Thank you for sharing this, KF. In an odd way, I find it very comforting, because you are one of those people whom I always think of as fearless and at the top of their game, which on occasion has ramped up my own doubts about my place in these conversations. Reading about your recent struggles with doubt helps remind me that this is a normal part of growing as humans, let alone scholars.

Doubt can be a valuable ally if you let it be (it can also be paralytic, as you suggest). It is important to remind oneself of the roads not traveled and the choices not made, because 1) most often, it helps you to realize that the choices you have made, as scary as they are, were better than the ones you didn’t (better might be the wrong word = they presented you with challenges and opportunities unavailable if you’d continued down the previous path), and B) they can remind you that there are always opportunities available to you and that you are ultimately in control because you get to choose the path you take.