Thursday, 22 March 2018

I Don't Belong Here

Throughout my life there have been moments where I feel like I am the living embodiment of Radiohead's lyric (from the song Creep), 'I don't belong here.' It's as if the words become an unwanted internal mantra and I am afraid someone will call me out on it, like Princess Buttercup's nightmare aka, I envision someone stepping out and yelling BOOOOOOOOOO at the top of their lungs at me.

It is strange because when it comes to the people around me, I'm quick to see their accomplishments and attribute it directly to their amazing talents and to feel that they more than deserve to be where they are (or beyond). Sometimes it can be hard to shine that happy light on myself.

Apparently there is a term for this. It's called...

Imposter Syndrome

From Wikipedia:

Impostor syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenon, fraud syndrome or the impostor experience) is a concept describing individuals who are marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and have a persistent fear of being exposed as a "fraud". The term was coined in 1978 by clinical psychologists Pauline R. Clance and Suzanne A. Imes. Despite external evidence of their competence, those exhibiting the syndrome remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved. Proof of success is dismissed as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent and competent than they really are. While early research focused on the prevalence among high-achieving women, impostor syndrome has been found to affect both men and women, in roughly equal numbers.

Over the years this feeling has lessened. As well, I've learned to mitigate it with my one secret weapon. I've mentioned it before many times on this blog (and so has J) but it's so powerful, we'll probably repeat it many times more.

The only way I know how to feel at ease in my skin in high pressure, high stakes situations, is to: 'be prepared.' 

This doesn't mean 'be unbending,' especially when working creatively with others, it simply means being ready for as many variables as possible. As a writer, this means putting your script through a 'stress test' of thinking of as many different solutions as possible at various choice points. As an actor, this means learning the meaning behind the lines and rehearsing in different emotional states. As a director, this means, having a shot list broken down into 'needed,' 'wanted,' and 'if there is time.' 

I hope wherever you're at, whatever you're doing, you feel comfortable and confident in your skin.


*M, all of your accomplishments were well-earned and are very much deserved. You belong here.-J 

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Maira Gall