“The fear of rejection is an irrational fear that has you convinced that people won’t accept or approve of you due to your opinions, looks, personality, values, beliefs or behavior.” – Adam Sicinski (https://blog.iqmatrix.com/author/adam).
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”. Despite external evidence of their competence, those experiencing this phenomenon remain convinced that they are frauds, and do not deserve all they have achieved. Individuals with impostorism incorrectly attribute their success to luck, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent than they perceive themselves to be. While early research focused on the prevalence among high-achieving women, impostor syndrome has been recognized to affect both men and women equally. – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impostor_syndrome
I think that these two phenomena have been my most crippling traits (if I can call them that) for the majority of my life. The feeling of never being enough is one that nags me daily. I can’t say “enough” for what or whom, just enough in general. No matter what the situation is or who was involved, I was always 100% sure of the following;
- If it’s a choice between myself and anyone else, the choice would never be me.
- Everyone else was always better than me.
- I was not smart enough to learn anything challenging or complicated.
As a result, I never strayed too far from my comfort zone. Naturally, if and when anyone ever hurt me, I felt that that was to be expected and that I was a fool for expecting any different. No matter who did what to me, I was always to blame. For not being enough.
I have no doubt that it stems from my childhood (but that’s a story for another day) and a few things that happened in my early 20’s (also a story for another day) but for a very long time, I had no idea how to shake it. So, the fear of rejection, imposter syndrome, whichever fits best; the bottom line was that I never wanted anyone to see me naked. I never wanted anyone to see me with my guard down or without the veil of humor or indifference, I wore so brightly because I was certain that they would see what I saw…inadequecy.
A series of extraordinary events moulded the person who was to become the 2019 version of Ndapewoshali.. who writes.
Firstly, my brother, who is also one of my best friends in the world, thought that I was enough. I don’t know if he could tell that I didn’t believe it but he told me every day, that I was. He told me every day that I was more than enough, that I was extraordinary!
Along the way, I met people who thought, even though I didn’t, I was enough. They came in the form of “friendship” but I still and will always believe that they are angels sent by God himself to keep me going; to help me grow, to make me feel like I am more than enough; that I am extraordinary.
These people literally bullied me into starting this blog. I would often write poetry (which I wouldn’t dare let anyone read) and I would write to the local papers but I never thought anyone read what I wrote or that anyone would want to. I wrote as a way of release the many, many thoughts in my head and that’s all I wanted to do with it.
These people convinced me to learn graphic design. They trusted me with their brands, publications, wedding invitations, etc. They trusted me. Me, a self-taught graphic designer who above all else, was not enough. They thought that not only was I enough, but I was also extraordinary. These people loved me into loving me.
This year, I spent more time away from home on non/semi work-related trips than I ever have in my life. I spent two weeks in Oranjemund, three weeks in Switzerland, two weeks in Germany and as I press “publish” on this blog post, I’m at the airport, heading to Ghana for two weeks. The graphic design took me to Oranjemund, Switzerland, and Germany, writing is taking me Ghana.
People kept asking what an accountant is doing traveling the world like that. “Shouldn’t you be in the office crunching numbers?” Well… I should be, but I’m not. You see, I know now that I’m more than just an accountant. I’m a graphic designer, I’m a writer, I’m a brand manager, I’m a labour law specialist and you know that makes me? Extraordinary!
For the first time in my life, I do not feel inadequate. I don’t feel like an imposter. I just feel extraordinary and I don’t mind anyone seeing me without my guards and my veils. I’m no longer afraid of naked.
I hope reading this makes you realize that you too are extraordinary!
– With love, Ndapewoshali.
Sunday, 20 October 2019. Windhoek, Namibia