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  • Writer's pictureKyle Lee

Imposter Syndrome is a Rubik's Cube

Imposter Syndrome is a Rubik’s Cube Yes, I realize that is a strange connection. However, if you’re looking at it from a metaphorical angle, it would lean towards making more sense. The truth of it is that as I write this I have a Rubik’s Cube in front of me and I’m solving it as I think out this essay. I use the toy as a focusing tool and have for about four years. I never fell into the fidget spinner fad though I suppose I could have. The Cube just seems more practical. The Cube also carries certain expectations. The trope is that if you can solve a Cube, you’re obviously intelligent. It is a bit akin to being good at chess. As much as I’d love to wave it around like a flag of how smart I am, it is essentially a party trick. Load up Youtube and you’ll find any number of ways to solve the Cube. Practice it enough and you’ll learn how to do it. That’s what I did. Though, I will confess, it involved steroids. Yes, I took performance enhancing drugs in my Rubik’s Cube career. Oh, the scandal. Being sick is a terrible thing and the medicine at times can be eve worse. Four years ago I came down with a terrible case of bronchitis, so severe that I completely lost my voice. Not only did the doctor give me one steroid, I received a prescription for two. One pill, one inhaler. I was wired for absolute sound. I’m not a highly energetic person but for the span of about 48 hours I was bouncing off the walls like a Super Happy Fun Ball. Somewhere in that two-day span, I reckon I got two hours of sleep and there was little focus outside of the highly productive things I got done at work. Much of that time, I needed something that could pull me before I started bouncing towards the moon. Low and behold, my daughter had a Rubik’s Cube. I watched enough videos to figure out an amalgamation of algorithms that would lead me to solving the puzzle. Learning the methodology of the cube helped me come off that steroid high and eventually I got some sleep. More importantly, I gained a tool that’s been helpful for when I have panic attacks. Lost focus again. Solved the Cube again. And that’s the point. The Cube is a tool. It’s not performative. It’s not some indicator of level. It’s not me being an imposter. It’s not a horcrux (I have plenty of those). Is it a fixation? I don’t think so, but it helps me to NOT be fixated on something else. And I’ve got a neat party trick. Photograph taken, copyrighted and provided by Juxtaposedphotography. Used by explicit permission from the artist.

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