Where some people have Imposter Syndrome, I have an invisibility complex. I have lived my life trying to stay out of the way for the most part. I assume I am not fun enough. Not interesting enough. I get to know people and situations slowly. The ability to resonate in any given environment comes to me as a slow burn and a sudden ignition. When I am ready to be heard, I am ready to be heard now. When I’m not, I’m somewhere between angry and devastated.
Transitioning From One of the Little People
I feel like I have been standing in line for hours, but to the rest of the people in line, I just got there. Most of them probably never noticed my presence as the fly on the wall. Those who did probably only heard me as a faint buzz. A harmless enough creature as long as I stayed in my place. Then I fly in their face, and they understandably start swatting.
The thing is, when you finally raise my hand and ask for my turn, no one realizes how long I’ve been waiting. They don’t know that I’ve been watching carefully. They don’t know the knowledge and commitment I can bring on day one because I’ve been quietly doing my homework. They don’t know, because they have never looked.
Recognition on Medium, and Other Places
My Medium journey is one place where I am trying to make this transition, and one part of the journey is curation. Curation is a system of recognition. It gets your work noticed. It puts it front and center. Without it, your work only goes to your own followers, and wherever you can manage to promote your work on your own.
I had submitted dozens of pieces to Medium and got messages on nearly all of them that they were not read or considered by the curators. I got to the one piece that meant a little more to me. The one that said, “this one deserves something more.” And the same response happened. I was upset, more than I should have been when I got the same response as always.
It meant more, partly, because the piece was about another time I stood up for myself, and the impact it made on my life when I advocated for myself when I had an unexplained medical condition. It’s called Self-Diagnosis and Dr. Google.
Sometimes, You Have To Squeak
What’s that they say about doing the same thing and expecting a different result. I contacted support, explained how I had paid my dues, and asked for consideration. Not recognition, just consideration. I didn’t know if it would happen, but it did. A few days later my work got the recognition I believe it deserved, and I got a promise to be read more often in the future.
Whatever you do, there is a good chance that a lot of other people are trying to do it too. Many of them are working hard, like you. Many of them are good at what they do. Some are not as good as you and will be recognized. Some are better than you and will never be recognized. If you simply lie down, the bus will run you over. Believe me, I’ve got the tire tracks to prove it. But I am learning, finally. I am learning how to squeak enough to be heard, but not so loudly that I get accused of hysterics. It is a difficult line for me, a learning curve to be sure, but I’ll keep working on it.
Gretchen Lee Bourquin obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Literature/Creative Writing in another life, and worked in disability care, customer service, and education administration — and as a single mom of two, now grown, kids- before delving into freelancing as a content writer. She’s enjoying the opportunity that Medium provides to get a little more personal and put the creativity back in her writing. Follow me on my Facebook Writing Page, Twitter, or WordPress