I have loved to write, read, and research since I was a little girl. I would spend hours contemplating career paths: botanist, doctor, artist, designer, and writer. My dreams were big and limitless and no one told me what I could or couldn’t achieve. My mom always encouraged me to pursue writing because of the heartfelt birthday cards I would write to her every year. I would sit in my school room for hours stringing together words to articulate how much she meant to me because that’s just my love language.
As I grew up, those big dreams started to seem farther and farther out of reach. I started to hear comments about a woman’s role in society. How they should stick to certain professions or becoming a full time mom, as if that isn’t one of the most challenging and all consuming professions on the planet. I began to doubt my abilities, talent, and potential. I still do to this day.
I have accomplished so much in my mere 20 years here. I have worked internships that took up my summers and busted my ass to become a blog writer for a financial firm. I was promoted to chief editor of that blog where for the first time I had a team of employees working under me. Yet still I wake up and doubt that I will be able to do what I need to do that day. I doubt that I can handle the pressure of working a part time job at the same time as being a full time student. I doubt that I can maintain my relationships and grades. I doubt that I will get into graduate school.
I know I’m not alone here. I didn’t even realize that this falls under the name “imposter syndrome” until I heard the phrase in college. The first step to breaking out of the patriarchal mold we have been put in is to be aware of it and how it makes you feel less than. One of my favorite songs to play when I feel like I can’t survive in what James Brown calls a “Man’s World” is Beyonce’s Flawless feat Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. It never fails to remind me that I am that bitch! That woman who accomplished all those things listed above, that is me whether I choose to believe it and embrace it or not. I spent so many years speaking to myself in a self deprecating way thinking that if I made myself smaller then there would be less pressure to perform. I believed that in order to succeed that I had to be humble to a point where I didn’t even revel in my own accomplishments. And that’s bullshit straight out of the patriarchy’s playbook.
As I write this, I am fully aware that I still have to fight everyday against the notion that I am not smart enough, pretty enough, or talented enough to take up space. I have to fight against those voices that tell me I am not deserving of my dreams. I have to remind myself that my younger self with all of those aspirations, before she had been told no, is still inside me. It is inside all of us who hope for something more. Let me tell you, you were put here to take up space, be loud, and share your talents with this world. We were not put here to be silent and pushed down.
What helps me the most is reminding myself of who the f*ck I am. You don’t have to stare at yourself in the mirror repeating affirmations if it makes you feel silly, but I like to write them down three times in my journal. I have to tear down the ideas that have been pushed on me by society, the patriarchy, our culture, etc., brick by brick as I rebuild my own self worth.
Other Related Blog Posts:
You’re Not an Imposter: https://shoutoutjmu.com/2020/10/04/youre-not-an-imposter/
Loving Yourself is Not Selfish: https://shoutoutjmu.com/2020/09/15/loving-yourself-is-not-selfish/
Comfortable in the Skin I’m In: https://shoutoutjmu.com/2020/10/21/comfortable-in-the-skin-im-in/