I’m 36 this year. I’m the age I imagine my aunties to be. When I was a kid, 36 was my aunties who were proper grown up, it meant wearing business suits and having expensive face cream. 36 was having your life sorted and to be honest, kind of old.
Yet here I am. Nearly 36 and feeling like a child in a grown up body. My clothes aren’t polished or sensible. I bought Clinique face cleaning stuff, used it twice and it’s now gathering dust in the bathroom cabinet. I feel like a fraud, like any minute someone will tap me on the shoulder and say ‘excuse me miss, can you please show us some proof you’re an adult.’
The majority of my clothes come from a supermarket or charity shops. I sway wildly from harijuku cute to biker chick to hippy to down right scruff. I don’t have ‘a style’ though I do have a penchant for fancy dress. My hair changes colour on a monthly basis and my jewellry tends to have swear words on it or look like it’s made from sticky back plastic and milk bottle tops.
Then I remember that I have three kids, two of them teenagers! I’ve been with my partner for 19 years this year and been married for nearly 13. I have a ‘proper’ job working for a charity, I run a successful blog and I speak at events all over the world!
I own my own home, pay my bills, own a car. I have a pension for fucks sake! So why is it that I feel like I’m playing dress up in my aunty’s heels?
They call it imposter syndrome – “a concept describing individuals who are marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a “fraud”. The term was coined in 1978 by clinical psychologists Pauline R. Clance and Suzanne A. Imes. Despite external evidence of their competence, those exhibiting the syndrome remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved. Proof of success is dismissed as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent and competent than they believe themselves to be.”
Perhaps it’s a throwback to childhood and fairly traumatic teen years. I hate this cliche but I think I have abandonment issues with my father leaving me at a young age and not being a part of my life. Perhaps it’s a lack of confidence, the idea that I’m simply not good enough.
Whatever it is, I’m not sure how to get over it. And so I think I’ll just embrace it along with the myriad of wonky things about me and my character.
Sure, I’m not wearing the Ted Baker suit and Manolo Blahnik shoes but that’s just not me! I don’t have all my shit together, I’m a bit all over the place, I don’t iron, I sometimes drink too much and tidy too little.
But I’m good at what I am. I care about my friends and family with all my heart. I love my work and I’m passionate about helping others. I try really hard to be a good mum, a good wife, a good person.
I may not be a proper grown up but I am so bad ass.