Thursday, November 5, 2009

impostor syndrome

I've always been prone to impostor syndrome, a feeling that would trigger a fear of being "found out", of others knowing that I didn't belong, that I wasn't REALLY a ... (fill in the blank, it has been true in most every context). I've gotten over it to a very functional degree by not claiming to be deserving of the category: "I just make pretty things and sell them, I'm not an Artist (so don't challenge me and tell me to go away and embarrass me!)".

The sign pictured above is a place I get my paints, etc. It has taken me many, many trips to get over my fear (subtle, but still there!) that someone would be waiting at the door to check my credentials and be sure I had the proper license to enter. When they added the "open to public" sign to their billboard I had to laugh and realize I wasn't the only one feeling the same intimidation (but would they have a special section for the real artists, and a different one for the public???).

To their credit, I've been treated very, very well there. They've never even asked to see any paperwork confirming my right to shop there. AND I've come to rely on their incredible friendliness and generous help. Even when I have no idea what I'm asking about. I asked yesterday if there was such a thing as a pencil that could be permanent without a fixative (there is not) but the guy helping me took me all over the store talking with me about possible options. THEY have helped me feel more like a "real" artist, by taking my questions seriously when I told them what I wanted to use something for. By me exposing myself as not knowing anything.

Huh. Life lesson, you think?


  1. T. Clear sent me the link to your site ... seems we both had D. Smith on our minds.

  2. Odd coincidence -- I went to D. Smith about 3 weeks ago, to get a tube of Titanium White acrylic paint for a simple project. They were soooo very helpful, I wished I had something more substantial to ask them about, artistically. Worried me a little, though, as there seemed to be an overabundance of help with little to do... I worry about even the mainstays, these days, with Elliot Bay Bookstore almost definitely leaving/moving...

  3. Thanks for commenting Bill & Linda! I know, linda, things are certainly slow in the brick and mortar world. And I am certainly an example of someone who prefers to order on-line that go out and wrangle traffic and all...