Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Impostor Phenomenon and ME

I am really mad so am treating myself to a "no point in crying when no one can see you" break, abandoning my powerpoint presentation and writing a post instead.  Here's the thing: I wake up every morning with a brilliant idea for a post, the plot, the pics and even some sexy title but by the time I have my first cup of tea, I somehow forget what it was all about. But here's one I feel the urge to write about, partly cos it is connected to why I am mad. Oh well, I might as well tell you the reason, I was just informed that I am not eligible for a DIVERSITY fellowship cos altho it is true that I am UNDER REPRESENTED and "DIVERSE", unfortunately I am not either in the right way. Namely, I am not an American born black woman. So here I am, stuck with a useless personal statement that I managed to make witty at last after hours of work. All in vain. Bah gah gooh pah

Oh well, on that happy note, back to the post for today. I just learnt that I suffer from a new disease. I also learnt that I am not the only one who suffers from it. It's calle.d the "The Imposter Phenomenon in High Achieving Woman". And here are the symptoms:  An internal experience of intellectual phonies, which appears to be particularly prevalent and intense among a select sample of high achieving women. Despite outstanding academic and professional accomplishments, women who experience the imposter phenomenon persists in believing that they are really not bright and  have fooled anyone who thinks otherwise. Self-declared impostors fear that eventually some significant person will discover that  they are indeed intellectual impostors.  One women stated, “I was convinced that I would be discovered as a phony when I took my comprehensive doctoral examination.  I thought the final test had come.  In one way, I was somewhat relieved at this prospect because the pretense would finally be over.  I was shocked when my chairman told me that my answers were excellent and that my paper was one of the best he had seen in his entire career.” 
Cure: Multi-Modal Therapy,

Oh well, so that's it then. That's what we all have in grad school. we smart phd type women. The imposter disease. We have fooled them till now, with the GRE scores, the applications, the personal statements, the comps exams and publications. Now it's Judgement Day and they will pack us back home with Amitabh Bachchan style "Tera Baap chor hain" (your father is a thief, famous dialogue from the movie Deewar?) branded on our hands. Of course the message for us would be "Tu intellectual chorni hain" (you are are an intellectual imposter". 

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Eavesdropping II

Nowadays my favorite past times are being voyeuristic on facebook and eavesdropping on undergrad bus conversation on my way back from school. Highly illuminating and definitely worth a book. But since I haven't yet found a publisher, I thought, why not a blog post instead? 

A tall african american boy gets on  to the bus. He looks around and chooses to sit next to the only other black person on the bus. Luckily, I am sitting on the seat right next to theirs.

At the risk of political incorrectness but saving typing time I will call them BB1 and BB2. 

BB1: Hey Dude, do you mind if I sit next to you, all other seats are full.
BB2: Grunts something.
BB1: So where you from, UMASS?
BB2: Grunts No
BB1 (unperturbed) I am originally from near New York, what about you?
BB2: Kenya

BB1  (so excited that he nearly pees in his pants) get out of here! You from Africa? The real Africa? What's that like man. Don't mind me asking you, but I've always wanted to know
BB2: Not bad. 

BB1: So is it true (looks a bit embarrassed) I mean don't want to sound stupid or anything, but is it true, in Africa you guys have cows instead of money?
BB2 (looks at BB1 and decides the question is for real, looks a bit dumbfounded but takes the plunge) Umm, no actually we have currency. And it depends on which part of Africa you are talking about. Africa is a pretty big place.

BB1: Yah man. I know I sound stupid. That was a real stupid question. Bt blame it on my education man. Blame it on the TV. But yu know it's not just oe channel I read in a real newspaper that there was like this woman in I donno somewhere in Africa and she was going to the mall and she I donno like she just got raped cos she was not wearing a scarf or something.  Does that happen man, in Africa? In kenya?
BB2: It could. 

BB1: So I've always wanted to go there, to Africa. I mean I feel like I should. So what is it like there? So would they know I am not from Africa if I went there? I mean, there must be all black folks there? Would they know, you think that i was from NYC? 
BB2 (starts looking out of the window)

BB1 (unperturbed) I am Carl, by the way. 
BB2: Steve

BB1 (stares) Steve? what kind of a name is that man? Steve is almost like it's anti Africa. Yo can't be called "Steve"!
BB2: You won't be able to pronunce my real name.

BB1 (thrilled) Oh man I love that! that's real. Try me. 
BB2: (grunts something)

BB1: (Laughs) Zaszahawa? Zeeshahava? Zazashaba? I'll just call you Zaza.


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