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Convincing Yourself You're Good.

I have Imposter Syndrome. Imposter Syndrome is that feeling that what you do isn't good enough, and that someone is gonna eventually figure out how woefully unqualified you are and kick you to the curb. One of the traits of my personality that I dislike is that I am way too hard on myself. Seriously, give my mind an inch and I will somehow figure out that I am the sole person responsible for the world's troubles.

Having Imposter Syndrome is kind of like playing the game Werewolf. My friends and I play a version of the game called One Night Ultimate Werewolf, in the game each player picks a card that gives them a specific role, either a villager or a werewolf, and the villagers all have distinct roles that they play on top of that--special abilities and the like. The object of the game is two fold, if you're a werewolf, you don't wanna be caught. If you're a village, you wanna catch the werewolves. Imposter Syndrome makes you feel like you're always in the role of the werewolf. Constantly bluffing your way through things, trying to convince people you are what you aren't.

I think of my Imposter Syndrome as an offshoot of my anxiety. They kind of go hand in hand. Imposter Syndrome, like my anxiety, exists only in my head. There's no proof that I'm a fraud, and frankly if you broke it all down--I'm kinda--sorta--maybe--doing OK. Today I'm celebrating 11 years of having a weekly column in The Loafer, I write about classic films on blu-ray for The Retro Set, and later this week I'm debuting a monthly column that will be in my hometown newspaper. On top of all of this, I'm on the board of directors of the amazing Capitol Theater, where I'm also heading up a classic film program that has been doing quite well.

I was talking about the movie program and my goals for it with a friend last night. A friend who is from my hometown, but now lives in Brooklyn. She told me "You are carving a real place for yourself in your community and bringing people together with your creativity and passion. That's pretty awesome." It never occurred to me that my dream of bringing repertory movies to Northeast Tennessee could be a good, meaningful thing I'm doing.

The reason for writing this is not so people can comment and tell me about how great I am , but that if you too have this weird imposter feeling--know you're not alone in the club. I would never let a friend feel the way I sometimes feel about myself. It's such a strange balancing act in the brain. I'm still not totally where I wanna be, but that's a good thing. I still have goals, dreams, and hopes to go and plenty more career aspirations. That being said, it does feel nice to think that all those years of super self doubt and re-thinking everything and ignoring those thoughts has led me to here. As in, wow, I did the thing, and the thing is happening, and it's OK.

Life is strange, weird, awkward, painful, fun, beautiful, good, wonderful and grand. But even when the lows overweigh the highs, even when I feel like the biggest worthless human to have ever done anything anywhere, I can still come home and listen to music, play board games with friends, and eat BBQ. Telling yourself that you're good enough and being confident in that is one of the hardest things you can do in life. I'm amazed by people who just blow through life with the confidence of a freight train. I don't have that, but I sometimes think those who do aren't quite as mindful about what they really want. Maybe we all have Imposter Syndrome and just recognize it to different degrees? I don't know the answer, but I do know it's nice to feel OK.


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