“Impostor syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenon, impostorism, fraud syndrome or the impostor experience) is a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a “fraud”.”
Up until a few months ago, I had never heard of “impostor syndrome” – but slowly, from friends to family – I started hearing it…. Then realized I suffered from it too. This became very apparent last week as I prepared for a bikini photoshoot; I started questioning my confidence, feeling like I would hate every image the photographer got, that I’d get trolled and laughed out of the model/photographer/MUA group I belong to on FB. I was convinced that if I waited until next summer, I’d be able to lose the weight and look better. I started questioning everything I had done, overcome, and, most importantly, my mission, vision, and word.
When it comes to weight, body image, eating disorders, I’ve run the gambit. I’ve traded one eating disorder for another and gone between a depressed, anxious 220 lbs to excessive dieting and exercising, 115 lbs competing in bodybuilding, losing my period and two miscarriages over the year after, back to a happy, healthy 210 lbs. I’ve had orthorexia and binge eating disorders, I’ve suffered from drug and alcohol abuse and dependency, sexually abused as a child, and sexually assaulted as an adult. This can seriously fuck a person up.
And yet, even in all the shit I’ve gone through, it still never felt “enough”. Yes, I had an eating disorder, but anorexia or bulimia is way worse, right? I was sexually assaulted but it wasn’t violent enough, right? I’ve been overweight/obese, but it’s not “fat” enough, right? All of my trauma never felt like it was “bad” enough to warrant speaking out about it – other people have had it way worse than me, right?
What in the actual fcuk?
Trauma is trauma. The emotional and mental damage is still there. The PTSD is there. The anxiety is there. I still doubt and question myself. I still have anxiety about it. I still relive those emotions. I still fall victim to thought patterns. I still use food for comfort.
Let me tell you this; you are enough. Your life is enough. Your experiences are enough.
Everything I believe I’ve gone through and still struggle with, I believe, has been leading me to where I am. My whole goal in life – my purpose – is to help women (and men, though I can relate more to women, obviously) with finding peace with their life. To teach them that they are worthy, right now, for love and respect – not only from other people, but, most importantly, from themselves. For me, there would be nothing more fulfilling than helping women overcome their heads to achieve a life they love – cause, let’s face it. How many of us don’t try things because we’re convinced we’re going to fail? When we live in our heads, it stops us from living because we’re convinced we’re going to fail.
And even though I still struggle with that myself, I hope that living authentically and being open and honest about my struggles, that others can take strength from that. Even if I fail, I’m hoping that people will see that I, at least, tried.
Because, you know what? It’s hard willingly putting yourself out there for people to watch and judge. It’s stinking hard knowing that people may call you out on the legitimacy of your word – because every single persons thoughts and beliefs are different and it’s hard to remember that even if someone disagrees with you, doesn’t make you wrong and them right. Hell – you could both be right! Based on your observations and experiences and their observations and experiences, you could both be right!
This has been the hardest thing for me to remember – especially when it comes to something like sugar. I firmly believe that I am addicted to sugar, to the bottom of my soul I believe this. All of my experiences says this. And yet, I see on a very regular basis that this is false. They’re saying the studies were flawed, etc. I quieted about my opinion because I started doubting my experiences and opinions… then I found someone who said, yes, sugar addiction is real! FINALLY! This is a perfect example of a contributing situation that may cause impostor syndrome. Just because you have never experienced a situation doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. I can look at porn with no adverse effects, but others are addicted to it. Just because I don’t deal with the addiction doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
Everyone is on their own path. Everyone will have their own opinions based on their own experiences. It doesn’t make your path or opinion or experiences any less. Your voice and your word is important and shouldn’t be quietened just because someone else’s voice is louder. You never know who might be listening and taking inspiration from what you have to say.