IMPOSTOR SYNDROME, Or: Where the Hell I’ve Been for Five Months


On this day, eight years ago, I was in Paris.

France. I was in Paris, France, not Paris, Texas. Just, you know, to clarify.

It was the first really big trip I took by myself. It ended with a pickpocket stealing my camera and me wishing for the much more complicated international issue of having my wallet (that was right there in the same pocket!) stolen instead. My driver’s license and debit, credit, and phone cards could’ve been replaced. My 700+ pictures (on a 3 year old camera that was less than $100 new) couldn’t and haven’t been. But everyone reassured me that I “still had the memories” and “that’s what really matters,” so could I kindly “stop saying the F word all over Facebook?”

fuck no, i was fucking mad

Today, when I try and remember the trip, I remember it through pictures I wish I still had: the one of daylight streaming in on my croissant and tiny cup of coffee at the cafe where we had breakfast the second day; the one of a funny painting in the Louvre I wanted to show a friend; the one of le chat noir hanging out at Shakespeare and Co.; the mirror selfie I took in the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles; the picture I asked a friend to take of me dancing with an old French man in an underground jazz club; the panoramas I took from the Eiffel Tower and the Basilica du Sacre-Coeur de Montmartre; the video I took walking alone through the cemetery where Jim Morrison, Edith Piaf, and Oscar Wilde are buried.

The only way for me to remember the actual trip is to close my eyes and inhale deeply when it’s sunny but just finished raining, the temperature is just right, and just the right amount of cigarette smoke is wafting by.

And the only way for me to get my pictures back is to go back, but I’ll never be the same as I was during that first trip. Even if I’d gone the very next spring break or another time while I was still in college, I would’ve been a different person. Even if I could remember every single place I went and replicate every single picture I took, I wouldn’t be coming back with the same pictures I lost.

And, honestly, it’s the person I was in that moment in time who truly deserves those pictures. The person I am today, the one who couldn’t remember the basics of pickpocket protection, deserves what I got.

If you read the title and then all of the above, you’re understandably confused. What does a lengthy lament over a pick-pocketed camera have to do with impostor syndrome?

I don’t know.

All I know is that it’s been on my mind lately. It’s also been on my mind lately that I need to write more for myself (or at all). What can I say? I sat down to write about how I’m coming back to writing here and that’s what came out instead.

I’m glad. This is how that other story started:

It’s easy to seek out creative endeavors, right?*

You just sit down at your computer, punch out a few lines of poetry or paragraphs of prose. You just stand at your easel,

*Fun example of impostor syndrome right there! I wanted to say “It’s easy to be a creative type, right?” but even though I’ve been “seeking out creative endeavors” since I was a small child, what right do I have to call myself a creative type?


I know, right?

I was going to try and make a connection between that last bit about deserving my pictures and impostor syndrome making you feel like you don’t deserve anything you’ve gained from whatever it is you’re…impost-ing? Imposing? That doesn’t seem right. Anyway.

It is what it is. I’m trying to write more, so I’ll be posting here more. I’m seeing where it’ll go.

Join me, won’t you?



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