A friend used the term "imposter syndrome" in describing herself the other day, and it broke open a festering sore that I've had so long I'd stopped hearing the bubbling.
The pressure at work has been a little high lately -- but the spin of it all was so positive that I was having a hard time seeing it. Janaury dawned with such a determined sense of encouragement that I got completely swept away with the current of training, advancement, "critical" assignments, vows of motivation and inspiration.
When it all coalesced with a colleague raving (unsolicited) to the VP about how inspiring she finds working with me, and PLEASE OH PLEASE COULD I BE HER MANAGER -- as soon as the blush had faded from my cheeks it was suddenly replaced with a distinct tightening in pressure. Ye gods, if I'm going to manage a double-promotion like that by March yeard-end, I'd better not fuck up this opportunity or else.
It all went downhill from there, and I let that creeping demon self-doubt encroach upon my waking thoughts and irony of ironies, the harder I wanted to be perfect the further success seemed to slip. By Monday I'd convinced myself of my own incompetence when all the evidence I'd received was nothing but the opposite!
Today I bit the bullet and apologized to my compatriot for my inability to keep up the pace the last few days. Between my cold and the confusing nature of a task that had been assigned to us, I'd been going home with a hard nub of despair lodged in my stomach, convinced that she was going to change her mind and tell the big boss that I was a horrible disappointment!
Upon hearing my admission, she laughed and clasped my hands and went right back into last week's hurling of praise -- "But MONSTRE, you're the only one who's ever taught me anything! You're the only one who's ever sat with me and explained things and encouraged me to try them! You've inspired me, working with you is so different! (I swear that those were all her words).
Ye gods, she'd never even noticed that I wasn't on the top of my game. When I explained the notion of "imposter syndrome" her eyes went wide and she sputtered -- how could I possibly feel that way?!?
That's a really good question. That great beast of self-doubt had me cowering for a while there -- but I think my instincts are starting to kick in. I was steps away from starting to dread coming in to the office, and instead..
..instead I'm feeling all proud again.
It's a difficult world, this one we've been building. I wish I could fix it with one all-powerful word, but I haven't played D&D in too long too remember the spell. I'm going to have to go about it the long way... This way.