Profile picture
Seanan McGuire @seananmcguire
, 21 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
All right, darlings: I want to talk a little bit about a panel I was on last weekend. And I want to start by saying that the moderator and me, we're cool, we talked, he was trying to do something specific, and accidentally hurt me a little. It was not his intent. We're good.

At my most recent con, I was on a panel about Imposter Syndrome. Most of us know what that is, even if we don't necessarily know the name. It's the feeling that you're faking it, that you don't deserve what you have, that all praise is false praise.
It's the absolute conviction that your best work is behind you, or not as good as someone else's worst work, or that all your friends hate you and only tolerate you because mumble mumble reasons. It's the fear that says "don't self-promote, don't talk about your successes."
It's that little whisper going "no one cares, you're just bragging if you talk about the good things and you're just whining if you talk about the bad things and you'll never be good enough ever no matter what, so why not save us all a little time and shut up now?"
Imposter Syndrome SUCKS. Let's just agree on that part now. No matter what form yours may take, it doesn't keep you humble and it doesn't keep you hungry, it just keeps you hurting and insecure and fuck that. You deserve the world. You deserve GALAXIES.
One of my biggest struggles, day to day, is the feeling that because I AM successful by the standards of my chosen field--not J.K. Rowling or Charlaine Harris successful, but I pay my bills, I feed my cats, I get to do something fun sometimes--I don't deserve my own insecurity.
I get Imposter Syndrome ABOUT MY IMPOSTER SYNDROME, and if that's not the brain being a bullshit sack of water and neurons, I don't know what is.
You can be depressed on your wedding day. You can be manic on the day of a family funeral. The brain is a strange, fucked-up oracle, and sometimes it gets things wrong. Success seems to BREED Imposter Syndrome for some people, because we remember the Wizard of Oz.
Someone says "oh, ______'s a genius," and you're like, "I wrote that entire thing in my pajamas, licking dry Tang off my fingers because I had developed a sudden, irrational fear of scurvy."
Someone is always coming to draw back the curtain and show that we're all just humbugs, sitting at our strange machines and praying that no farm girl from Kansas gets us banished from the only home we've ever wanted.
Back to the panel. Our moderator had done a lot of really awesome preparation--again, we're cool--but when he got to me, his question was, paraphrased, "You're Seanan McGuire. You've done [list]. Why are you on this panel?"
I am a cisgendered, femme, somewhat disheveled female author. When I cry in public, I get accused of trying to be manipulative, which gives me Imposter Syndrome about my emotions, which is...not great. I try VERY HARD not to cry in public.
I nearly burst into tears on the spot.
He was trying to make a point, that Imposter Syndrome doesn't care about success, that there's no checklist of achievements that suddenly cures everything that's scrambled in our brain chemistries. It was a laudable effort.
It was also, in that moment, an absolute validation of every doubt I have ever had: I was a faker, a fraud, I didn't belong on a panel about mental health, there were people who REALLY needed my place, who had REAL problems, whose spot I'd taken.
And this, then, is the problem, and also the point. Success does not cure sadness. It does not alleviate insecurity. Neither does a LACK of success. I've had authors who were just starting out, who were pre-published...
...tell me that they were insecure and scared all the time, and that they didn't feel like they had the right, because it wasn't like they had anything to lose. Which breaks my heart, because while I wish NO ONE felt this're allowed.
Your feelings are YOUR FEELINGS, and while that doesn't entitle anyone to take their feelings out on anyone else--I don't get to yell at authors for the crime of being more successful than I am, or gossip about them, or whatever--they're still real.
No one gets to say "oh, what do YOU have to be insecure about, you own an island full of genetically engineered dinosaurs." Or, well, I guess they get to say it, but speech has consequences, and the consequence can be you walking away.
Imposter Syndrome sucks. It's stupid, it's parasitic, and I hate it. If someone going "but you're Seanan McGuire, you're a bad-ass who writes for the X-Men" would make mine disappear, I'd throw a party. Brains don't work that way.
Please be kind to yourselves. Please be kind to each other. And please, I am begging you, never ask anyone "what do you have to be insecure about?" Everyone has the same thing you do.

Everyone has the world.
Missing some Tweet in this thread?
You can try to force a refresh.

Like this thread? Get email updates or save it to PDF!

Subscribe to Seanan McGuire
Profile picture

Get real-time email alerts when new unrolls are available from this author!

This content may be removed anytime!

Twitter may remove this content at anytime, convert it as a PDF, save and print for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video

1) Follow Thread Reader App on Twitter so you can easily mention us!

2) Go to a Twitter thread (series of Tweets by the same owner) and mention us with a keyword "unroll" @threadreaderapp unroll

You can practice here first or read more on our help page!

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just three indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member and get exclusive features!

Premium member ($3.00/month or $30.00/year)

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!