Imposture. Poser. Phony. As I have moved from an adolescent to an adult, and taken on the role of wife, mother and "senior" recruiter, I have continually felt as though I am simply faking it.
My first year of marriage, I loved the way the way the word "husband" felt in my mouth. I would let the phrase "my husband" roll off my tongue and hang in the air, announcing my grown up status to anyone who would listen. But even though people acknowledged me as a married woman and called me Ms. Kargas without flinching, I still felt like I was making believe, like I was playing a part. The part of spouse. The role of a woman who had a full set of matching dishes and and a joint checking account. Months after exchanging vows and wearing the white dress, I still felt the same. I still felt like a 21 year old kid who had just earned the right to order a glass of wine with dinner at Applebees.
I had a similar experience adjusting to motherhood. I remember scheduling Zachary's first appointment with the pediatrician. "Hello" I told the receptionist over the phone "I need to schedule an appointment for my son" The word sounded so foreign to me, and I half expected the woman on the other end of the line to object, "No, you could not possibly be the mom". And even though I often still feel like a child, nobody seems to look shocked or surprised when I tell them that I am the mother of two.
And today, as I headed to work on the BART, dressed in my stylish knee high boots and my trench coat, a newspaper tucked under my arm, I almost felt like I was the adult that I was trying to imposture. Then it happened. As I walked from the platform and onto the train , I scanned the car for a place to sit. With no available seats, I found a spot near the side where I thought I could lean my body into the wall for support and read my paper. I stood there, feeling like a true adult, opening up the business section of the San Francisco Chronicle when the train lurched ahead and gravity failed me. I pitched forward and fell into the lap of the man seated directly across from me, sending my smart newspaper into the air, and his laptop onto the floor. He grabbed for his computer and grumbled as I tried to compose myself. I apologized profusely, and he looked at me with a mix of empathy and disdain. Amateur, he must have thought. Silly girl, you have to hold on to the bar. What an idiot.
What a phony.