Friday, July 29, 2011

Waiting to be revealed as the fraud that I am...

Iris of Bring Your Own Vegetables referred to ‘imposter syndrome’ in a comment on my last post, which was such brilliant timing because it described exactly how I have been feeling this last week. THINGS have been happening. Wonderful things. And all I have been thinking is ‘when is this going to blow up in my face.’

About six months ago I decided that I needed to begin taking chances. I needed to begin working at what I love, rather than simply focusing on what is safe. And I have always adored writing, which I had sadly forgotten until I began to blog back in August last year; so I have poured my heart and soul into it since making my decision.

And it’s working out. Better than I could ever have imagined.

I have had two articles published in HerCanberra, and have gotten the opportunity to begin writing for lip, who have been reading religiously since I discovered it last year. I have also begun to stick my greedy little fingers into the freelance pie, which I am quite excited about.

But with each success, I have begun to feel more and more uneasy. Why are things working out? Can’t people tell that I am not really any good? That I am just one big fraud?

And so I have been holding my breath, waiting to be found out.

Then last night, as I came home feeling so tired of waiting for it all to fall apart, I got a letter. One of my short stories has been short-listed in a national short-story competition. One that I was absolutely convinced that I would never hear back from. And I have been invited to read it out at the ceremony where they announce the winners. While I am unable to attend anyway, even if I could I realised that I would be too embarrassed to read it out. Because all I could think was ‘once I read it out-loud, they’ll realise how bad it is and kick me out of the competition.’

It was at that moment that I really despised myself. Here I am, getting handed these wonderful opportunities, and I am turning them into something negative. Yes, maybe all this lead-up will be for nothing and I’ll fail miserably; but why am I being such a cry-baby about it all? Good things are happening! And I have been too busy wallowing in low self-esteem and pessimism to celebrate.

Why can it sometimes be so difficult to just sit back and enjoy the good things? Why are we always peering fear-fully around the corner for what is coming next?

I want to be able to celebrate when I succeed, and admit that maybe, just maybe, not all of it is down to luck. Which can be a difficult thing to do, but it is so very important. Because without confidence, we will eventually fail simply due to our own (often un-founded) fear and anxiety; rather than our actual ability.

So let’s go out this weekend and celebrate our achievements. I mean really celebrate them. Give ourselves the pats on the back that we deserve and try not to feel like imposters while we're doing it. Because you know what? We worked hard, and we deserve it.

So what will you be celebrating this weekend? (And don't say 'nothing', I read all of your blogs and I have never seen such a group of over-achievers in all my life!)


ps. I got a blog award from the wonderful Hazel of Pablo’s Angel. I recently found her blog and I love it!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Victim Mentality...inspired heading, yes?

I had a completely different post all nice, edited and ready for you; but I’ll just have to save that for a rainy day. So you get an unedited and messy post today instead. But hey, sometimes they’re the best kinds. Though probably not in this case.

Today I want to talk about victim-mentality. I know I have it. Most of us do, to some extent.

We’re all so eager to be complaining about something. If we have nothing to do then we’re bored. If we have a lot to do then we’re overloaded.

I found myself over the last week becoming more and more unhappy as I looked at all that I had to do. And I complained. Oh boy did I complain. And I had thoughts like ‘this is so unfair’ or ‘my life sucks.’ I blamed the world, rather than myself. When really, the world didn’t throw all of this at me. I took it in with open arms.

So many of us want to be busy. We rush around trying to fit in as much as we possibly can. We want to do everything, and achieve everything right this very second. And when we finally start to crack under all of this pressure that we have piled onto ourselves, we never point the finger at the real villain.

As I said, last week I bitched and moaned. And began to freak out when I looked at EVERYTHING that I had to do. But one particularly stressful day, as I desperately tried to study for an assignment that I knew three weeks in advance that there was NO WAY IN HELL I was going to be able to get done, I realised something: I don’t have to do it. No one is holding a gun to my head. And two minutes later I had un-enrolled from the class.

Yes, sometimes if we can’t get everything that we want done we feel like a failure. But isn’t it better than the alternative? To rush through something, worn out and unhappy, simple to get to the end and realise that we didn’t enjoy a second of it? I would rather slowly work at achieving my dreams and revel in them when I got there, rather than rushing into them and burning out within a year.

If something in your life is making you tired, overwhelmed, or just plain unhappy; then change it. Even if it’s scary to start from scratch all over again. And if you don’t change it, accept that it’s your decision. It’s so much easier to get through something if you know that you’re choosing to be there. That you have weighed up the pros and cons and that whatever you’re doing is worth continuing on with.

I know that there are exceptions, there are always exceptions; and keep in mind that I am writing from the point of view of a middle-class girl who always has back-up support, whether financially or emotionally should I need it. So I’m not really an expert on hardship. But I AM an expert on complaining. On playing the victim card. On biting off more than I can chew.

And I have come to realise that almost everything in life is within our control. And the stress and unhappiness that we sometimes feel is often the direct result of our own actions. So here’s to changing that victim mentality to an ‘I am the god of my own destiny mwahahaha’ mentality; and changing what needs to be changed, while holding on as hard as we can to what is really important.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Is happiness really all we need in life?

I always used to think that the most important emotion was happiness. But lately I have come to reevaluate this. Yes, happiness is important. So very important. But I have discovered something else, an emotion that is often overlooked. Even when we do acknowledge it, make it out own, it can be so hard to hold onto.

And that emotion is passion. Passion is what drives us. What makes us get off of our butts and go out there and do, say, create. Passion is what makes us march out there and change the world.

It can be so hard to get motivated and so easy to just settle into routine. To rest comfortably in our happiness. But we’ll also know, whether consciously or subconsciously, as we rest there content, that something is missing. We’ll go to sleep, smiling, but also trying to ignore that tiny little niggling doubt that maybe, just maybe, there is something more out there.

I hadn’t even noticed that I lost it until I found it again. I found it in words, in music, in social injustices, in research and in getting the opportunity to argue my opinion as loudly as I possibly could. It doesn’t matter what your passion is, whether it’s arguing political points, performing as an actor, or collecting stamps; as long you feel that fiery burning for something. This something that makes you get up every morning with your eyes glowing and your heart full to bursting with everything that you know you will be able to achieve if you just get out and DO IT.

I don’t want to be a calm person. I don’t want to be content with the world and everything within it. I don’t want to float through my days with a smile on my face and a head empty of opinion or ideas. I want to be fiery, passionate, stubborn and argumentative. I want to be over-the-top, eccentric, determined and just a little bit anxious becausethereissomuchtodoandsolittletimetodoitin. I want to fight for the things that I believe in, no matter how small; because goddamn it I know that I am right. I want to create something amazing. And I want to turn this fire into something that sets the world aglow.

Maybe passion doesn’t automatically lead to happiness. Some of most passionate people were the most miserable. But I cannot bear the thought of losing this spark. Even if I do end up unhappy, I won’t be unfulfilled. I will know that I had tried my best. And I will know that every single second, even if burn up only to burn out, was worth it.

What is your passion?