try to skip hits the water and sinks…but after that initial dive? I’m off, it’s too much. Boredom sets in. Imposter syndrome sets (Yes it sets in before I even start it’s a whole thing, hey it’s why I’m in therapy LOL) She was already saying it before me – apparently, this is a whole bipolar AND ADHD thing. My whole life I’ve been called flaky, and a flibbertigibbet (OK admittedly I do talk A LOT) as I flit from one big thing to the next. I have a lack of sustainability. Little did I know that it was sort of baked into my brain chemistry. Generally, the pattern is GO ALL IN – realize MEH I don’t love it as much as I thought – Or more precisely -OH god this sucks or I’m not really that good at it or UGH you gotta be like 100% IN for this to be your thing… so I’m OUT. There’s more than bipolarness at work though. I also have a fear of intimacy and some serious issues about joining things. (My childhood in the catholic church made me feel like joining and believing things too deeply was SUSS as hell so I get itchy at any sign of over-identification with things) Heck, even things I love like SciFi I avoid going too deep lest it becomes an obsession. (what is that some sort of OCD reversal? def. something to ask the therapist about LOL)
So that is why I’m here writing.
1. because I’m trying to feel the feelings that my therapist says I’m avoiding. (it’s a skill to be this emotional and still not acknowledge about 80% of what’s really going on)
2. so I can actually go deeper. Having done “The Artist’s Way” a year ago and being on over 400 days of #morningpages I finally beleive I can go all in and not only not lose myself but find myself.
3. By giving up on perfectionism and comparison I am finally free to write and not care who reads it or what they think. I hope it reaches people and maybe even helps a few but it’s not why I write and that changes everything.
4. I used to not only correct but OBSESS about grammar and spelling…then I realized that is just ableism, classism, and honestly just judgy nonsense that keeps us from communicating freely. I know my writing is “terrible”, I don’t freaking care anymore my point is to share not be a great writer. And maybe by finally admitting that I might get better because now I’ll actually DO IT.
Not going deep has made me feel perennially like an imposter, but I think it was really just my fear of not being good enough at anything and as always comparing myself to others. So here is where Thoreau comes in. I had recently joined the ranks of those who maligned him, sneering at his “roughing” it while his mom did his laundry and brought him sandwiches. But then I realized I was “throwing out the messages with the man” (it’s just as bad as the baby and the bathwater) I was angry because I had let his work make me feel bad… I had compared myself to him and found myself wanting. So when I found out it was partially a sham I was self-righteously angry. But as that cooled, I realized how freeing this is….everyone is a work in progress. And just as I’ve learned not to judge a message by its spelling or grammar I am learning not to judge a work on unrelated things. Thoreau never asked us to worship him, he simply made excellent observations and STRIVED to live as he wanted. He fell short but that still doesn’t negate some of his words and his wonderful writing. One can be inspired even if the author is imperfect. (OH lord there’s a whole thing there huh) Bottom line it wasn’t his fault I was using his work to belittle myself that was all on me…and I could instead learn from it.
Here is the FB post I wrote when I first learned about the problem with Thoreau :
In case you have imposter syndrome feelings. In case you worry that you aren’t “marching to your own drum” enough. Or that you need to sacrifice something.
Remember that the man we credit with some of these thoughts was basically an imposter, taking help from multiple people, including free labour from his mom….
No journey is done alone, and that’s FINE just remember that… and don’t be afraid to ask for support and help.
I guarantee you that ANYONE you admire or worship or aspire to be like was not fully the person you imagine, they were/are imperfect, and even if they had greatness they too had struggles.
Don’t just skip along afraid to go any deeper. Tell your story. I bet it’s at least as real and inspirational as this classic work. I won’t tear Thoreau down too much, because I think he was more like us than not. The key point is that even with all the not-so-great “truth” the book is still a wonderful and insightful read and much can be garnered from it. The same is true for the rest of us. How can we ever dare to greatness if we don’t start somewhere and stick with it?