Updated: Sep 30, 2020
Let’s talk Impostor Syndrome. ‘K
I first heard about this affliction, this ball-and-chain-noose-around- my-neck, description of a condition, very recently. Oh, sure, I've heard the phrase before, but never in such a way that so aptly coins self-sabotage. I was at a business networking luncheon where this badass femmepreneur began speaking on this condition. A condition she found herself haunted by. This was a luncheon where amazing, brilliant, talented women business owners, experts in their field come to share, learn, grow. Right? Right.
So, ok, stay with me, cuz' now I'm in a bit of shock. Here’s where I heard this word, used in this way, for the very first time. In this context. At this "Women on the Rise Luncheon". I learned how this "virus" attacks the expert that is you, with doubt, fear and insecurity. Gasp! Whaaaa? Aaaaand that this....wait for it, virus is called Impostor Syndrome.
I’ve suffered from this all my freakin’ life. Smash. Pow. Shazam. Somebody turned on all the lights. My head just exploded. (insert mind-blown emoji here).
I’m so pissed.
Why am I so pissed? Well, I’m pissed and relieved at the same time. Pissed because, what a waste of fucking time. You know? My fucking time, my precious life, fucking time, wasted, feeling this way.
Relieved because, thank YOU wise women, (cuz, you know it’s a wise woman, who dug herself out from under this mucky grave of doubt), for sharing this falsehood. For awakening us all, the doers, yet apologize-rs & disbelievers, to our own ability and talent. For awakening us to the truth about ourselves.
Awakened us to the light and all the colors of the rainbow that is our, mine, yours, freaking, source given, right to be in any room you so wish to be in. Dammit!
"Women belong anywhere decisions are being made"! - RBG
What the hell am I talking about?
Ok, Ima step back and ‘esplain from the beginning. I suffered from the worst low self-worth. All my life. Another, fucking waste of my fucking once-around-this-universe, life. But, I didn’t know from using this term “Impostor”, in this context. I just felt like, I didn’t belong. That I didn’t fit in. That no matter what dream I pursued, I never felt comfortable in the room, with the people, the doers and the believers, that I so longed to be with; play with, party with, work with, pray with, grow with, NEVER. How fucking ridiculous. I thought, maybe I was, shy?
Have we met? No, I am not shy. I thought, maybe, I'm inadequate? Not pretty enough, thin enough, rich enough, big butted enough, big boobed enough, blond enough, boyfriend-ed enough…but, never did I ever think it was because I felt like I was an impostor. What the holy FUUUCCCK!???
Well, sure, you might think, duh. That’s exactly what you felt. Even as I sit here writing this, I see all the emergency exit signs pointing their neon fingers to “IMPOSTOR SYNDROME - ENTER HERE”.
I’m also pissed that no one ever talked about it before until now. Ya, well, at least we’re finally talking. I get it. I’m grateful. Don’t get me wrong, very grateful. But, how much of our lives have been sheltered from not knowing. No, sheltered is not the right word. Neither is protected. Hidden? Withholding information! Yes, that's it!
Not having the right tools. The right language. Language! The most powerful tool of all. Sharing ideas. Thoughts. Concepts. Ideas. We MUST share these big ideas with the youngest among us. We must. To save them from possibly 50 years of wandering through very rough terrain, not only without the proper guide, but without the proper tools. A little dramatic? Maybe. Facts, nonetheless. Just the facts.
That’s one of the reasons I became a teacher. Yet still, I was running away. Running away from my true calling. Because? Impostordom!!! ( I made that word up, don’t google it).
Here's what I've learned, the very, very hard way, I might add, that whatever your true calling is? It's going to keep calling. And calling. And calling. Until you pick up the damn phone. Pick up the damn phone, already!
My Dreams. My Talents. My big brains, and bigger wisdom. Most importantly still, my intuition, alas, my super-power; all of this, the visions in my mind and on my heart and yet, I felt like an Impostor? OMG! There aren’t enough slap-to-the-forehead-emojis, that I can use to express how gob smacking ridiculous this is. And did I mention what a waste of time? Time you ain't never getting back. Time wasted on what other people think, how the feel, and what they say. All of which is none of your damn business anyway. Right? You know this. You've heard that phrase before, just like I have. Your dreams are your own business. My dreams, my calling, is my calling. Your dream is your calling. No one else's. No one else's to judge or to take away.
My dreams were so big they scared me. Of course. Oh, sure I chased them down. Many times. More like, hunted. Unfortunately, there was a lot of fear involved with the hunt. Of course, there was. When you’re brain-washed your entire young life, that you can never have that which you desire, for so many crazy, fucked up, back-ass backwards, ridiculous reasons; you begin to see your dreams as mangled, distorted monsters; even worse than monsters; pictures of a life so different than yours, filled with whatever your stars and stripes are that nevertheless, everyone has convinced you that your sorry ass pathetic life would never attain.
Everything in my life was like a monster. Meaning, so big, so dangerous, so impossible, so ridiculous for any little girl to have the audacity to dream, let alone acquire. Key words here: little girl = audacity.
What the actual FUCK. That's some serious fucked up shit. Some serious back-ass backwards fucked up shit. So, I rebelled against the machine. My Dad. I know, cliché. Whatever. I propelled forward on fumes of anger and moxie and sheer will. Not confidence. Not self-belief. Not because I felt good enough; only because I was pissed enough.
Anger is a great motivator. It will also destroy you. Therapy helps.
Of course, I know now, (yeah, therapy) that my dad was just a pawn in this chess game world of patriarchy and fear vs. equality and empathy. Poor dad.
"To privilege, equality feels like oppression"-RBG
I remember the first time my college History of Theatre professor complimented my writing. At 3 am in the morning, I was completing an essay- in keeping with college hours- I described the character as giddy. Then deleted it, because my roommate said it was a poor choice of words. When I told her this story, she remarked that A). 3 am is the time when most writers find their genius, and B) Giddy was a most appropriate word for the character. "Na, na, na na na na" !!!
I remember now, how at first I felt exposed. Naked. Then afterwards, I felt seen. Wow. I felt good. But, wrong. Wrong, because, she was encouraging me to be me and complimenting the me who had no confidence whatsoever in the "me" she saw. Let’s say this together: “How Fucked Up is That!” – shall we?
So, now what, you’re thinking, right? So, I know this now. I know that what I felt was Impostordom so, what am I gonna do with this new found 411?
Ima let it sit for a bit. Ima look at all that I have accomplished. Ima look at all the shit I’ve been through. All the oppression I’ve gotten out of. All the amazing work I’ve created. The amazing children I’ve created. Ima celebrate my exquisitely fine-tuned moral compass. Ima celebrate me – damn it.
And so should you.
Like, right now. Go on, write all your amazing accomplishments down, right now. Go on DO IT!
DO NOT PASS GO.
Because if you wait until you’re done reading this, or wait til later, like when the kids are in bed, or the dishes are put away, you won’t do it. Come back when you’re done. I'll wait.
Feel better, right? Good!
From now on, I’m going to walk into a room, that I’ve desired to be in, and walk tall. I’m going to feel like I belong. I will strive to own it. Even if it pains me, because now I know what it is. That alien inside my brain trying to sabotage me. The haters voice, of insecurity, doubt, low-self worth, low self esteem. Buh-bye, Felicia!
From now on I’m going to own what I contribute and believe that it is worthy to contribute. Period. And so should you. For the people in the back: AND SO WILL YOU. I will never allow anyone to silence me. Not even imposter syndrom. Nor will you. Together, we will.
This is not to say that I'm going to be an arrogant bitch. This is not what this is about. NO. No assholes allowed. I banished assholes from my life, one by one, all the toxics, out the door. They were gnawing on the marrow of my bones. This meant I had to leave relationships, friendships, and a reality that was no longer serving me, but slowly killing me. I had to pull the chord. I had to disconnect. With no looking back. Quick snip and done. Sounds cold blooded, I know. But, it's your life we’re talking about here. Your precious life. Your once-around-trip. Your Life is not a dress rehearsal. It's-your-one-and-only-once-around.
I had to leave– no choice – a toxic, abusive marriage. No time for Plan B. No room. For the lives of my children. No thought of me, yet, in this scenario. I had long ago lost my Plan A. Probably at the altar. When I – under God- kissed my life away to the devil. That, however, is a story for another time.
There have also been times when I have been asked to leave. Wow, what a blow. In that moment, a crushing blow. But, only to my ego, it was a gold medal for my soul. Yes, hindsight is 20/20. The universe was telling me in a very real way to wake -up-and-get-the-fuck-on-with-your-one-and-only-once-around. The universe was sounding the alarm. The Universe has always has my back. It has yours too.
What's next? What do I do with this realization? Why would God, the Universe, Source Energy, or whatever higher power you believe in, put this desire, these dreams in my head, on my heart, in every fiber of my being, so that I should walk around feeling like an impostor?
So, that I should create a marvelous, amazing experience with my talent and then feel unworthy among my peers? Hell, HELL to the NO. NO. NO. NO! ( I hear Megan Trainer’s theme song in my head as I write these words; it’s a nice accompaniment).
I’m sticking with Plan A. The Plan A that I created years ago while daydreaming *read *manifesting* - in my tiny bedroom that I shared with my bro back in the days when we lived in the ‘hood.
My Plan A. The Plan A, that got my skinny, scared, but, determined ass into University. The first American born girl, in my family, to move out at 18. Let's be absolutely clear here, a sin to God Almighty, that a girl, a Persian Jewish girl, no less, should move out of her father’s house for anything but marriage, was leaving to become and ACTRESS – (Sacrilege!! Jezebel!!). To University? Yes, thank you, thank you very much. Oxford, University, too, I'd like to add.
I haven’t revisited Plan A in quite some time. Well, mindfully, any way. I’ve been trying to find that girl, that bad-ass, take no prisoners girl. Happily, we’ve made significant contact. The time post that The Woman on the Rise Luncheon, have proven fertile territory for all that I am creating.
While Plan A was prematurely buried, she has resurrected, stronger, wiser and more determined than ever before. Note: You don't need a Plan B.
She’s back, and now, it’s abundantly clear that there is no room for Plan B. Ever before and never again.
There should never be a plan B when dealing with your dreams, your hopes, your loves. There has never been a Plan B for the safety of my children. Their well-being. There’s never a Plan B for what is obvi doing the right thing. So should there never, ever be, nary a thought to, devising a Plan B as a back-up plan to your calling. Because, you know, the ringing of an unanswered phone will drive you madddd!
Never settle for less than your heart dreams. Fuck that shit. Stick to Plan A. She knows what she's doing.
Your To-do list:
Kick Impostordom to the curb. No place for it in your one-and-only-once-around.
You’re worthy. FULL STOP.
Stick to Plan A.
Plan B is a Lie.
And if no one’s told you today, you’re fucking amazing.
If that makes you feel uncomfortable (it does me, when people compliment) – fuck it – you’ll get used to it.
Say, in your best Scarlet O'Hara voice, "Why, thank you kindly". Adjust that crown on your head, and walk tall. Your worth every diamond on it.
Currently, in my one-and-only-once-around, my creativity manifests itself as a Chef and Writer. Striving at feeling neither Impostordom nor unworthy. Cheers!
Please visit my newly remodeled website: www.cafeleza.com