- Vol. 04
- Chapter 10
There’s that funny thing few people do, but we know that they do it, when we ask them if they do it, that they do. When you know you’re being watched as you walk towards or away from someone and suddenly you can’t remember how to walk, and that thinking about walking itself means you can’t do it very well, and you walk like you’re actually thinking about how to put one leg in front of the other. Then you feel like the biggest idiot in the world, walking funny, wondering why you decided to feel insecure about your own walk. It’s a function, not a talent, for fuck’s sake. I suppose that happens when it’s someone important watching you, like the person you can’t stop thinking about, or someone you really need to impress. You’re an imposter in your own body, maybe it’s part of that imposter syndrome people talk about.
That’s what I felt like walking around campus, trying to look legitimate, relaxed, thinking back.
I’m standing at the old sandstone entrance waiting for a taxi one day, for one of those trying-to-make-friends nights out, suddenly remembering that I saw this very entrance in the prospectus (with added flowers and blue sky, of course) because it’s one of the oldest parts of the university and they always feature it in pictures because it looks old and wise and established. And I’m stuck for a minute thinking about that thinking I did once, and now I’m here, in the present, actually in that picture almost, and I didn’t think that would happen. Like I’d just won that golden ticket, rather than worked hard for it.
And now I get to use terms like fin de siècle and performativity, and I’m not me, but still me, and get to be a new me, all at once.
And I remember I spoke to a very intelligent woman near that entrance once, and admitted that I felt like an imposter, and she laughed and said me too, and that she’s waiting for the day the door closes on her, haha. I asked her, why does it always feel like a big thing to admit that? And she said something about performativity and that’s where I remembered that word from, then remembered it again when it came up in a seminar one day.
Now, every time I do that stupid walk thing or see a fancy entrance, I think of that clever woman and hope she’s walking like an idiot too, overthinking it as much as me.