My Forever-Nemesis, La Impostora

It’s so interesting to me how one “No” can reverberate in my head and heart with the  rattle and roar of a runaway train.

I got rejected yesterday. I’d applied for a travel grant to help me afford the writing trip I’m planning to take in the fall. I might not have needed the grant so badly if I hadn’t had to move at the end of last year — something I didn’t know was on my horizon when I first started putting money down for this trip. Moving was so incredibly expensive and ate nearly all the savings I was going to use for my trip, so the grant would have been such a help.

But that won’t be happening.

This grant wasn’t a chicken I was counting before it hatched. I did a good job of not fixating on it, not dreaming about how I would use it. I came up with a plan to save and pay for the trip that worked with my post-move finances and didn’t involve the grant. I thought about other things entirely. When the email slid into my inbox yesterday, my heart leapt a little … and when I opened the note, my heart sank a lot. A LOT.

Of course, this rejection triggered the return of my forever-nemesis, La Impostora, Impostor Syndrome. I’ve been saying incredibly mean things to myself all day — about how I was never a contender for that grant because nothing I could have proposed writing about would have been worthy, about how I need to cancel my trip all together because it’s too expensive and I should make space for someone who would really get something out of the experience, about what a failure I am.

I don’t like talking to myself this way, and I haven’t fallen into this particular pit in a long time. And I never would have imagined that being rejected for this grant would hit me this hard. But here I am, La Impostora sitting beside me — not to offer comfort but to make sure I can hear her as she ticks off all the reasons I need to forget about being a writer and accept that this burst-balloon of an existence is the best I’m going to do. (If you’re thinking she’s mean, you’re not wrong. She isn’t very nice. Not nice at all. She knows all the most painful buttons to press, and she’s happy to press them, over and over and over again.)

Part of me is afraid that she’s right about my needing to give up on this trip. It is very expensive, and I really don’t know if my scrimp-and-save Plan B is as workable as I want it to be.

Maybe I need a bit of a cry and then a good night’s sleep so I can wake up tomorrow remembering how much I totally deserve this trip, this writing experience, this adventure. And I will find a way to pay for it because I am worth all of that, every last penny.


It’s the annual Slice of Life Story Challenge over at Two Writing Teachers! With hundreds of folks participating, there’s more than a little something for everyone … and plenty of room for you to join in!

16 thoughts on “My Forever-Nemesis, La Impostora

  1. I’m sorry you feel this way.. but you don’t want me feel sorry for you. You want me to tell you to tell La Impostadora – ese puta – to take a hike.

    I think if you don’t scrounge and take this trip, in a year’s time or two, you’ll have regrets.

    Like me .. who has never had the gall to raise hell (find the cash, remove myself from my very ingrained life for awhile, from all this wonderful family that depends on me) to pursue something like what you’re doing. But I’m full of excuses. My hubby would be nothing but supportive, my children, nothing but proud.

    See, I’ve got my own little Imposter following me around.

    Thanks for helping me think about this.. figure out what it is I need to do.

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    1. Thank you, Veronica. You’re right, of course, I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me — a little sympathy for the rejection, but nothing too major. I know I find a way to get the money together. This is an opportunity I don’t want to miss out on.

      I have been in a fight against Impostor Syndrome for so long and on so many fronts, it’s exhausting. I am at a place where I can see it coming before it tears me to pieces, and I see that as a huge win. I still have a long way to go, though.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You need a little doll for this Impostora and pins to stick in her when she starts bashing you. You definitely deserve this writing trip, and those people who turned down your funding request will be sorry they won’t get any credit for helping you write whatever you write when you are there. And a good night’s sleep will always help.

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  3. What a disappointment. Typical La Impostora move, kicking you when you’re down. I need to print your final paragraph, replace “trip” with fill-in-the-blank, for the next time she shows up at my door. It’s sound advice. “…how one “No” can reverberate in my head and heart with the rattle and roar of a runaway train.” Beautiful!

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    1. Thanks, Tamara. Daylight with beautiful sunlight through my bedroom window has shut down the runaway train. I’m already planning my next set of essays and my strategy for paying for that writing trip!

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  4. Sounds like you have a plan. Her voice will get quieter when you’re rested and your own voice wakes renewed! Then you’ll form the plan that carries you forward to your goal where your voice will be amplified. Don’t give up.

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  5. You deserve every good thing you can imagine for yourself, and more. I’ve got my own La Impostora and she’s been on vacation for awhile, but sent me some messages today when I was browsing social media, just to point out all the people making more work than I am (including, helpfully, some other moms). Blegh. It’s so easy to think these mean voices speak the truth.

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    1. Too easy to listen to the mean voices. Always too, too easy. I loved what you wrote on FB today about reading your blog and liking your work. That gave me such a lovely lift after this run-in with La Impostora. ❤

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  6. Yes, it was an unfortunate setback, but that La Impostora chick seriously needs to go somewhere, sit her tail in the corner and STFU. You are a writer, you inspire me all the time. I fully believe the harder you have to fight for it, the better it feels when you get it and you deserve this.

    it’s a step back, yes, but not the end of the walk. Hear not that mean voice, listen to us: tears, tea and tackle on. You’ll work this out.

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  7. Pingback: Parenting journal: Two years out | satsumabug.com

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