The night before last I had what was for me a nightmare. Nothing graphic mind you. Instead I was back teaching at the university. I went to teach my first class of the new quarter, but I found the room already fully occupied by students and their teacher. I tried another room. Same story.
Fast forward. It’s now the end of the quarter. I have apparently forgotten to teach. Instead, I have faked teaching the whole quarter, and now at the very end I realize what I have done and am certain I will be caught out having faked it, but apparently taken pay for it, the whole quarter.
I am struck down with anticipatory anxiety, a feeling of exposure, and shame at what I have done.
This ugly feeling stuck with me and cast a pall over my day.
I tried to understand it, and remembered reading about a successful academic, who had tenure, who had published a number of books but still felt like a fraud, a fake in the academic world. She came from a working class background, and no matter how she tried she couldn’t shake the feeling of being an imposter in the academic world.
Same here. I don’t think–and the dream reminds me of that–even at this late point I have managed to understand how much moving into the academic world (from being the son of a brick layer) required of me and took out of me.
This ugly feeling is now mixed in with the withdrawal making a highly toxic brew.