Imposter Syndrome and feeling like you'll never get your shit together
I'm just out here tryna wake up before midday.
I stare at the slightly overgrown grass in my backyard and take a drag of my cigarette, feeling overwhelmingly morose. “Do you think we will ever feel like we have our lives together?” I ask my husband (newlyweds of just over a month, and 25 years old each).
He thinks for two seconds. “No”.
He then goes on to explain why he feels as though his life is a mess and he himself is inadequate, but I zone out like the mini, modern Narcissus that I am and take another drag of my cigarette, more asking MYSELF if I will ever know what it’s like to ‘get my shit together’. I’m feeling extremely sensitive and hopeless after learning something I didn’t want to know, so naturally darts and goon and the pondering of life are the logical next step.
We hear about Imposter Syndrome all the time. Imposter syndrome is MEANT to be a constant nagging of inadequacy, reserved only for those in positions of great success or high achievement. Imposter Syndrome is said to be different from mere low self-esteem, as there is a viable discrepancy between the person’s actual life/achievements/wealth/gain/happiness/comfortableness and what they believe it to be so.
I Google Imposter Syndrome (because if you think it or feel it, Google it, right?). Google tells me people who experience this soul-crushing phenomenon are usually teachers, people in social sciences, people in academia, and famous or wealthy people. Well, that didn’t help my feelings of utter failure. Fuck you Google, I never learn. I close that tab offended as shit as I am not a person of status. So what am I feeling?
Actually fuck it. I open another tab. “Does anyone ever feel like they have their life together?” I fervently type. A bunch of self-help shit about being kinder to yourself (fair, I guess). Some list-type articles full of satire that is lost on the fact that they wrote it in a list form (can’t fucking stand that. I want to read your writing, not your grocery list). I close the tab again.
Like I previously mentioned, I am 25 and married. I got married just over a month ago. Funnily enough, the one month mark came and went without so much as a mutter between my husband and I. Maybe we’re not just that kind of couple, but I think maybe I’ve been too wrapped up in the fact I DO NOT HAVE MY FUCKING SHIT TOGETHER AND I’M 25 AND GODDAMN MARRIED AND WHAT THE FUCK?!
I live in a perpetual state of what the fuck am I doing? What the fuck is this? What the fuck was that? I’m 25 already? How am I going to live as a writer? Should we sell our house? When is the best time to have babies? Why am I drunk on a Tuesday afternoon? Why does life feel empty right now? Is everyone empty? Why is she so successful when a win for me is waking up before 9am?
See, I’m not sure Imposter Syndrome is purely for the elite motherfuckers of the world. I think Imposter Syndrome just happens to everyone about life in general. We are barraged with the best parts of people’s lives: what they just bought on instagram, photos on Facebook from Europe, statuses about their raise/promotion at a big corporation... All the while I’m sitting in my study at my laptop trying to be a fucking WRITER of all things (thank you, higher being, for not giving me the skills to count above 10. It’s served me really well).
My husband used to be an AFL player. He was at the pinnacle of his sport; an elite athlete treated like a greek god walking the earth because he was good at kicking a ball. Of course, at that level, Imposter Syndrome crippled him. Then he was dropped. And you know what? Imposter Syndrome still cripples him. Maybe even more so, because once he was at the top and now he’s sitting in the middle where the rest of us are patiently bumbling about, trying to work out what the fuck is going on.
You have all these things you think you’ll achieve by 25 (I say 25 as it’s an odd age, you’re grown up, but not really, and it’s where I’m at right now). Own a house. Be married. Looking for an investment property to start your folio to build some wealth. Considering cutting down the wine and quietening down a bit. Planning when first bub will come. Moving up the corporate ladder.
Here I am, sometimes sleeping until noon. Writing in my pyjamas. Smoking cigarettes in my backyard next to dog shit with an empty feeling in my chest and an arsenal of fear and loathing to throw at myself.
My question is, do we all have Imposter Syndrome? No matter our status or stature in life? Does life ever really fall into place? Do we ever stop fumbling and start sprinting? If anyone has figured it out, please let me know.