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Ringmaster (33.8)

August 31, 2014

Steve spent over a week in Indianapolis earlier this month at GenCon. He had a great time and I am glad he had the opportunity to blend in with thousands of other bearded nerds and play lots of games and eat bad chili on top of spagetti and covered by three pounds of cheese.

His trip left me to wrangle the teenager and two dogs alone in the final days of summer break.

My newfound power caused me to sing the theme song to Charles in Charge for pretty much the entire week, substituting my own name in for Charles.

I found this way more entertaining that Donovan or Olive did, and Mitzi was just happy that I was serenading her because any attention is good attention Mitzi is such a good dog.

I made decisions such as: what to eat for dinner (waffles!), where to bring the car for some work (adult things!), how many mochas to drink (all of the mochas!), which work outfits I could wear without any additional assistance (no back-zipping dresses!), how to spend a long weekend (go to Homer!), and which side of the bed to sleep on (lol just kidding Olive gets to decide that!).

And then Steve brought an ear infection home with him that kept him in bed for another week. So we continued operating under the Valette in Charge regime.

Taking care of the dogs and staying on top of the teenager's schedule and transportation requirements and bringing Steve soup and nagging him about taking his medication and getting dinner on the table and hitting work deadlines and last night I had a little breakdown, because this shit is hard.

I am so grateful to have a husband who is a real partner with me, who shoulders the household responsibilities and decisions with me, who calls me on my bullshit and expects me to call him on his, and who hugs me when I need it after a little stress breakdown. I don't always want to be in charge.

Pair of Frogs

August 6, 2014

Living As An Impostor (33.7)

July 31, 2014

Our dishwasher went on the fritz a few weeks ago, making this terrible noise at the beginning of the wash cyle that made us furrow our brows but did not make us stop washing dishes in it. Because we are rebels that way.

We did some issue specific googling for things like "dishwasher noise" and "is our dishwasher going to explode" and "what is wrong with our dishwasher this appliance thing is basically magic halp" and settled on calling someone to look at it.

The details are really mundane and whatever, but it resulted in us having to make a pretty adult decision about it.

And lo it came to pass that a decision was made with the available information, and it probably wasn't the right one, and I was reminded that making adult decisions suck because we never have enough information to be confident that the decision made was the Right One. And if it's not the Right One, then it could only be the Wrong One.

Cue some depressing texts to my husband about the suckiness of adulthood and the futility of ever making any decision.

No matter what decision I make, a part of me knows it's the wrong one.

No matter how much shit I get done, a part of me knows that there was so much more I should have done.

No matter what I accomplish, a part of me knows that it was a fluke.

No matter how far I've come, a part of me knows that others are more deserving.

No matter how many people think and say I'm great, a part of me knows they will soon find out I've been faking it all along.

There are times where I feel like I'm on the brink of screwing Everything up, and then Everyone will realize I'm a capital-f Fraud (source: the Onion). Like I have fooled everyone into thinking I am qualified and competent.

When something good happens - I am offered a promotion, a compliment, some recognition - I chalk it up to luck and have a number of justifications lined up to explain why it had nothing to do with me or my abilities.

These are the times when my entire outlook on life is filtered through this impostor syndrome: all of my coworkers and friends have their shit more together, are more articulate, more certain, and more deserving that I could ever be.

And this can be paralyzing. It prevents me from asking questions (then they will know I'm not as smart as they think I am); prevents me from seeking feedback (because I'm certain none of it will be accurate); and prevents me from setting reasonable standards and expectations for myself (because that filter skews what is reasonable).

Recognizing the problem and remembering that impostor syndrome is a Real Thing is the first and often hardest step.

It's incredibly difficult to draw the line between feeling inadequate and recognizing areas for improvement, especially while I'm wearing impostor-syndrome-tinted-glasses. It takes time, a lot of self reflection, and a good bullshit meter. Steve is usually amazing for being my bullshit meter because I respect and value his opinion so much that it's not as easy to dismiss.

I've started teaching myself to automatically respond to a compliment with a "Thank you" even if I feel it is excessive: no qualifying it, no backpedelling, no explaining why the compliment is undeserved. Just a "Thank you." And I think this is helping lighten the impostor filter.

Baby steps, yea?

Additional Content

Hi, I'm Valette

I'm a photographer based out of Anchorage, Alaska. I've recently become a wife, a stepmother, and a homeowner. Life is pretty awesome. You can email me anytime. Learn more...

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