Last Monday I granny-shuffled down my street wearing an awkward abdominal surgery binder over my dress (think WWE championship belt made of bright white elastic and Velcro). I was four days post-gallbladder surgery. On this ninety-five-degree day, it felt like someone had been playing catch with my liver. Sweat trickled down my back as my husband walked beside me on what I’d hoped would be a quick private stroll.
Neighbors were hosting a socially distanced gathering on their porch. As I inched toward my turnaround point, their laughter faded to a few murmurs.
I couldn’t tell if they were whispering about my crazy belt or silently cheering me on.
I just knew this walk was an essential part of my recovery. I had to do it even if walking felt like a brand-new skill.
Sometimes writing feels like that. A story begs to be written, so we sit down at our desks only to stumble around our ideas as if English was a foreign language. We try and fail and try and fail again.
If we’re brave enough to send our work to critique groups or submit it for publication, we do it in front of an audience and hope no one sees how much we struggled to craft something meaningful.
Even thinking about an audience can bring about the imposter syndrome, that dreadful feeling that we’re a fraud, and any day someone is going to find out. One of shame’s cousins, the imposter syndrome tells us we’re not good enough to even try. If we do, our efforts are likely to fail. So why bother?
The imposter syndrome keeps us small and our stories largely unwritten.
And, it’s oh so common.
So, what can we do about it?
That’s this month’s newsletter topic.
And it’s right on time.
While every day might feel like the same, fall is only three weeks away. Another year will soon arrive. What do you want to accomplish before January 2021?
Let’s Carpe motherfucking Diem.
Even if you have an audience.
Even if you’re wearing some version of a blinding white WWE championship belt.
Even if the road forward seems impossible to walk.