Fandom imposter syndrome
We all talk about imposter syndrome in the work context, but what about in other parts of our lives?
Music fandom is one area that I often get a pang of imposter syndrome. More so today than when I was a young teen with a more comprehensive record collection, a stash of Select magazines and melody Makers, and a huge number of hours clocked up in Offbeat Records each week…
In fact, I think I have more of an imposter syndrome relating to music than I do to being able to confidently and unapologetically say ‘I am a writer’ - and that’s saying something.
Since writing The Twenty Seven Club I’ve joined a few music and fan communities on Facebook. The weird thing is, they are the most supportive and warm communities ever (I mean, literally, the antidote to the shit storm that is Twitter), and yet I *still* get those relentless inner voices chanting imposter whenever I post…
It’s ridiculous, really, but it happens with the following three worries in mind - which I’ve tried to smash to smithereens because, as a 40-something woman, I should absolutely be able to feel comfortable in my own fandom!
1. I can’t recall the entire back catalogue of Mega City Four in chronological order
Or at all, if I’m honest. Because although I did enjoy listening to Mega City Four (or whatever band you want to *insert here*) I only had one album and one t-shirt. Which I didn’t even buy. It was a hand me down. I can’t even name all the band members. And I’ve never seen them live. But I used to love listening to Tranzophobia and it’s one of the few albums I kept hold of after selling others off to pay for nights out in Welly Club. Does it matter that I didn’t collect every piece of vinyl released or follow them around the UK? I was, like, 15. And I can still love that one album, can’t I?
2. I sold all my records and went on a music hiatus. For DECADES
I didn’t stop listening to music, but I became disinterested. So from around the age of 21 or 22, I ended up listening to whatever happened to be playing in the cheesy clubs I started frequenting, dressed in heels and crop tops, because I thought that was how we had to be. I blame Sex and The City. I ended up blandly beige but very shiny and trying to fit into some stupid ‘aspirational’ wanky scene just because I was single and I thought it was the best place to meet a life partner. DOH! So music became…secondary. I was no longer wearing band t-shirts or dancing to Violent Femmes at Spiders. I was dancing to some awful cheese in a City Centre nightclub. But you know what, I got over it. And when I think back, I was still listening to Hole or Nirvana or The Pixies in my bedroom from time to time. When I was getting ready for a night out, however, well….turn up the cheese please! I shudder with a boatload of cringe looking back. But now I’m in my 40s, I’ve wholeheartedly embraced my former love of pop punk and rock music. OK, so maybe it didn’t play a starring role in most of my life, BUT, I can always say it was one of my early loves in music terms. So…I’m still a genuine fan, right?
3. I didn’t discover it. Someone else introduced me to it.
I always think that if I hadn’t met X friend or X boyfriend would I still have been listening to Roxette and Prince and, OMG, Kaos Theory vol II? So maybe I am an imposter because I just copied other people. But then again, where did they get it from? Another friend? Another boyfriend or girlfriend? An older brother or sister? Wasn’t this the way that almost everyone discovered music? Through other people? Does it matter that I didn’t discover Senseless Things by entering a mainstream record shop and seeing The First of Too Many surrounded by a Ready Brek aura, literally winking at me because I was the chosen one for a life of pop punk fandom? I got a recorded mix tape off someone, so what?
So can I have it please? Can I be a fan? The thing that I thought was way too uncool when I was in my mid twenties and that, now, as a fully fledged adult (well…) is something I am actually experiencing imposter syndrome over…
Is it a female thing? Or is it a music fan thing? Or is it a me thing? Answers on a postcard (well, below) please….