Friday, June 9, 2017

Imposter Syndrome: How to Deal with Insecurity

This is going to be short and to the point.  If you haven’t heard of Imposter Syndrome it’s pretty damn apt at explaining itself.  At the Irish Aerial Creation Centre’s Creative Intensive last year, this came up on day one.  Every single participant and mentor reported a close experiential relationship with this condition, from emerging aerialists to veteran career artists who had pioneered their fields.

The great Bob Fosse is reported to have suffered crippling insecurity about his work.  Even if you don’t know Bob Fosse, you have seen his mark on the world if you are taking part in Western Culture.  Meryl Streep, Jodie Foster, I could go on and on but I think three icons are enough to prove the point that if you experience feelings of being a fraud, you are in lauded company.

So what the hell to do about it.  I have two points.

One:  how do you get rid of it?  

You don’t.

Unless you can take a pill to subjugate your humanity, you’re stuck with this in my opinion.  It is a challenge that persists.

Two:  how do you keep it from sabotaging your life?  

Don’t make decisions based on those feelings.

It irritates me that a sentence which took me so much constant, brutal research to arrive at is so short.  But it really is that simple- know yourself.  Know what your feelings are.  Call them by name.  Feeling insecure?  Fine. Call it by name and move on.  Feeling f*#%ing terrified?  Fine.  Call it by name and move on.  Feeling shaken to the core and like the ground is flying out from under you?  Congratulations, you’re experiencing a moment of true focus.  Call it out, pay attention, and do the thing you want to do based on your value system, not your fears.

You don’t need to get on the panic train, just acknowledge it is there and watch it carry on.  I tell my students it is like being at a grotesque parade.  You can just stand there and watch it go by, flaunting its macabre features, you don’t have to jump on the float.

Then make a different choice.

On my way to my first aerial gig, I distinctly remember hoping I’d be hit by a car so I wouldn’t have to do it.  I won’t give my fear the reins to my life- and I came to tell the truth.

If you make decisions based on your fears, a life of cowardice will be your only reward, and the internal self-sucking pleasure that comes from hiding, crouched like some sordid, whimpering Gollum inside of your own skin.

Y’all.  That’s nasty.

God hates a coward.  Go do something else.  That is all.

Ps.  I don't know if you heard but my email list is a good way to get this kind of abuse from me on the regular, with helpful things like links and resources and applications and stuff.

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