Fuck you, Ms. Johnson.

Today I’m working on my book, which I’ve been struggling with because of what my shrink labels as “Imposter Syndrome” and what I more accurately label as “The Horrors of Brain Constipation.”  Regardless, today I’m going to attempt to write my ass off and I’m doing it with the help of my personal theme song.  I’ve shared this here before, but if you’re anything like me and you need a kick to stop telling yourself that you suck then you might need this again: (Put on your headphones)

Pull out those shrink-dinks, people.  We’ve got work to do.

185 thoughts on “Fuck you, Ms. Johnson.

Read comments below or add one.

  1. What is the opposite of Imposter Syndrome? Because I think I have that. Certainly some of the idiots in my group at work have it.

  2. Yes! This is exactly what I needed this morning.
    Hopefully your theme song will act as a brain ex-lax for your brain constipation!
    My theme song is “Walk Through the Fire” from the musical episode of Buffy. My roommate gets really creeped out when I sing it in the shower trying to impersonate every member of the cast.

  3. Yes! This is exactly what I needed this morning.
    Hopefully your theme song will act as a brain ex-lax for your brain constipation!
    My theme song is “Walk Through the Fire” from the musical episode of Buffy. My roommate gets really creeped out when I sing it in the shower trying to impersonate every member of the cast.

  4. I’m suddenly in the mood to write a story about vampires. Wonder why…

    Good song and good reminder to ignore the voices. And in so many other ways than just creatively (weight loss, parenting, etc). Thanks for the reminder Jenny!!

  5. Imposter Syndrome. What I feel every day in Grad School… I don’t know ANYthing!
    Die Vampires! Die Mrs Johnson…. Die Grad School!

  6. [Title of Show] is one of my absolute favorites! Have you heard their new one? “Now. Here. This.” It’s also fantastic!

  7. Good luck!

    (Also, after reading the definition of the term, I take issue with the notion that one must be an accomplished individual to feel like an impostor.)

    Here’s hoping you have brain diarrhea soon. (Er, in a good way.)

  8. I suffer from Impostor Syndrome also. No matter how many achievements I have (either from being married for 12+ years, being a dad for 10+ years, being a web developer for 16+ years, being on social media/blogging for 5+ years, etc), I constantly look at other people who are “doing it better” and therefore judge myself harshly. There’s a voice in my head that tells me that I’m a know-nothing fraud and any second I’m going to be found out. I ignore that voice most days, but every so often it gets to me and I become afraid that everyone will see me for “who I really am” (as the voice likes telling me I am).

    I’ve found it’s best to take some advice that I gave my son when he got upset that he wasn’t bowling as good as other people were: “Ignore other people. Only compete with yourself. See how good you can do and then see if you can beat yourself and do better.”

  9. No one can write that story, paint that painting, dance that dance or sing that song the way that you do. And even if you feel like the particular thing you just created is not the best, or is in fact really bad, hug it to you. It’s a piece of your journey to making the thing that you will love and be proud of. Keep creating! And stake those fucking vampires right in their shriveled black hearts 😉

  10. Not my usual kind of song, but so full of win, shrinky dinks, je suis whore.

    (good luck writing your ass off! It can be so very hard and so very exhilarating)

  11. I loved this number. Hadn’t heard it before but I’m sa

    ving it for my list now. Thanks, Jenny!

  12. NosmoRex, the opposite of Imposter Syndrome is the Dunning-Krueger Effect, which is the thing where those who are least competent in a given arena are likely to be the most confident of their own skills and insights. Dunning-Krueger is a great thing to know about if you suffer from Imposter Syndrome, because it reminds you that you’d really only need to be worried about your abilities if you, well, weren’t the least bit worried about your abilities. 😀

  13. The Fraud Police suck. I’ve watched over my shoulder for them for many years. Let’s tell them to piss up a rope and suck on the wet end. Love you, Jenny.

  14. I think I might have imposter’s syndrome because I always have that crazy dream where I’m supposed to be taking a final and I realize I didn’t go to class all semester. But then I’m all, “Wait a minute, I graduated a long time ago.” I need to blog about this. Thank you!

  15. This is a ptoblem for me, too. Why is it so much easier to acknowledge our faults? Sometimes being sensitive sucks hairy donkey balls.

  16. I SO needed that today! Will be saving that and referring to it often. Thanks for understanding depression, frustration and doubt and giving me the inspiration to kick them in the balls! xo

  17. Love it!!!
    True story: In college me and some girl friends would occasionally like to get a little stoned and then play with arts and crafts. Once, we even drove to the craft store FIRST, picked out new craft supplies. Later that night, we all sat around our dorm room. Giggly, silly and apparently for them….creative.
    I don’t recall what they made, I just remember that their stuff was awesome.
    You know what I made?

    A motherfucking popsicle-stick “log cabin”. One room. No roof. But with a beautifully colored “rug” floor.

  18. I’ve followed your blog for a very long time, and I (like so many others) have been encouraged by your life and insight. You should know there have been days that I was able to crawl outta the darkness simply because I could read your posts and know the junk in my head isn’t just junk and I’m not alone. You have made me laugh hysterically and cry quietly. Thank you for sharing the vampire song…they definitely reside in my head.

  19. Thank you for sharing that. I really need to kill that vampire of despair. Sadly, that vampire is latched itself firmly in my head. I think I will start small and just try to kill that vampire’s big toe first, then work my way up. He is a lying bastard.

  20. The “it’s been done before, and better” is what the filthy funky vampire in my head says. Sucking me dry STOP SUCKING ON ME, YOU BITCH.

  21. Must be something in the water. I’ve been struggling with this myself over the past few weeks. I find crazy hats help! Well, and red nail polish because let’s be real…

    Good luck with the book!

  22. As a Ms. Johnson, I immediately thought today’s title was about me. (I’m an only child, so I naturally think everything is about me.) Oddly enough, I wasn’t offended. I was honored that you’d call me out by name. Then I listened to the song and now I’m disappointed. For getting my hopes up, I say (in the nicest possible way), “fuck you, Mrs.Lawson.”

  23. Brilliant! I SO needed to hear this. I’m off to slay some vampires now (which is probably just another way to distract myself from the actual act of writing…sigh)

  24. Something happened at work the other day that kicked my self-confidence in the teeth. Today is my second day of calling in sick because I haven’t been able to cope with the thought that I’m going to be stuck in that mind-draining job because I’m not good enough to work anywhere else. You don’t know how much I needed that song this morning….thank you!

  25. I frackin’ love this show! This song in particular is one of my favorites, but I also love the blank paper song (An Original Musical) when I have the writers block.

  26. I fracking love this show!!! This song in particular, but also the blank paper song (An Original Musical). I like to listen to that one whenever I have the writers block.

  27. Feeling that way has a NAME? I honestly did not know that until RIGHT THIS MINUTE. I am feeling so much better about myself right now. Thank you.

  28. I have promised myself to post something today. Something! Anything! I’ve written things, but I haven’t posted anything since the Blog for Mental Health post. Probably because it totally depressed me and now I…UGH! Depression lies, I need a theme song, and I WILL post something today! Thank you Jenny! Good luck with your writing today.

  29. I love personal theme songs. Mine is the theme from Greatest American Hero. When my husband and I do our real ceremony (probs never) that will be the song I walk down the isle to. Oddly I just commented this same thing on RubberShoesinHell’s blog earlier today.
    #CommentDeJaVu

  30. I have imposter syndrome too! It’s so crappy. I’m convinced I’ll be found out any minute which makes me anxiety super high on a regular basis. Just remember you’re totally awesome and definitely not an imposter!!! Thanks for the post 🙂

  31. Oh, and anyone who is blocked writer wise and haven’t started a project I found Oneword.com (No I am not behind the site) I am going to try it today. Seems like a nice, get off your ass and write SOMETHING ANYTHING push.

  32. Thank you thankyouthankyou for sharing this song…..I recently started the blog I’ve talked about for YEARS. It’s so free-ing to ignore the vampires.

  33. Great motivational post! “The Horrors of Brain Constipation”– I suffer from this. I needed this today. I doubt myself every step of the way and find more excuses to not get stuff done than I would like.

  34. Yup. I get it. I write and write and write, thinking that I’ve got something to impart to the world, and then I look back at the “genius” that I’ve written and think, “Why would someone pay to read this?” Gotta stop second guessing myself.

  35. I have pine freshener vampires living in my head. And I’m so tired of them. Guess that’s what I’ll be talking about in therapy today.

  36. Well now I have a new name for my inner critic. Thanks for that! My problem is I don’t feel worthy of being a writer. I don’t deserve it. I’m into reading Brene Brown right now, who has done extensive research on shame, worthiness, and vulnerability. She says the inner critic is shame talking, and shame doesn’t allow you to be brave, vulnerable, and take chances. It all makes sense to me, but incorporating it in my life, making those vampires go away…still working on that.

  37. Thank you for posting this!! I wonder if they wrote that song when they were supposed to be writing something else???
    Thank you again for making my day 🙂

  38. I’m sure this will get lost in the previous 83 responses and the hundreds that will come after but I just wanted to say thank you for posting this. Luckily, I don’t have many external vampires, just the big one in my own head but everybody can always use some encouragement and reassurance, so thanks.

  39. that sounds like me. i never take credit for my accomplishments and am usually waiting for someone to discover i’m really an unintelligent asshat.

    no one’s done so as of yet.

  40. I remember reading a book on Imposter Syndrome twenty five years ago or so and thinking, “Yep, that sounds about right.” The truth of the matter is, most of us suffer from Imposter Syndrome at some time or another. It’s more common in women than in men, but either gender can get it.

    We may fight with it our whole lives, but the key (as with anything else like this) is to keep fighting. Thanks for posting this this morning, Jenny. I definitely needed the reminder.

  41. Getting past imposter syndrome is tough, but here’s what I think you should do. Imagine that, yes, of course you are an imposter, but you are trying to do such a clever job of it, that Benedict Cumberbatch will have to get involved to untangle it all. There’s no shame in being undone by Sherlock Holmes – but you also want to try impress him (or at least Watson) with the thoroughness of your imposturing. You can do it.

  42. I heart <3 you so very very much. Both for your writing, and for what you share. Your posts make my day, and your book is my comfort reading.

  43. OMG! Thank you so much for posting that label for something I have experienced for years! I never knew it had a name. I used to call it the Fear of Being Found Out as a Phoney. I thought I was the only one with that problem. Now I have a Wikipedia entry to point at and say: “See, I knew I was nuts! There’s a syndrome for it and everything!” Good luck with the writing. The muse can be a stingy bitch sometimes.

  44. It’s amazing how many amazing and brilliant people suffer from Imposter Syndrome. Sadly, I watch my seventeen year old son suffer with it. He’s brilliant, funny, motivated and astounds people all the time but he thinks he’s not smart and doesn’t deserve where he’s at in life. AS a Mom who also suffers from Imposter Syndrome – imagine that – I understand it but it breaks my heart. I don’t know how to make him understand he is awesome!

  45. Ooh! They told us about imposter syndrome (although not by name) at veterinary school orientation. Apparently it’s really common to think you’ve been accepted by mistake and someone will figure it out and ask you to leave at any moment. People often continue to believe this even after graduating and there’s this sense of if you just keep your head down, maybe no one will notice you aren’t good enough to be there. I’ve been an actual freaking doctor for years and am still sometimes afraid someone will find me!

  46. P.S. – Thanks for the link to the awesome song! I’ve got a shitload of vampires sucking the life blood out of me. But now I have a new battle cry – FUCK YOU, MS. JOHNSON!

  47. When I was trying to write my dissertation, I really struggled with feeling like an impostor. I also really struggled to write. My friend Laura told me “Just put your butt in the seat. Every day. Some days it’s going to work and other days it’s not. You have to just keep putting your butt in the seat, even the days after it doesn’t work, and there are going to be lots of those.” So, just keep putting your butt in the seat.

  48. Thanks! This was just the song I’ve been needing. (Thanks for the head-up on headphones). Hope all is well.

  49. Omg this is brilliant and I must share it with my write club and my thesis supervisor right now! We call it “locking out the stupid inner critic” but “die, vampires, die” is catchier.

    Go Jenny! Can’t wait to read your book.

  50. Wait a tick. How do you even find shit like this? Were you searching for ways to kill vampires on you tube?

  51. Good luck, Jenny.
    I’ve made some progress this week but I still feel as though my creative engine is mired in molasses. Being a writer is everything it’s cracked up to be and lees, isn’t it?
    Just take a deep breath and have a conversation with my in your mind. Tell me a story or two – and then write them down.
    Have fun with it. After all, if you’re not having fun when you’re writing, how do you expect anyone to have fun reading your writing?
    Then again, what do I know? My book flopped.

  52. Oh my stars and garters, “Nine People’s Favorite Thing” totally sums me up. (Die Vampires Die is inspiring, though. Thank you Jenny!!)

  53. Thank you again for sharing our ‘Die Vampire, Die!’ song, sweet Bloggess.

    I have well-documented Vampires (duh, I wrote the song) that contribute to my imposter syndrome. On the outside, I’m a successful writer, performer and educator. On the inside, I’m a dirty little girl from a hoarding house.

    If ‘Die Vampire, Die!’ spoke to you, I want to offer you this track from our most recent musical, Now. Here. This. This track is called Golden Palace. Sit down, put it your earbuds, shut your eyes, and give this 6 minutes and 30 seconds of your attention…

    Thank you again, Bloggess. You make the world a better place.

    (I finished writing a chapter and then I listened to this. And I cried a bit. But good tears. Thanks for making the soundtrack of so much of my life. ~ Jenny)

  54. “The imposter syndrome is particularly common among high-achieving women.” (Wikipedia)

    Wow. I didn’t realize there was a term for it, but…so many women!

  55. You are TOTALLY AWESOME!!!
    We all believe it, so it is true.
    No one else’s opinion matters.
    (Ok yours does, but you should really listen to us on this. You rock)

    Have a better week
    🙂

  56. Awesome! I have total and complete faith in your ability to achieve your dreams! And if that sounds like too much pressure, then pretend I didn’t say it and just go have a popsicle. Good luck!

  57. I totally have imposter syndrome — and I used to get stressed out, wondering when people would figure out I have no idea what I’m doing. But now, I OWN it! When people come to me and want advice or guidance, I’m provide it in an authoritative voice…but then follow up with the disclaimer, “You know I have no idea what I’m talking about, right?” This usually leads to people laughing and laughing, thinking I am making a clever joke. The joke is on you, fuckers — when you find out I actually DON’T know what I’m doing, it’s not as if you can get mad or accuse me of lying — because I am totally upfront about my lack of confidence.

    Going to pretend I’m working hard now.

  58. Did you happen to notice on Wiki that one of the therapies listed to help with Imposter Syndrome is actually writing therapy? You’ve got to write that imposter out of your head! The trick is how not to feel like an imposter while writing. I think you’re just supposed to keep writing anyway and eventually the imposter gets so bored that she leaves you alone.

  59. So, the Bloggess has vampires while Anne Lamott has KFKD:

    “I need to bring up radio station KFKD, or K-Fucked, here….If you are not
    careful, station KFKD will play in your head twenty-four hours a day,
    nonstop, in stereo.

    Out of the right speaker in your inner ear will come the endless stream of
    self-aggrandizement, the recitation of one’s specialness, of how much
    more open, and gifted and brilliant and knowing and misunderstood and
    humble one is.

    Out of the left speaker will be the rap songs of self-loathing, the lists
    of all the things one doesn’t do well, of all the mistakes one has made
    today and over an entire lifetime, the doubt, the assertion that
    everything one touches turns to shit, that one doesn’t do relationships
    well, that one is in every way a fraud, incapable of selfless love, that
    one has no talent or insight, and on and on and on.”

    That is from Lamott’s awesome book, “Bird by Bird,” which is ostensibly about writing but really could apply to all kinds of things. In addition to having lots of wise and inspiring ideas, it is also hilariously funny. I think Jenny and her (many) fans would like it. (I have no connection blah blah blah–just a fan of Lamott’s and especially that book.)

  60. Isn’t imposter syndrome just being a writer? I’m going to have to remember to show that to my creative writing class cuz that shit is hilarious. Being insecure is bring a writer or am I doing it wrong. I had to take a Valium over the poems I wrote for class last week and everyone loved them.

  61. This song is amazing. I just started my first serious effort into writing a book. The first few chapters were magical. It was like they just appeared on the paper. I’ve hit a wall of sorts and just get get my hand to regurgitate my thoughts into a proper story. I clicked your link to impostor syndrome and it is a spot on description of what’s been plaguing my mind lately. Then you present me with this jewel of a song. Thank you.

  62. Omg! The Bloggess and [title of show], two of my favorite things joining in one absolutely amazing Die, Vampire, Die unity. And it’s so cool to see Susan Blackwell replying too!!

  63. Thank you for this. I must keep this handy for when I hit the writing wall – which happens a lot.

  64. I have soooo many sketches to do by Sunday! What in the heck am I doing here? Yes, I am definately an imposter and a huge procrastinator! It will happen, probably, a couple hours before they are due. But it will happen. I believe in you…we all do!

  65. You’ve got to fake it ’til you make it!

    No, I’ve never really understood that either. I’m always waiting for people to escort me out of the party too.

  66. I suffer from this too, although I usually think of it as “feeling like a fraud”.

    I’m sure you guys have already heard of or read “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron. If not, it’s not just for artists (as in painters, sculptors, etc.), but for anyone who is creative. There’s a lot of great info and suggestions on getting out of your own way in terms of being blocked. She’s written quite a few other books and one of them on writing is called “The Right to Write”.

    One other resource for all of the creative folks here is a 12-step program called “ARTS Anonymous”. ARTS is an acronym for “Artists Recovering through the Twelve Steps”. What was particularly helpful to me was the identification of all these internalized ‘beliefs’ about what an artist is (artists are crazy, you can’t make a living, etc.etc.) It was a big leap for me to call myself an ‘artist’ but it is really about being creative (in my opinion). If you’d like to check out their website, it is http://www.artsanonymous.org.

    Blocks—they ain’t just for writers!!! I’ve lost my ‘oomph’ too and I guess I’m writing suggestions I need to take, LOL!!!

  67. Very timely – it’s sort of a long weekend here in NZ (as in today is a public holiday so most of the country (including me) is taking Friday off too for a four day weekend) and it’s ‘major novel clean up time’ as there’s a competition I want to enter.

  68. My absolute favorite from this show and possibly the entire Broadway cannon. It frequents nearly every playlist I have and is a regular tune I hum when the Big Bad Apple gets me down. Thank you for highlighting this song and for always being unabashedly, wonderfully you. You are fabulous. I mean, Susan Blackwell just gave you a new song. If that’s not celebrity status, I don’t know what is.

  69. Had it for YEARS, sister. Years! However, today I get some impromptu extensive research done on some lady on the biggest loser (never watched) who apparently lost too much weight. Viewers are concerned.

  70. That feeling, which I feel WAY too much, always reminds me of the Paul Simon song, “Faking It”: “I know I’m faking it. I’m not really making it. This feeling of faking it. I still haven’t shaken it.” I feel this way every day. Why does everyone look at me as if I am an adult?

  71. Ah Jenny. You make the world better. Also, this song is like if you and Brene Brown had a baby and she calls the vampires gremlins and you were like no vampires are way better and so this song happened. No really. That’s what this song reminds me of.

  72. OMG! I didn’t know that was a thing!! I’m looking for a new job and feeling incompetent and terrible because I’m convinced that my success is all lies and people being fooled by my lack of any actual useful ability. I get good reviews at work and raises, sometimes when no one else does, and people seem to like me, but I have always felt like a sham in every aspect of my life. I’m always sure that it’s just because they’re being nice or because they haven’t figured me out yet. It’s just a matter of time. Imposter Syndrome is such a jerk. I would like to vagina punch Imposter Syndrome. Right in the face.

  73. This song should be my alarm clock. What Sarah says in #153 could have been written by me. I always doubt I am good enough, despite evidence to the contrary.

    Thanks for the them song! 🙂

  74. I’m an artist and a writer and when I saw that song on your blog a while back for the first time it really made my day. It is so great for the inspires thankyousomuch

  75. What’s a shrink-dink? Fun post, a little hard to get the lyrics. Maybe you could post them. Thanks
    Nick

  76. After being laid off, I might have a job offer. I’m so scared people are going to realize I’m not quite as awesome as I pretend to be. Or as confident. This applies to my writing. Every time I write a blog post, I have doubts and insecurities for days. Until I write the next one. This song is helpful! Thank you! I have that vampire in my head!

  77. I love this. I walked away saying I am fucking awesome, and screw the freshman college English teacher who gave me a C and my asshole classmate who mocked my writing. Thank you for posting that song! It did bring out the bad language in me though — oh well, can’t make everyone happy, as the song says.

  78. Imposter syndrome? Who are you pretending to be? More interestingly, who would you want to pretend to be? Can only speak for myself, but I am interested in reading/hearing whatever you say. Not looking for Faulkner (totally don’t get that dude, by the way. He was kind of a sick bastard, but who isn’t I guess). You’re insightful and genuine and your delivery is snarf soda through your nose funny even if you are just remarking on the weather. Just write it (whatever the hell it is that you are thinking) and we will read it. (was going to say we will come, but you know). For me, much of your awesomeness is in your accessibility so if you’re going to be an imposter, please don’t impersonate a dead white guy who writes the kind of stuff that they assign in high school English class.

  79. Oh Jenny, I so needed this. I am playing at a jam party with my band at the end of this month and my amazing, talented bass teacher is going to be there. Let’s just say I”m having some self doubts and hearing this today helped a great deal. <3

  80. Imposter Syndrome? Yes, I live there.

    I think New Jersey, as a state, has Imposter Syndrome, so it’s quite fitting I live there.

  81. Thanks for sharing what Imposter Syndrome is. Lord knows I’ve dealt with that (and continue to do so in some form) in my life. As for my personal Ms. Johnson? A bitchy college professor who straight off told our writing class which genres he DIDN’T like and which he didn’t want us writing. As soon as he said “science fiction,” you could see half the class wilt. One of the worst professors I’ve ever had. Clearly.

  82. oh shit there is another name for what I have< I thought it was just highly jacked up ADHD. As I was writing my memoirs. I broke out in a cold sweat as I thought “what if someone reads this and says “Jesus you are a shitty writer wtf were you thinking” or “you don’t have your masters” and so on a so forth. I barely understand word press. I bought a book “word press on the go” read two pages and started crying. I just want to write but every time I start writing I go and go and then I end up in Imposter Sydrome and it stops me. Thank GOD i hopped onto your blog. you are a great writer and you literally inspired me through your book to get my ass going and write and stop worrying about what everyone else is doing EXCEPT when those ratchet thoughts float in. but it’s all good bc my kids are playing live call of duty so I’m not getting much done right now anyway. “no honey u can’t use my belts as a way to strap in your guns to ambush yours sister..”

  83. Josh Whedon taught us all how to kill vampires in Buffy the Vampire Slayer….thank you Josh Whedon….thank you!

  84. You have fooled me into thinking that I am not alone with my depression. You have fooled me thinking that depression lies . . . something I wish someone had fooled me into thinking decades ago. You have fooled me into helping another with their depression through your words. You have fooled that person (through me) into getting help, getting better and not committing suicide. You have fooled me into believing that I can continue to be tough enough to make it through the dark times . . . and your book fooled me into laughing so hard I shot salsa out of my nose! (BTW, when you shoot salsa out of your nose, you can’t smell anything BUT salsa for about a week.) Consider me gullible if you will, just keep fooling me!

  85. Oh my gahhhhd this is so true it hurts me and I’m still laughing. I LOVE THIS. Especially the air freshener lady. Hey I know. How about you fuck all the way off? Thank you!!!! Write write write lady – we’re cheering for you!

  86. Word. God, how I love that song… Thanks for introducing it. I now have a perfect song to nonchalantly block out naggy people. You are fucking fantastic, and my music list grows because of you. Played this for a friend over Thanksgiving… and they quit worrying and started laughing.

  87. Well, I’m really glad I listened to the song, because my name is Ms. Johnson, and I was a little taken aback by this post’s title (I KNEW it wasn’t directed at me, or at least I really, truly, hoped it wasn’t). Die, Vampires, DIE, DIE, DIE!

  88. You are the most amazing person I know. I don’t know many, so this may not mean much… I’d like to think that despite my unpopularity that my words may still mean something to you. Regardless, I am in awe of you and your ability to make someone like me feel that everything is still worth it. Hoorah to you, precious one. Hoorah to you!

  89. I had the experience of playing with a bunch of really, really talented musicians. Happy ending here? Well, no, because the vampires were in full attendance. I think I need to play this song a few dozen times tomorrow…

  90. The services of finding your date have come to your doorstep.
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