Imposter Syndrome

imposter

I figured ‘what is this blog for if I can’t express myself?’ I want this to be a springboard for a potential career but also this is a place where I can write whatever I like. Getting my assignments in took it out of me – I never wanted to write anything ever again. It’s difficult when you want to do things but you’re so mistrusting of your own abilities that you’re rendered inert.

Insecurity plagued my teenage years, in everything from playing music, to making art, to writing stories. Anything creative I would doubt. I used to spend my breaks writing chapters of fantasy books that would never be finished, drawing other-worldly characters that would never come to life. The trope of ‘I’m not like other girls’ is one I particularly hate as it carries the air of superiority, something I’ve never felt and I hope I never will. But it’s true. I honestly did feel different from the others. A clear memory is from when I was 13; a girl in my friendship circle leaning over me and reading aloud a line of speech from one of my protagonists. I wanted to die. Just wanted to crawl inside myself and take all my papers with me, sew them into a blanket and fall asleep forever to the sound of Elven harps.

If there’s one thing I can say about me, it’s that I’m a quitter. I quit the violin, I quit piano, I quit my professional singing lessons, I quit composition, I quit painting, I quit running, I’ve quit every single diet I’ve ever tried, I quit my part-time job, I quit crochet, I quit cycling. I quit writing. The only things I haven’t quit are singing, gaming, and learning the cornet.

My university work has suffered greatly because of this. And here is where the title of this piece comes in; I get good grades. I recently got the marks back for a 7,000 word essay on the music of Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture and it was a good result. So why did I spend the rest of the afternoon crying? Because I truly truly don’t believe I deserved that mark. I’ve just got very good English skills and I’m good at bullshitting. Maybe I should work for a tabloid.

I constantly fight the belief that I’m not good enough. Constantly battling the conviction that I can’t do certain things because I’m not skilled enough. Worrying about the words people will say behind my back (‘Phoebe’s doing wHAt?’ ‘What an idiot, who does she think she is?’ ‘Sit down, you can’t possibly think YOU can succeed at this?’). The word ‘she’ cuts like an insult, inferiority coursing through all three letters, the sibilance slicing through the air like a chef’s knife. There’s just something about that word that isn’t right, like a circle in a round hole with one square edge sticking out of the top.

There’s only one way to combat this feeling, as I’ve learned from when I first started playing the cornet and was in a brass band playing music that was far too difficult for me. You just have to keep doing it. Eventually you learn that it’s okay to still be learning, and it’s okay for your work to not be to the standard you want just yet. Being a beginner is completely acceptable. Which is why I’m not going to let this blog stagnate again because I’m scared that it’s not good enough.

I don’t work for an editor (yet). So, right now, the only person who can evaluate the quality of my writing is myself.

Author: Phoebe Wright

I am a musician and musicologist currently studying my MA Music at Bangor University, specialising in music for video games. For my undergraduate degree I wrote a 12,000 word dissertation focusing on the music of various horror games, although my favourite games are those with a limited horror factor. I've been playing video games since I was small and I'm fascinated by the in-depth stories and personal relationships that can be made with characters in video games.

2 thoughts

  1. It’s really difficult to stick with something, I always believe that everything I try I am “average” at and once that feeling works its way into my newest hobby I tend to stop doing it. It’s only recently I’ve managed to think “so what if I’m ‘average’? I enjoy doing it and even if I’m not great at it I should keep it up because it makes me happy”. I hope you keep writing your blog! Don’t give up on it!

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