Today at work, my promotion was announced to my team. The only person in the room with whom I had worked before was my boss, making the announcement. Somewhat ironically, the person who got the job I wanted most in the company (I’m not worried; there will be another chance for me). But amid the whole-hearted clapping and congratulations from these unknown men, for I find myself yet again the only woman on my technical team, I felt the weight of the impostor syndrome that has plagued me (not to mention many whom I love) for a long time. I don’t understand why the people that know me best are the people whose opinions feel unfairly weighted to the positive towards me. I know, intellectually, that my parents, my husband, my boss, and all my previous bosses are right when they say that I deserve this promotion. And yet I am terrified that I will prove everyone wrong with a single mistake. I am not afraid to make a mistake. I am scared to make the mistake. As I try to define It with my anxious, insomniac mind, I discover that there is no single mistake I could make that would prove to the world that I Am Not Worthy. And yet the emotion persists. I took a logic class when I was 14(?) and I recognize that this emotion is totally fallacious. Oi, is that an argument to pity?

Well, whatever it is, it’s keeping me from sleeping tonight. More accurately, it’s keeping me awake enough to think about school, which is causing me more anxiety than I’m entirely comfortable admitting to. And more than enough to keep me from sleeping. When I last left school, I failed (pardon the pun) to withdraw from my classes. Which means I have a jam-packed semester of failed hours. Which has put me on academic probation, because let’s face it, I didn’t really figure out how to be a grown-up until my late 20s and my GPA couldn’t really take a hit of 16 hours of F. So I am on academic probation. World, I’ve learned my lesson. I spend a minimum two hours a day, six days out of seven (I give myself either Friday, Saturday, or Sunday off) on homework after a full 9 hour day in the office. I’m really truly an adult now. If I were a regular student, taking a regular courseload, I could recover within the two semesters provided to me by the university. But I’m not. I’m juggling this slippery-seeming career with a single class that stresses my [shoulda-already-graduated] schedule, and a GPA that all too painfully delineates my lifelong struggle with depression. With a philosophy class and a gym class left to go, I could flunk out of college permanently. And so I sit here writing, wrought with anxiety. That is the mistake of which I am most scared. There is the mistake. The one from which I have been running for so many years. The imminent failure that kept me from going back to school for so long. There might end up being proof that I wasn’t good enough to make it.

And so this house of anxiety and sleeplessness is built. Brick after unyielding emotional brick.