Thursday, August 6, 2015

Hell if I Know

I have no idea what I'm doing. It's true. It doesn't matter if we're talking about teaching, parenting, writing, sewing, breathing.. I have no clue. I'm just making things up as I go along and hoping no one notices. Luckily I've become good at faking it, but that doesn't change the fact that I feel like a fraud.

I have these moments of clarity when I think, "Hey, I'm a grown up now," or "Wow, I've been teaching for fifteen years," or, "My kids are still alive!" and think I may be competent. But then I wake up the next day and have to fight my own self doubt again.

In The War of Art author Steven Pressfield calls this niggling doubt of being an impostor "Resistance."

Resistance lurks and preys on insecurities. What makes me think I'm good enough to write a book that people want to read? I'm just me, how can I design and sew a dress that looks like anything other than bits of fabric an overweight mom threw together in her kitchen?

Sometimes Resistance floors me, filling me with doubt and self loathing. Then there are the times that I square my shoulders and flip it of and write because I love writing. I know that dress looks great because I trust my judgement (except when I don't). I am so full of ideas, of color, of energy, how can I not create?

Creative outlets, in writing or teaching or parenting, are where I find fulfillment so how can I let Resistance make me complacent and willing to be mediocre? In order to believe this about myself I have to redefine success to the act of creativity rather than any sort of external validation. Of course, this makes it easier to listen to Resistance when it tells me my books are terrible, but in the end I trust the spark inside me that pushes me to keep truckin'.

So, KERPLOWWWIE! I will continue to spray the world with my creative juices (ewww) because 1. I can. And 2. It makes me whole.

Who cares if I'm just making it up as I go along? Isn't that what creativity is?


Susan Kane said...

You have finally discovered the secret: NONE of us know what we are doing. We are all good at FAKING it. When we finally figure stuff out, no one really cares anyway.
You are doing darn good.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

What Susan Kane wrote is true: each of us struggle with making it up as we go along (like Indiana Jones)-- what is really frightening is that goes for all our world leaders (some only thinking they know!) :-)

Misha Gerrick said...

This makes me think of one of my favorite creative quotes of all time. Van Gogh said something along the lines of: "If the voices in your head tell you you can't paint, then by all means paint and the voices will be silenced."

I think all creative people go through Resistance in some form. But we must do so in order to stand at least a chance at success.

And yes, redefining success so that it doesn't depend on external validation is a smart move.

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