Those of you with kids should be aware of the now receding fad surrounding a little indy video game called Among Us. It’s a very simple game of tag, where you don’t know who is “it” until it’s too late. The idea is that you are on a spaceship that needs to be repaired after an alien attack, but secretly one of your shipmates has had their body taken over by an evil alien. As such, while everyone who is playing is running around the ship trying to fix it, one of them is hunting the other players and when they get one of them alone, they can kill them. It sounds worse than it is, the art style is cartoony and the “killing” honestly is lighthearted, if such a thing can be said. See below for the art style.
At the end of each round, after the alien kills someone, the game pauses, and each other player votes on who they think the alien player is, and then that person is thrown off the ship. If they are right, then they win the game, if they are wrong, then the game continues and the alien can kill again. If the alien kills all the other players, he wins. The kids like to call someone they believe is the alien “sus”, short for the suspect. However, this idea of someone being an imposter has been on my mind lately. I recently had a conversation with a friend about the idea of Imposter Syndrome. For those who are uninitiated to this idea, let me help you self-diagnose this by providing you with the wiki definition.
Impostor syndrome, also known as impostor phenomenon or impostorism, is a psychological occurrence in which an individual doubts their skills, talents, or accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a fraud.-Wikipendia-
If that doesn’t immediately make you start to question yourself or your qualities, then I’m sure you are safe from what I am feeling. Let me be clear here, I am not looking to denote myself as a victim, or as truly being inept. I know my value as a person, but doubt is something that I have dealt with in the past and still deal with today. Recently, I have been frustrated with myself because of a lack of progression in my professional endeavors. Not that I believe I am no good at what I do, but straining financial stress, lack of upward mobility, and a general feeling of persecution (which is unfounded I know) have led me to a generalized belief that I am not enough.
All that being said, let me tell you what has made a huge difference in my thoughts and feelings. As a man, the idea of respect is hugely important to most of us. My wife is an amazing woman, she supports and loves me. However, I can tell you that just recently I was reminded that a good friend of mine (a man), believed I was smart. He didn’t know I would read what he had written about me to another person, but in reading that, tears came to my eyes. It was a moment of clarity for me, I was able to be a fly on the wall in someone else’s conversation and hear something about myself that was free from bias or flattery; just an honest statement. It was just a comment in passing, not even the subject of the conversation, but to me, it was like someone reached down and ripped off my mask of fragility.
My friend, who I deeply respected and thought to be wildly smart, believed I was smart as well. Men, how much power we have over each other; the power to embolden and uplift. I have to say, I am working in my own life right now to make sure I let my friends and family know that I believe in them and that they are capable and competent. I know how badly I have needed to hear those things, and I always want others in my life to know how I don’t view them as imposters. They are not SUS!
D. Michl Lowe