Autobiography · Mental Health · Personal Development

Growing Pains

Growing up!” © Craig Sunter, 2015. CC BY-ND 2.0.
I’ve been pushing out blog posts like splinters. Only when necessary. Other than that, I’ve just been editing and pretending I’m not a writer at all.

My book release opened up a big can of imposter syndrome on me. Now I feel like everything I write is bullshit. Like the whole thing is bullshit and I’m fooling everyone into thinking I’m a writer. It feels slimy, deceitful. It feels like the whole book is a trick. Maybe that’s just because I’m scared of it. Scared of it failing. Scared of it not doing anything at all.

But I did it anyway. I’m terrified of it and I did it anyway. That counts for something. That counts for a hell of a lot, actually. So there’s that. I can look myself in the mirror and say that even though I was afraid, I did it. And I don’t do that much. Even though I wanted to take it all back, I didn’t. And I don’t do that much, either, but now I do.

This is a new skill in my arsenal. I do things that make me want to dig my heels in and shake my head. To be that person feels like summiting a mountain. Because that’s where all the good stuff is, isn’t it? All the little juicy bits in life hide behind the big dogs, the darkened closet doors, the high heights. So maybe it’s okay to be scared. Maybe it’s okay to be a little catatonic when I think about all the things going on in my life. Maybe that’s a good sign. Maybe that’s where the goodness lies.

If that’s true, then everything is going just fine. And that’s a thought I hadn’t considered yet. That maybe there is something beautiful in hiding under the blankets. Maybe it’s not always a sign that we’re broken. That we’re hurting. But that we’re pushing. Growing pains.

I remember them from when I was a kid. Legs that felt like they were ripping themselves apart. And there was nothing to do about it. I just had to wait it out. Had to get excited that it meant I would be bigger one day. And that’s what this is, too. We can get excited that we’re growing, that we’re changing. We can hurt. We can feel it. But that doesn’t mean that anything bad is happening. That doesn’t mean that we are regressing. All it means is that it hurts. But it won’t forever. I promise. Shhh.

12 thoughts on “Growing Pains

  1. You are indeed having growing pains. I remember them as a kid. Writing is not something you hide away; you hold it out to the world like a piece of your heart and say “what do you think of this?” And then you begin to think what a fake you are, and the world will see you are nothing but a poser. Remember that you are a wonderful writer, a brave writer, a person with talent. Your book has arrived in my kindle library. I can’t wait to read it

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  2. Whilst there’s something unctuous about resting on your laurels or preening, these sound like well-worn neural pathways for fear of success. Coupla weeks and the novelty will have worn off and it will be something you achieved, which doesn’t need to mean any more or less than you did it.

    But well done. Because you DID do it. And it’s a pretty damn big deal.

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  3. We are our worse critics. Congratulations on doing it. I am reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s new book and she talks about similar experiences. Just keep writing and not every blog post or poem has to be golden, but if you keep at you find the great pieces. Good job and sending you good vibes.

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  4. I think I would feel the same way if I were you. Though probably not wise enough to realize it’s growing pains, I’d probably just panic about being a fraud 😉 This is a time for being proud and celebrating successes, do that. xo

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    1. Thanks, Abbie. I’m swinging wildly between being ecstatic and panicking. “Yay! I sold a copy! … Shit. Another person is going to read it and they’re going to KNOW.” I’m sure with more and more practice we’ll get better and better at it.

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  5. Love this and am so happy to have read it. I’m doing Nano this month, am behind, and continually feel like SUCH a fraud. Thank you for the reminder that doing it is huge.

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