Poem: Imposter Syndrome

[Image Description: A line drawing of a person in a sweater, the words imposter syndrome are written over their eyes and two lines run through the words]
Art by Amelia Foy
Poetry by Lorna McBain

Why can't I write like you?
The poetry seems pretentious 
An all-rounder is my maiden name
And I shall take it to the grave.

Why do they all write like that?
In their privileged homes,
Their feet warming from nothing else
But the central heating systems that they own

I am in a horrible tie
Between despising and idolizing you.
A cold rush, a thrilling sensation
Imposter syndrome.

I would like to be the best at what I do, 
Almost there, never quite.
Trapped in a frustrating dilemma 
Of knowing yet still misunderstanding

Why can't I write like you?
These words are glued to the inside of my skull
And I cannot rip them off to attach onto the paper.
Not elegantly, not in the way you approve of.

Why can't I write like you?
Many pages ripped, sodden with tears
What is it that I am doing wrong?
Someone please give me the cheat code to success

So, when the tears fall on my work
Am I more genuine and worthy now?
It seems, so unbelievably
That I can write just like you.



Artist Statement:
Imposter syndrome is something that every so often appears to me, as it does to many other young people, I doubt my own ability. This poem is me expressing my frustration towards my own work. For a long time, I would read other poets' work who were at a similar age to me and I would feel horrible about my own poetry! Other poems would allow me to feel so many more and a different range of emotion; I had found myself in a bit of a writer's block. I didn't know what my style was, just that I enjoyed writing and wanted to do it more. So, I thought, why not? Why not write down how I felt and how I was comparing my own ability and work. Especially in the age of Social Media we are used to seeing only the best sides of people, just simply the success. No one wants to share how difficult or how frustrating the journey was. I also played on the theme of inner conflict, mental health is so important and really something that should be looked after, so comparing ourselves to others perfect exterior images can be very damaging to an individual.  At an obvious first look, it is about just poetry or forms of writing. But with a deeper read and analysis, it can be related to most parts of life.