Imposter Syndrome

Inspired by: Fred Jones, Part 2″ (2001) from the Ben Folds album Rockin’ the Suburbs

I’ve never been fired from a job. Not directly, anyway. I’ve left many, or had other “temporary” ones end. Sometimes, I got out ahead of likely being fired by quitting, but that was probably only one time.

I feel like, after years of searching, I’ve found a job that I can comfortably see myself doing for the next 16 years and 11 months… but who’s counting? But that doesn’t mean that I don’t often feel bouts of imposter syndrome, that, despite being told to the contrary, I am not very good at my job.

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The Ideal Woman

Inspired by: Kate” (1997) from the Ben Folds Five album Whatever and Ever Amen

When I think about Ben Folds Five and what led me to them in the first place, it’s the album Whatever and Ever Amen, and this song in particular. As this is the second song from that album that has been randomly chosen for this little experiment, let’s take a spin in the wayback machine to when I first heard the song referenced…

When the album was released in March 1997, I was in the midst of my sophomore year of high school. I had just turned 16, and as most boys of that age, I was crushing hard on girls. In the religion of my youth, the one that dominates the state of my birth, 16 was a magical age. It was the year that young Mormons were finally allowed to “date,” whatever your version of the word means. For a lot of my friends, it was a time where you could find a comely lass and invite her to a dance, and maybe if there was some version of mutual affection, you would “go out” with each other.

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Calling it Quits

Inspired by: Give Judy My Notice” (2005), from the Ben Folds album Songs for Silverman

The end of a relationship is often not by mutual consent. Sure, having the big blowout fight with slamming doors and cars peeling out of driveways feels mutual. But the end of most relationships is not typically that dramatic. Often, one person ends the relationship long before the other has realized it.

I’m guilty of this, at least on a subconscious level. Not really working on a relationship is the same as abandoning it, and that’s something I did once upon a time. Or multiple times. In both romantic relationships and platonic ones. If you stop putting in the effort for something to exist, of course it’s going end.

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Inspired by: Regrets” (1999), from the Ben Folds Five album The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner

As we hurdle through life on this dying planet, there are often points in our lives where we are given a choice of what path to pursue. Often these inflection points aren’t known at the time. We just idly go through our lives, letting the fates or whatever take us on our merry way. It’s only in hindsight that we see that a different choice could have led us down some unknown path, some alternate reality where some other version of us from the multiverse is living a different version of our same life.

I used to “regret” some of those choices I made once upon a time. Like what if I had decided to apply to West Point instead of just thinking about it, or what if I had asked that crush from high school out instead of looking for connection on the internet. But a lot of those regrets stemmed from something about how I felt in that moment; the West Point dream was when I was dissatisfied with where my Army career had ended up, the girl when my first marriage was crumbling around me. Not that I wanted to necessarily go back and make different choices. I’m sure the alternate version of me in those realities was having different struggles and looking back at different inflection points.

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