The Imposter in Me

Imposter Syndrome is, in fact, a thing. The term was first used in 1978, and refers to “high achieving individuals marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a fraud.”

Huh?

Well, the truth is that I’ve felt a bit imposter-ish lately. Not because I’m unable to internalize my accomplishments, but instead because I haven’t followed through very well in areas of my life that, on any given day, I’d say are important to me. Does that make me a fraud? Probably not in the truest sense of the word. But it does make me inconsistent, and it does mean I haven’t accomplished things I want to, and I’ve decided to come clean.

Right here, right now. Cards on the table and all that.

First off, let’s talk about the physical side of life. I say that health and nutrition are important to me. If you’ve known me for a while, you know that I lost a lot of weight about 7 or 8 years ago. No small feat. And while I haven’t fallen completely off the rails when it comes to nutrition and food choices, I have to confess that I’ve chosen ice cream more than once in recent months, along with popcorn, Diet Pepsi (hey, no aspartame at least!), and an occasional oatmeal cookie or Twizzler. Not exactly health food. And what about exercise? Well, a certain inertia has set in. Remember that from high school physics class? An object at rest tends to remain at rest….oh yeah. I got that happening over here in a big way. Halloween’s coming and I could pass for Jabba The Hut.

I’m a writer, and to prove it I’m participating in a Master Class with my favorite author and teacher in a couple of months. But instead of writing like a mad woman the last few weeks to prepare, I’ve embraced distraction in all its forms. Podcasts about writing? I listen every single day. Maybe I’ll register for an online course. Maybe I’ll read five years or so of a friend’s blog, and wallow in admiration of her consistency. Maybe I’ll tweak up an old piece instead of starting something new. Maybe I’ll buy a handful of new notebooks. You get the picture. What have I actually written lately? Well, not a book.

Of course, I’m a reader. I never “learned” to read, I just started in when I was three. I love to read. Once my husband took me on a “reading vacation” and it was heavenly. But here again, my day to day life reveals all sorts of inconsistency. The pile of books on my nightstand is almost as tall as the nightstand itself….Cheryl Strayed and Marianne Williamson and EB White’s essays. A classic or two that merit another visit. A junky bestseller picked up at the used bookstore. I think some of them are dusty. Sigh.

So it’s time for a course correction. Right here, right now.

The inertia? Well, back in that same physics class Mr. Stocker taught us that F=ma, and from what I recall, that’s exactly the amount of force needed to get me out of the chair….ironically, the very same chair that will, most of the time, serve as my writing chair. I promise I’ll be careful of whiplash as I alternately get my butt IN the chair to write and get my butt OUT of the chair and in motion. I’m being realistic here – a good walk with the dog counts. Yoga class counts. We’re not talking CrossFit, we’re talking about just enough to close the loops on my Activity app every now and again. Thumbs up. Small steps.

Time to tackle the popcorn/twizzlers/diet pepsi thing too. Sitting right here to my left, I’ve got the Whole 30 book.I claim to be a “simple eater” so Whole 30 ought to fit me well. Friends have loved it, after they get over sugar or carbs or whatever the worst of it may be. Good heavens, people endure chemotherapy! Surely I can endure 30 days of wiser eating habits, right? Even on vacation, right? Right?

And here’s the deal when it comes to writing. Far too often, I’ve worked on “pieces” of writing that I hold onto until I can consider them “finished.” As a result, there are many, many pieces of unfinished writing floating around my computer files. Starting today, you’ll see some of those emerge from under the rocks. You’ll be privy to a little stream of consciousness and dailyness of life. Like it or not, words will hit the screen, and more often than not the words will hit here rather than on social media. (But you’ll see links there too.) The butt will be in the chair, and the head will be in the game, more than it’s been in a while. And who knows what consistency will bring.

The reading side gets some attention too. Last week I finished a novel. This week I’m finishing a memoir (a reread actually, but I’ll tell you about it in a few days when I’m done). Less TV, at least until the Gilmore Girls reunion rolls out in November and the new season of House of Cards hits Netflix in January. (And a little college football when I can, which isn’t all that often.) Real books get the nod over electronic books, but that’s just me and I’m not above electronic check-outs from the library. But I love the library, and I may just swing by one afternoon soon and tuck something under my arm.

Yikes, does this sound like New Year’s Resolutions? I don’t do resolutions, but it’s a course correction in a few areas that will pay off in the end. There’s not a word here about my unfinished knitting project from a year ago. There’s not a word here about….well, I’ll keep that to myself.

But when it comes to eating and moving and reading and writing, we’re back on the path and I hope you’re along for the ride. It’s going to be fun!

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