Why do you pretend to be something you are not is the question that echoed out within my head as I laid there in the cold. It was clear that they had discovered that I wasn’t truly who I was and all the things I did were just luck. And just as luck fades so did my great feats of intelligence. They faded out leaving me blank and in a haze of panic.
“Jessie are you okay?”
“I can’t breathe.” My chest tightened. This feeling was something I had become accustomed to ever since I got accepted into the advanced biology program. My life felt sheltered in the eye of a tornado waiting for its walls to close on in.
“Are you having an asthma attack, Jessie?” Daniel asked me as I ran to take a seat down on the benches outside the laboratory.
“No, I’m okay just needed some fresh air.” I see the relief in Daniels eyes, unequipped to deal with an asthma attack.
My third panic attack this week, I counted out mentally. The week was far from over for me, and my anxiety had gotten worse. I could not seem to place a finger on what the trigger could be. I sat outside in the cold, looking at the crowds of people passing by on a mission to achieve something. There in the distance, I saw my classmates entering the lab, ready to produce something great. Leaving me behind in the cold truth to catch up to my breath and heartbeat.
“I am a fraud,” I whispered out to myself, which is what I felt swelling deep down within me. This rat race I was on had finally reached its end. The prodigy was to face the champion to reveal that all its bouts of strengths were mere slithers of luck and a clear lack of talent.
“Are you okay?” my lab partner asks as soon as I come back in and like a spider persistently avoiding death and crawling about I feel the pit of my stomach begin to sink deeper as the anxiety that I had cast out crawled its way back up.
At this moment my natural stance would be to lie that my emotions are in check but a lie would only solidify the words that I felt ringing in my head. The words I didn’t want to believe but had faith in like a child and its imaginary friend.
I was an imposter pretending to be good at something. I felt so inadequate at accomplishing anything. All their faces said it as I sat watching over my back to check my thoughts and ideas to be right.
“Jessie you have been so silent today. Why don’t you tell us what you think?”
Like a train wreck waiting to happen there, I was faced with everyone’s attention, waiting to see me reveal my fraudulence.
My professor had asked for my opinion, and my anxiety had asked for permission to eat my thoughts and views, leaving me with one thing on my mind: imposter syndrome and the anxiety that fueled it.
An outspoken, earth loving artist in desperate need to over share emotions and thoughts in a world so divided.