• The Chicago History Museum purchased our 1930s underwear patterns for use under the original garments in their “Silver Screen to Mainstream” exhibit that opened in April:  https://www.chicagohistory.org/silverscreen

    The Metropolitan Museum in New York is staging an original opera based on the life of Lady Murasaki, the author of The Tale of Genji and arguably the world’s first novelist. It is costumed using our patterns and our Getting Dressed Guides:  https://www.metmuseum.org/events/programs/met-live-arts/murasakis-moon-19

    I was just approached to be the historical consultant for a TV show set in the 1690s that will be on Fox/NatGeo.

    And all I feel is fear.

    Fear that they’re going to find out I’m a fraud… that I don’t have a degree in history or theatrical costume or archaeology… that I’m just some jerk from Central Pennsylvania who talks a good game… that I’m a nobody.

    I know that many people experience Impostor Syndrome: from personal friends to the truly famous.  I mean, if Neil Armstrong feels like an impostor even though he was the first man to walk on the moon, I guess I should

    I’ve often told friends dealing with Impostor Syndrome that the only people who don’t have it are real impostors!  After all, a guy pretending to be a successful real estate mogul when he has so little capital that he has to weasel out of paying his contractors is actually an impostor.  I’m not.

    But I feel like one.  And I live in this weird fear that people are going to find out and my way of supporting my family is going to evaporate.

    I don’t have a solution for this one, kids.  I just wanted to share.

  • 8 comments

    Wow. What you wrote really resonated with me today! I'm working in a field that is entirely unrelated to my formal education and although it's an extremely rewarding (and demanding) career, there are times I feel as though I been asked to stand in for a trapeze artist...and it won't end well. But maybe that's the price of being intellectually curious... and constantly striving for that elusive "something more". No matter how much insight we gain, we always learn just enough to know that we don't know much. My son just graduated from college this weekend. Someone asked him if he feels smarter now. He said no, because he is keenly aware of how much more he doesn't know. I think he's on the right path. Thanks for sharing.

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    There must be something in the air. Someone in my husband's circle just posted about impostor syndrome and the lack of "feeling special" in your profession after you've been successful for a while. Must be the full moon! I find what your son said about graduation to be very interesting. I used to say a similar thing about mastery. When you truly master a subject, you don't feel like you know everything about it. Rather you are humbled by the knowledge of how much you don't know, the enormity of how much you will never know. Being a Master means being your subject's tool, not the other way around. I think your son totally gets that. Thanks for posting. At times like this, it's good to hear other people get this feeling too.

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    I feel this one deeply. All your good and hard work is coming in to roost love. You deserve it.

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    Thank you for seeing it that way, darling. Smooch!

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    You are not an imposter. Imposters lie about their background, credentials, experience... anything they need to lie about to keep up an illusion. You have undertaken thorough and careful research. Your expertise is evident in your product. To doubt yourself is not unusual. Give credit to those who've chosen your guidance, they see your skills and knowledge and have chosen accordingly. The endeavor will likely have its times of stress, but try to enjoy the process and experience and let your talents guide you. Have fun! It sounds like an amazing opportunity.

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    Liz, this is so kind of you to say. I'd never thought of it like that. Thank you!

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    I feel this all the time. It's held me back from a lot of opportunities that I regret not taking advantage of. I laugh when I say I can never figure out why people put me in charge of things but the truth is that stupid voice in my head tells me they will regret doing so sooner or later, surely they will find me out. The struggle against the lies our brain tells us is real. Martelle

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    And you have always been someone I think of as uniformly capable and reliable. If it needs to be done, Martelle will find a way! We really are our own worst enemies in this. It's nuts. Thanks for sharing in the "WTF brain?!". Always great to hear from you.

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