Well, it has been a little over a year since I wrote a blog post on this page. It has been a very crazy year, but one that I am coming to terms with and finding my peace. We’ve had several life updates, so let’s see if I can hit all of them in one post.
A changed her major from BioChemistry to Political Science with a minor in Criminology
B started high school
A moved home in January while she looks for an apartment with her friends
B played football in the fall until he broke his collarbone
A has been a member of SGA her whole college experience and added EPC (the student group that plans all the events) this semester
B threw shot and discus for the high school track team
B also managed to grow at least a foot this year (no lie, I really think it is a foot)
A did not get taller, but did get a cat that she promptly named Adderall Steve Burnt Toast Addycat (we call her Addy for short)
I surprised David by going to get a puppy (yes, we are still married)
Summitt (the new puppy) is a great pyrenees and has gone through the first step of training for the eventual goal of being a therapy dog
UT beat Bama in football (and we were there)
Huge changes got made to the program that I am in charge of at work
David and I sold our part of the gym (not what we wanted to do, but the choice that we were given because we weren’t “all in”)
We went to Disney right before Christmas
I took on a few more things to do since I am no longer having to spend every spare minute doing gym stuff
David rejoined our old CrossFit gym
I started writing another book
We have all started to try to achieve some new habits
I’ve been to California twice
Our podcast has gotten some new equipment
David is writing articles for JEMS
I think that is everything, but I’m sure I’m missing something. I guess I will move on to the starting a new journey. No, I am not leaving where I work. This is a new personal journey. I have been to a surgeon and am working on all the steps to have weight loss surgery soon. I’ll be having a Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass, probably around the end of August. I am excited and nervous, but also learning how to not be disappointed that my body won’t give up weight. This is definitely NOT the easy way out of being overweight, but it is the way that I am going to go. I have a lot of reasons behind doing this, and I’ll post those on another post soon. I have questioned whether or not I should go public with what I am doing, but I decided that for me to truly change my mindset about myself, I have to be vulnerable. So, there it is. Laying it out for the whole world. I’m going to try to post more often on here (one of those new habits). This has always been a running commentary of what is in my head when I sit down to write, so don’t expect that to change. Regardless of anything else, this will probably still be a funny place that hopefully makes people feel better.
Sometimes something happens that shakes you to the core. This week has been one of those weeks. We started the week on a hopeful note. B had eighth grade night for wrestling on Monday night and won his match. I can’t believe we are wrapping up middle school for him. We all went out and got dinner and things were great. The team was pumped for the team championships the next night. Things were lovely.
Tuesday went pretty well throughout the day, too. I even got to be the fun Mom and haul a bunch of the wrestlers to the team championship tournament right after school. The kids were having fun, I was excited to watch them. I had a Zoom meeting that I had to do at 5, so I went out to the car to do that with the full expectation that it would take an hour and then I would head back in and watch the rest of the tournament. Little did I know what would happen next.
About 5:30, our assistant coach and one of the other moms came running out to the car to get me. I rolled the window down and muted the Zoom as the asst. coach kept saying we need you inside. I asked him why twice and then he told me B was hurt and they had called an ambulance. At that point, I unmuted the meeting, explained that my son was hurt and abruptly left. When I got inside, David was with B (along with coaches, an athletic trainer, and the SRO for that school) and just looked at me and said “Don’t look.” Now, if you know me well, you know that there are only two reasons David would tell me don’t look. The first is if something is so bad that it is going to cause me to panic (not just because it’s bloody, but because I know too much from listening to him all these years). In other words, if CPR is going on. The other reason would be something to do with eyes. I am one of those people that can hold other parts of your body that are falling apart, but I don’t do eyes. About the time I looked up, they moved the icepack/shirt that was covering B’s face. It was his eye. I think the words that I used to describe it when I called mom were to thin of Quasimodo from the Disney version of Hunchback of Notre Dame and then think worse.
B had taken a knee directly to the eye (what I would later find out was twice) and managed to keep wrestling. Then the ref saw his eye and called the match. An ambulance had been called (ask me sometime for that story) and we helped B out to my truck to wait on the ambulance. At that point he was pretty unstable and everyone thought we were really looking at concussion issues, but his eye looked like someone took a blue almost baseball sized something and put it on there.
His first ambulance ride got us to our local hospital, but David had already said that we would probably end up transferred to a trauma center (still all of us thinking we were dealing with concussion and maybe a possible fracture of the eye socket). We met him at the hospital (David and I were in separate vehicles). And when I walked into the ER, this is what greeted me. ****THIS IS YOUR WARNING THAT THESE PICTURES ARE GROSS****
Did I mention that I don’t like eye stuff? The hospital send him for a CT Scan, but the doctor seemed pretty hopeful on the front end because when he moved the eyelid, B could move his eye. What happened next is when this went to super scary for me. I am sure David has his own version of feelings as things went on, but when the doctor got the CT results, I started to get really worried. He said the good news is there is no orbital fracture. The bad news is that there is “significant” swelling behind the eye. Then he said we want to transfer you to the trauma center and we want to do it via ambulance. He tried to get a reading on the pressure behind the eye, and while he never told us what the reading was I would find out later it was written down as over 60. My understanding is that normal is 12-22. We began to wait on an ambulance to get to the trauma center, and btw everyone in our county needed an ambulance that night. They told us they were transferring us a little before 9:00. At 11:10 we got on an ambulance from a neighboring county and proceeded lights and sirens to the trauma center. One thing you should know about our trauma center is that it is amazing and always busy. Going in on ambulance doesn’t guarantee that there still won’t be a wait. When the ambulance got there and was getting ready to leave to take us, they asked what priority we needed to get down the road going. The doc basically said ASAP because they need to get the fluid off his eye. Now, as someone who has dealt with multiple swollen joints throughout her life, that means that there is about to be a big needle used to drain the fluid. Slightly terrifying, right? The medic and EMT were great going down there, and we even had a conversation about that the trauma center was packed and we may still be waiting a while.
We didn’t wait. We got there and they directed us to a room. Before they could get him in the room, the doc came and took him to the “eye room.” I rode on the ambulance to the trauma center, and David followed, so they had taken B before David even got back there with us. What very quickly transpired was lots of taking pressure of his eye, then bringing him back and explaining to us that the pressure was extremely high and they were going to do some more readings and call a surgeon to try to save his vision. The surgeon would take another reading and make a final decision. At this point it is 12:35 am, the injury happened at 5:30 pm the night before. B heard everything and starts to panic about losing his vision. He also had not had anything for pain or to eat (remember this happened during a wrestling match). David got them to bring him something to calm the panic and for pain and we waited on the surgeon.
Once the surgeon got there, he did some more readings, then explained everything to us. The number we needed to be under was 40. He was close. Since we had now gotten him calmed down, the surgeon wanted us to ice it and see if we could get it to go under 40 to avoid having to go in and cut the tendon to relieve the pressure. We got the ice on and waited what seemed like the longest 20 minutes of our entire lives.
Finally, and I mean that facetiously because they were so good about checking on him the whole time, the surgeon came back to do the reading. B had done it. He got the pressure down below 40. We were not going to have to have surgery. By now we have made it to about 2:15. We talk to the surgeon a little longer and he says we can go home one the ER doc discharges us, but we have to ice the eye every 2 hours and ibuprofen every 4 hours to try to help the inflammation go down. B also has to sleep in a reclined position instead of flat and if his vision changes or he starts getting a headache or nausea to immediately call the surgeon’s office and go back to the trauma center. The good news was that in addition to no surgery, B could finally sleep because of all the meds.
We were finally discharged about 4:30, and got home around 5:00 am. So where are we now? We are a little less than 48 hours after the incident. His eye looks awful still (pics below). We are still icing every 2 hours, and he can’t go back to school until he can hold the eye open for long stretches of time. We did take him by to see his teammates yesterday (briefly) and I think that was maybe overdoing it physically, but much needed mentally and emotionally. We know that our wrestling family, our families, our gym family, our work families, and our friends are the greatest people on the planet. We have felt love and prayers throughout all of this. It has been the most terrifying thing we have ever dealt with, and will continue to deal with, but the messages and prayers are keeping us going. We are also exhausted and trying to determine if our 13 year old is telling us truly how he feels or trying to be strong and not worry everyone. Also trying to get him out a little bit because the weather is gorgeous and we don’t want him to just sit in the dark, but weighing that with how much do we need to have him out because his body needs to heal. I’m sure that by next week we will be in the clear, but we will go back to the surgeon just to check. I’m also sure that a visit to the eye doctor is in our future.
I wanted to let everyone know what was going on, but this was definitely too much to put into a social media post, so the blog just happened to be the best way to accomplish this. Know that we are so thankful for the prayers, food, offers to help, and everything else. We love all of you. I’ll keep posting updates as things change, but we are thinking we are in the clear at this point.
It’s Sunday morning, it’s quiet, I have come to the gym to do my normal Sunday stuff of paying bills. For some reason I just got this urge to go and do some stuff in my YouVersion app on my phone. Admittedly, I am the queen of finding Bible studies or devotionals on that app and starting them to make it a day or two and forget about it, so I am in and out on YouVersion a lot. This morning, I tried this new guided prayer thing that is in there. I decided to try it, I mean why not ya know? And as I worked through it, I actually wrote the prayer I wanted to pray for today. That may seem like nothing to some, but for me it is a big deal. I have never been someone that could just pray. I send short prayers to God throughout the day, but to just sit and think through a prayer is something I have always struggled with. So this morning’s prayer was a different thing for me. As I wrote it I realized that there is a difference between trust and faith.
I was always one of those people at church when others would talk about faith that God would provide or faith that was shown by giving away everything you own and following God that just kind of shut down. As I thought about it this morning, I realized that when I heard those stories faith and trust were used interchangeably. I also realized that I am still the person that when people say give away everything you own and follow God that wants a plan before we start. For years, I have felt bad because I didn’t feel like I had the faith that everyone else had. This morning I realize it isn’t the faith, it’s the trust.
You see, to me, faith is a belief. I can believe something all day long. Trust actually requires me to let go of control. To find myself in those uncomfortable situations and not try to move myself out of them. To allow the things to happen, even when I don’t have control over them. Faith is saying I will do this thing if it presents itself at the right time. Trust is saying this isn’t the right time, but it is presenting itself so I will do it now. That whole concept may not make sense in anyone’s head but mine, but it made sense to me today.
I’m not really sure why I decided to write all this down and share it with the world. It takes me to places I don’t like to admit that I question myself. I guess for me, this is my version of trust. Trusting myself enough to feel like I am not the only one that ever has these thoughts or feelings or questions, trusting those around me enough to not be scared that I’m going to lose face by voicing these things, maybe even trusting God enough to protect me when I put this out there for the whole world to see. I don’t really know what the purpose is, but I know I felt like this was what I was supposed to do before I could start working. For today, I guess I am just going to trust that it is right. I’m taking action on the faith that I have.
Trust. It seems like such an easy concept. And it’s one of those things that involves more than one person… Right? Well, kind of. Except when it isn’t.
I have chosen a word of the year for the past 4 years. I learned a long time ago that resolutions were not my thing. I love to set goals, but I can’t set year long goals. It just doesn’t work for me. In a quest to “be a better human” I found the concept of One Word and that just resonated with me. Figure out a word, find things that remind you of that word, focus on that word, etc. This I could do. It gave me an opportunity to continue to design things (something I loved doing, but had kind of let go). When I decided to try this word for the year, the words came easy.
2018 was Peace – This one came to me easy after a rough year with lots of transitions. It was hard to find, but easy to focus on for a year. I was in a new job with lots of new responsibilities and changing the ways that I thought about things. It was also the year I was rebuilt by some amazing friends/bosses and regained some confidence in my abilities as a teacher.
2019 was Pause – That new job came with lots of changes and when I look back I can see that while I did find some peace in 2018, I also ran as hard as I could everywhere I was going. Pause just seemed to fit for 2019. It made sense. It was what I needed to do. I created backgrounds for my computer, my watch, my phone, etc. I saw pause everywhere, but I was not very successful in learning to pause unless I was ill.
2020 was Intentional – The year that no one expected. I had chosen intentional because I wanted to revamp the way I did things and make sure that I wasn’t half-doing things. I wanted to be intentional about how I spent my time. I had no clue exactly how important that word would become as we went through the craziness that was 2020.
2021 was Rhythm, then it was Gratitude – I started the year wanting desperately to get my life back into a rhythm that had been torn apart by 2020. It didn’t take long into 2021 to determine that rhythm was just going to frustrate me. There were so many things outside of my control that were affecting my ability to get into a rhythm. As a self-professed control freak, I found that trying to cling desperately to rhythm was almost becoming harmful to my mental health. So, I switched my word around March to gratitude. I focused on making a list of things I was grateful for every day (at least I tried to make sure I got that done) and really found that to be helpful to my mentality at a point when the world seemed to be falling apart and my own little world was crazy.
That brings us to 2022 and Trust. A few weeks ago someone used the word trust (granted it seemed in anger) but it got me to thinking. That person was using it in the realm of learning to trust each other, but it seemed more than that to me. And I really didn’t want that to be my word. It made me uncomfortable and I couldn’t figure out why. In general, I tend to trust people. Then I realized, I trust people, but sometimes question the intentions. So I started to think maybe this is my word. So I thought some more and realized the person that I really don’t trust is me. I trust my mind, but I don’t trust my body due to weirdo injuries and things that just don’t work. I trust my logic, but I am super insecure about things and always second guessing myself. It was then that I realized that yes, trust is my word, but it isn’t about trusting others. My issue with trust is trusting myself. The reason I question intentions of people is because I stay rooted in my own insecurities. So my word is trust. It isn’t about trusting others. It’s all about learning to trust myself. It is going to force me to be intentional with my thoughts. It’s going to force me to do hard things. It’s probably going to hit some nerves that are really raw. My hope is that by the time I get to the end of the year I am trusting myself and moving beyond my insecurities. I want to be the person that believes it when people say nice things or tell me I have done something good.
So trust it is. What does that look like? I am not really sure. Today, it looks like putting it out there in writing. It looks like not being insecure about admitting that there are issues that I need to figure out how to deal with. It looks like trying to not feel a need to “prove myself” and just relaxing into the things that I do. I don’t know what it will look like tomorrow, but I do know that it will be a journey to learn to trust myself. It will be a journey to overcome the insecurities that creep in and try to steer me off course.
It’s the day after Easter. I’m sitting on my back deck and enjoying my coffee for what is really the first time this Spring, and I’m restless. I don’t even know that that is really the right word to describe it, but it is the word that I have for today.
The past year has been a roller coaster ride to say the least. In just a little over a year, we have sheltered in place, worn masks, not worn masks, cancelled school, gone virtual, flipped education totally around, missed a junior track season and junior prom, missed graduations, missed the last third of junior and 6th grade years, missed 6th grade track season, worked from home, bought a boat, started a podcast, renovated an office, became part owners of a gym, gone back to work, changed to a faculty position, trained someone else to do my old position, taken it all back because that person left, taught way more hours than I should have, dealt with countless student issues, celebrated holidays in new ways, had snow on Christmas, turned 40, celebrated 20 years of marriage, ordered senior pictures, picked a college, quit track for the senior season, had wrestling for 7th grade, starting track for 7th grade, got some new furniture, had family to the house, said goodbye to David’s mom as she moves to Alabama, missed sports, watched sports, played with the dog, and that is just what I can remember. That’s a lot in a year. It doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon, but I am still restless. Waiting on the next big thing to come down the pike, but wanting to do it with peace in my heart.
I sit and I wonder about the things I still want to accomplish in my life, and some of those things seem like they will never happen. What is my next big thing? How many more big things will there be? I’m not being morbid, I just keep wondering that. You grow up and think of all the things you will accomplish by the time you hit a certain age or what life will look like when you reach a certain milestone, but do we actually hit those milestones and see the things we dreamed of when we were younger? I’m not complaining about my life. In general, my life is wonderful. I am blessed with family and friends, a job I genuinely love, and a home. So what am I waiting on? Why am I constantly dreaming of the next big thing? When do I look at the things I have now and find satisfaction? Is it the perfectionist in me that keeps looking for better? I’m sitting on the deck today, and although I love it, I am looking at all the things that I wish were different. I’m thinking about how much I wish I was in a different house and in a different part of town. How I wish I was smaller, and had more motivation to make things happen instead of wishing they would happen. It’s even the weird little things. Wishing I could take the dog off the leash and know she would stay instead of running off (she’s kind of an escape artist). Wishing I was motivated to work on my bedroom and make it a space that is welcoming and calming instead of chaos. Wishing I had paint and could paint my cabinets white today, but knowing that even if I went to get the stuff for it, I wouldn’t be able to get it finished because of too many other things going on.
I’m not writing this because I am sad or to get people to point out how blessed I am. I’m truly just wondering if we ever find satisfaction in life, or are we more like the song from Hamilton than we would like to admit? What gets us to the satisfied stage, the stage where we could want for nothing more and feel happy with ourselves and our surroundings and accomplishments? The point where we look around and say it is good. Does reaching that point mean we have given up? That we have lost our drive? Life is so confusing sometimes. I don’t want bigger or better necessarily, I just want different. I guess I’m just restless.
I think it is really important that we take a look next at how to tackle imposter syndrome (or battle it or whatever word you want to use). There are a ton of resources out there (and more being put out everyday) about imposter syndrome, why we have it, and how to overcome it. In my mind, in order to overcome imposter syndrome, we have to look first at what some of the reasons may be that we are suffering from it.
For me, there are several things that I think contribute to my imposter syndrome, but one of the ones that I think might contribute most is the idea of humility. Not to get too regional about things, but I was born and raised in the South, and that is still where I live. In fact, I live now in the same city where I grew up, the one I said I would never come back to when I left for college (We see how that turned out). What does this have to do with humility? Well, one of the things that you hear constantly in the South, or at least you heard it a lot when I was growing up, is don’t brag. Don’t gloat (unless your football team won), don’t tell everyone your accomplishments (they should speak for themselves), and don’t flaunt your gifts (because it isn’t fair to the people that didn’t get them). These were all things I heard growing up. When you couple that with what the church (mine was Baptist, but I am guessing it goes across most major religions) says about pride and all the wonderful little cartoons (thank you Aesop and Looney Tunes) that talk about not being prideful, I think I can see where the heart of my imposter syndrome lies. Make no mistake, I still think these are good things to teach our children and for us to remember. I just think we have to learn to balance that with gracefully accepting a compliment about something we have done or taking the credit for our amazing work without feeling bad about it.
I feel like we have gotten the concept of confidence confused with arrogance somewhere along the line and, for me, when you couple that with this desire to please people and have humility while doing it we have created imposter syndrome. A point in which not only can we not acknowledge our own accomplishments or “toot our own horn,” but also where we can’t accept the credit others give us without feeling like someone is going to think we are being arrogant and where we are constantly waiting on someone to call us on being a total fraud. We preface things we say with words that automatically downplay our contributions. We put off things because we have to do it perfectly, then get stressed trying to be perfect under the wire.
So how do we fix this? I think the first piece of the puzzle is to acknowledge that we have it. Acknowledging that a constant feeling of not being enough or waiting on the person to figure out you don’t know what you are doing is not right or healthy. Sitting in our offices or classrooms looking around for someone to be in charge isn’t why we are here. For most of us, we have gotten jobs based upon our intelligence and accomplishments. Let’s start by acknowledging that singular piece.
We didn’t get to where we are in a vacuum, and it is wonderful to give credit to those who helped us. However, it is also important to give credit to what we have done as well. The second thing I think we need to do is to talk about it. I can’t begin to tell you how much writing this blog series about imposter syndrome has helped me. It helped just to hear that others were having the same feelings. To know that I wasn’t existing all alone in this crazy world of feeling like a fraud has been so helpful. So step 2, if you are battling it my way, is to find people to talk to that feel the same way and acknowledge that you are not alone in this. I will say that it helps when the people that you find are dealing with this are people that you think highly of and view as well-respected people in their field.
The third thing I think is important is to create your own hype file. I am a sports fan, and I love to watch the hype videos that get put together before a season. They make me feel positive about the direction the team is headed and give me hope for the season, and trust me when I say there hasn’t been much hope for my team in about 20 years. I’m not saying you have to create a cool video, although it isn’t a bad idea at all. In fact, if you have the ability to create a cool hype video, DO IT. I’m going to say create a hype file. A place where you store your accomplishments, the kudos people give you, any certifications you earn, thank you notes, etc. This gives you something to look at when you are feeling particularly bad about whether you deserve or are worthy fo the good things happening in your life.
The last thing I suggest is to flip your thinking. Put a post it somewhere you can see it that says “Why not me” and refer to it when you feel like you can’t possibly be the one that should be doing this. There are a ton of personal mantras that you can adopt to help yourself feel worthy or hype you up, but this single question has helped me more than you can imagine. Instead of constantly trying to figure out why I was chosen for something, having this one question taped to my computer reminds me to get out of my own head and do the job.
I have a good friend that constantly reminds me that I am chosen for things because I am dependable and intelligent. She also suffers from imposter syndrome, and when we talked about it her other thing besides why not me was to remember that when I devalue myself I am devaluing others as well. When she asks me to do something and I constantly ask why me or feel I am not the one to do it, I am also questioning her ability to choose someone for a task. I truly respect her and value her wisdom (and think she is one of the smartest and most capable people on the planet) so turning that why me to why not me allows me to try to see things from her point of view (which is a much more positive thought about myself than what I typically have).
I think that wraps up Imposter Syndrome for the blog. I’m not sure, and it will probably pop up again sometime, but I think I am finished writing about it for now. I have not conquered it, but I am a work in progress. I don’t have all the answers, but I have found some that have worked for me. I am not complete, but I am a work in progress. I am learning to be okay with that. I am learning that I can be proud of myself without being prideful. I am learning that humility is not the same as self-degradation. At the end of the day, I am learning to be a better me without saying the current me is bad or fraudulent. Isn’t that the real purpose of this?
First off, let me just say that I was truly overwhelmed by the response to my post last week about Imposter Syndrome. I was amazed that my post seemed to resonate with so many people, and that so many of the people that I heard from were people that I never expected to feel the same way. Since there was such a response, I have decided to dedicate the next few weeks to taking a deep look at imposter syndrome and how it changes my life.
Let’s start off with actually defining what imposter syndrome looks like. The common characteristics (according to verywellmind.com) include:
An inability to realistically assess your competence and skills
Attributing your success to external factors
Berating your performance
Fear that you won’t live up to expectations
Sabotaging your own success
Setting very challenging goals and feeling disappointed when you fall short
For some people, imposter syndrome serves as motivation to achieve something larger than what they are currently achieving. I happen to have this as one of the ways it manifests. It causes me to work harder than necessary and push harder than I probably should in an effort to keep other people from finding out I am a “fraud” and sets me up that I see the reason that I succeed as the direct result of my extra effort. I ask myself (on a more than regular basis) what gives me the right to be doing the things I am doing. One of the funnier things about this is that I just got my degrees hung in my office after Christmas, and I am continually looking at them for reassurance that I really am qualified to be doing the things I am doing. Doing things well doesn’t even make me think that I am qualified because I keep going back to the only reason that I succeed is because I worked my way or lucked my way into it.
It is said that 70% of people will experience imposter syndrome at some point in life, even though it isn’t an officially recognized disorder in the DSM-5, but it appears to show up in multiple different ways. Strangely enough, I can recognize parts of each of these in my own journey.
The first one is called the perfectionist. I definitely fit within this one most of the time. I tend to focus on flaws I see in myself or mistakes that I have made. I am the first to look at something I have done and see the 5 ways I could have done it better. I also tend to set very high goals for myself, even though I go totally off the track towards my goal when I first make a mistake or don’t make the progress that I think I should have made.
Another “personality” of imposter syndrome is the expert. This manifests by never being satisfied with the level of skill or understanding that I have and continually writing my own expertise and experiences off as not enough. This is one of those spots where I jokingly say I am looking for the adultier adult in the room or looking for the person that is supposed to be teaching the class only to realize that I am the one who is supposed to be teaching and I am the one in the room that is supposed to be the one with the most knowledge or responsibility. It is important to realize that this is very different that just seeking more knowledge. Seeking more knowledge on the topic is something that I feel I should be doing just as a responsible person.
Another way it shows up is as the “natural genius.” The way this one shows up is that it hits people who are used to succeeding or things coming to them “naturally” but when there is something that they can’t figure out quite as easily or they don’t get quite as fast as they perceive others to be getting it. It often leads to thoughts along the lines of if I was smarter, this would be easier or if I was better, it would come more naturally. The natural genius tends to have a hard time when they don’t succeed at the lofty goal they set on the first try.
The soloist tends to looks at everything as something that should have been accomplished with no help from anyone else. These people tend to prefer to work alone, and perceive asking for help as a sign of weakness or incompetence, regardless of how much it could benefit them.
The last one is the superhero. The superhero has an overwhelming need to be the one that does it all. They need to be the “fixer” of anything that has gone wrong and feel compelled to push themselves to work as hard (or harder) than humanly possible. These people (and I am one of them) tend to have a need to feel as if they are indispensable to others, and use that thought process as proof that they have to work harder to get to the same spots as others. They also have a hard time taking a break, can shut down from the smallest pieces of criticism, and think they should be great at everything.
Like I said, I can see myself in all 5 of these at any given point in my life (or sometimes in my day). I can’t say that it makes it easier to get past this by knowing this is what I am doing, but I am trying to get a little better each day about recognizing what my thoughts about myself are doing to me. I have also started trying to make an effort to at least label which of the 5 types I am in the middle of when things happen. My hope is that drawing awareness to what I am doing and how I am thinking will help me to move beyond those thoughts. That being said, how do you see these “personalities” manifesting in your imposter syndrome? Is it helpful to know about the different types? Next week, I am going to look at ways to cope and start moving beyond imposter syndrome.
Have you ever heard of Imposter Syndrome? It is a term that I have heard thrown around for a few years, but interestingly enough I never heard it until I started working in higher education. Verywellmind has a great article talking about imposter syndrome, but the definition is basically when a person feels that others view them as more competent than they feel they actually are. I sometimes think of it as when I am looking around for the adultier adult only to realize I am the adult in the room.
I realized recently that I have struggled with this most of my life. More importantly, I realized that I am not the only one that has these thoughts or struggles with feeling “not enough.” Logically, it is crazy to think of having 4 degrees and being in a faculty position at an institution of higher education and still feeling like someone is going to figure out I’m actually not smart. However, logic is no match for insecurity in most situations. I have tried to battle this, but have not made much progress. Instead, I ended up working myself into a frenzy and thinking everything that went wrong was my fault.
I decided a little while ago that I was really going to try to work on this aspect of myself. The first thing I felt like I needed to do was admit that I feel this way to some of the people that I trust most in my life and that I am around the most. I checked that box and then tried to figure out my next step. I decided that I should push myself to do something that was outside of my normal comfort zone that would require a commitment. I decided that I would move forward with the suggestion that David had made about us starting a podcast. Now, you have to remember that I struggle with the thought of anyone being interested in anything I have to say, so this was way outside of my normal reality. Out of that has come our podcast, Perfect Chaos, which you can learn all about at our Perfect Chaos blog. Now, I am to the point that I want the podcast to succeed, but am afraid to step out further with it. I’m not telling you that to promote the podcast, but to illustrate that I still have a long way to go.
I have finally decided to do something I probably should have started with in the beginning. I’m going to do some research. I want to know more about IS so that I can learn better how to deal with the feelings of inadequacy that I struggle with on a constant basis. I want to learn how to take a compliment without feeling like I have to devalue what I have done. The crazy part is, it has taken hearing other people say they feel the same way (people that I deeply respect and feel like have their stuff together) for me to decide that there has to be a way to move past this.
I’m not sure what that will look like, but I can promise that I will try to blog my way through it in the hopes that it will help someone else who feels this same way. Isn’t it crazy how much time we spend telling others that they are enough only to tell ourselves we aren’t enough?
I was watching Instagram stories this morning, and I came across this graphic shared by someone I follow:
As I sit here today, working from home because of a migraine and some wintry weather, this graphic spoke to me about the way that we normally think about Mondays. I am as guilty as anyone of starting to dread Monday on Sunday afternoon. In fact, I have seen several memes about how Sunday just can’t be enjoyable because it is Monday Eve.
This has really gotten me thinking about how much of the bad feelings about Monday are made worse by our mindset? It is interesting that I talk about mindset to my students, and even to my kids at home, but I still can’t manage to make it past those Monday blues. When I saw that graphic this morning, it really stuck with me that this would be a great way to try to change my mindset about Mondays. These are things we can do every day, but it seems like it is even more important on Mondays.
I also think it is very important to keep in mind the A from this graphic. It seems like most of us spend way too much time down on ourselves instead of acknowledging what we have actually accomplished. It has been far too easy in my life to look at the to-do list and see how many things I didn’t get accomplished during the day instead of acknowledging how much progress I actually made during the day. We so often try to give others the benefit of the doubt or try to make up the difference ourselves, when we have already taken on more than what we should have. Once we have taken on all the things, we beat ourselves down for not getting everything accomplished. Perhaps it is wanting to check everything off the list or maybe it is a quest for perfection. Either way, the tendency that we have to keep adding to the list and then beating ourselves up for not getting the list finished is extremely harmful to the way we think about ourselves overall. In other words, we really need to be giving ourselves a break instead of constantly striving for perfection. Don’t let your Monday Mindset be a negative start to your week.
Life is too hard for us to be continuously hard on ourselves. There are enough people waiting to knock us down or criticize us without us leading that charge. This week, I am issuing a challenge. Start your week with a better Monday Mindset and live the week being intentional about not beating yourself up over everything that doesn’t go wonderfully.
It’s a big week. This is going to be a big week for our country (regardless of which side you are on), a big week at the gym, a big week at school, and a big week for me. The country part is fairly obvious, and all I will say is I just hope people can start to Be Kind again, regardless of whether we agree or disagree. I miss when we could disagree on something and it was okay. I miss when the push wasn’t to be a keyboard warrior, but to be a good person. Politics aside, I sincerely hope we can start to heal and come together to celebrate our differences instead of fight about them. In fact, I will just say it. I refuse to not be kind.
It’s also a big week at the gym. This week we have our first seminar, and it is about setting goals. I am a huge goal setter, and I actually teach how to set goals in my classes, so I am super stoked about this event. I am also a little nervous about it. We haven’t done this before, and I am in charge of planning it. I put a lot of pressure on myself to do things well, and that can lead to being pretty down on myself if something doesn’t go exactly as planned. Let’s be clear, it isn’t because I think I am perfect that this bothers me, it is because I feel like I let someone down. Something will happen not according to plan, and that is how we can learn and do better for the next time. This week, I refuse to forget that flaws are how we learn and grow.
This week is also a big week at school. It’s the first (almost) full week of classes. Granted, we don’t have class on Monday because of MLK day, but it is the first time most classes will meet more than just the day 1 syllabus talk kind of day. I love the beginning of a new semester, but it is also a time that is a little nerve-wracking for teachers and students of all ages. For those of us in higher ed, each new semester or quarter is like starting a new academic year. There are huge hopes and dreams that are mired in expectations and standards, and those can be overwhelming. When you tack the normal stuff on top of a pandemic, a country at odds from within, pandemic fatigue, and lots of outside noise thinking about the beginning of this semester can be a little overwhelming. So this semester I refuse to get mired down in the constant stuff outside of my classroom so I can simply control what is happening within my classroom.
That gets us to it being a big week for me. Personally. Now, you may laugh about what I am getting ready to tell you, and that’s okay. I’m kind of laughing, too. It is still a big deal in my head for whatever reason. This week I turn 40. I don’t know why I am having a hard time with it. It is the first birthday where I can say that I finally feel like I am doing what I am supposed to be doing and have a career that I love. It’s also a little hard to look and realize that I came into that career really late. I’m 40, with one semester as a full-time faculty member under my belt. I’m 40 with a daughter that is going to college next year. Life is changing a lot this year, and maybe that is why I am dreading this big number. Why couldn’t it have been 39? Anyway, I really don’t like the way I am feeling about turning 40. I also don’t like that I am dreading my birthday. It could also have something to do with the fact that I am pretty sure the day before my birthday is going to be slightly nuts. Regardless, I am going to try to stop it now. In fact, I refuse to let myself dwell on getting older.
That seems like a lot of negativity for a space that I don’t normally let get negative. Maybe it isn’t negative, it is just me thinking about what lies ahead. In actuality, I am really trying to take a stand against the negativity that could typically find a way into my head to prevent it from getting in there and multiplying. One of the things I have found about myself is that it doesn’t take much for the negative thoughts to start and it takes even less for them to multiply exponentially. This is my way of drawing that line. It is the way that I am going to remind myself about growth when I feel overwhelmed or like things aren’t going right. It is how I’m going to remind myself to cut myself the same slack I cut others. It’s how I’m reminding myself that age is just a number. I refuse to let this week get the best of me.