Imposter Syndrome: My Internal Struggle With Owning My Talents.
Ah, here we are. It's been a solid few weeks where I've been sharing content of women slaying their boudoir sessions. Racking my brain for a "vulnerable" and intimate post to share with all the amazing women/men/non-binary/humans that follow my work on the interwebs. But silly me, I should know by now I can't just say "I'm going to write something vulnerable today!" It has to come from somewhere deeper - from a low point. From being vulnerable. And today, heart bleeding, I found my muse.
Sitting in front of my desk, I was caught up in creeping another artist on social media. Doing the thing that I'm always saying DON'T DO! Yup. I was comparing.
Now to preface this... I book enough clients to sustain myself, relatively well, every month. I'm only a year into my business, but so far the future is bright. I've been published in 6 magazines, and I am the member of a couple prestigious "Boudoir Photographer" groups where I win some of their photo prizes. I'm not saying this to brag, because I don't think I'm capable of bragging, but to show you that I don't suck. I am good at the art. Or so these things say.
But when I see amazing images from another photographer in my field, I get that little monster on my shoulder whispering "you're an imposter." or "they all know you're a fake - why are you trying?"
And it's weird. It's really weird to feel like an imposter in a community where you, supposedly, belong. I have elated clients who gush about my work, and who (most importantly) feel empowered and sexy because of my work. And I don't feel like an imposter around my clients. I feel at home with them. It's in the broader, larger, photography world where I keep thinking someone is going to expose me as a fraud. Like the President of the whole world's boudoir photographers association (not a real thing) is going to come knocking at my door and say "Stop submitting to magazines. Leave your boudoir groups. Go get a real job."
But, why? Why feel like this? And I know I'm not alone because I constantly hear stories of other artists feeling like that. So, my question is, how do we fight it?
How do we tell that grumpy hag on our shoulder to just shut up, and be satisfied all ready?
And I think the first step is recognizing and addressing the fact that we ALL feel like this at one point or another. We all feel like we're "not good enough", or that we don't measure up. We all feel like we're an imposter wearing a mask at some point. And that's okay. It's part of the human experience. I think the most important thing, I have learned, is to call yourself on your shit right away. Recognize when you're being self-critical and tell that monster to get the hell out!
The hardest part is that now it's SO easy to fall down that rabbit hole of comparison on social media. We can just creep and creep and creep all these amazing people, and we forget to creep ourselves. Creep your accomplishments! DIG INTO THAT SHIT! It's okay to look at what you have achieved, be it big or small, and go "I did that. I did that good." You're allowed to feel proud of where you are, and how far you've come. Even if you have mountains ahead of you to climb, feel proud of where you are.
Call yourself on your shit, flick that monster off your shoulder, throw your chin up high, and just own it. Because what you are, what you've done, is amazing. And what you're going to do is amazing too. But be patient with yourself. Love yourself. And just be proud of you! Because you deserve it. We deserve it. And I'm learning slowly... I deserve it, too.
Peace, light, and love always,