IMPOSTER SYNDROME – My First Win
You know how as Christians we always pray for favour – The kind that sets us apart. To walk into rooms our minds can only dream of because angels are on assignment making things happen in our absence.
If you’re not Christian, you might not get this so let me make it clearer.
You know how growing up, (if you were anything like me) we always have big dreams and imagine ourselves in places that the peak of our career would take us to. Some of us hope and wish, some work and work to get there.
When I got my dream, I couldn’t believe my eyes.
If I’m being honest, it wasn’t something I allowed myself to dream or fantasize about because I didn’t see it as a thing that could actually happen but somehow it did.
It happened to me.
Let me tell you about it.
I had just published my book in late 2017 and I reached out to a couple of people to read and give me honest reviews because I was preparing for my book launch.
Imagine my surprise when Lola Shoneyin says to me “What is your book about?”
I tell her.
She then proceeds to tell me how somehow, coincidentally, it is in line with the theme for the Ake festival that year.
“Send me a mail” She said.
I couldn’t believe my eyes.
It all seemed surreal.
Even when they booked my flight and my accomodation with the other guests.
Even when I saw the guest list and all the powerful people I would be with as a guest.
Even when they came to the airport in fancy style to pick me.
Even when I got to my hotel room and saw how well taken care of I would be.
It still seemed surreal and I was basking in all of it.
Till I had to go out the next day.
I got out of my room and saw the other guests. Most of whom I was (am) a huge fan of. I sat in that bus that would take us to the venue feeling smaller than I had ever felt.
What is this feeling? Isn’t it a good thing?
I was living my dream but somehow, it didn’t feel like it.
I felt like crap and I couldn’t understand it.
How was I in the same room with all these big, powerful, amazing people?
Me. Small me that was still trying to get a hang of this thing.
I saw the Festival schedule and I panicked even more as I saw my name on it. I was going to be on a panel with an amazing author (whose books I had read and loved by the way) for a book reading and book chat.
What do I have to say to people?
What if people don’t like my book?
I don’t think I belong here.
My hands became clammy.
A bus full of amazing people and all I could do was feel small and think of all the ways I felt inadequate.
“What is your name?” Someone asked.
Uhm. I wasn’t sure what to say. She wouldn’t know me. Why did she ask? But then again, she probably asked because she doesn’t.
“Hi. I’m Oreva” I said quietly.
I couldn’t even look her in the eye.
“You look like a Barbie doll. I’ll be calling you Barbie” she said excitedly as she sat beside me.
That was my first friend.
What do you do when you feel lost and out of place?
This didn’t look like the last time I felt this way so I almost didn’t recognize it.
But thank God for Jesus. Lol
Later that day in my room, as I sat and wrote out my heart in my journal, the Holy Spirit reminded me that if they put me here, it’s because there’s something they saw in me/my book that made me worth it.
I was qualified.
Maybe not as experienced as the others but qualified too.
So I brushed off my insecurities and told myself aloud that I’m worth this. I said it over and over to myself till my heart believed it. If this was a gift, I intended to use the heck out of it and that’s what I did.
The next day, I introduced myself to people. Got autographs, made friends, spoke to all the other guests I adored. (It will shock you how no one really bites. It’s all in your head)
And when it was time for my panel, I enjoyed every second.
Did they buy every copy of my book? Of course not. I was still new to the scene.
Were there moments later when the panic threatened to surface? Of course but I did not give it room to thrive.
I had the time of my life. I learned and grew.
It was the exposure I needed and I didn’t waste a single second feeling insecure.
So maybe you’re where I was here.
Maybe you were the smartest in secondary school and now in Uni, you feel lost and not too smart because everybody else around you was the smartest in their school too.
I want to tell you first, that Comparison is a killer.
You got into that room, that school, that position, that place because you deserved it. Something about you stood out and made you accepted.
They chose you.
So focus on that. Not on the other amazing people around you.
If you need everybody else to be less amazing to feel amazing then you’re not really amazing.
So hold your head up high and own it.
That’s what I did.
That’s what I’ll love you to do.
But it doesn’t always work this way does it?
Watch out for the next episode✨