Thoughts on imposter syndrome and my health.

In preparation for writing this post, I decided to take some random imposter syndrome tests I found online. It was a very spontaneous decision so I don’t know what to make of it yet.

Note to self: You’re probably experiencing imposter syndrome about your imposter syndrome. Please try to remember that you don’t need to prove anything or need to manipulate the results.

Wait! What is imposter syndrome?

Let’s all get on the same page here. Imposter syndrome is a phenomenon (do do dododo) where your brain doesn’t believe that you have the abilities you claim or that you’re not worthy of recognition for what you accomplish.

Here’s a proper definition.

Imposter syndrome is the inability to internalize your successes, coupled with the fear of being outed as an unqualified fraud.

If you’re reading my blog then you probably already know all about imposter syndrome. 😜

What type of imposter am I?

First was a test on the Grammarly blog. This test assumed that you do at least occasionally experience imposter syndrome and tried to categorize it kinda like a personality test would. The types of imposters, as defined by Dr. Valerie Young, are as follows:

  1. The Perfectionist
  2. The Superhero
  3. The Natural Genius
  4. The Rugged Individualist
  5. The Expert

Before I began the test I thought that I was gonna be a strong perfectionist. My actual result?

The superhero! 🦸‍♀️ (Bold and italic, Matthew? Yaasss, Queen!)

That’s right! I’m a superhero imposter syndrome haver! 😁 The test has this to say about my result:

The Superhero imposter is one who feels like a less legitimate professional than their colleagues and takes on more and more and pushes hard to seem like the real deal.

In fact, Superhero imposters are workaholics, hooked on the validation they get from work rather than the actual work. Fixing this kind of imposter syndrome should be focused on training yourself to find internal validation rather than external validation. By shifting your focus, you’ll learn how to incorporate more balance into your workload.

I can relate, but I’m not entirely sure what to make of it. While I do have some validation issues–probably more than I realize or acknowledge–I would not call myself a workaholic. Though I may just be denying reality. Who knows for sure? I certainly don’t.

My partner took the test too and got “the perfectionist” and oh boy can I relate to what that one had to say!

Perfectionists are the most common personality type to experience imposter syndrome, and it makes sense – perfectionists set unrealistic expectations for performance, and when those expectations aren’t met, they question their self worth. As a perfectionist you likely have trouble recognizing your achievements and feeling proud of yourself since everything could be done better.

To beat imposter syndrome, you should focus on learning to celebrate your successes and truly appreciate how much you accomplish. Likewise, when you make a mistake, remember that mistakes are natural. Accepting that your work will never be truly perfect will free you to start your projects and try new things.

It’s weird though because while I think that I’m predominantly a perfectionist, I’ve always wanted to be good at failing and using those experiences as a learning tool. I even adopted the mantra “take chances, make mistakes, and get messy!” from The Magic School Bus as my own. Maybe this is a blind spot of mine? Perhaps I am less the perfectionist I thought and more just of a workaholic seeking the validation of others? Mayhaps I shouldn’t be reading so much into this silly online quiz that I googled randomly?

Maybe both types are true and accurate for myself. I do identify with each of the descriptions and can think of lots of examples in my life. I do seek validation and acceptance as well as setting unrealistic expectations for myself and then beat myself up when I don’t meet them. It’s all so complex!! 😫

If you’re wondering about the other imposter types, you can read all about them in this article from The Muse.

But how bad is it, Doctor Internet?

The next test was linked to from a blog post, but the test was gone! But my Wayback Machine browser extension kicked in and showed me the archived test from 2016. This was just a simple little questionnaire that told me I have a moderate amount of imposter syndrome. It had this to say about the matter:

Sometimes you worry that whatever success you have enjoyed was simply the result of being in the right place at the right time, or that people will discover you’re a fraud.

Okay, makes sense. That’s fairly broad, but good to know. It’s here that I want to remind everyone, including myself, that confirmation bias is deffos a thing to be weary of in this little exercise. If you go looking online to see if you have some sort of problem, you’ll probably find your suspicions are confirmed. But I definitely know that imposter syndrome is a major part of my daily life, I just want to use these tests as a way to explore the issue for myself.

The next test said is was “developed to help individuals determine whether or not they have Imposter characteristics and, if so, to what extent they are suffering.” Good to know that I’m suffering!

After I finished answering the long list of questions I was presented with this helpful graphic:

That’s not as much ‘helpful’ as it is ‘scary’. 🧐 At least the colour matches my hair!

Last one, I promise!

The last test I took was quite intensive with its questions; I felt like I was filling out some kind of overly personal marketing survey to earn a gift card! But I pressed on and got another graphic which was less ‘scary’-looking.

You may take pride in some of your achievements, but still struggle to take full ownership of them. Sometimes, in spite of all that you have accomplished and the effort you put into achieving it, you feel like a bit of an imposter. As a result, you may attribute some of your success to factors beyond your control and therefore, feel like you haven’t entirely earned the respect and praise that you were given. You want to believe that you are worthy of success, but can’t fully convince yourself.

Cool. Good to know. I mean, all of our lives’ successes and failures are to some degree attributable to factors outside of our control. Does that mean we don’t deserve the success? Does that mean we didn’t have some part to play in the outcome?

What does all of it mean?

I had a thought yesterday that was the inspiration for this little adventure. It’s popped into my head on occasion but I haven’t given it too much conscious thought in the past. What if my Crohn’s Disease isn’t as bad as I think it is and the symptoms I perceive are there because my mind is rationalizing undesired or otherwise lazy behaviour?

In other words, am I making it all up? Am I just using my Crohn’s as an excuse?

I know that I’m definitely not making it up. My symptoms and physical challenges are all too real and there are tonnes of lab reports that prove it. True I tend to be asymptomatic these days, which is good, but that’s because I’m in remission. It’s not because my Crohn’s is fake or made up. It doesn’t mean my Crohn’s is gone or that I won’t have problems, symptoms, and bad days… it means that I’m in a good place, physically speaking, which is ideal. It’s good!

That all being said, because of the Crohn’s (and probably for various other reasons) there are mental health issues at play. It’s part of the deal. Depression and anxiety are challenges that I face and Crohn’s doesn’t help at all. It makes it hard to do day-to-day tasks or feel motivated to work on projects.

Anyway, the point is that I have imposter syndrome and it affects many parts of my daily thinking. (Like maybe I’m not actually human after all!) It’s not great, but I know it’s a factor so I can manage it to some degree. Plus it’s just the way it is and a part of who I am.

I’m not a Crohn’s imposter.

Why I find Messenger to be a pain.

This post brought to you in part by Starbucks. Free WiFi and not-free snacks available now at Starbuckses everywhere!

For the past few weeks I’ve been mostly avoiding Facebook Messenger on my phone. I realize that I already do that fairly often without meaning to, but this time is slightly different. It started out as a passive non-decision–That is, I just ignored new messages when they arrived and told myself that I’d respond later or something. You know, the normal kinda thing that I do when I’m just not feeling socially able to deal with it right away.

After a little while I decided to make a conscious choice to stop responding to messages. Unless somebody needed an immediate response for something important, I would just ignore the messages. This made it an active choice that I made. Instead of simply neglecting to check messages or open notifications, I was actively ignoring people by choice.

Side note: I’m just spewing things as they come to mind… so this post may not make sense totally.

Now, if I’m ignoring Messenger intentionally vs unintentionally, does that make a difference? Like, should I feel bad about ignoring people that are wanting to talk to me? I think that it depends, but largely I shouldn’t feel bad about it.

See, the reason that I wanted to actively choose to ignore messages is so I wouldn’t feel obligated to respond. Does that make any sense? Maybe not. But for me, knowing that I don’t have to respond to messages helps take the pressure off.

Everyone and everything is trying to get our attention these days, and it’s quite invasive because we each have a phone with us pretty much all day long. I have my phone with me a lot, and with it I carry a slight sense of obligation that society sort of attaches to modern life. We need to be available, connected, and totally up-to-date on everything. God forbid that we aren’t informed about the latest happenings or newest trends. Everyone needs to throw in their two cents and react.

Where was I going with this… Ugh. I need to gather my thoughts again.

I think my point was that Messenger comes with a sense of obligation. By consciously choosing to ignore Messenger, I kinda remove that feeling for myself. I’m no free to respond or not respond as I wish! Sure, nothing’s actually changed except my perspective…but it makes a difference. By choosing to ignore Messenger and remove the obligation, I’ve actually been able to engage with some of my long-distance friends more than I used to. I don’t know why it’s made such a big difference. Maybe I’m just crazy.

I’ll come back and finish this post later.


Okay! It’s later. The next day, in fact. I had to leave the Starbucks so I could have TV night and now I don’t remember where my thought process was for this post. I’ll try to get back there somehow.

I think that I was just meaning that there are pressures and expectations put on us these days that we don’t even realize exist. Small little things like responding to messages become a big stress and it’s not even because of what those messages are saying but simply just the fact that we have to deal with them–are expected to deal with them. It’s one more thing on the big pile of responsibilities we have.

Whether we mean to or not, we take on that stress and let it build up. Maybe we don’t all have the same problem with messages as I do, but I’m sure there’s a bunch of little things that causes certain people similar feelings.

So that’s basically it. I’ve given myself permission to ignore messages and leave responses until a later time. Sure, part of the problem may be that I tend to have conversations over text more than quick communications about a certain topic. Either way, I needed to write a post about something and this is what came out. Hope it was worth the read. ;P

M3

Where to start?

I sometimes have high expectations for myself.

🤨

Okay… very high expectations.

😑

Yes, yes. I often have unrealistically high expectations for myself.

This blog is one of those things. Even though I don’t end up putting too much effort into what I write on here (most things end up being silly and totally great!), I do tend to let my high expectations prevent me from just writing.

It’s annoying and I don’t like it. I find that it gets in the way of many things and leads to my low-key freaking out or nearly breaking down because I’m not good enough. Or, at the very least, the things I do aren’t good enough.

Question to self: What even is this “good enough”? Good enough for what? For whom? And why?

Even now, as my partner read what I wrote so far, I’m feeling like this post won’t be that good either. I mean, it’s probably because I don’t have a point to make… I started this post as I often do; not knowing what I’m going to type.

Maybe it’s all part of imposter syndrome? Or maybe since I’m generally good at doing a lot of things, I fear that I’ll not do a great job, so instead of doing my best and having it possibly fail, I either intentionally fail and laugh it off as a joke, or I stress about it and worry that whatever I’m doing won’t be good enough.

But again… good enough for what? What standard do I need to meet? Why can’t I just not be worried about this?!?!

Man, I need to chill.

Anyway…

I actually intended to give you an update about my life over the past several months. Let’s do that instead!

Sooo… where to start?

I’m tempted to start at the very beginning… 🎶 A very good place to start! 🎶 etc, etc

Over the past couple of weeks, I was actually surprised with very unexpected visits from three people! One of my aunts was in town and texted me two Fridays ago… and then last Friday my sister came home and we dragged her bags down to the ferry… and also last Friday one of my bestest friends from my home town texted me and we had a wonderful evening with each other and our partners! I hadn’t seen her in almost TWO YEARS!!! It’s crazy!

It’s been quite the time, let me tell you… 😸 and quite the boost for my spirit!

Other than that… I left my position at my cafe, which is really exciting and good for my overall health. (I was going crazy over there!) I kinda miss that place and making drinks for the regular customers, but I don’t miss being in charge and having to deal with all of the manager-type junk by myself.

The one downside is that I should probably start working somewhere else fairly soon. I’ve already applied at IKEA (HA!) and a few other places, but I have no clue what I’ll be doing. It’s an adventure!

Spring is definitely here and summer is speeding towards us! (Us being Vancouver and the surrounding area.) I’m so happy to see life coming back in my surroundings along with the warmer weather. It makes getting outside more pleasant and brings the opportunity for more outdoor activities, such as kayaking, hiking, geocaching, and spraying smokers with water! Can’t wait!

I also have renewed creative juices flowing and new inspiration for projects that I want to work on! I’m really excited about them all, and I can’t wait to share them with the world! It will take some time before I can do that, and I’ll also need to buy some new equipment, but I really want to do more projects. I need to do more projects. I need that outlet.

And after all of that rambling I hope that you’re not left feeling confuzzled and dazed. That’s all for now, so I’ll say bye bye.

See ya later, friends! 👋

Beauty and the Beast

Okay, so until today I hadn’t watched the new Beauty and the Beast.

I know, I know… What’s wrong with me? I hear you.

It’s just one of those things that I was putting off until later. Steven suggested that we watch it together when he found that out. So tonight I finally watched it!

I was pleasantly surprised to find out that they had kept the original songs and added in some new ones! I found it to be a nice balance. And it was kinda weird because I haven’t seen the animated version in years yet this one brought back all of the memories. It was so we’ll done!

And Emma Watson was great, as always!

M3

I had an idea for a blog post.

But then I forgot what it was when I got home. I remember that it was a fairly heavy subject, though.

Oh, wait! I remember! The idea had something to do with the whole social…. thing against suicide, right? But the people who are struggling with that don’t get taken seriously until they reach that big breaking point. And even then, they only get support during their lowest point when things appear bad. But where’s the support and everything when things appear to be okie dokie, but it actually isn’t, yanno?

That seems like an awful big thing to write about so late at night when my brain isn’t in the mood to type type typity type.

I get distracted easily some—

M3

You can brag.

You can totally brag about yourself! Why? Because you’re an amazing person. You have value! You have amazing talents and skills, so why can’t you brag about yourself?

Because we’re conditioned not to. We can accept praise from other people, but we’re trained not to accept praise from ourselves.

If I held up a pencil, told you its name is Steve, then cracked it in half, part of you would feel super sad. Why? Because humans can extend feeling and emotion even to inanimate objects.

So if Steve is worth it, then you’re worth it. Show yourself some love! Be proud! Own you because you’re the best you there is!

Let the world know that you’re amazing!

Tell me something amazing about yourself in the comments! Brag about yourself!

M3

¿dn sᴉ ʎɐʍ ɥɔᴉɥM

ƐW

˙ɹǝʇɐl dn sᴉ ʎɐʍ ɥɔᴉɥʍ ʇno ǝɹnƃᴉɟ ll,I

˙uo ƃuᴉƃƃnɥɔ dǝǝʞ ɐuuoƃ ɯ,I uǝɥʇ lᴉʇun ʇnq ‘uoos uʍop ǝlʇʇǝs sƃuᴉɥʇ ʎllnɟǝdoH ˙ʇᴉ ƃuᴉop ɯ,I ʇnq ˙ɥʇᴉʍ lɐǝp oʇ pɹɐɥ s,ʇᴉ ˙˙˙ɔʇǝ ɔʇǝ ‘ɐᴉuɯosuᴉ ǝɥʇ ‘ssǝupǝɹᴉʇ sᴉɥʇ ɟo llɐ ‘uᴉɐd ɥɔɐɯoʇs sᴉɥʇ ll∀ ˙ɯlɐɔ ǝɹoɯ ǝlʇʇᴉl ɐ ǝɹǝʍ ǝɟᴉl ʎɯ ɟᴉ ǝɔᴉu ǝq plnoʍ ʇᴉ ʇnq ˙ʇsɹᴉɟ pɐǝɥ ʎɯ oʇ ǝɯɐɔ ʇɐɥʍ ƃuᴉʇᴉɹʍ ʇsnſ ˙ǝnlɔ ou ǝʌɐɥ I ¿ʇnoqɐ ƃuᴉʞlɐʇ I ɯɐ ʇɐɥM

¿ʇᴉq ǝlʇʇᴉl ɐ xɐlǝɹ uɐɔ noʎ os uʍop ǝlʇʇǝs oʇ ƃuᴉɥʇʎuɐ—ƃuᴉɥʇǝɯos ʇuɐʍ noʎ puɐ ɹᴉɐ ǝɥʇ uᴉ dn llɐ sᴉ ƃuᴉɥʇʎɹǝʌǝ ǝʞᴉl lǝǝɟ ɹǝʌǝ noʎ op

I have a plan!

Actually, no I don’t! And that’s okie dokie.

Or is it?

I’ve often wondered if I should have a plan for my life. Looking at other kids as I fumbled through my teen years, I wondered how they could have such direction for where they were headed. When asked, “what are you gonna do when you grow up?” they had a response all lined up. Whereas I did not. And while that didn’t usually bother me, there were times in which it did.

Don’t get me wrong, there were times I declared I was going to become a veterinarian, a teacher, a mad scientist, or what have you. But I’m talking about actually putting those ideas into a plan that would eventually be put into action. I didn’t really do that. Well… I didn’t really do that deliberately (and with great malice of forethought 😜).

I was, and still am, a tinkerer. Someone who takes something apart to learn how it works, puts it back together, and eventually builds off of what was learned from the experience. I did this especially with computers and, more specifically, the internet. Eventually, this led me to become a freelance web developer. That wasn’t a conscious plan that I had devised, it just happened.

Also, while I didn’t haven’t yet become a school teacher as I declared as a kid, I did end up teaching in other capacities. I was a music tutor, paddling instructor, and even ran workshops/programming while employed as a librarian. The desire to learn and then share that knowledge, as a teacher does, stuck with me and it ended up naturally influencing my trajectory in life. So while there wasn’t a plan per se, there was an underlying driving force. Yanno?

So you don’t always need a plan, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t plan at all. Right? I honestly don’t know. Though, I do think that’s mostly true. Life is the great unknown. We don’t know what’s going to happen in the future and even the best-laid plans are subject to change. Sometimes you don’t have a plan, but you do have a goal—something that you strive for. I think goals are kind of the building blocks of a plan, though. Think about it; if you have a goal, you’re going to keep adapting your plans so that you can realise that goal. The plans change, but the goal doesn’t. But without the goal, you wouldn’t have something around which to plan.

Do I have a point to all of this? Not really. I’m just thinking out loud.

At this point in my life, I have no clue what’s next in the bigger picture. I have some short-term goals and a few long-term goals with very few solid plans. Things keep changing (yet remain the same, somehow) making it hard to lock-in anything. But I keep moving forward! Sometimes less boldly than I’d like, but that’s just the way things are right now. Things will happen. Things are happening. But without a plan, I’m not entirely sure what’s happening.

We’ll have to wait and see.

Enjoy the ride!!

M3

Four ways to help a struggling friend.

It’s frustrating dealing with mental health issues including depression and whatnot. Not many people understand it and fewer people know what to do about it. People want to help, but their either too far away or don’t know what to do.

There’s a lot that can be done for those struggling with mental health. I don’t have all the answers, and it can be different from person to person, but here’s some ideas I’ve had.

1. Listen

This can be the hardest thing to do. When you want to help someone through a situation, you feel like you have to actually do something. Something complicated or involved. Maybe you need training or a book with steps on what to do. But often times, the most effective help you can offer is a sympathetic ear.

Take time to listen, really listen. Ask questions. You’re not going to understand everything, but that’s okay. Show concern, empathy, and just listen. It doesn’t feel like you’re doing much, but time spent listening can be the most valuable thing in the world. People want to know they’re valued and being heard—listening is one way to show that.

2. Be There

Sometimes a person having a hard time just needs a presence nearby. Maybe that’s a friend watching Stranger Things 2 with them or simply sharing the same room. You don’t need to actively engage with each other but they need someone around them. Whether there’s talking, eating, or silence, having someone that cares nearby can be comforting and reassuring.

3. Gently Shift Focus

Depression, anxiety, and other related mental challenges can be all-consuming. Sometimes the person dealing with these issues can’t see anything that’s right in front of them. Or perhaps they can’t do things for themselves. Whatever the case, sometimes they need someone to step in and redirect their attention.

One way to accomplish this would be to suggest a simple activity like taking a walk down the street. It may seem insignificant, but a change in scenery with some fresh air and scenery really help to clear their mindset a bit. The problem is that a depressive might not be able to do this themselves; they need another person to gently push them to get out. Someone to be there to hold their hand.

4. Encourage Creativity

Engaging the mind in creative activities is therapeutic. It centers your attention on a single task, gives an outlet for emotional expression, and helps to organize thoughts. These are all beneficial for a depressive.

Suggest activities such as colouring, drawing, painting, cooking, looking at clouds, knitting, making music, writing, brainstorm movie ideas, sculpt clay, build a cardboard town, draw tattoos with markers, put together outfits, etc. It doesn’t have to be a masterpiece or anything complex, and you might have to lead by example, but make sure that it’s a stress-free outlet for creative expression.


I don’t know if this is making sense. It’s late and I’m not good at explaining things right now. I just… I wanted to share some simple ways to help those around you. Even if your friends aren’t depressed or dealing with mental health issues, these are good ways to be a better friend. Everybody needs help and encouragement. Listening, being there, and sharing activities are good no matter what. And for those who are struggling, these simple acts can make a world of difference.

M3