“The deadline for my first essay on The Pastry Box is coming up on Tuesday and I have no idea what to write about,” I tell my wife nervously. It doesn’t take her long to come up with a suggestion.
“Write about the things that are bothering you right now. Write about sacrifice, and moving, and how you feel about your career. Write about the self-doubt and the regrets and the frustrations.”
In general “write what you know” is good advice, but this time I’m going to disagree with her. There’s no way I’m going to let people in on my secret. How 2014 was a terrible year for my career, mostly because of my own bad decisions. How I’m plagued by regret because of those decisions. How strong the imposter syndrome is in this guy. How I moved my entire family across the world only for that world to stop spinning as two weeks into my new job all I could think was, “What have I done…”
I can’t risk people finding out that I often think that I don’t know what I’m doing. That I sometimes wonder if I contribute anything worthwhile to society, that “make a dent in the universe” is just too much to ask of a regular person like me. That other people’s sites and books and blog posts and designs intimidate me to a point where I just want to leave the room quietly and never come back.
I’m not going to write about all that because I’m sure I’m the only one who feels like this and I don’t want to embarrass myself. The internet shows me that everyone else had fabulous years, and the internet never lies. So if I confess to feeling envious of everyone else’s accomplishments they will point and laugh at my insecurities, and I don’t want that. Granted, it would be comforting to know others feel the same way sometimes, but I just can’t take the chance to find out.
I could talk about some of the things I learned, I guess. Like that technology can be as isolating as it is connecting when you listen to the wrong voices. How managers don’t realize the enormous impact they have on the self-esteem and growth of their teams. How, when things are desperate, the only helpful place to retreat to is the company of the people you hold dear — as tempting as social media might be in those moments. But I won’t be able to share that without mentioning that I feel I have to start over again this year and it’s scaring the hell out of me.
I’m going to have to find something else to write about. I hope it comes to me before Tuesday.