In the center of a Venn diagram showing boys in high school before JV basketball games and me before final exams is just the song “All Me” (2013) by Drake. I am not from Canada nor am I a famous rapper who began his career as an actor on “Degrassi” (2001–15), but can I wholly relate to the lyrics “I get paid a lot, you get paid a bit / And my latest shit is like a greatest hits”? Absolutely.
My preferred state of mind is 100% audacious. I love to feel the blind confidence that comes with a cup or two of iced coffee, a Google Doc with an extensive outline already on it and positive instructor feedback. But unfortunately, the nature of the human condition is such that this beloved assurance that I am “this generation’s closest thing to Einstein,” à la Kanye West, is frequently interrupted by self-doubt. Whether it be a lackluster exam grade, the pimple on my chin that has sprung up overnight or the crushing realization that not every person I interact with thinks I’m the funniest person to ever walk this Earth, life is filled with moments that forcefully deconstruct this intricate mental fortress that I have built over the last 19 years.
In the last few years, there has been an increasing awareness of impostor syndrome, wherein adequately-qualified individuals chronically feel undeserving of their accomplishments or acceptances. I think I have hacked my way out this mentality by faking cockiness. As much as I would like to think that I just popped out of my mother’s womb knowing my inherent worth as a human being, I know that my journey to becoming this tenacious can be defined by the sentiment that fabricated confidence has been able to trickle down into actual self-assuredness.
There is a negotiation technique where one party will make an extreme demand, and it is expected that the other entity will be able to bargain to produce a more moderate conclusion. In the same vein, I think I have acquired confidence this way. For example, it is infinitely easier to approach a paper with a seemingly impossible prompt once I’ve listened to enough Kim Petras and successfully duped myself into thinking I’m the next Sylvia Plath: The world needs to hear my take on how ancient Egyptians built the pyramids.
While there is certainly always a time and place for weeping to Julien Baker, few other non-illicit activities can induce the rush of dopamine that accompanies hearing Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” (2011). So, despite the fact that no human can be constantly confident, wallowing in sad girl anthems is not always the most constructive to one’s psyche.
Life is hard despite my ongoing mission to trick myself into believing I’m the smartest person in Massachusetts, but “212” (2014) by Azealia Banks will always make me feel invincible.