I am a terrible fraud!!!
No, I would like to amend that.
I am an amazing fraud. Really good at it.
A couple days back, hearing Paxman being interviewed about his journalistic life, he mentioned getting the feeling, whilst asking questions of Prime Ministers and other movers and shakers, “And who are YOU exactly to be asking this?”. It’s a feeling I guess we are all familiar with. The first time I stood up in front of a classroom, when I spoke live on radio to two million listeners with my “author” hat on, when I first sat in a therapy room waiting for a client… even the first time a girl wanted to kiss me at school: through every experience in life I have always felt like I might be ‘found out’: that maybe there had been a mistake and somebody else should be there instead of me. It used to scare me half to death, but now I ADORE that feeling, wouldn’t leave home without it.
Why? Because it reminds me that all the things I love to do are a form of play and that I need not be limited by any of them. When I have something of value to offer, other people spot that, regardless of what I call myself.
Doctors, scientists, firemen/women, coaches and therapists, teachers, politicians, economists… It can be easy to forget that all of us are playing. None of us arrived with these labels. As a story-writer and teller I know full well that each label you give your hero(ine) ripples through the pages of one’s book, limiting what is possible in the story. Certainly many of the people who walk through the doors of my practice rooms come with VERY serious labels indeed – “I was diagnosed ‘psychotic’”/ “I’ve got ‘depression’”/ “I am the ‘underdog’” / “I think I’m an ‘addict’” – and, really, if I do one thing it is to remind them at an unconscious level that they are free to play with new more helpful labels or (even better) shed labels altogether.
Who better than a fraud to do this?