Impostor

Read the poem here: Impostor

I often deal with impostor syndrome, especially in things that are new to me and in which I'm still a beginner (poetry, to give a glaring example; but it still happens in software development, which I've been doing professionally for eight years now). It's hard when I realize my work isn't as good as it could be in a future, but it's even harder when I hear that people like it even at this budding stage. Feels as if I'm pulling a con I'd rather not be pulling.

In my own observation, there's a stage, a little plateau of relative comfort one reaches when practicing something, when one's good enough to know one's still not good enough and when the initial spark of passion has given way to a tamer sense of responsibility; it's in this stage that one, no longer blinded by the initial drive, gets to look around and behind and realize that the road ahead will require some actual work, some actual determination, some talking to other people who are better in the craft. It's easy at this stage to just give up, to fall into pessimism and rationalize the fear by saying one isn't good enough or circumstances aren't favorable, or some constructive piece of feedback is evidence of one's terrible ineptitude. It's easy to internalize this and constantly feel like an impostor.

In the case of software development, I needed to keep going, because I had chosen that occupation to be my livelihood, and starting over wasn't an option. So I kept writing bad software, and it's a bit less bad now, and I feel a bit more confident, less like one day I'll be ousted as an impostor (though I still get a residual feeling of that when meeting even more experienced developers, which I think is good probably, still caring about the craft or something). As Borges said, he didn't start sharing his writing until writing was a need for him, something he didn't see himself just giving up on. As I've said in a few pieces before, I'm starting to feel that need, the need to try and say things that are true and that I believe will resonate with others, no matter if my life is pedestrian and unimpressive or if my writing is clumsy and unimaginative. If a tiny bit of light makes it through those verses to the darkness in the life of a fellow person, I'll have achieved the purpose of my work.

So here's this small poem, written in what I'm pretty sure is a made up syllabic form, the shadorma.

Impostor