For as long as I can remember, I have loved to write. I have journals that date back to 2005 when I was seven years old. It has always been an outlet for me, a form of release and a way to dissect my own thoughts and feelings.
It wasn’t until I recently started having stories published right here in The Globe this past month that I was able to fully accept that I am a writer.
This is imposter syndrome, only in the slightest form.
Jennifer Seltzer Stitt, director of community relations at Salt Lake Community College, describes imposter syndrome as “a questioning of whether or not you have the right to take up space.”
Ever since I decided to pursue a degree in journalism and digital media in 2019, I get asked the same question repeatedly, “Do you want to be a news reporter?”
My response every time is, “No, I just love to write.” Their assumptions and my lack of confidence in having an end goal gave me the feeling that maybe I’m in the wrong field. Maybe I don’t have the right to be in this space.
Imposter syndrome comes in many different forms.
“It’s just a common experience,” said Stitt. “There’s so many issues connected to the idea of imposter syndrome, not just negative self-talk and self-doubt, it’s also sometimes the space you are worried about taking up.”
I asked my followers on Instagram if they had ever experienced imposter syndrome.
Kiyana Maumau, personal trainer and flexologist, responded with her experience as a former medical assistant.
“Some days I’d feel like I have NO idea how to help people be and feel better,” Maumau said. “Then some days I’d get really excited about learning and remember there’s so much more I can be for people than a dictionary or an atlas.”
According to Medical News Today, a 2020 study shows that 9-82% of people experience imposter syndrome. It can cause anxiety, depression, lack of confidence, and other negative feelings.
Maumau continued, “It’s just so easy to forget how capable and worthy I am of my roles.”
Personally, I have experienced imposter syndrome in many areas of my life. Through yoga, I got certified to teach in 2018 and I still have never felt qualified enough to tell other people how to move their body. I have experienced it through my passion for snowboarding in the way that I’ve allowed myself to believe that I can’t love it as much as I do just because I haven’t mastered the sport. And again, in my writing.
“It’s so hard to overcome,” Stitt implied. “Value your own knowledge and understand that you have earned that place.”
Luckily, as I have come to acknowledge imposter syndrome for what it is, I have been able to work through it. When I get caught in the feeling of alienation, I remember that I get to choose for myself to do what makes me happy. I have learned to accept that I am the person I perceive myself to be: A writer, yogi, snowboarder, all of it.
Imposter syndrome is such a common phenomenon, yet many don’t even realize they are experiencing it. I think it’s important for people to come to terms with this discomfort and the reality that imposter syndrome is quite normal. Yes, I relate and so do many other people in the world.