Monday Bag o’ Imposter Syndrome

Screen Shot 2022-08-22 at 9.15.59 AMSometimes, most often with book reviews and banned book posts, I experience imposter syndrome, that unsettling feeling of pretending to be someone I’m not, of not being qualified or experienced enough to share my thoughts on books and censorship.

Honestly, there are even times when I question my qualifications to express opinions and state facts about aviation. As if 24 years flying jet fighters for the U.S. Air Force, an additional 11 years as an aircrew training defense contractor, and 10 years as a docent for one of the largest air museums in the country isn’t enough to establish some cred.

A few months ago I started following an interesting person on Instagram — Michelle Curran, the first woman pilot on the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds team — who frequently writes about her own experience with imposter syndrome, which hit her before almost every air show and still invades her thoughts before going on stage to talk to audiences (recently retired from the USAF, she’s now a motivational speaker). Huh, I guess I’m not alone in this. Maybe Einstein sometimes wondered just who the hell appointed him the expert on relativity (though I very much doubt Donald Trump is troubled by such thoughts … or any others).

I cross-post the book and aviation entries you see here to the Daily Kos website. I don’t expect a lot of interaction with readers here on Paul’s Thing, but I’ve come to expect it on DKos, which has a huge following. When I cross-post something there and it doesn’t generate comments, imposter syndrome hits especially hard. But then, after a day or two of self-doubt, I remind myself that we’re all, each of us, alone in our own little boats, adrift on a vast and unknowable sea, and I think what else do I have to do with my love of writing, my time, and my energy?

So fuck you, imposter syndrome. I’ll write about books if I damn well want to. And flying. And whatever else I feel like writing about. No one’s making anyone read any of it, and yet many do (for which I’m grateful).

Oh, and witness this, which cheered me up no end. I set up a Google alert for news stories and articles about banned books, and Google sends me email digests every day. The one I got this morning picked up on the most recent banned book review I cross-posted to Daily Kos (the last entry, below):

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I can’t be the only Google user to have set up a banned book alert, right? Google may have sent new readers my way. But now I think about it, why doesn’t Google pick up on the original banned book review here at Paul’s Thing, where it showed up first? I must be doing something wrong with hashtags. Back to hashtag school it is for me.

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