Maybe it’s just me. Maybe it’s my own kind of insecurity. Or maybe everyone else is good at faking it. Maybe I’m not the only fake.
Not “fake’ in the sense of being untrue to people, like the girls in school we called fakes, who were two faced and undependable.
What I mean is that, more often than not, I find myself doing something, and maybe even being kind of successful at it, and right when I am about at the height of the thrill of it that little voice pops into my head that says, “Cut it out, Cori. You know you’re just an imposter!”
I hate that voice. In reality it must be a love/hate because I listen to it. If I really hated it I would send it away. Then again, maybe I don’t really love it; maybe I just believe it. Credible, just not lovable. Like my high school basketball coach. He believed in me enough to pick me for the team, but not enough to play me. Love/hate.
I have this battle all the time. Daily, and nightly. When I am wearing different hats, or no hat at all.
My fingers fumble against the guitar strings and I start to think about my size rather than my song and then I just want to tell everyone thank you for coming and sorry I took your time and you can have your money back.
At my desk:
I’m feeling the swirl of images falling freely as my fingers tap the keyboard and the muse is flowing. I stop mid sentence, looking for the right words, hear a small distant laughter. I pause to listen as, rising like a chant, a large full voiced chorus of condescension finds my eardrum: “Seriously, shouldn’t you be doing something more useful like cleaning your bedroom? Or planting a garden? You only THINK you’re a writer. What you’re really doing is avoiding doing what you should be doing cuz you don’t really want to do it. Get your room clean and THEN see if you’re a writer.” That’s when the images stop coming and my fingers fumble again and my words turn two dimensional and flat. Like they are now.
At my stove:
I stir my soup, confident that I know how to simmer a chicken till its tender, strain the broth till its clear, add the right proportion of flavors and vegetables and the juice of one whole lemon, and at what point to add the noodles. I know all this stuff. Still, when I took a pot to my sick neighbor a few days ago I walked out doubting myself. “I forgot to taste it,” I told my sister as we walked down the sidewalk. Beat myself for ignoring a primary rule of cooking in my impostor kitchen. “It’s probably too bland.”
Where I worship:
I stand at the pulpit, or in front of my sisters-in-the-gospel, and testify with all my heart. Truly my whole heart. And the next week I tell myself I must not have meant it. I must have been caught in the peak of a performance and was only faking that kind of unabashed belief. I lift my hand and allow myself to take the bread and sip the water because I hope the Lord will forgive the impostor until she stops faking.
Lord, I believe. Help thou mine unbelief.
I guess, to survive, I just keep going back to that place in me who thinks that her God knows her better than she knows herself. I hope He knows what he’s doing…what I’m doing…cuz I’m tellin’ ya…I don’t! Mostly I only know what I’ve done.
Maybe, when I think about it…maybe the “what we’ve done" part doesn’t even matter all that much. How interesting would that be! Maybe there is no accounting for what we have done, in the literal sense. Maybe that stack of checked boxes…the “what I have done’s” only serves the purpose of making us who we have become.
The do’s lead to the be’s.
And maybe…my, there are a lot of maybe’s in this little self analysis…maybe when I’ve figured out what the “be” is supposed to be, I can forget about the “do’s” I’ve been faking. Maybe I have to be looking back before I am allowed to stop feeling like an imposter.