I’m An Imposter

by Chris de Serres

The Pretender was a fictional child prodigy who could assimilate into any occupation or position.  He was a pilot, gigolo, race car drive, plastic surgeon, and infectious disease expert, among many others.  His transition was remarkable and seamless.  By every outward appearance he belonged, but he didn’t.  He was only an imposter faking his way in a convincing fashion.

I often feel like the pretender.  It doesn’t matter that I have decades of experience.  I have received recognition.  I receive all my merit raises.  I have conducted countless interviews and speak each year.  Many call me an expert.

None of that matters when it comes to how I feel.  I don’t internalize any of it.  Everything I do is always on the outside of myself.  It was simply luck or great timing, not me.  I know alot about my field, but I don’t see it as knowledge.  I see it as a deception.  There is this expert out there that isn’t me.  Yet, i’m able to convince you enough so that you will believe I am this expert.

It’s a game we play.  A taxing, anxiety-riddled game that is my life.

I remember a few months ago.  I received an award at a dinner banquet.  I sat in my seat, sweat pouring down my face.  Knees moving rhythmically beneath the table.  The announcer was about to bring me up.  He spoke about what I did over the past year.  It was a nightmare.  I was the pretender and I had to walk up to the podium and put on my best performance.  I don’t even remember what I said.  It was very little because I didn’t want to be found out.  Then I shuffled back to my table in shame.  Like I had done something wrong, rather than almost everything right.

As I came back to my table I saw my daughter.  I’m a father, a damn good one.  It’s one of the few things i’ve internalized in my life.  It’s not a role because I know it.  It is me and I know that no one else can be her father.  That’s why it is a gift.  The one proof in life that can reveal me through no strange twist of luck or timing.  I am real, not an imposter.