Monday 24 May 2010

Am I just impersonating ... myself?

See the girl in the photo? That's me. I was four, impersonating my mother.
Now, at 30, although generally content, sometimes I still feel like I'm impersonating.
Impersonating myself.
Impersonating the person I want to be.

I must appear to be a woman who’s really got it together.
At least to people who don’t know me very well.
But, now that I think about it, does anyone really know me inside and out? Sometimes I wonder even if I know myself.
But I never let my vulnerability see the light of day.

I brood.
I brood when I cook, clean, wash, write, play.
At night I cry.
In the morning I awake as though life is perfect.
In the presence of others I am envied. But I envy others.

I wish I could see myself through the eyes of a stranger, or an aquaintence I merely share a glass of wine with at a bar occasionally perhaps? What do they see in me that makes them want to talk to me?

Is it just me who thinks and feels like this?
Or do other people assume a front exuding with confidence as well?
If it is just me, then when, and how does the confident metamorphosis occur within?
Is there something I have to buy?
A pill?
A cough syrup?
A psychologist?


  1. Experiences breed wisdom which gives clearer sight that allows us to see ourselves. Damn!! Hard 'pill' to swallow, I know.

    Sure, I think everyone is put into situations were their outer skin tweaks a bit. Meeting someone new or even taking on a new adventure can bring on the self-questioning--or brow-beating. I get it. Trust me. ";-)

    Chin up, always.

  2. You just have to be yourself. Be the best you and you won't have to worry about it.

  3. Be yourself, no airs and graces. Love yourself, have the confidence of the four year old you.
    Life is too short to worry about impressing others. :)

  4. Ahh being yourself... a tough one at times when you feel at your most vulnerable. I've learned over the years that people will like me, other people wont. It's a fact of life that I'm still accepting but over the years I've surrounded myself with the people that like and understand me.

    Being yourself is hard, and it's only hard because you are your own worst enemy.

    BTW adorable picture :)

  5. Being yourself is the most natural thing in the world. Why would anyone want to be anyone else, I wouldn't I have enough trouble being me,


  6. Does it help knowing other people think they'd rather be YOU?

    I have had this 'vision' of me in the back of my mind since I was little. I'm not sure where it comes from because it is soooo not me. I think it's there to play with me...

  7. Funny post but so true! I feel that way sometimes as well.

    Didn't know about the 300 blog limit, that's crazy!

  8. I can imitate, but the truth of who I am usually prevails.
    Didn't know there was a 300 follower limit!

  9. A very thoughtful post with some great comments. Personally, I think acceptance is key. You are who you are (always growing, always working to be a better person, but the core values are in place). But I especially loved what Glynis said about loving yourself and never letting go of your inner child. Because everything else will work out.

  10. You're fabulous. Every.Single.Part.

  11. I'm actually really happy that I don't know myself really well. I think the self-discovery is amazing. I think too, when I learn new things and find out that I'm still capable of doing that, my life is so much better.


  12. Is that not how we all grow? We pretend to be something until it’s no longer pretence? One day when I was about twenty I went out and bought a completely new wardrobe, jackets, shirts, ties, cufflinks even and walked into work that Monday a new man. No more jeans or scabby t-shirts. And for quite a while that wasn’t ‘me’ but I was determined it was going to be. And that’s what came to pass. When I moved office the ‘new me’ moved and no one knew there had ever been an old one.

    Now I’m doing the opposite. I’ve ditched the suits, grown my beard long and put a pile of t-shirts on my wish list. Why? Because the ‘me’ I thought I wanted to be was never the real ‘me’, Even though I became comfortable with the uniform (because that’s what it was) the man on the inside never changed.

    Of course things like ‘the real me’ or ‘the meaning of life’ are goals that can only depress us. There are too many factors and everything is in flux. The best you can hope for is a snapshot: Am I comfortable with the me I am today? Does life mean something today?

  13. Yeah envy creeps in on me often as well. It is a good thing that I have young twins to keep me grounded with how good I have things.

  14. I felt like a big imposter when I was in my 20's. It wasn't until I was in my mid-thirties that I started to feel like I was shaping who I wanted to be rather than letting life shape me.

    Now that I'm 40, I feel more comfortable than I ever have... like I know who I am.

  15. Kind of like being able to read our story objectively, seeing ourselves from someone's else pov would probably be an eye-opening experience. Don't know if I'd want it or not.

  16. Weird about the follower limit. There must be a way around it. Dude.

    So easy to impersonate without even realizing your doing it. I guess at the end of the day, if you're happy with who you are, that's the key.

  17. What do they say? Fake it until you make it? Or something like that. Great post. I think we all chose just certain bits of ourselves to show and those bits change depending on who we are with.

  18. Geez, how can you even keep up with 300+ blogs? I know there are so many good ones, though...

    I remember having a conversation with a friend one time. She said something like, "I've always envied you. You have a great family, a good husband, a nice house, a good job...(etc.)." And I said, "I've always envied you. You're a great single-mother, your kids are awesome, you have the freedom to make your own decisions, you have a steady job where you enjoy what you do (teacher)...(etc.)." We laughed at ourselves, then started a pretty deep conversation about our real lives that no one else sees.

    I think I am finally finding myself, which has been a combination of age and discovering my purpose and love as a writer. For a long time I wanted to be that successful businesswoman and played the part, but it's just not the real me. It's part of our personal growth, though - impersonating until we find the one that is real. Good luck!

  19. Wow, 300's a lot of blogs. I can see how its possible with googlereader- not everyone posts every day. I understand exactly what you're saying here. I feel the same way sometimes. It's almost like I switch gears when in public. There's public katie and private katie. My husband says he's never known an introvert who's so extroverted.

  20. Congrats on so many followers! And also on being honest about feeling that way. I think I felt like that most of my life, and somehow, in my 30's, I just let go. And it's been liberating!

  21. I'm just letting this feeling go at 36. I have finally felt that it's o.k. to be me and well if you don't like it too bad. Of course I relapse now and again but I bounce back a lot quicker.
    Feel good to be you. I like you that way. :)

  22. I have friends who ask, "Which Lynn do I have today?" and a boss who says, "I can't figure you out." I think life is unravelling inside and outside, and to just be in the mystery of it all is the challenge.
    A friend of mine once gave a group of us stars with our name. The stars were passed around and everyone wrote a quality about that person. When the star came back, I learned other people saw qualities in me I refused to recognize! Sometimes it takes others to help us see our good qualities too.

  23. I've been faking confidence all my life - works most of the time :)

    I don't have a clue about the follower issue - haven't run into it yet.

  24. Been there. Am there. Still wondering if any of who I really am is ever seen by anyone else. I've decided probably not - but I know. I know, and God knows, and in the end I am content.

  25. I've been a practitioner of the "fake it 'til you make it" philosophy for years. I'll keep smiling and saying "have a nice day" even when I'm sad or confused, or anxious. I figure eventually I'll either get over it or I'll break. But until then, I'll keep on faking it. :)

  26. I feel the same way all the time, and I found the best way for me to deal with it is to just try everything. I want to know who I am, am I a writer, a singer, a math geek, a choir student, a drama kid, a dancer? Am I shy, outgoing, nervous, sweet, cynical, funny, weird, mean, sarcastic, jaded, innocent? And why can't I figure it out?
    I'm just saying, I guess, that I can understand the confusion.
    If it makes you feel any better, whoever you are, I'm glad I know you! :)

  27. That picture is an absolute hoot, and there's a great story in it I'm sure. As for the rest of your post, you sound like a typical writer. Are we ever comfortable in our own skins? No wonder we all like to hang out with other writers, online or wherever we can find each other. Then we don't feel like such freaks, knowing we're not alone in our so-called weirdness. So glad you're still following me! I love your blog and your comments!

  28. I used to feel the way you describe. All the time. Even though I am a Christian and I believe God loves me just the way I am, and knew all my faults and every mistake I was going to make before I was even born.

    Now, I'm very comfortable in my own skin. Perhaps a little too comfortable sometimes. But I've been through some extremely difficult trials and basically come to the very end of myself. I survived it through faith and grit, and I must say, the presence of God holding me in the very worst of times.

    I've come to learn that if I constantly dwell on my mistakes and faults, I will never be free of the past. I have to give myself permission to a) screw up and b) forget about it. God knows we are human and forgives us, but the hard part is deciding to forgive ourselves.

    At the beginning of this year, I told myself that anything that happened before 2010 doesn't count. I'm not allowed to beat myself up with regrets for anything that happened before this year. I am turning 40 in a few months, and that is going to be a new beginning too. Anything that happened before I turned 40 doesn't count either.

    You just have to make a conscious decision to control your thoughts, instead of letting them control you, and rely on a higher power (whatever you percieve it to be) for strength and guidance.

    It's the only way to live.

  29. It seems to be the curse of the human animal that we spend our all-to-brief time on this ball of mud searching for that self-actualizational (if that is even a word) break through.

    If I've learned anything in my forty-nine years of trial, lotsa error, loves found and (mostly) lost, and people I've cared for who ventured into the hereafter all too soon, it is this.

    It's not the stuff, or the having it all together, or the career, or even the relationships.

    It's the ride.

    Or as Warren Zevon said when asked by David Letterman for some words of wisdom (Zevon was dying of cancer at the time and this was his last public appearance), "Enjoy every sandwich."

  30. I have the same feelings sometimes. I think the key is just to be your awesome self. Although that is always easier to say than to do, right? :)

  31. I think I have the tendency of being too comfortable in my own skin. Or maybe I'm just too old to care. I say be who you are without worry - the world will keep revolving.

  32. Had no idea there was a following limit and quite frankly I can't think why there would be.

    Be YOU, Jessica! You are precious and sweet and giving and caring and all sorts of good things. And maybe there are some darker bits mixed in that you don't care to keep on constant display and that's okay too!

    Just know that we love you ... even if we don't know you perfectly!

    And no ... you're not alone!

  33. AlliAllo ~
    Ha!-Ha! That is a GREAT photograph!
    You were so “Rickie”, even if you thought you were just so “Mommy”.

    --> “Due to this I have unfollowed around 40 blogs which weren't following me.”

    Does this mean that you would stop “Following” my blog if I stopped “Following” yours?

    --> “In the presence of others I am envied. But I envy others.”


    I can’t sleep again tonight
    These thoughts keep pressing
    This mind can get no rest
    Lying here in the darkness
    My eyes study the ceiling
    My brain studies itself
    I can’t sleep again tonight

    Oh, and sometimes
    I’d love to throw it all away

    Over walls
    Under doors
    And through windows
    Deep and ugly doubts come seeping in
    What if my beliefs are all a lie?
    What if these are wasted years?
    And what if I were to die tonight
    Not liking myself?

    And sometimes
    I’d love to throw it all away

    They turn their hungry eyes upon me
    And say
    “I wish I had what you have”.
    But what they don’t know
    Doesn’t hurt them
    And tonight
    They have gone to sleep

    I’d love to throw it all away

    ~ “Lonesome Dogg” McD-Fens

  34. Why do they have to make a limit? I know a blogger who set up a second blog to have a blogroll. Then there's Facebook and Google Reader, but how many places can you reasonably check?

    You sound just like me. I guess none of us feel truly understood by others. We pretend. We agonize. We hope. Some pretend they have confidence, but I don't think anyone really does.

    Or maybe it's just us.

  35. Jessica,

    You're not alone in feeling that way. At all.

    I remember hearing the saying, Fake it until you make it," and thinking that would never work for me. I'm not good at faking who I am so why pretend to be something that I'm not - regardless of what others saw?

    And then a really good friend of mine who retired at 28yrs old told me that he "faked it until he made it."

    When I asked him how, he said that he acted like he had already succeeded - he displayed the behavior of a successful person and because of his behavior, he became successful.

    Hope that helps for whatever it's worth.

  36. You are definitely not alone in this. Many people exude confidence outside, but struggle with self-doubt inside. I don't think it's a bad thing: it means you're growing -- as you've mentioned -- striving to become the person you want to be. It can take a while to grow into your own skin, but you can do it!

  37. Adorable picture :-)
    I was kind of having this conversation with my husband about "impersonation" - though it had a lot to do with my sudden love of baking, which is mostly false since I only started it since I became a wife and instant stepmom. I'm so NOT a domestic diva but I'm doing a great impersonation of Betty Crocker these days.

    Stay true to you, sunshine :-)

  38. Girl, if it makes you feel better, I´m on the exact same page. Come on, I´ll buy us a beer.

  39. I get totally lost in myself too, sometimes. It usually makes me feel better to just stop thinking about it and talk to someone (about something else) and kind of reaffirm who I am to them. I think it's just a really long process.

    And you are awesome, from what I see!

  40. Not just you. I often find myself really envying all kinds of people for just being able to "carry themselves off so well". If I ever find out what that means, I will be sure to tell you!
    Great picture!

  41. What a beautiful, honest post. I've enjoyed reading all your readers' comments too. One thing is for certain: we can all relate to what you've said.

    I'm 43, giving me the advantage of looking two solid decades of adulthood in the mirror. It's easy to see my evolution to this point, in terms of ten year chapters. My twenties were about discovering what I was allowed to do and testing my own boundaries, which felt scary and exciting all at once. But I was insecure in my skin.

    My thirties were about discovering what I liked to do and pursuing it, which left me insecure in the face of observers (both friends and foes.) I resisted my insecurities, but still they lurked right below the surface, though I tried desperately to cast them off.

    Now, almost four years into my forties, I see my energies shifting. I'm no longer wasting precious energies on worrying how onlookers are seeing and interpreting me. Instead, all my energies go into what I know I love to do. My forties are my most liberated decade yet. And I hear my fifties will be even better.

    It's the evolution of the human spirit, Jess. I believe it's one of the reasons we're here. Self-enlightenment is one of the meanings of life.

    I LOVE the pic of little girl you!

  42. Always be yourself. I think more than pressure from other people, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be a certain way and act like a certain person. But that isn't fair to ourselves or the people we're fooling.

    At least, that's my opinion! And no, you're not the only one who tries to keep it together and then goes to pieces later on.

  43. I feel the same way my dear.. It is easy to put on the mask that everyone else wants, but inside, forget who you really are. I've done that. I may never find myself again, but I think, that's why I started writing. so maybe "I" can emerge from the shields.


“I'm using my art to comment on what I see. You don't have to agree with it.” ~John Mellencamp

“Allowing an unimportant mistake to pass without comment is a wonderful social grace” ~Judith S. Marin

“I don't ever try to make a serious social comment.” ~Paul McCartney

“I'd make a comment at a meeting and nobody would even acknowledge me. Then some man would say the same thing and they'd all nod.” ~Charlotte Bunch

“Probably what my comment meant was that I don't care about the circumstances if I can tell the truth.” ~Sally Kirkland

“We're not going to pay attention to the silliness and the petty comments. And quite frankly, women have joined me in this effort, and so it's not about appearances. It's about effectiveness.” ~Katherine Harris