Sometimes I Cry: The War With Imposter Syndrome


Juliana Ramirez, Editorial Editor

The girl in the mirror is unsure of what she wants.

She tells me all the time, relating too closely to Mitski lyrics and coercing the tears to fall while she holds her breath in case someone else has decided to wake up at the ungodly hours where the doubt thrives.

As her fingers grip the tile of her cold sink, she asks me in a whisper if the mediocrity she feels inside her truly earned the things she’s achieved. 

What we have achieved.

She knows where we come from, who we come from, and the struggles we’ve had to learn from in the past with the pain from them that lingers.

Delicately, her words wrap around my throat and make me stay to listen:

“Who are you to have earned so much while belonging to so little?”

It’s so soft that it’s trustworthy and sickeningly comforting.

I know deep down that she’s wrong and that I’ve earned my place amongst scholars and leaders who will break generational burdens and traumas. Yes, I’ve made it and that is my gift to have and hold for my whole life.

Still, why is she so convincing sometimes?

Why can’t my own voice be heard over that?

It’s overwhelmingly frustrating to cry over a blatant lie told by myself, and vulnerability has always been a tricky thing for me. I’m constantly walking the line of over- and under-sharing due to this deep, hidden desire to be validated.

But that sounds bad. Worse outloud, I think.

I wasn’t raised to need validation. My mother never taught me to seek others’ praise. My father always told me the only person I can rely on is me. 

I live by that. I breathe by it.

So, reader or viewer in the abyss of my words, I have to ask: why aren’t I enough?

It’s rhetorical. Don’t feel the need to answer. (I’d prefer if you didn’t.) It’s one of those things I need to figure out myself; I’m aware of that.

With all this self-awareness I pride myself on, there’s one last switch in my mind I can’t quite reach. Believe me, I’m stretching until my shoulders are daring to leave their sockets and the stretch burns my fingertips and… and I still can’t find it.

In the witching hours, I sit on a twin sized mattress wondering where it could be. The sound of the wind whistling doesn’t whisper the answer and the branches tapping my window aren’t speaking some foreign code, unfortunately. 

I’m left with my own tears and thoughts, which can be a troubling thing. 

What brings me comfort is knowing that I am not alone in this feeling. I’m not alone in the journey of finding an answer because it is what some have also been desperately searching for as well.

Until the answer finds me or I find it, I’ll say what I believe to be a stretch of the truth:

“You and your mess of a beautiful mind, have made it. You have earned it. You will overcome this feeling.”