Impostor Syndrome, and Variations Thereof

I feel like I have impostor syndrome, or perhaps a variation thereof. It’s not about an anxiety that I haven’t earned my successes (what successes?), but it is similarly alienating.

When I was white, straight, cisgender, male, able-bodied, educated, earning a good income, neuro-normative, and fervently Christian,* I seemed to just fit in. I felt successful. Life wasn’t easy, but I felt like I always had a place I was a part of.

I’ve always wanted to fit in, to just be “one of the guys”. It used to be so easy. Now, I don’t know where I fit any more. Or what I should be doing with my life. I don’t feel like an impostor in my successes, but I do feel on the outside, like I don’t quite belong here. I’m not even sure where I’m welcome any more.

It’s not classical Impostor Syndrome: that I think I’m a success and don’t deserve it.

It’s that I have this life, and I don’t know where I am going. I have no idea where I “should” be. I don’t know my place in the world.

So what do you call that?



* This combination is like the social advantage lottery. To be clear, some of these things have changed, and some haven’t. But there’s no way I can do justice to the details in such a short post. Over time, I’ll write in some detail about these changes in my life. (You can find them by looking around this blog.)

Normally, I’d use the word “privilege” here, but I’ve realised recently that it means different things to different people. And tends to provoke very strong emotional reactions. So I’m going to try “social advantage” instead. It might help explain things, or it might not.

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