So I have this friend. She’s all kinds of awesome and I’ve known her almost all my life (for the last 30 years!) We’ve been through everything together, she knows all my secrets and she was right there beside me through many of them… She’s my best friend, my oldest friend, and my sister from another Mr. And her mother is my Other Mother. Can I call her my sister though? Can I call her mom my Other Mother? We are not technically related, as we share no blood. Spit and tears maybe, but no actual O-neg (or A-pos in my case).

I decided I can and I will call them sister and mother – because they are my chosen people and have all the makings of family. Middle-of-the-night phone calls, sleep in a makeshift bed behind the cupboards, fight over silly things, come and rescue from a bad boyfriend, eat off the same plate, help with the laundry, ugly laugh, uglier cry, snot-dronk bad decision making, milk out the nose funny, all the inappropriate questions, cuddles when you want to run away from home, be there to pick you up when you’ve lost your keys and shoes kind of family. It’s not often you can say that of people who don’t HAVE to because they share your DNA.

So then why is it that I struggle to call myself an author? I have all the makings of an author…almost. Written a book (2 actually) More if you count the ones from my childhood and teen years. I have many stories swirling in my head, some in the process of being put on paper and others that will probably never escape my brain-cave. I can’t seem to go through a life changing experience or simple walk in a park without reaching for my sparkly pen and scribbling down thoughts, and I often can’t sleep at night because 4AM pami is just FULL of all the ideas and they pump like adrenalin and I can’t possibly go back to bed till I’ve burnt my retinas with the laptop light and cups of tea that turn cold. But I feel like an imposter when I call myself an author because, well, no one pays me to be one.

If I eventually get paid, at what point do I get to be an author? After selling one book to someone who isn’t a family member or friend? When I sell enough books to buy a modernised victorian style writing desk? When I earn enough to buy a pair of Louboutins?

When I ask myself this question, I hear the words form in my head: If you can’t make a comfortable living as a writer, you can’t call yourself one. WTF?! Where does that kind of stupid negativity come from and WHY am I buying into it?

I think Imposter Syndrome is something that strikes many people – not just those of us in the arts. I have friends, very professional, corporate friends, who also feel like they are just faking it till someone notices and fires them. I laugh when they say this because OF COURSE they are good at their job and won’t be fired – they have decades of pay-checks behind them to prove this fact – but they seem to suffer from just as much imposter syndrome as I do. Maybe it’s a deeper identity crisis? One that has more to do with lacking faith in ourselves than our actual abilities or what we contribute to the world? Maybe the problem is we have grown up in a time where we have been told that the only contribution worth giving is one that makes bucket loads of money rather than one that just brings a smile to someone’s face?

I’ve also many friends who put themselves forward and ‘fake it till they make it’. I admire these people SO MUCH for having the gutspa to promote themselves and freaking take the world by the horns and say exactly who and what they are because they want to. I want to be these people.

So I’ve been trying. I keep writing, because I have family who don’t share my DNA but would never, for a second, not be my family. I keep working on being an author because even if I never make a cent, I truly don’t believe that’s the point. I know it will be a process – I have labeled myself as author, blogger, writer on most of my social media platforms tentatively to try test it out and see if I get struck down by the Identity Police. But I still can’t bring myself to fill in the doctor’s questionnaire with those words. When they ask occupation on an official document, I just can’t write the letters A-U-T-H-O-R. Because, well, am I?

Time will tell I guess. I’ll just have to keep at it and see where this life path takes me.