Friday, October 10, 2014

Pretend Life

Lately I've been feeling like I don't belong.

I'm not sure when this started. I just an odd thumb sometimes. When I'm with fellow artists, I know without a doubt that my art isn't good enough, that I don't belong here. I catch myself wondering when they will see my imposter status. I know they will sneer at me soon, and ask me to leave.

I catch myself wondering this even when it's been several months--and even when people praise my art.

I wonder why I feel this way.

This feeling of not belonging invades other aspects of my life as well. When I'm with other women my age, I feel like a child. I know I don't fit. I don't have an job like them. I don't have children like them. I don't dress like them.

Honestly, I don't feel like an adult. I feel like I'm playing pretend.

I know other women my age treat me with respect, and value my opinion. Why does this shock me? Why do I think my voice does not matter? Why do I hesitate before telling people what I do for a living, as if what they do is somehow better then me? Every job is important. Every life choice matters.

It's hard for me to put myself out there sometimes, in the real world. I feel I deserve the laughter that comes when I describe my passion for knitting, writing, and fashion photography. Sometimes I catch myself thinking that the blank stares and "well, I have a real job" comments hold more value then my meager existence.

But what is value? Just a scale, a scale constructed by people who have their own goals and their own ideas. A messy sum, a game of compare/contrast--nothing concrete. I mean, I have my own ideas about value. And I like them. I talk about them here, in this space I call my own where I, honestly, feel most like myself.

I guess the difference is I try not to force them on others. I don't need to justify myself; I like the choices I've made.

My life isn't pretend. But I still fight the feelings inside me that tell me it is.
Some days it feels like a battle, a fight to be recognized. Some days the fight isn't worth taking, and I let others just assume what they will.

I know I belong somewhere. With my husband, although he also sometimes feels a stranger. No one is perfect, but with him I feel loved, respected, and most of all cared for, deeply in a way I can't explain--not in words, anyhow.

But sometimes I feel more at ease in a room full of yarn then a cacophony of talking heads.


Rachel G said...

Belonging is highly overrated. At least I imagine it is, i'm not entirely sure, since I've never successfully done it. Those who really love you love you just the way you are. No matter what anyone does in life there are always snide comments (I have a feeling even Mother Theresa ran into a few snotty people)...but we can try to the best of our ability to take into account the wise advice and opinions offered and ignore the stuff that doesn't make sense anyways.

Cliff Coates said...

While to an extent I can relate to how you feel, I think you might want to do some reading about Imposter Syndrome. You are not alone. :)

Brita Long said...

American culture places too much important on economic contributions. I don't derive my value as a human being from how much money I earn, but there are times when I have to remind myself of that. It can be hard not to compare yourself to others.

I spent a lot of time feeling like I didn't belong. It doesn't really completely go away. One of the things I've learned since getting married is to let go of relationships that make me feel that way. I don't need to hold on to old friendships that make me feel unwanted or insignificant. I have so many great relationships that are mutually giving and loving--why should I settle for ones that make me feel bad?

Cody Doll said...

Don't feel bad about yourself. I think I found someone that completely understands what's like to be married, and be a stay at home wife. Someone who understand that we are in a partnership of marriages. Not just spitting bills like the moderns do. Your not some feminist pushing for more. I found a follow artist. I love your thread work. I envy it sometimes because I can't do any. I found someone who also likes being in a room full of objects (yarn for you, paint for me) then with people. It makes us, us. I love your choices in fashion. So what if you feel like a little kids, girl I wake up thinking that but I enjoy it. Because it's who I am. (that and my partner is alot older then me). It's totally okay.
Yet, on the other coin would your life be any different if you worked part/full time? I mean you could always try it to see how you feel, if you wanted. To see if you got any more or less in life. You could try other fashion choices or stop doing any art. But your still you. =]
Just enjoy your life because it's so short and one day you will wake up really old and think "how silly I was to waste my time thinking I was pretending when I could have ___"

Deanna Fike said...

i feel like a child too. i often think people don't take me seriously.

i'm not too worried about fitting in or belonging though, because i've always felt a little out of place.

Kristin said...

I know exactly what you mean. When I was younger, I thought that by the time I was in my twenties, I would have everything together. I would be so wise and mature and have everything under control. I mean, people in their twenties seemed so grown-up! Boy, was I wrong. I don't feel 23, especially when I look at the lives of other people my age...I still feel like a kid! Maybe everyone else is just really good at faking that confidence and security I seem to be lacking? All I know is that my life at 23 doesn't exactly look like I imagined it would, but it is what it is. I'm trying to learn to be thankful for what I have instead of dwelling on the things I wish were different, but lately that's been a daily battle.

Carolynn said...

I feel the same! :) :) I'm glad that others know what I'm taking about... right now I am trying to find my worth in Christ...but you are right. it is a daily battle!

Carolynn said...

your comment made my day! :) :) :) :) I keep reading it over and over and smiling!

Beth Ewing said...

I suffered from impostor syndrome for over a year. It's crippling. Just know that I appreciate you and value your work in my life. That you have been one of the most encouraging friends for me, and I know that when you say you are praying for my family, you really are. :) Keep on going with the personal mission field God has you in right now. Keep on doing the projects you have and keep the course. And I get compliments whenever I wear something of yours, for realz. It's so cool. <3 you!

Cody Doll said...

Awe!! I am so glad it made your day!! =]