A Lil Extra

Imposter

As first posted on mixedmag.co Cover art by  @stacieswift

Do you ever feel like you don’t deserve to be in certain spaces?

I have a bad habit of appraising my worth from my years of experience (or lack thereof) and how much I don’t know compared to the rest of the people around me. I feel overwhelmed when given responsibilities in which people know I’m very much capable of doing. I think I’m letting them down by not being able to perform to the best of my ability, but more importantly I let myself down when I forget this is the best of my ability.

Imposter syndrome is an overwhelming feeling of inadequacy, despite contrary evidence of success. It often makes people feel like they are an imposter in a space, and it’s only a matter of time before someone “figures them out”, and lets them go.

I thought I suffered from imposter syndrome in grad school. I forgot the fact that I was a student, and in a space where I was allowed to learn and make mistakes. I feel as though now I should have it all figured out by now. I’ve been a full-time professional for a while, and I don’t have the same space to figure it out.

I’m halfway through my 20s and sometimes I feel like I have nothing to show for it. Sometimes I feel like I live this big lie. Sometimes I have these positions now that I don’t add value to, that I have nothing meaningful to contribute. I cling on to the cliché of “fake it ‘til you make it” for dear life. Sometimes I feel like it’s the only thing keeping me afloat.

I feel like, as a Black woman, I have been made to feel small for so much of my life that I am afraid to take up space. I make myself feel like an outsider before anyone else can.

Why did you pick me? What did you see in me that caught your attention and made you think I was capable of doing the job you need me to do?

I keep telling myself that people obviously think I am capable of doing the job. Talking myself into thinking I am capable of doing this job is another matter. I’m trying to learn all I can while also trying to keep it all together. 

I always feel the need to have more focus and drive. I can do all things I put my mind to. I can do whatever it takes to catch up. I will keep learning all I can. I will come from a place of curiosity and not judge myself for the things I don’t know. I will not be attached to this image of who I think I should be.

I will not fall into this capitalist trap of deriving my worth on how much of myself I can give away. Just being is enough.

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