Week 326 // Impostor Syndrome

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Everyone is like me
Everyone is a bit like everyone else
Nobody gets away with anything
Nobody pulls it off

Oh the fear of tipping it over
Oh the fear of tipping it over
Oh the dread of a balancing act

Everyone is frightened
What makes you think that you have got it so bad?
Everyone tries to laugh like they’re in on the joke
Everyone loves to laugh

Oh the fear of tipping it over
Oh the fear of tipping it over
Oh the dread of a balancing act

Notes
Impostor Syndrome has been one of my favorite buzz psychological maladies of the past few years because I diagnosed myself the instant I heard about it. I’m pretty sure a lot of people did. I’ve written about it before in one of these songs, although I’m not sure which one, on account of how many songs I’ve posted here that deal with a similar kind of existential angst under any number of different names.

Impostor Syndrome is the feeling that you’re faking it, and that you’re in danger of being exposed as a fraud at any moment. I experienced it acutely in graduate school, and I’ve come back around to it since then in my professional life. What’s to be done about this? I really don’t know. Honestly, I’m open to suggestions. It’s an exhausting sensation.

This song uses the familiar songwriting conceit of saying what “everyone” is feeling or doing. Leonard Cohen used to do this a lot. I’m not sure what he was going for, but for me it is a mechanism of self-delusion. I normalize my own experience by superimposing it on everyone in the world. It’s sort of the opposite of the usual songwriting technique of mirroring a relatable emotion by using personal anecdote to draw a listener in. I’m telling you how you feel in order to mirror my own pathos, serving as a balm for what ails me, and drawing myself out. I apologize for being so presumptuous about your emotional state. Nevertheless, I promise to do it again and again on a regular basis.

~M.E.

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One thought on “Week 326 // Impostor Syndrome

  1. You are right. You have plowed this field before. I am reminded of bit of week 30, “My Evil Twin, week 123 “An Echo” and week 114 “Self Improvement Kick”. There are others. I am sure. Do not feel bad. It’s good. Recognizing what you share with others including the fact that we all are “posers” is foundational to real empathy. I’s a good song. An old idea of yours, freshly expressed. It is not a simple subject and a lot deeper than mot of the drivel I heard on the Grammies with lines like “Baby I love your body”.

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