I want to share with you the value of private mentoring. Especially for those of us who experience imposter syndrome. You know that feeling like you’re not REALLY qualified because so few people who look like you hold certain positions. Or, maybe felling like you're not REALLY Black/Latinex/Queer etc because you've overcome barriers that folks from your community rarely overcome.
My spiritual coach said something profound to me yesterday.
You probably know I grew up in foster care and prior to that I had gone hungry. Early on I experienced neglect and abandonment because my mom was addicted to heroin aka opioids. To this day, it’s hard for me to be early because I feel sad and anxious when I have to wait. If you cancel an appointment or date with me, I feel angry and a little sick to my stomach— especially if I love you. Clearly, those early days of waiting for my mom to come home (which sometimes took days), have left their mark. Similarly, I grew up in a low income Black and Puerto Rican community with a lot of violence and barely enough.
I was telling my mentor that sometimes my current life feels unreal, and I worry that I’m abandoning my people by living in my affluent neighborhood. Sometimes I feel distrustful of my partner. My life is so different from my early reality that it seems unreal.
My teacher and elder looked at me and said
“You’re rooting your identity in the Middle Passage, but that’s not where you started.”
With a little nudging, I saw how I had tied up my African heritage to poverty, abandonment, and other painful experiences. So, to heal those which I have done to a large extent feels like my current situation is unreal. The authentic African in America experience is oppression. Yet, that is only partially true. When I dig a little further, I also see intellectual brilliance, financial wealth and generosity, creativity up the wazoo, and huge compassion—to name a few qualities.
Sometimes folks confide in me that they feel like an imposter because they are the first to have a beneficial marriage or they are the first of their gender and/or race to hold a leadership role. For those of us who grew up without enough, it feels unreal to go into a cafeteria and get a bunch of food without having to count how much is in your purse first.
Thank God-Is, for whatever blessings we enjoy that allow us to practice self-love and love for others.
What’s real is my connection to God-Is, the earth, my ancestors, the galaxy AND the PRESENT MOMENT.
This is no small shift in perspective. It is seismic and will need nurturing to integrate. Thankfully, I have a mentor and a circle that is willing to affirm my liberated reality.
If you’d like this kind of support in your journey, I hope you can check out my album:
Black Girl Magic: Poems, Meditations, and Spells for Self Care and Liberation
Peace and love,
P.S.--Making big changes in yourself so that you have the courage to do something new requires support. If you're tired of feeling insecure about being called out or ready to learn how to take care of yourself even when you are the trailblazer, please check out this opportunity.