Growing Pains


Written by
Malcolm Chambers
around :
18.8.22 2:15 pm
there :
Write back :

It's not Impostor's Syndrome when we really are impostors.

I've waited a long time for people to do it for me. I thought if I was worth it, I'd be saved; like there would be a time when a sufficient amount of accumulated good karma would grant me the ability to wish for what I desired. If people liked me enough, I could tag along on their way to success. I thought I could indefinitely stay in the shadows, never risking to be exposed for the shell of the man I posed as.

Truth is, I cursed myself with an exquisite set of skills, all tailored around the creation of refined fiction. I'll say it in other words: when I'm not writing, so about 99% of the time, I'm still making shit up. I don't feel there's a lot of people that would let themselves relate to this. I don't blame them. Most of us are struggling enough as we speak. Even telling this to my own mother, who's a real life therapist, would feel wrong as hell. But it's my truth. What would there be to answer, anyway? What feedback am I even looking for? What redemption is there for a poser? What's the price of starting over?

My whole life I've been playing pretend. It's always been my favorite game as a child. I guess at one point I started a game I never truly ended. The thing is, back then, there was no consequence to dropping the mask. Today, dropping the act would result in a social and professional suicide. Maybe that's because if it's a game I started as a child, that's all I still am behind the mask.

Yeah. Writing this hurts just the way truth does.

Young me is probably having a blast, though. To be honest, I'm living the life any 9 year-old would dream of. I'm drawing and meeting cool people all year round. My business partners are my best friends and probably the hottest people humanity has ever birthed. I don't have a boss. I don't have a rigid schedule. I can get up whenever I want and work from whenever I want. So what in the fuck am I complaining about?

Let me tell you like this. Say you're with someone you love. Say you're with them but you never allow them to see you in anything but your best look. Say you never burp, fart or even sneeze when they're around. What you're doing is conceiving a character, writing a story in their mind with your name for a title. And the longer you carry this on, the stronger this image of you becomes. So one could argue that they themselves are never truly with you and that could be bad enough. But it gets worse. Because indubitably, one day as you are flawed like all of us, you will drop your guard. And when you do, you won't only show the real you, you also show the distrust you have for them, conscious or not. That's the betrayal. That's what's costly. Because deep down, what you're telling them is both "I'm not really worth it, and I know" and "I don't believe you're profound enough to understand me the way I truly am".

So yeah, young me is having the time of his life but he's also walking on egg shells, in shoes he's barely able to fill. Keep that shit going for a few years and I can admit my feet are getting sore. And now I guess I'm tired of lying to myself. I do believe we live in a social climate where you're being cuddled into accepting your flaws because "we all feel the same" instead of actually fixing your life. I don't buy it. One day or another you end up paying for what you get and if you're not prepared for the bill, what you have is taken from you as payment. Call it karmic credit.

A thing that is true, though, is that I love the people in my life. That's good, at least. I think I can start from there. They took me from where I was to here. The least I can do is outgrow them and return them the favor.

From here, I don't know what else will collapse as I drop the act. I'm prepared to lose whatever I maintained near by sheer force of illusion. I didn't deserve it in the first place. All I know is that this life has taken me as far as it could. So if anything, it might just be time to embrace something new.

All this time, I've been playing the role of the Creative. Someone who's always coming up with new stuff; a mind over-stimulated by  the world that could and would bring a new perspective to any situation. I've been called a genius when all I'm really doing is copy/pasting stuff I like online. I've called myself a writer when none of my books had ever even been showed to a publisher. I fancied myself a philosopher but apart of a few nights, smoking weed while listening to Alan Watts, at no point in time have I ever uttered an original thought. I've been the man that says he does stuff, not the man that does stuff.

I do believe I have a wish, though. I think I'd like it if I tried not to replace my old mask with a new one. But what if what you saw was what you got? No marketing. No advertising. No loopholes or survival mindset. I just want to do shit I truly enjoy. If it ends up in me being considered a loser, then so fucking be it.

Let's be quite honest here. I never worked a day in my whole life. I've always ran from tasks and responsibilities because they were made for someone I never was. They always brought me fear and guilt. That's what I meant early on when I said I've been waiting for people to do it for me. They were burdened by having to compensate for my inadequacies. I didn't have what it took to get to where I was, how could I possibly envision being the one to push things further along? Now, I want to go towards the light I was once afraid of. I want to embrace the spotlight. Because what could go wrong anyway?

There will be nothing to hide once I shed all that's false about me.

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