Lately I have been reading about people suffering from “Impostor Syndrome”.
When I first read about it I thought maybe it was just a bunch of sneaky trench coat wearing millenials playing spy versus spy or something. Apparently not.
Upon further research (read: skimming a few articles) I discovered that impostor syndrome is a thing, and it is the condition suffered by people who don’t feel they deserve what they have in some way. They feel they have this job, or some award, or are with a partner they didn’t somehow earn. The anxiety part comes from their fear that their deception will be discovered and a boardroom table crowd will suddenly realize they have an interloper among them. They will leap to their feet pointing and shrieking “You don’t deserve to be here, faker! Take your phony resume and shame walk your ass out of here!”
For the record, that never happens unless you are a republican, then the odds of having your fake-ass self discovered are just about inevitable.
I also discovered that women are more likely to feel they don’t deserve what they have. Huh. Shocking no? OF COURSE it is women… trained to be doormats and second class citizens all our lives and then we do achieve we wonder how that happened?
Here is why I don’t have impostor syndrome and neither should you.
Like you, I spent my life trying to find my place in the world. It is called growing up. As soon as my brain developed a reasonably robust executive function department, I was off to the races. I put my head into battering ram mode and sent haters flying out of my path like so much debris. I handled shit, I made mistakes and owned them. I learned, I worked, I hated hard and forgave when I could. I loved people who I had to recover from, and sometimes it was me who had to be recovered from. I accomplished amazing things and built a career over 30 years. I had ideas and made them happen, and now I can even point to legacy projects that wouldn’t have come to be if I had been afraid to speak. I questioned myself as a Mother, which we should all do, but I was never an impostor to my kids, they know me with no filters or masks. I am profoundly flawed but I show up for the people who need me, and they get what I can give.
I am not an impostor. I have spent a lifetime seeking all I could get from life, and now I know that the sum total of those experiences qualifies me for a seat at the table. I deserve to be anywhere I want to be because what I know and feel is valuable. That is as real as it gets.
If you are an impostor you can’t mentor others. You cannot raise up and share experiences with the women who could be forever changed by learning what you know.
Be brave and fierce. Speak the hell up. You have a lifetime of experience and it has value. You are not a faker. Do not allow yourself to be relegated to the corner because you think you don’t know enough to have an opinion. That narrative comes from inside your head, so kick it to the curb and pull up your big girl panties. Don’t allow yourself to be interrupted, take up your rightful space where you stand, suck in a deep breath and disrupt that shit.
I have made it through the world in my own messed up, funny, angry and loving way. That makes me real and valid.
You are real and valid. Start fucking acting like it.