"There’s not a day that goes past that I don’t feel like a complete fraud."

I’m Kate, and I’m a complete fake, fakey, faker.

There, I said it. That was tough. For a long time I have known on the inside that I’m a complete impostor, but it’s much harder to write those words for all of you lovely people to read.

(Come to think of it, no one will actually read this post because why would they? I’m a fraud.)


I’ve got a painfully classic case of impostor syndrome. And not a single day goes past that I don’t worry I might get found out.

Now that I have started admitting this to a few trusted people, I’ve discovered that I am one member of a very non-exclusive club. Some no-name, underachiever called MAYA ANGELOU once said: “I have written 11 books, but each time I think, ‘Uh-oh, they’re going to find [me] out now.”

Common characteristics include:

Feeling like people (read: the whole entire world) have an inflated sense of your abilities. TICK.

A fear that your true crap-ness will be discovered. Eek, TICK.

A tendency to attribute any success to factors outside your control, e.g. luck, all of the luck. TRIPLE, BIG, FAT, TICK-A-ROO.

So many women suffer from pervasive feelings of inadequacy, often it’s work-related, but for me, and others I’m sure I hope, it seeps into every aspect of my life.

It’s like I just can’t get my head around being a legitimate adult, and it’s not because I’m a Peter Pan-type character who doesn’t ever want to grow-up. I desperately want to have my shit together, and I guess externally I do, the problem is my insides don’t match my outside.


Everything I have achieved in my life has been an accident or, in some cases, due to the fact that I am really good at putting on a front. I live in the constant fear that someone is going to tap me on the shoulder and whisper in my ear, “Hey Kate, I know what you’ve been up to, you big fake. The game is up. We’re taking it all back – your job, your relationships, your plans for the future – you’re not worthy. #sorrynotsorry”

And what could I do about it? Not much because they’re right. I’m not a real adult, I’m not a real career woman, I’m not actually capable of having mature relationships and plans. I’m an impostor, a kid playing at being an adult.

I have an awesome job and I have a lot of responsibility. It’s a job that’s been ten years in the making: I worked my way up from the bottom, slogged it out until 2am some days, and have made very conscious decision about where I wanted to go and how I would do it. But, I still front up to work at 9am every single morning hoping that this won’t be the day my bosses discover that I’m actually really talentless and everything thus far has been a fluke.

I’ve somehow managed to fool them all.

I have had serious boyfriends, moved in with them, talked about proposals, babies and the future. And although I have been present and willing in all of those conversations, the persistent thought during most was, “You’re just a little girl playing happy families, YOU couldn’t possibly someone’s wife or mother HAHAHA.”


My bosses, friends and family are wonderful and supportive, and effusive with their compliments. But the thing about being an impostor, is no matter what anyone says, you just don’t believe it, you just think: “God, I’m such a good faker, I’ve even tricked someone as smart as my boss. How did I do that?!”

And I am truly not being a obnoxious compliment fisher, I can’t tell you enough how sincere I am in my impostordome.

It’s such a funny thing because I would describe myself as highly ambitious. I’m a classic Gen Y, I want everything yesterday. Killer job, awesome love life, loads of friends – I want it all going on, at all times.

It’s a bit like this…

But when my hard work pays off and I achieve the things I want, I feel undeserving. I’m constantly surprised by where I find myself and feel like I only have a very slippery grasp on it all.

The only thing I think that I’m truly good at is deception. I believe I have convinced so many people in my life that I’m more accomplished, more lovable, more worthy than I actually am – I’m the master of deception. This is something I’m willing to accept that I am not just good, but awesome at – putting on a front, wearing a disguise, not getting found out.

A lot of women who are older and wiser than me have said they feel the exact same thing. I look at these successful, amazing, inspirational women and I want to be exactly like them, they’re killing it at life. Great jobs, beautiful kids and partners, poise, wisdom, stability… what fucking chance do I have if even these magical goddesses don’t feel like they’re deserving of what they have achieved?!


In short: I’m screwed.

Or, am I?

I have been thinking about this quite a bit lately and I have come to this conclusion: I’m a fake, I’m always going to think I’m a fake, but whatever, I’m going to try and own it.

That might sound strange, but I know that I am not even going to be “cured”, I have “impostor” tattooed on my brain. So, if you can’t beat them (it), join ‘em, right?

It’s hard to admit you’re struggling, insecurity isn’t cute, but if we did it more maybe those of us suffering can be frauds together – there’s safety in numbers, I have come to realise. There is something very comforting about seeing the flicker of recognition in another woman’s eyes as you explain your condition. She feels you, and suddenly you’re not alone, you big phoney.

Maybe I’ll never be ready to accept that I’m an adult and I deserve everything I have in my life, but I will take some comfort in the fact that I’m not alone, that the people I look up to feel the same and they’re doing just fine.

The thing is if people you think are amazing suffer from impostor syndrome too, then it’s highly likely someone out there thinks you’re pretty damn awesome, and that is well-worth keeping in mind. I know I’ll be trying.

Shall we start right now: please tell me I’m not alone?