On imposter syndrome
November 3, 2015
In my day-to-day, ‘imposter syndrome’ is a phrase that comes up frequently to describe that feeling many of us have — that we’re not good enough to be where we are, that we’re fooling people into thinking that we’re better than we are. That we’re imposters.
It’s not something I’ve ever really felt while making physical objects, at least not consciously. But when I registered my business, and when I started showing at markets and craft fairs, it started to creep into my brain. For example, even though by definition I am a professional jeweler (because I’ve earned money doing it), it feels foreign to call myself a jeweler. I find that I qualify it all the time. “Oh, I’m self-trained. It’s really just a hobby.”
My imposter syndrome becomes especially fierce at shows. I look around at the other booths — especially the other jewelers’ — and I cringe. My setup feels amateurish and half-assed at best, and childish at worst. The other makers I’m showing with set up their inviting areas with practiced flair and perfect lighting…and I’m rearranging kraft-paper-covered recycled boxes and trying to get my sign to hang straight.
Here’s the thing though. I have to shut her down (and it’s absolutely a ‘she’ — the bitchiest, cattiest mean girl you’ve ever met. I shall call her Regina.) and focus on the fact that I’ve gotten into juried shows on the merits of the work I’ve done, not the way in which I display it. Otherwise, participating in those markets is seriously unfun and horrible, and that’s not how I’m out to spend time!