She woke up one Monday and discovered she was an administrator.
She didn’t know how this even started. She was at school hoping the weird fabric blazers are made from didn’t give her BO, full of hope and possibilities, and the next moment she was in admin. It was a mystery. And a misery.
No one starts their working life thinking they want to spend their days doing things to a spreadsheet. When Bell created the telephone she was sure he didn’t even dream to imagine “one day this simple machine will create employment by one person answering it and then calling another to tell them that they have answered it, I am a freaking genius, evil laugh.” She wanted to be curator of MOMA. Or Sir Nicholas Serrota but without looking like she was seriously into the BDSM scene.
When she discovered that she was an administrator, which took a lot longer than you would imagine for someone whose main skill is knowing stuff in an organised way, she decided she didn’t like it. And left.
Then the weirdest thing happened. She turned into a boy.
Not an actual boy, but apparently she had balls. Big massive balls. People stopped her in the street to comment on these balls, they messaged her and congratulated her about all the ballsyness. She had a jumper that washed badly and a yoga ball whose main use was dust gathering, but was otherwise balls-less.
Two things worried her about this balls situation.
Firstly, why did the act of following your dreams have to be a boy thing, like the Fast and Furious franchise? Bravery had been designated a boy thing in the big gender pot at the Garden Centre of Eden, and she didn’t like it one bit. She thought it was, indeed, ballicks.
The other problem had nothing to do with Germaine Greer. It was that she didn’t feel brave at all. Instead she had the crippling fear.
This was not the type of fear most sensible wine-loving types get after a night out, as they grasp around hopefully in the dark beside their bed for phone and purse shaped items, no this was worse. The fear of being found out. Of being wrong. Of failure.
This fear is a real thing with a proper name and everything called Imposter Syndrome, and she had it in bucket loads. If you’ve never had it, lucky you. One of the most ironic things about the whole imposter-fear-worry-business is that actual idiots don’t suffer from it at all. The fools. The other thing is that it affects more women than men. And no one is going to tell you about it, because they have the fear.
As time passed and the balls-myth grew and grew, and the fear followed her around like toilet roll on a shoe she realised she was not alone. There was loads of people with varying genitalia and The Fear, throwing themselves into the unknown every day, and all she needed to do was get on with it and suck it up.
So she sucked it up, handed back her lanyard and walked into the sunshine of freelancery. So far she has learnt much. She had never known that people called to her door during the day, desperate to hear her bread-buying mental processes. She discovered that people other than well dressed Americans want you to find Jesus on a Tuesday afternoon. Her mind has become much more inquisitive, a thought she pondered one Friday morning as she watched death metal outfit Cattle Decapitation (real band) on YouTube just because they were mentioned somewhere, which led onto a lengthy mental debate as to whether lead singers in the genre really suffer from throat pain and perhaps put Throaties and honey on their riders.
She also found massive love and respect for all the wonderful people in her life who put up with her fear while dealing with their own. The fearful will be victorious.
Most importantly she discovered that drowning out the fear and bigging yourself up is definitely much easier after a glass and a half of wine.
But perhaps not on a Monday morning.
With a pollster.