Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Rainy Day Blues

Well, thank first to all of you who wrote such nice things to my last post.

I am trying very very hard to just not feel very discouraged right now. I know some of it is just the mood I'm in today so I'm trying to not let it get me down. Thank god for exadvisor who really has become my cheerleader through all of this. I'm sorry I ever doubted him. And yes, I do KNOW that my new advisor would not be busting her already busy ass to do all this editing for me if she didn't think I could do it.

BUT...I still just feel like I'm not cut out for this. There is always that nagging self-doubt that eats at me. And no matter how much I am affirmed in my work, I still hear that horrible voice telling "You're not good enough. You're not smart enough." This voice makes writing an essay in which you're trying to sell yourself very, very hard. I know that deep down inside I have to believe in myself in order to write this thing. And I have to get that feeling of love quick because I need to hammer out a new draft by the end of this weekend.

And, I also keep telling myself that I have back up plans. This is not the only thing I am able to do. H and I have both decided that we'll apply this year, and then next but after that it will be looking towards something else. As long I'm teaching...that's what's important to me. I have to be in a classroom.


Jess said...

Here at the University of Toronto we have this student magazine that seems to be issued sporadically. I never really read it much, but last year there was an article about academics suffering from persistent feelings of being frauds. There were students, TAs and professors, PhDs and candidates from across the university spectrum interviewed, and each one of them said they felt as though they didn't belong, they didn't know enough, that they were stupid. It was the first time I've read an article that admitted to what I know I've felt, and what I'd suspected others felt. At that point in my brief library school career, I was pretty much beyond caring about school, but I think the same applies to writers. Who am *I* to think that I can do this? Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that I think a lot of people feel this way: feel unworthy somehow, or like they don't deserve to be where they are. Here's the way I look at it: (for the most part) we're where we are because we are good enough to be there. And we owe it to ourselves to proceed in the directions that we choose. Believing in oneself can be hard, but it's easier to feel OK about it, at least for me, when I know everybody else is worrying too. Hang in there! We know you're going to do well.

Ginger said...

We had this conversation once on a Yahoo group I'm on, and it was the same thing. We ALL felt frauds in most aspect of our lives.

Thanks for your words. Sometimes just knowing you're not the only one is comforting.

Rebeka Lembo said...

Dear Ginger,

I feel as if it were not fair for me to leave a comment considering that I have removed comments from my own blog but...

I have been afflicted with impostor syndrome for a long time now. There are times when every single word acquires sort of an authoritative tone of which I feel irremediably unworthy. And it is frustrating. And I delete and delete until there is nothing left. I then realize the blank page staring at me is even more frustrating.

But I digress. I just wanted to say that you are definitely not alone.

For what is worth, I too believe you can do it.

John B-R said...

We ARE all frauds. It's not just a feeling. No one knows anything because there's nothing to know beyond the golden rule. And to be grateful for this chance to be alive. The rest of it - everything since we ceased hunting and gathering - is all just crazy hallucination.

BUT - that doesn't mean you can't be as good a fraud as the rest of us. I'm going to be 57 in a month and after approx 40 years as an adult and 26 on a university campus, I finally realize they're not going to catch me. I'm going to get away with being a fraud. Why? Because it's easy. And I'm good at it. And I'm a nice guy, so no one's out to bust me.

Ginger, you are good enough. You are smart enough. Just don't take it all too seriously.

Ginger said...

Thanks John and Rebeka...I'm feeling a tad better today. Mostly I think it's just feeling a bit overwelmed right now...

But you're right John, I think. I'm not sure if I like the word Fraud but we are all trying to figure it out, yes? And certainty is kind of hard to come by, if it even exists.

Now I'll go work on being a nice girl....;P

Jon said...

I had a supervision the other day that made me feel like a five year old (which, it should be added, was not the fault of my supervisor, but more down to the nature of the supervision). I still don't know how I got to be doing a PhD, and I definitely have no idea of how to write it.

As everyone else has said: everyone feels this uncertainty to some extent, and I would add that I think it's a good thing to feel. It's far better than feeling as if it doesn't matter (which I also feel occasionally).

I also know that the statement of purpose is a weird document, and I couldn't write one (in the UK you just submit a proposal for research, saying little about yourself). And two people's opinions of it are going to be different. It is, as with everything, a matter of writing something YOU are happy with. Although that may just be the hard part...

For what it's worth: GOOD LUCK! You'll do fine.

Speak soon,


Horacio said...

just remember art brut's broken microphone ;-)
You're smart enough, don't worry about it so much!

新年快樂 said...


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