Friday, June 23, 2006

Maybe I'm a total fraud

. . . but this time, not as a scholar. Who knew that blogging could add another twist to that epidemic disease, Academic Imposter Syndrome?

Last night I had a dream that I met up with a blogger whom I read faithfully and absolutely adore--and who I have reason to believe at least partly reciprocates the sentiment. We went out for a meal and then hung out with some of the blogger's friends/roommates/colleagues (it wasn't clear to me exactly who they were, but they were mostly in the background, chatting with each other).

Our interactions weren't awkward, exactly, but they weren't comfortable, either--which is quite the opposite of my experience in my actual blogger meet-ups. I was eager to like this person, and I mostly did, but I felt that s/he wasn't really warming up to ME, and as time went on I started feeling increasingly anxious: we'd had great email and comments exchanges! I knew this person! What was wrong?

Finally, s/he turned to me and said, "Look, I want to be up-front about this: I don't think this is working. We obviously don't mesh in real life." The blogger paused. "You aren't who you are on your blog."

But I am! I said. Maybe I'm--maybe I've been acting a little reticent today. But I'm totally totally that person. Ask any of my friends who read me. I'm, like, at least 85-90% that person.

"I don't think so. I expected . . . something different."

And I woke up feeling as devastated as if it had actually happened.

12 comments:

medieval woman said...

Whoa! That dream is definitely a doozie...isn't it interesting that it would seem completely rational (and it totally does!) to fear being seen as the imposter of a pseudonymous blogging voice? I think that it's because, while the name and location (and other identifying personalia) on a blog are kept quiet, the voice - funny, clever, nice - IS really you. Do you think that the reason why a person might react that way (and I know this was just a dream) would be because you weren't like them? Or at least what they thought they were to themselves? I mean, so many of us read blogs and relate personally to the people, the situations, etc.

That might not make much sense - I think I've pretty much plumbed the depth of my brain for today. More packing boxes....

New Kid on the Hallway said...

Wow! That's hysterical. Who knew that insecurity could invade so many niches of our psyches? (I could so totally see dreaming this, by the way.)

Scott Eric Kaufman said...

I don't think you have that much to worry about, since even when the expectations your voice has created fail to match the genuine article, people don't see to be upset. Case in point: at the MLA, about half of the people thought I looked and acted exactly as they thought I would; the other half didn't. About half thought I was/looked a lot younger than they thought I was; the other thought I was/looked much older. &c. So even if you "clash" with your voice, I don't think people hold it against you. The most amusing moment was when I met Amardeep, who looked at me, then my name-tag, then at me and said "I thought you'd have a bright red beard."* Everyone who knew what was what in a fifteen foot radius spit their drink on their neighbor. Good times, and they were, failed expectations be damned.

*There is a reason he thought that, mind you, but it seemed so random and he sounded, I don't know, almost disappointed. Like he really wanted a friend with a bright red beard.

jo(e) said...

I think it's just another blogging milestone: you know blogging is an important part of your life when you start having blogging anxiety dreams ....

What Now? said...

Goodness, what a distressing dream! Did the anxiety of it eventually fade away during the day?

Cats & Dogma said...

Jo(e)'s right...you've moved into a new realm of bloggerhood (must come with the new blog and the new job.

I wonder if it's also a sort of displaced job search anxiety...I know that even after a year + off the job market, I'm still having serious "must say/act/be the right thing to people I don't know very well" anxieties...

Anonymous said...

Ugh . . .

Weezy said...

I second the ugh-- could it be fears of the the new job? Not rejection from bloggers but new place, dept, etc?

Flavia said...

Hi all--

Yes, I think it probably IS new job/new people/new location anxiety, and probably a bit of residual job market anxiety too, as Ryan suggests. I don't think it's *really* blog anxiety, although I do have more generalized neuroses related to my own coolness or lack of same--a holdover from grad school.

And Scott: not to worry. I don't have a bright red beard, either.

MaggieMay said...

Sorry I'm a bit late to comment on this, but WOW! My theory is this: you're running out of things to have hideous anxiety dreams about (you have your diss, your degree, your job), so, why not INVENT something else? It sounds exactly like something my brain would do...

Hilaire said...

I'm late commenting, but had to commiserate with you about this anxiety dream after my night last night. I woke up in the middle of the night (unlike me) and was awake for over an hour, sweating and fretting. About blogging! At least it didn't colonize my dreams - poor you! - but it certainly was an unwelcome sense of generalized dread. Good lord. I think it's fears about not being able to control the persona that others construct for us.

Oso Raro said...

Paging Dr. Freud! Code Blue in the bedroom! My goodness, Doll! Isn't it interesting how the unconscious works? I would echo Medieval Womon in saying that the voice is you, indeed, and Jo(e) in terms of a blog milestone. Of course I don't even remember most of my dreams, so who am I to say?

It is interesting, though, how we displace anxiety onto both our unconscious and conscious lives. To wit, in the horrible time leading up to my departure from Sadistic College, both Mr. Gordo and I were struck with strange insomnia, and would regularly get up at night, me to chain smoke in our old front room in the dark, consumed by my thoughts, him to watch Univision in a futile attempt to sleep. The strangest thing was that we would wake practically every night at roughly the same times (him at 2: am, me at 4 am) but separately. And it took weeks for us to figure out that we both were having trouble sleeping.

Doll, you're going on a big adventure, with lots of challenges to stay fly while the shit eaters throw things in your way. Stay cool, stay fresh, keep reapplying the lipstick, make sure you always look fierce, and you'll come out ahead.

BTW, just b/c I am too lazy to write a separate email, fyi I am coming to BEC on July 2nd for 7 weeks of Mr. Gordo realness, and am looking forward to meeting you in person and loving it!