A knowledge. A hint of unfavourable truth, bitter to the taste. The mind withdrawing, unwilling to accept. The most nebulous sentence of all, that mess of aching contradictions: "so, you're a writer."
Yes. I am.
I do the verb so I am the noun: this is a truth that, most days, I embrace wholeheartedly. I am a writer. This I have known since my fingers first grazed across the pages of books, since I tasted words on my tongue, dripping golden & honey-sweet-soft. To consider any other notion would be absurd. I know so little about myself, these trembling wrists, this darting mind—but there’s this, an ineffable truth:
I am a writer.
It’s a curious thing, then, to doubt such a fundamental fact about oneself.
I did not know of a thing called "imposter syndrome" until I googled what to do if you doubt you are a real writer. It was a notion that until a few days ago was foreign to me.
But now: I confer with the uncertainty, a niggling question in the back of my mind, the sort that erodes the possibility of peace. That, perhaps, all of these late nights hunched over a notebook, the coffee shop dreaming & click-clack-keyboard songs, all of this has done nothing but reiterate over & over that I am not the writer I so desperately wish I was. & that perhaps I never will be.
Such an idea sounds absurd if I see it cursor-blinking in front of me. But, nonetheless: my head is a shimmering, racing entity, ever perched on the roller coaster stuck in downward motion, twisting & writhing. Writing is always how I have calmed these impossible thoughts, but now: a paradox, a vicious cycle. That the thing I am running from is the thing that once brought me such joy.
Two thoughts, ever-repeating:
Is nothing I write good enough?
What if I am not a real writer?
This idea sits uncomfortably with me, a fear that will not be pushed away. Whispers small, reductive, belittling in my ear. Shaking foundations I have built my soul upon.
I am thinking that the answer to these questions are:
No. Nothing I write will ever be good enough.
No. I never have been.
I could find despair in that. But: what if I do not want to? What if there is more?
What if (those two magnificent words), what if, instead, I am thinking of this—
If nothing I write will ever be good enough, if I am not a real writer, then I may write what I please. There is no pressure, after all, if the act of writing, the daring of it, is enough in itself. & the challenge: to let that be all. There is no "good enough" here: there is only the writing & the not writing, & choosing the right path to follow. To surrender to creation. To consort with possibility.
Perhaps in the end it boils down to this:
The writing. The act of it, & doing so though one's mind hurls furious words through the pen, screams at one to stop it, that one will never be a real writer, that one will never be good enough. & forgiving oneself for the passive voice, for the grammar mistakes, for all of the things that one writes & looks back on & despises. Forging through the mess all for the promise of one good line, after pages & pages of rubble. Worrying not of what the words contain, nor of whether their existence proves one's own authority. No: only to put the words on the page even on the days when such a thing seems an enormous, a gargantuan task. To dare to let that be enough.
This is what I am learning to write for. To clear away the dust haunting the curling mind-edges, to promise myself:
I don’t need to call myself a writer. Not a real writer. Nor even a good writer.
I only need to write.
To creation, to possibility, to clairvoyance, to ephemerality, to ethereality, to truth, to magic. All the things which cannot succumb to any thoughts of imposter-hood. Which will not worry about whether they are good enough, real enough. This contentedness only in the wonder of existing on the page.
The rebellion in the writing. The act of daring in it. & the freedom: of giving myself permission not to be real or good enough. Only to put the words on the paper, give them the chance to exist without obligation.
It’s enough, the way it has been all along, from the beginning until forever bleeds out:
Just to write.