I’d heard of the term ‘Imposter Syndrome’ before, but I got to know it on a whole new level last week. Unsurprisingly, it was the week in which I had the most ‘success’ so far this year. So, let’s dive into all the self-doubts and how I’m deciding to actively fight them.
What ha’ happened was…
I’d booked my first commercial last week. What? Yay! Milestone, celebration, yada yada. Another great thing that was happening was that I was directing a music video for the first time over the weekend, as well as producing, 1st AD’ing… indie filmmakers know how many hats are worn on low-budget projects.
Cue IMPOSTER SYNDROME. According to an article on Medical News Today, impostor syndrome causes people to doubt their achievements and fear that others will expose them as fraudulent.
I found myself thinking just one thing: why me? Why me why me why me why me. Especially after I’d seen the actual models who went for the callback/fitting. I do not have model measurements, surely they’re mistaken. I kept thinking they’d kick me out once they discovered that my size is bigger than it seems (this is a common issue.) My inner dialogue throughout the week went something like this:
Commercial: “Why me? I’m an actress, not a model. Did they make a mistake? Who was in charge of this casting? Why did they choose me? I get the video because I act, but why the pictures also? Shouldn’t they get someone else for those?” (Multiply that by 250)
Music Video: “Who do I think I am? I’m not a director. I don’t know enough about filmmaking to do this. Can I even act? Why do I think I can do it all?” (ya get it.)
Blahdiblah. But hey! I managed to get through the week okay. To prepare for the next time this hits:
What I’m finna do is…
1. Internalise successes and compliments
I heard my inner voice rejecting compliments. A trivial example:
-“Your skin is looking good!” “
-No, it’s not, you lying whore.”
Kidding, my inner voice didn’t say that, but it did fight it a bit. I’ve learned to “accept compliments graciously” because it’s annoying AF when someone insists on rejecting a compliment, but it didn’t mean I accepted them internally.
Instead of believing that they’re “just being nice,” I want to truly accept the compliments. Truly believe the good things people say to or about me. Remind myself of the things I have accomplished in the past, and allow that to prove that I can do the things!
2. Remind myself that I deserve to succeed
I believe opportunities that are coming to me are coming because I am aligning with them. I’m accepting that I am meant to do what I love, and that I have something to offer. So, when they come to me, I need to remind myself that, hey, I went to school for this. I trained in this. I worked hard for that audition. I was spunky and cute. I deserve this job!
3. Surround myself with reaffirming presences
This title works on two levels: the people in whom I trust, and the images of beauty and success I expose myself to.
According to that same article, talking about your imposter syndrome helps. And it proved true for me. I have really great friendships and relationships with people who are rooting for me, who see me for who I am, and saying this out loud to them, having the people I trust be excited for me and reaffirm me was really good to fight that inner voice.
On the second level, I also realized that I’ve been using Western beauty standards to decide whether or not I am beautiful or attractive. Meeting and talking with the co-star was so affirming for me- she had similar facial features that I’ve always wished I could change on myself, and is super confident, super hot, and killing it in the model game. She’s particularly successful in her home country, and I realized how vital it’s been for me to see people who look like me being celebrated. Following African and/or darker-skinned models has had a great influence on my own self-image- more than I realized. Celebrating women who look like me has reaffirmed me that I’m not “weird” or ugly for having certain features, that I too deserve to be celebrated. And this job pushed me to see that.
So no, I am not super thin and my African nose is here to stay, but I can accept that I deserved that gig.
For You, Too
Have you found yourself doubting whether you deserve good things that happen? Do you doubt your capabilities and talents despite evidence that you’re actually that bitch? Tell me how you deal with it ♥️
And next time you find yourself asking “why me” remember, why not me?