I hope we all know the routine by now. Alex J Cavanaugh started the Insecure Writers Support group a few months ago as a chance for all of us to vent our fears/frustrations about writing and to encourage one another. So, please go sign up, or, if you’re one of those writers that doesn’t struggle with confidence, then go and encourage all your fledgling brethren.
Last month, Nancy, who is a mental health expert in the real world, mentioned that the imposter syndrome plagues many people. But then I was thinking, does it still count when you have imposter syndrome but you've not had any success either?
A lot of this goes back to knowing your station in life. I spent many of my formative years living with relatives, grandparents, aunts and uncles, before my mother scrounged up the funds to put us in a sweet little trailer on a farm.
I’m not sure of the relationship we had with the farm owners, but we eventually wore out our welcome and had to move. We took that trailer and found a place that was nestled between lots of country, a few nice homes, and yet another farm. We plopped that trailer down on a very small plot of land that had been slivered off from the many acres of grasses and pasture and we lived there through all my middle school years.
Except for that nagging feeling like I didn’t belong. I always felt like I was that one kid, the one who was living in the wrong zip code. Others belonged and I did not. Never could shake that feeling - my whole life, just thinking that I didn’t belong, no matter where I was. I had to know my place.
I was well into adulthood before I realized that the problem might have just been with me. I’ve always enjoyed diagnosing myself as suffering from an assortment of behavioral disorders, and despite not knowing anything at all about disorders, and usually resorting to making up conditions to classify myself to fit in, I feel like I’m pretty dead on.
Example: did you know that I suffer from Conflictarian Rousal and Avoidance disorder? It’s where I find the situation with the highest drama, completely involving other people, and firmly insert myself into the middle of it, then do everything I can to not be involved.
It’s a disorder, I have no control.
Anyway, you get the idea. Well, I have also diagnosed myself with the disorder I’ve named, “Social Aversion and Discordance Disorder," the acronym is S.A.D.D., which is cool, but also I’m sure had been taken by some drunk driving campaign, and I don’t want to confuse people, so I changed it to:
“Social and Hierarchal Aversion Temperament?” There, the name is less cool, but I like the acronym better.
Yes, I have S.H.A.T.
What does that mean? Well, as I started to mention earlier, before I got sidetracked, is that I always feel like I have no business even trying to do the things I do. I feel guilty, yes, guilty for wanting to be a writer. Look, people around me in real life are generally supportive, if a bit confused about why I would choose to do something like this with my free time. But they don’t discourage me, the opposite really. So why do I feel this way, why do I feel bad about writing, about hoping to write even more?
I have no idea. Does it have something to do with my childhood? The more I think about it the more I think I would have felt this way no matter my upbringing. I mean, it sounds so lame that a farmer forcing my mother to move when I was a kid was that big a deal, I moved a couple of times a year up until I got to middle school. That wasn't that big a deal, and it sounds like a pretty lame excuse. No, I was just born this way. I’m insecure, yes, I have S.H.A.T., but I haven’t let that stop me for moving on anyway.
So, here’s to feeling like I can belong. Cheers.