Impostor Syndrome and the “Imposter Syndrone”

Imposter Syndrome waspy "syndrone" as heavy-handed metaphor.

“Imposter Syndrome”, a waspy drone.

You may have had one of those days – or possibly weeks, months, or years – where you’re faced with the dreaded Inner Critic. Mine is a wasp – the “Imposter Syndrone” who drones on and on internally, constantly poking your brain with the “you’re not good/clever/attractive/bright enough; you will never succeed” stick. Or worse, bashing your conscience with the “there are more important things in this world than your paltry project” cricket bat.  Based on the feeling that someone is about to tap you on your shoulder and tell you that you don’t deserve to be where you are – this is common in PhD study (indeed, in anything really not just study; it’s just a relief to know that this is not an unusual thing as I’ve had to deal with this feeling for flipping years pre-PhD).

July has been a month where I’ve been dealing with “Imposter Syndrone” trying to piss its poison into the wildflowers I’m attempting to grow. A few of the seedlings have been failing this month as I’ve chosen to believe “Imposter Syndrone” – after all, it’s obvious that It is more accomplished than me with Its waspish waist, Its successful life of glittering prizes, Its quick witted way of zapping out put downs. Sometimes it’s worth downing tools – albeit briefly – and leave “Imposter Syndrone” chunnering on while popping out for a quick walk, or reading a book in a different room, or chatting to friends, peers and/or colleagues. Then try to begin enjoying the feeling that things are achievable – yeah, they may not change the shape of the universe, however, they are baby steps to being able to function as a human.

So because I cannot kill the wasp (when stinging, or squashed, wasps release a pheromone to invite its hymenoptera comrades to avenge their death) I drew this to cope with It.

“But you can’t draw!”
“Oh, I know that, Imposter Syndrone, but I’m pinning your ass down in pen and I don’t need to be able to draw to do that.”

Took a walk and a deep breath of the July air – albeit autumnal this is always a useful way to clear out those poisonous thoughts. Coming home, I reread this beautiful way of silencing that censor by author Rosie Garland who calls her whinging inner critic “Mavis”, which you can read here: Dealing with the internal critic Or A 12-Step Programme for Coping with Mavis.

I think Mavis and Imposter Syndrone need to get together sometime, possibly with the promise of strong tea and Nice biscuits, and are left emptily gossiping by the drying washing at the back of a 1950’s Manchester terrace with no one around to pay either of them any heed.