I’ve been struggling with my second largest nemesis this week. My fear of being found out. Being found out as a fraud, a fake, a charlatan. This belief of mine has been a faithful companion for about as long as I can remember. In school and growing up it sounded something like, “what if the teacher’s find out I’m not as smart as they think I am or the grades are wrong, what if people find out things just sorta come easy and that I don’t have to try that hard (thus another belief, in order to be legit, one must have to work hard), what if I’m not that good at volleyball and it was just luck, what if my parents realize I’m not the perfect kid?” These storylines have always acted like a buffer and kept me safe, small and playing within the lines.
Through time these voices have evolved as my career has and still come and bitch slap me across the face when I least expect it. This week has been great other than the nasty head cold. Professionally there have been a lot of opportunities that have presented themselves…some growth potential, a few speaking gigs and other sorts of things that anyone would dream of. Rather than being a dream, they send me into almost full blown panic. I can see the one glorious side of the coin as being a rich, exciting chance and then the other side as the moment in time when the world realizes I don’t know shit and am a fraud.
Insert shame tape. The more you put yourself out there Amy, the sooner the shoe will drop and full frontal emotional naked exposure will ensue. Do you really wanna risk that?
This exact phenomenon is what stops me from writing what and how I really want to. This exact phenomenon is what also stops me from showing up authentically when shame is holding my hand. It still has a tendency and habitual way of keeping me small. Unless I’m really aware and keeping it in check.
The whole fraud thing then taps directly into enemy number 1. My deepest fear of not being lovable. Here’s how the whole plot plays out…If I’m a fraud and found out, then the next obvious outcome is not being good enough which then leads me to my stuck point of not being lovable. Because everyone knows in order to be lovable, you need to be good enough and not a fraud; i.e. perfect. This then sends me down the rabbit hole known as worst case scenario. In said rabbit hole, I envision myself living and dying alone in a trailer park with no one other than a bunch of cats and I don’t even like cats. In fact, I am allergic to them.
Thankfully to some decent insight and two really great friends, I have been challenged on this on all angles this week. One friend gave some honest feedback that got me pondering, “your writing is great Amy and I think it could use more of you in it.” Followed by, “You are no way a fraud. A bit of an ass but not a fraud.” Another friend said, “Based on your credentials you are in fact the direct opposite of fraud. Verifier of truth is what you radiate, you seek truth and pursue it. Fraud’s Latin root is fraudem, which means to be deceitful or deceiving to the world. You are not deceiving the world, you are just deceiving yourself.” He then went on to offer an observation, “I can always tell when you are Amy and when you are Dr. Crawford. One side is a total rebel…the other a 100% professional perfectionist…particularly when it comes to her introspective.
All of this hit really hard. Really hard in a good way. It felt like love and honest reflection from people who really know and get me. It also made me choke on the realization that my self-deceptive fraud is totally incongruent with who I am and aspire to be because I crave real and raw. When I am, I’m the best version of myself. I expect and crave those around me to show up that way and yet I am robbing myself and them of the same expectation and have a double standard. This feels like a different way of being fraudulent and needs to change.
We all need people to compassionately call us out on our bullshit. The last tidbit of compassionate under the bus throwing from my friend came in the form of an analogy. My dream car is a vintage Ford Bronco…somewhere between the years of 1968 and 72. ’68 being the ideal. He offered a visual reference and said, “write your blog like you’re driving a Bronco” with a picture of said bronco attached. Today, I still have the credentials as Dr. Crawford, but I’m not going to hide behind them. Today is the day that Dr. Crawford and the world meets Amy…and I do this thing, life, like I’m driving a ’68 Ford Bronco top off, sun shining, hair blowing, music blasting.
Fuck being small, safe and staying within the lines. Enough of the world already does that. What the world needs more of as Glennon Doyle Melton inspires, is truth tellers. I am choosing today to be a truth teller and not perfect. I can still know a lot and not everything. This doesn’t mean I’m a fraud. Which doesn’t mean I’m not lovable. These are not direct correlations. Hopefully meeting Amy inspires you to do the same. Step into your truth, be a role model for others struggling because we all are in our own way and love big. The world needs us. Shall we go about it together?