Being Breath

stories from the wilderness of everyday life

Imposter

Ever feel like an imposter? A fake? It is not a comfortable feeling.

I mentioned I'd share some thoughts I had from this weekend...many of which are still swirling around. I'm grasping for time to sit, be, and record them before they slip into oblivion. This feeling of "cheating" is a strong one, calling out to be spoken first.

Food, Inc. First, check out this site and, if you have the opportunity, the movie. It is well worth watching. I'd been wanting to see this for quite awhile, particularly after missing an opportunity when it was shown in Indianapolis a few months ago. Fortunately, it came to a small theatre here in Bloomington. Chris & I took the kids to see it on Sunday.

The film is about our food, where it comes from, how we've lost touch with the whole process, and the effects that disconnect is having. (It was fairly balanced, including showing a family who ate at fast food because of the cost - they did a comparison showing how veggies were far more expensive at the groccery.) The showing was sponsored by our local co-op, of which we are members but rather infrequently visit. There was a round of applause at the end when the phrases, "eat local" and "eat in season" and so on appeared on screen.

When the movie ended it was time for dinner. How's this for a conundrum: We could either walk to FARM, a restaurant that specializes in locally grown foods or Chipotle (sp?), a chain that still focuses on naturally grown foods & hormone-free beef, but obviously gets its food from various non-local places. We've been to both before and knew that dinner at FARM, while delicious, would cost us at least double what Chipoltle would. It is also hit-or-miss as to whether the kids will eat at FARM. Thus, we chose Chipoltle.

Enter Guilt.

I truly felt like an imposter in the movie, knowing deep down I support the theories in the movie but when reality hits, I choose the cheaper, easier option. We rarely shop at Bloomingfoods (the local co-op) because of the prices...for example, Kashi cereal (which I eat a LOT) is easily $1.50 cheaper for the same cereal at Target. And yet, I clapped right along with the attendees at Food, Inc. How many went home and cooked dinner after that with foods they bought at the Farmers Market? How many went to McDonalds? I know what we did. I know that even though I "shouldn't" by many standards, I continue to feel guilty.

Bridge Day 2009. I got the cool, official red vest and the badge labeling me as "Staff". I had two cameras hanging from my shoulders. I hiked, squatted, bent forwards, backwards & upside-down, climbed, creeped, shoved, inched & got drenched all in the name of getting a good shot. Yet I felt SO strongly that I truly, 100% did not belong there.

It was driven home when around 2 pm, after 5+ hours of taking photos at the landing area & exit points, I moved to a certain area at the landing area to try for a different vantage point. Two gentlemen who were very high up in the chain-of-command at the bottom (who will remain nameless but one of whom I'd talked to at the beginning of the day) were right behind me. Whether or not they meant for me to hear the conversation I'll never know, but it went like this:

"What's SHE doing here??" (After I took only 3-4 pictures and snuck back to a different place,...) "Well, that's enough of THAT! *snicker*"

I have a very thin skin. I admit it. But with my insecurities I'd already been feeling that conversation was a gut-wrencher. Some who are reading this are probably thinking, Really? Wow. Why let it bother you?? My answer? Dunno. But like the song says, "I'm sensitive and I'd like to stay that way."

Both of these scenarios only lasted a few hours yet they provided an opportunity for me to examine myself on a much deeper level. Just when I think I'm becoming more comfortable with myself, situations present themselves to challenge me.

I really want to be ok with my variance.

I'm a girly-girl who painted her nails before this weekend. Yet I didn't mind a bit sitting on the ground & mucking through the mud to get the shot I wanted to get.

I have a fairly expensive (mid-range) DSLR & have attended several Photoshop conferences to understand the editing process. I've read several books on photography, chatted with and learned from people at the Bloomington Photography Club, and done non-professional photography for years. I know about framing, a fair amount about lighting, etc....Yet I truly don't feel that I understand photography in the technical-professional sense & don't have much of a desire to at this point. I feel as though I enjoy the art of photography more than the technical process (and yeah, I know the latter can enhance the former...I best stop before I type out the whole argument here).

I'm a vegetarian and strongly believe in the power of healthy eating & the impact of what / how we eat on our bodies, minds, and environment. I strongly dislike the disconnect so many of us have from the source of our food (i.e. its ultimate form of energy). Yet, depsite my repeated attempts & desires, I rarely cook. I buy processed foods. I enjoy Baked Lays. I frequent Jimmy Johns and Noodles & Company.

I have a tummy ache from typing all of this. These are some of my deepest fears, coming down to a very basic one of not being liked. Logically I know it doesn't matter, but the heart and emotions don't speak logic. When my inner opposites (which I can live with on a daily basis) are brought front-and-center for all to see (i.e. attending a movie supporting local eating then supporting an establishment which trucks in its food and donning an official staff vest at a hugely popular event with cameras in hand that have some functions I never use)...guilt, fear, anxiety all take over.

While it is uncomfortable in the moment, part of me likes being an imposter.

The more I put myself in these challenging situations, the more I am forced to speak up and act out for those opposites that comprise Me. I have to say, "I do belong here" and get the photo I want. I have to say, "I'm hungry & this is what we can afford right now" as I walk out of the movie theatre. I am forced, once again, to sit with the fire of fear and burn away those "shoulds" as to how I behave.

In so doing, I hope that I can continue to remind myself & inspire others to examine ourselves with every decision, to not be afraid of being judged, to do what you can in the moment and be happy with it.

Let us challenge ourselves to not ignore that which we feel (our connections to the environment, nature, each other) but to not judge that which makes us human as we stumble along, together.

Here's to realizing we are all indeed imposters in some situations...and in so doing, letting ourselves live in truth and without fear.