I started this morning with a short thread of tweets that smacked so intensely of melancholy that my partner left bed on his morning off because he said his “Taryn senses were tingling” and that I needed a hug and lots of reassurance. (Award for Best Other Half goes to this guy.)
It’s easy for me to get down. I’ve struggled with writing anything new for weeks. Partially because I’ve been low on spoons, but partially because I lost my momentum. While I was at Woodhull, I felt invigorated by being around all these bloggers I’ve come to admire.
Then I got home.
I don’t know what happened. I stopped writing for a couple days, and then a couple days turned into a couple weeks because if I started again, it would mean admitting that I stopped. I didn’t like that feeling. I felt like a fraud. A blogger who doesn’t blog, a writer who doesn’t write, an asexual sex blogger… what in the fuck.
My partner shooed me back to bed and reminded me about all the things I can do, and all the things I’m good at. He reminded me that I’m a harsh critic of myself, and that steeping in imposter syndrome isn’t something that I alone experience.
If you’re not familiar, imposter syndrome is a phenomenon most well known by women and other femme-leaning folks, especially those in corporate-type jobs, even as high up as CEOs of successful companies. It’s the feeling of constant worry that you’ll be found out that you don’t actually know what you’re talking about, that you’re just making it up as you go along, and that you’re not the super proficient business lady you made everyone think you were. This has absolutely no bearing on your actual skill, it’s just a reaction rooted in insecurity about not knowing every single thing. And like, how realistic is that? That you would know every single thing? Other people don’t know every single thing, even if it feels like they do. We gotta cut ourselves some slack, though that’s easier said than done.
And boy is this shit real. I deal with it on the reg at my day job. It’s hard to feel like you’re a competent employee when you have no idea what you’re doing 30% of the time. Clearly it’s been getting to me in regards to this blog, too.
My first job out of college, aside from my internship, was one a friend got me. They had worked with me at my internship, had mentored me a fair bit, and wanted me to make the jump to another company with them. It was the same sort of work, but at a higher caliber than I was used to during said internship. I knew what I was doing, but these people wore blazers all the time. I felt like a fish out of water. Like a very small fish in a very big bowl. Some sort of fish analogy.
At any rate, I started to worry that they would soon find out that all my knowledge had been learned on the spot, that I didn’t technically have any formal training in my field. Of course, nobody does, it wasn’t exactly something you go to school for. But my anxiety brain doesn’t know that. I began to feel like the odd man out, the black sheep, and it contributed (in part) to why I ended up leaving that job. I just couldn’t hack it.
I get that fraud feelings are likely to pop up in my day job. But it’s weird to feel imposter syndrome with this blog. This is my own project. This is something I love doing. This is something where I’m my own boss! And yet, I feel like I’m faking it because I’m asexual.
An asexual sex blogger? An asexual person who enjoys sex and masturbation? Sounds like an oxymoron. It can be hard to reconcile my identity with my desires, because I do want to have sex with my partner, but I forget if I don’t set an alarm. I do enjoy masturbating, but I have to set aside time to get myself in the right headspace for it.
How am I supposed to have any sort of clout when I’m writing about sex if I’m asexual? I struggle with figuring out how to reconcile my knowledge with my actions when my work actively contradicts my identity.
I’ve heard that part of overcoming imposter syndrome is to just own what you don’t know. To accept that everyone feels that way sometimes, and to remember that not everyone knows everything. It helps me to remember that even though you might feel like a fraud, or like you’re faking it, or like you’re going to be found out, it doesn’t mean that you’re dishonest or lying. It just means that you recognize that there are places where you can increase your knowledge or skills. And that’s kind of a blessing, really. To have my insecurities highlight where I can improve? It’s like my anxiety brain gives me a map. When it comes to sexuality, it all comes down to how you identify. You are what you choose to be. I am what I say I am.