By Aubrey Clyburn
Once upon a time there was a girl who I guess was technically a woman but she didn’t feel like one, and she was beginning to think she never would, because everything feels permanent when you’re 21. Anyway, once upon a time there was a girl who wanted to be an artist, and in particular she wanted to be an actor, but apparently you couldn’t just be an actor, you had to be a hyphenate. The problem was, the girl didn’t know what kind of hyphenate she wanted to be. She was good at other things, like singing and writing and drawing, but she had stopped doing pretty much all of them “to focus on acting” because that’s what she thought she was supposed to do. Furthermore, she knew actors were supposed to be creative, but she didn’t feel creative, she just felt tired, and she was pretty sure she would always just be tired, because everything feels permanent when you’re 21. And she wasn’t even sure if anyone else ever felt the same way, and they were better at hiding it, or if she was just the weird one. And that is what is called impostor syndrome. Now, in every writing class she had ever taken, someone had said that if you didn’t have anything to write about, you should write about that. She always thought that was stupid. But she was sitting on a beach with nothing immediate to do and she heard a little voice in her head. It said, “Hey. You. Girl-who-doesn’t-feel-like-a-woman.” She asked, “Are you my conscience?” It answered, “Better. I am your capitalist conscience, and I am here to maintain your association of productivity with self-worth. But I also come with the Insecure Artist upgrade, so that any productivity not immediately associated with your craft will feel completely worthless and make you question your creative identity!” She asked, “What should I do?” And the voice softly whispered, “CREATE CONTENT.” So she did. The girl-who-did-not-feel-like-a-woman swept her hand across the dark waters and brought forth creation. And she looked, and saw that it was not good. But that was okay, because it was better than nothing, and the next thing might be a little better than better than nothing, and that is how you get good. And she felt a little less tired.
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