I’m An Oxymoron, So Are You (and that’s okay)

Do you struggle with impostor complex? Worry that you're an oxymoron or that 'someone like you' should have it more 'together'? You're not alone. Like, at all. >> yesandyes.org
 This fantastic guest post comes to us via the talented and funny J. Maureen of Generation Meh fame.  Pop over and have a rifle through her awesome archives!
Recently, someone called me successful.
I laughed. I quite literally own nothing but the contents of one Samsonite suitcase and four cardboard boxes (most of which are filled with papers) and a laptop that’s about to give up the ghost. I’m not married. I don’t have a family. I don’t own any property. And I can’t even make it until 5:00PM without all my makeup smearing off.
But I do have a good job where I make business deals and finesse contracts and bat clean-up when stuff goes wrong and I  get well praised for it. I
write for Forbes. I have no debt and I take excellent care of my skin. I make people laugh. Last week, an old man told me I was really beautiful*
It’s all relative. My failure. Your success. Your vice. My versa.Who can say definitively what’s thriving vs. just surviving? Click To Tweet

What would have seemed incomprehensibly dull and stultifying to your 16 year-old self turns out to be a pretty sweet deal when you hit 40.

Of course you already know there’s no ambition ceiling. 

As soon as you have a little, you want a little more. When you have a lot, you can imagine having + doing + being a lot more.

When you have nothing, making the ends meet and being able to knot them off is a $#@%* triumph. When you’re living the proverbial good life, a renovated kitchen is all that’s standing between you and perfection.

Maslow had it down cold. If there’s not an obvious need or gap, human nature is such that we’re gonna create one just to give ourselves something to chase down, to long for, to believe in.

And forget about the mythic ideal of balance. Just because you get 110% of your RDA of Vitamin C, doesn’t mean you can’t still be woefullyiron deficient.

After all, you can be the richest woman in the solar system and still fight a (very public) 25 year-long battle with your weight.

So, if you feel like the world’s most awesomely-successful-on-paper failure or most fraudulent success story, you’ve got a lot of company. Like, say, most of us.

*No, he wasn’t angling for my spare change, thanks for asking.

What are your oxymoronic tendencies?

P.S. You can choose to want less.

photo by pineapples // cc

Welcome to Yes & Yes!

Want to spend your time, money, and energy on purpose? I'll show you how.

You might also like…

How To Stop Researching + Start Taking Action

How To Stop Researching + Start Taking Action

I can see the tiny ‘like’ notifications piling up under the comment on my Instagram post. 12, 13, 14 likes. And honestly? I get it. Because the comment is so, so relatable. Who among us hasn’t done this? Who hasn’t spent weeks or months researching:  How to launch...

read more


  1. Sof

    Liking the way you think, especially as Maslow's hierarchy is currently dictating my life goals. Good to know I'm not the only fraudulent, waiting to be caught out, living on luck story out there 😉

  2. Tallulah

    I'm not a success story, on paper or in real life…but I am a freshman undergraduate, so I have time. This is an interesting post, especially because lately I've been of the all-or-nothing attitude…it's nice to be reminded that success takes many shapes!

  3. Elly

    Success is definitely relative, and how we define that mark is definitely up to us. I discovered that I was using (of all things) facebook as a benchmark for how successful I was at life. Seemed like more and more people were getting married, and going on exotic holidays and having fat, cute babies. It took a while to realise that it was a bad idea to measure success by my peers lives, especially on facebook when we all tend to paint a shiny perfect picture, and minimise the flaws. Good post hey. 🙂

  4. Jill

    So true! My bf and I recently bought a car together, but neither of us would have been able to do so alone. I have the good credit history, despite having little to no cash available. And he has lots of assets in the bank but had no credit history. We joke that I only look good on paper and only his bank believes he has money.

  5. Marie Therese

    Oh my gosh, I loved this. Thank you. I think success is totally relative, and if we’re happy, content and grateful, that makes that “milestone” a success. At least, that’s how I try to look at it.

    • Sarah Von Bargen

      So glad it resonated with you, Marie <3

Pin It on Pinterest