So I have this thing that's not exactly impostor syndrome (though I have that as well) where I worry that everything people think is true about me, everything that I think is true about myself, is a lie.
Like, okay, when I was twelve and choosing what high school to go to, I was all "I want to go to Indooroopilly High because it has a film program" and my teacher said to my mother "Indooroopilly High isn't right for Mary, it's much too rough, she needs somewhere like Hillbrook".
And I went to Indooroopilly High and had a film program and it was rough but I thought for a long time that probably all high schools are rough, until I moved to Melbourne and experienced social dynamics based on class privilege that just aren't present in Brisbane in the same way. And after that I understood that no, not all schools are like the one I went to, and the people who come out of the other sort have a very different view of themselves and the world.
And I don't know, it's weird. I don't especially believe in the idea of an intrinsic self -- in fact, to put it bluntly, I don't believe in that at all. I don't believe we exist distinct from our bodies or the physical realities of our brains or our experiences or our society or time or place.
And I remember being twelve and writing in the 'what I want to be when I grow up' bit of our primary school yearbook that I wanted to move to a bigger city and to be a writer.
So it's totally possible to say that there has been a single consistent arc to who I am, that I'm someone who wanted X and Y and wasn't scared of going to a rough high school to learn the things I wanted to learn, who did move to a bigger city and become a writer.
But there's this voice in my head that's always BUT WHAT IF THAT ISN'T REALLY ME? What if I *am* someone who should have gone to Hillbrook? What if I'm *not* someone who moves to a bigger city at 21, I just thought that I was?
And it gets to stupid, stupid extremes as an anxiety. Like the other day on the way to work I was like oh god what if I don't actually like horror movies at all, what if I actually like romantic comedies and I just don't know that about myself? Ignoring the fact that horror movies genuinely make me really happy, and I loathe most romantic comedies and would rather eat mud than watch the vast majority of them.
Or I'll be like oh shit what if I just THINK my favourite character is that one but really it's this other one and I've just been lying to myself the whole time. This is one that crops up in my head a lot even though it makes literally no sense. If I think a character is my favourite that is the actual definition of them being my favourite, and yet I'm like but wait no what if I'm kidding myself.
I have a red wallet and a red purse and a red mp3 player and a red coat and have owned many pairs of red shoes over the years but often go BUT WHAT IF RED ISN'T REALLY MY FAVOURITE COLOUR WHAT IF I JUST THINK IT IS?
I don't know if there's a way to stop feeling like this, or if it's going to go away one day, or if everyone feels like this and I just don't know that.This entry was originally posted over here and has comments at the moment.