Sunday, October 17, 2021

Fraudulent Me


Hi Invisible Audience,


Can I confess something to you, Invisible Audience? I feel like a fraud. For two weeks now I’ve loaded a bunch of notebooks into my car with a suitcase full of worksheets and sharpened pencils and wet wipes and hauled them between my home and Leavenworth and Cashmere to teach kids Spanish. Certainly I am teaching them things. Certainly they’re having fun—or so most of them and their parents tell me. And yet I feel like a big fat fraud that will be found out and punished. Despite the fact that I’ve done this for 5 years now. Despite the fact that I have nearly 80 students total. Despite a B.A. in Spanish and long periods abroad. Even most importantly, perhaps, despite having read the entire Harry Potter series in Spanish, which of course is essential for teaching kids the magic of language.


I feel like a fraud in a lot of ways. As I’ve mentioned, I adopted a couple kittens. I keep thinking someone is going to stop me on the street and say, “What exactly do you think you’re doing? What makes you think YOU, of all people, can support other life, let alone your own?” I feel like a fraud sometimes when I do adult things, like I’m still a kid that liked to play house but didn’t know that adults are supposed to play for keeps.


The funniest small things make me feel like an adult. Going to a drive-thru car wash. Leaving a big tip. Arranging meetings with sales people. Being nice to a customer service person whose help I need. Paying someone to pay my quarterly payroll taxes. Remembering to offer someone something to drink when they get to my house. Getting my teeth cleaned.


Those small things make me feel like an adult, but there are many things that I feel like I do because you’re supposed to as an adult but they don’t necessarily make me feel adult-like. It’s as if I’m waiting for someone to notice that I’m not there yet; like I’m waiting to be thrown out of the adulting club.


I talked about this related to dating in another blog; about basically not feeling worthy. About not being able to take it in when someone complimented me. About not feeling like I deserve good things.


Good gracious, Invisible Audience. Being in my head is exhausting. Not only do I have a lot of physical tasks to do, I carry a huge weight around that can only be described as “shit I can’t figure out how to put down.” And this is one of those things.


I recently heard a podcast on paradox—on holding two conflicting ideas in your head at once. Although I don’t feel like I’m very good at paradox, I nevertheless deal with it every day. Each day, I proceed as if I know what I’m doing. Each day, I feed my cats and make sure there’s enough food to last and buy more before it runs out. Each day, I prep more things for kids to learn. Each day, I load string cheese, snack packs and apple slices into a cooler to cart around in my car with all my other Spanish class stuff to make sure the kids are fed before I teach them things. Each day, there’s gas in my car because I put it there. Emails that require answers get answered. Action items I’ve said I’ll get completed get done. My rent is paid. My hair is clean. My shoes are tied. My mask is on.


So really, the only place I’m failing is in my head. That feeling almost cost me my Spanish class business—I felt like such a fraud that I almost didn’t pick it up again after the pandemic.


But you know what, Invisible Audience? I have felt like a fraud in all my jobs. I have felt like a fraud pretty much my whole life—imagining that if anyone realized how unsure I was, or how I looked naked, or how much of my mental space is taken up by dark imaginings, they would run for the hills screaming. So I kept leaving first, before they could.


Well, here I am. I still feel like a fraud, but I’m not running anymore.


Love and not-so-fraudulent kisses,



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