New York, and "Being Meant To Be In A Room"

Ed Zitron 3 min read

I just spent a week in New York launching the biggest thing I’ve ever launched - real, actual crypto currencies in 30,000 stores, with no bullshit credit cards or anything. It’s been the culmination of a few months of effort and is the first time in a while I’ve been mentally exhausted from work. Not burned out in the usual sense where I’m tired - it’s the feeling that there just isn’t much thought you have left to give if there’s effort to be made in said thought. It was a new feeling, somewhat satisfying on one level but powerful fuel for meltdowns that I thankfully avoided.

Anyway, New York always exhausts me somehow. In the bay, you’d much more rarely see someone out past 8PM on anything other than a Thursday or Friday, but without fail you’re going to find a drinking buddy in NYC. Even if you get to bed a decent time I’m likely to end up poor slept. And my unique history there has always left me a little more self-conscious, a little more aware of how I look, and perhaps I’ve prescribed a little more importance to the people I know there and the things I do there. This is mostly because my career was born there, and any time I return it’s with the express demand of getting shit done, meaning that I’m always perpetually running out of time to do whatever shit that may be.

I was lucky enough to get into the John Wick 3 premiere, and spent 50% of it worrying I looked fat in my suit. The rest I spent worrying that anyone I’d walk up to would judge me, which made no sense, and in any other situation I’d have happily talked to them. Sadly, I was minus the last premiere’s golden ticket - the wonderful Peter Stormare who was a powerful presence and, indeed, everyone knows, thus I don’t feel bad just walking up to them. Doing a job where I literally have “public” in the name would make you think I’ve got confidence, and I guess I do if I think I have a right to, but in the face of hollywood people I have no real knowledge, no speciality, none of the specific fame they do.

I want to functionally separate this from impostor syndrome, which I hate as a term because it’s overused by some really insufferable people. This is more along the lines of situational confidence, of the idea of “meaning to be in a room.”

Regardless of situation, I always feel out of place at fancy events. This is partly because I was a fat, bullied kid, and was told I was stupid (which is a euphemism for a particular word), and would amount to nothing. I now feel like an interloper in any situation that involves being in a suit in general. I’m a dipshit that’s snuck into the industry - a decade in PR, a decade in reporting, but I’ve snuck in, in my mind - I’m there as a sort of trickster, and that’s extremely funny to me. This means events I feel mentally I’ve earned access to career-wise make me more confident. I’ve snuck in, I made it, I’m there, and I’m still that same old idiot I was before.

In ones I haven’t, I feel like I’ve been done a favour, and in fact don’t deserve it, which gives me an air of desperation and wrecks my confidence.

This meant I entered the week already emotionally exhausted, which is kind of pathetic to admit. I’d also done a live Peloton ride and got my 300 shoutout - which kicked ass, and felt so important, another contextual feeling of importance to layer onto the others. By the time the week was done, I’d spent so much time in my own head that I couldn’t even focus on anything for the entire flight home.

Anyway, I’ve likely overanalyzed everything, but thankfully I’m home, and not traveling for a while.

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