I just recently started grad school (like, “had my first day of classes today,” recently) and about 87% of the time I feel like a poser.
I feel like a poser in class, because I’m a journalism grad student with absolutely zero journalism experience. I had to get a Twitter for one of my classes, and that brought up all sorts of poser anxieties, because I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I’M DOING ON THERE. (Follow me @lisaspeckhard for proof and/or to make me feel like I have friends.) I just feel like a general poser when I’m walking around general campus, as if every single solitary individual I pass is a super-experienced and put together student, not to mention very organized and witty and in a serious long-term relationship.
But guess what? As my teacher helpfully pointed out in my first class, this “everyone else has it together” feeling is something almost everyone feels. It’s called the imposter syndrome, and it’s basically the fear that people will find out you’re just faking it and don’t deserve to be a journalism student, and should be thrown out to the wolves. Or something.
This was slightly shocking to me. As someone who clearly has imposter syndrome issues, I firmly believe everyone else is very secure and confident. But actually most people are insecure about something, and you can even see it creeping out of some of the most seemingly confident people, if you know where to look.
At Bible study tonight, I was reminded of why this is, and it goes alllllll the way back to The Beginning. That’s right, the capital “B” beginning. When Adam and Eve felt shame, what was the first thing they did? They tried to use leaves to cover themselves up. They didn’t want to be exposed, or embarrassed, or ashamed. And we all still do that! We put on accomplishments, or drinking, or whatever to make us feel less weird, awkward, embarrassed posers.
Here’s something about this story I hadn’t thought about before: something beautiful happens after this. God gives Adam and Eve a gift, the gift of clothes. They definitely don’t deserve them, but God provides for them anyway so they can feel honorable and functional again. Jesus gives us clothes today, too: ultimate security, unconditional love, limitless grace. But I walk around most of the time trying to snatch some leaves off trees so people don’t see what a damaged person I am. Which is pretty ridiculous when we consider what nice clothes I’ve been given. Like the ultimate little black dress of assured affection, or the classy peacoat of constant forgiveness. I wish I walked around like I knew what I was wearing.
So maybe tomorrow when I get dressed, I will pray that I remember the real and perfect identity I’m wrapped up in. Hopefully this will mean I can walk down the sidewalk without feeling like the comparative scum of the earth. This might lead to confidence so infectious that I work up the nerve to tweet about it. #nopromises