Self-discovery & imposter syndrome
“But God bless these 20-somethings.”
A few weeks ago, I saw someone on Twitter highlight the fact that SZA was singing 20 Something as a 27-year-old and they, what I assume, jokingly questioned when it actually gets better being in your 20s. I’m sure all of us 20-somethings have hopelessly or hope-fully wondered this as well because if SZA was knocking on 30 and it still hadn’t gotten any better, well... we must all be doomed right? As dramatic as that sounds, life in your 20s will lead you to believe that you’re running out of time to "get it right".
Eventually, or more specifically, after I turned 25, I just accepted that being in my 20s, whether it’s early, middle, or late, was meant to be an infinite and explosive combination of so many things, positive and negative.
We’re constantly told, whether in popular self-help books or light-hearted yet informative Ted Talks, that our 20s aren’t supposed to be the years when we have all our sh*t together so to forge past this truth in an attempt to perfect a process that’s meant to be flawed is to deny yourself the freedom to exist as you are-- an imperfect human. In your imperfectness, there’s an immense amount of self-discovery and exploration that takes place and, in that, growth becomes a constant, and transforming into different versions of yourself is inevitable.
There’s something to be said about the journey through self-discovery, growth, and healing that doesn’t fall into the usual category that typically surrounds the discussion-- the imposter syndrome (or at least that’s what I’m calling it because that’s what it feels like!) that comes along with it.
It’s been incredibly hard to describe this feeling, for me, because it makes you believe that the new person that you’ve come to be is merely a figment of your imagination. How is it possible that you can now look into the mirror and see the reflection of a person that you wish you could’ve been years ago? It doesn’t seem real.
For me, imposter syndrome has begun to sneak in, in a way that I’ve never experienced before because what was once something that told me that I don’t measure up in certain places is now telling me that I don’t measure up by simply being myself. It tells me that the confidence I’ve built is a fallacy and that my self-regard is not mine, but simply the tattered pieces of a mask I once hid behind-- a mask that someone will soon be able to identify.
When your former self becomes untethered from your new self, it starts to feel like a battle between wanting to wholly embrace your current reality and struggling to believe that a change has even occurred when who you were has been attached to your being for so long. A growth spurt of sorts has taken place and you’re almost unrecognizable.
Coming into a season of self-actualization and uncovering parts of yourself that you didn’t know existed or simply did not have the bandwidth to take on is not for the faint of heart but it’s the expansion of the heart that takes place that will leave you with an insatiable desire to continue to meet yourself over and over again.
Reaching new levels in growth and healing in all areas of your life is certainly worth being celebrated. When I finally realized and was able to truly acknowledge that I was fully stepping out of the shadows of the person I once was, I was ready to send out a PSA and broadcast it to the entire world. I was ready to break into every room that I felt the need to shrink myself in just so I could reclaim my spot and take up space like never before.
Though I know all of this is relatively normal and I can’t be the only person that has ever felt like this, I realized that, at the core, my concern with this part of my journey was my fear of stumbling and/or regressing. While I love where I’ve arrived, this fear can keep me, and you too, from simply enjoying where we’re at without waiting for things to go awry-- that’s when the beauty of learning when and how to trust yourself becomes apart of your journey.
Trusting yourself beyond the contrary thoughts that try to disrupt your peace and tell you you’ll end up back where you were. Trusting in the confidence that you’ve built that now helps you stand on steady ground. Trusting that the new, healthy boundaries you’ve created are sacred and worth being respected. Trusting that all parts of you are worth being celebrated, whether it’s in seasons of growth or loss.
Time, gentleness, and genuine intention thrusts you into a whole new world where you can finally cross the threshold and meet yourself on the other side. It’s exhilarating and freeing to see that all of the work you’ve put into becoming a better person for yourself has paid off.
You’re not going back to where you were. Every day is a journey and this is your journey for today, accept all that it has to offer and the infinite ways it will unfold for you.
Thank you for reading, and as usual... be great. xoxo