It’s easy to forget that it’s okay to be down at parties. My typical drunk pattern includes a possible phase of acute melancholy. Being drunk is a condensed version of being at a party (any party); being at a party is a condensed version of being at an con or a conf or a camp or a fest.

There’s some point when things start to slow down, or where things don’t start to slow down but I do. I feel alone. I feel like the other: separate from the community at large. Part of this is impostor syndrome, a common phenomenon among women in tech and women near tech. (I am a woman near tech. Wow, I am a woman. Wacky.) Part of this is social anxiety–which is likely tied in part to impostor syndrome.

Impostor syndrome is the feeling that you are an impostor. Impostor is a lovely, broad category. It can present itself in feeling as though you know nothing about something, you know less than everyone else (and are not their level), or you just don’t belong.

One of the ways this presents in me–aside from being nearly constant–is feeling that I am alone. As a woman near tech–as someone who hangs out with all sorts of hackers: genetic, biological, hardware, software–I do not claim any knowledge of these things. Instead, it’s some sort of “I do not do this thing, therefore I don’t belong.” I have no connection to anyone else around me. Then I feel alone. Then I feel down.

The trickiest part of my feelings isn’t even impostor syndrome–it’s the down that comes with it. I ought to be having fun; I am supposed to be having fun, but I’m not. This is something I don’t know what to do with: I have no clear conclusion to tie my thoughts together with. In truth, there is none. All there really is is to work through these moments, to feel them and let them wash over me and pass. I may hide in my personal spaces–the physical and non. Afterwards, I will have fun again. I will talk and I will laugh and I will dance.