Have you ever been in a place where it felt like every decision, every choice, every experience — good and bad — were rushing together and leading you to this exact moment that you are in right now?
My author copies arrived last week and it’s possible that I pointed to the book and told BC “That’s my name on the cover!” then promptly burst into tears. (I was also more than a little drunk since the books arrived the same day as my last day of work at my old job and BC and I had gone out for a celebration dinner, so that second beer might have been a contributing factor, too, LOL.)
Which brings me to my topic for today’s Mental Health Monday: Impostor Syndrome.
Impostor Syndrome is a “psychological phenomenon in which people are unable to internalize their accomplishments. Despite external evidence of their competence, those with the syndrome remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved. Proof of success is dismissed as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent and competent than they believe themselves to be. Notably, impostor syndrome is particularly common among high-achieving women.” It’s not really considered a mental disorder per se, but I think it’s still necessary to talk about and acknowledge.
Case in point: I tell people this book fell into my lap. Which, I mean, it sort of did. I queried the publisher about other topics and in my letter mentioned my hometown of Hudson and they jumped on that. But it’s not like they came to me — I did the work of approaching them. Or, I’ll say that I got lucky having a contact at the Hudson Library & Historical Society who basically opened the door to the archives and said “Take what you need.” But, I still had to collect the photos, organize the book, and reach out to residents in the community to get more photos to fill the book.
Impostor Syndrome shows up mostly in professional work environments, but when BC and I first started dating I know I felt it then, too. Here was this man who is so lovely and wonderful and our relationship felt like a long time coming so of course I spent the first, I dunno, six months convinced that there was no way this was going to last, I was undeserving of this level of personal happiness, he’d figure out I was a complete and total weirdo and decide this was a huge mistake, etc.
Speaking of professional impostor syndrome, today is also the first day of my new job. I’m taking a big leap into a new career path that takes me out of the library and uses my librarian skills in a different way.
I started working in libraries at 17 and starting in grad school up until, well, last Tuesday, I’ve spent my professional career working as a solo librarian in small libraries. I’m so so so excited about this new job and know that once I get in and get to work I’ll, hopefully, excel at it but man am I having a bit of an identity crises and am convinced the company made a huge mistake in hiring me or that I’m going to get in there and have no clue what I’m doing (which, of course, I’m not. That’s the point of a training period, but ugh, still).
Next Monday I have to give a presentation on my book and I swear to goddess, despite the fact that I spent a good six months researching my hometown, I seriously had a moment of, “OMG What am I supposed to talk about? I don’t know anything at all about this topic!”
Impostor Syndrome. The struggle is real, yo.
Love from the ashes,