Are you full of confidence or have you ever suffered from Imposter Syndrome? Tell us all about it.
My mother always said I was the confident one, the talkative one – the one who could sell ice to Eskimos if it came down to it. She said I had a knack for getting people at ease – but only if I wanted to. When I would tell people that I was shy, they often laughed and disagreed. So maybe in light of the fact that I’ve had my own private massage practice in the last 17 years, and I’ve coached other massage therapists on how to get out there and present themselves, my mother was right. Maybe I am the confident one in the family, the one who, according to a former lover, would most likely have been the one branded in kindergarten as “runs with scissors” – although the first word is unnecessary in my case.
I do remember however, a time when I was the great pretender. I was working then as a radio newscaster while still in college, after the radio station I interned at hired me after my internship was over. The position gave me instant popularity, for how cool is it to have your voice heard all over the island, complete with your American accent, and fancy name (my own), and even have your face included in the society pages as you attend parties here and there?
That year, the college newspaper was looking for applicants to fill in the positions soon to be vacated by the senior year. I had decided at that time to apply for Features editor, but during the application process, as I was circling the position I was interested in, the outgoing editor-in-chief told me that other than so-and-so, no one was brave enough to apply for her position. Not one to let a challenge go by unchallenged, I checked off the editor-in-chief box and waited. Another girl had applied for the position before me and she was the top of our class, hardworking, very studious, but painfully shy. While my social life was booming, hers was literally non-existent – and our grades would have probably reflected that.
The application process included a series of interviews, two of them facing a panel of sisters and professors, each one asking questions about how one would run the paper should they be chosen. When my turn came, I put on my newscaster face and voice, and looked each one of those people in the eye when I answered each question they posed to me with an answer that I knew they wanted to hear. To me it was a game and nothing more. I had no intention of being the Editor-in-Chief of a Catholic college paper.
But I had every intention of winning a bet.
I still remember seeing the look on her face when one of our professors congratulated me as I entered the classroom late as usual (my excuse was work – I had to run to the radio station at 5 AM to record the news for every hour that day, and then rush to attend my classes, so my tardiness was excused) and I realized what had just happened. I had been chosen as Editor-in-Chief while the other girl was to be my Assistant Editor.
It’s not one of my proudest achievements – nor is it an achievement at all. For I do not remember doing anything worth calling myself the Editor-in-Chief. I let her take over my duties while I became the “face” of the paper, the one to convince the school board to run something controversial or at the very least, interesting enough for the students to read though we never could – it was a Catholic college after all. That poor girl did all the heavy lifting for a full year till I graduated and she took over my position, while I did nothing inside the newspaper office but hang outside at the quad with my friends, practicing for the softball varsity games that we all lost, our ice coolers filled with bottles of beer.
For this great pretender had never intended to be the real thing…at least not then.