At the tender age of 20 I sat down with my father to have a heart-to-heart about some of my serious concerns. Dad has always been a good sounding board. Honest. Respectfully no-frills. I remember sitting with him in the front room of our Newtown terrace as we sipped a nice glass of red. “Dad”, I said “I’ve realised that I’m constantly fearful that I’ll be exposed as a fraud. I always feel like, at any moment, someone is going to turn around to me and say ‘Oooooh, hold on there a minute, we didn’t realise, but you’re a total charlatan. And now we know that you’ve been faking, we want to remove you from university, from your job, and from life”.
Dad nodded. Letting his reading glasses slide down his nose so that he could look at me over them, he let out a protracted, “Yeeeeeees …” … I continued, “Well, I’ve realised that this must be the equivalent of teen angst, but it’s 20s angst right?! I mean, it’s just a phase I’m going through, and I’ll grow out of it … Right?”
Dad peered at me over his glasses and a wry smile appeared on his lips. He reached over and lifted his wine glass from the table next to him. Still smiling. He took a sip. Then, as he opened his mouth to speak, and I was sure he was going to reassure me that my insecurity was a passing fad, he said just this:
“I’m afraid not, my darling girl!”
Darling Daddy is anything but a liar. Almost a decade later (well, more than a decade), I’m still relatively certain that at any moment someone’s going to notice that I’m just me, pretending I can do things. Even as I write this true story, the critics’ circle in my head is chorusing “Boooooo! Don’t write that! What a load of fraudulent sh*t!”
I have to assume that the point is, I have written it. And the older I get the more I can smile at my own insecurity and sing along to the chorus. John Wayne said “Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway”. If I’m going to be a fraud, I’m going to be a brave one … Giddyup!