I am not an imposter.
Ahead of the first official event for Keepsake tomorrow night, I thought I'd reflect on my current thoughts. It's an amazing feeling having your work, that you've worked so hard on, published in a physical book. I mean, that's what every writer wants, really. I'm so pleased with the book itself, Maytree Press have done a fantastic job and are a lovely, supportive press to work with. As an emerging writer, the response so far has been great - very supportive and encouraging. I've got something exciting events coming up, such as my book signing at Huddersfield Waterstones and some poetry readings. In academic terms I am on course with my Ph.D and I'm pleased with how it's developing.
Of course, as much as it's a fantastic time, it's also a time of anxiety. This collection of poems, compared to the projects for my MA and Ph.D, is a very personal and cathartic selection, which naturally leaves me feeling a little bit vulnerable. It offers readers an insight to the journey I've had over the past few years; leaving a toxic relationship and finding a healthy one, battling anxiety and loss, becoming a mother and facing all the highs and lows that entails. I wanted people to see the reality of motherhood and anxiety, hoping that they might be able to relate. It was a very therapeutic process for me and I am proud of myself!
In an academic context, I often struggle with Imposter Syndrome. It hits peak during things like presentations and conferences; I suddenly feel like I'm not as good as those around me, my self esteem drops lower. This is a very common feeling, as I've found out after speaking to a few people. This is how I feel about my new status as a properly published author, I start to feel the thoughts creeping in, about how my work doesn't compare to others and other similar thoughts. It's also easy to feel this way as a parent; you compare your parenting to others, you feel judged, people comment on how you should parent and what they would do. But, I recently had an opportunity (more on which later) which my Ph.D supervisor Steve and I had a good chat about. He told me not to think about who is in front of me; they might be tenured authors or academics or whatever, but that doesn't take away from me and who I am. And he's right, I should be confident and proud of my achievements.
So, with my official launch taking place tomorrow evening, I'm taking a step back and being positive. It's normal to be nervous, even the most confident of people can be anxious at times. The people who will be coming to my launch are there to support and encourage me, which is the most important thing. I am an in this position for a reason, which also applies academically. My partner Joe tells me I'm too hard on myself, and he's right. So here's to me, to me as a mother and to Keepsake.
8pm, tomorrow at Sheaf St Cafe & Duke Studios in Leeds I'll have a glass of prosecco in my hand and be there to greet my guests!