I have been here before

I have been here before

Hey Loves!

I wanted to share a piece I have written for my Social Circus group: TTYL with all of you. To me, this is about the imposter syndrome I face a lot. I feel like I don’t deserve the cool stuff that I have been fortunate enough to do over the last few years. It’s been hard for me to balance my internal geeky girl who is awkward and weird, with a public figure who has the privilege of educating Canadian youth on Mental Health. Sometimes, I feel like I am tricking the outside world into believing that I am a person I am not, as silly as that sounds. So, I wrote this piece to highlight my internal struggle and my hope for the future.

What about you guys? Have you ever felt imposter syndrome? Let me know!

I have been here before:

Standing on the edge, looking into the confused and annoyed eyes of a man whose plans can just been interrupted by a helping hand he never asked for.  I have been there before: standing of the end of a subway platform, thinkin’ that the loud rumble of the subway train can solve my problems and take me to a place where it doesn’t hurt anymore.

I have been here before:

Standing on the edge of a stage, sharing the darkest parts of my life, making it look easy. As if I no longer think of subway trains and feel unspeakable pain. Standing here, I look strong as if I deserve their attention, but everything inside me tells me that I don’t. I have felt this before. I am not good enough to take this stage, to be heard, to be the person who educates and changes minds. I look into an audience with interested eyes and open minds. I carry on, to the sounds of a captive audience, the feeling of my phone buzzing in my pocket. It vibrates from the quotes from my speeches and thanks from those that my words reach.  It feels like I am unique, but there are millions of stories like mine, so why me?

I have been here before:

Standing awkwardly on stage to applause. I don’t know how to react, so I just stand up straight a let out a little laugh. The thought part comes next, questions of all kind. The dumb ones “Hey Miss! How many drugs are you on?”, the curious ones “ What doesn’t depression feel like?”, the hurting friend “ I am scared for my friend, how can I help?” and the hardest of all: the hopeless one “ How do you keep going?”.  I open my brain for them, for their poking and prodding. I have lived my life as a case study on stage. It’s still raw, scary but everyone says I make it look so easy. So why does it make me so tired?

I have been here before

Standing aside as students slowly walk back to class, hoping to extend the break in their learning.  I stare at my phone, at the emails from politicians and parents who tell me “Crazy kids can’t change, so why try?” I think about all the people I have to convince that youth mental health matters.  I think about the criticism I receive on Facebook from people who feel that I am not trying hard enough or doing what they think I should to change mental health. I think of the Facebook friends I have lost because I want to talk about how my friends supported me through depression.

I BEEN HERE BEFORE

I wonder if there is a point to sharing at all. Maybe I am not helping people. Maybe I am nothing more then a giant fraud.  I wish I was as strong as everyone thinks I am. As strong as my dad who overthrew his government in a peaceful revolution, without doubt that he was the right person. Or my mom, who stood resilient as she single handedly raised 7 brothers and sisters at the age of 15. Oh how I wish I was as strong as everyone thinks I am.

I have felt this before

The tear filled eyes of a girl, waiting for me to return to earth.  She is hesitant but blurts out “You saved me. I want to figure out how to live.” I look at her with a small smile and shake my head. “You made that decision you know, not me, I am just a story.” As I look around to see if there is a counsellor or someone around to help her, she catches my eye and says “I hope one day you will know how much you matter.”

I froze and she left. I haven’t been here before.

For a moment, someone saw through the well-crafted speech, littered with accomplishments and funny stories, and saw me.  The real, vulnerable me.

In that moment, I knew: I will get there; move past a place of self doubt, that place where I feel like I will never be enough.  I want to allow myself to be the broken kind of strong. Each time I break, I will grow back, stronger than ever. With me, I will bring lessons and warmth that only comes with the experience of being broken. I will embrace that I can be both depressed and successful, imperfect but inspiring, and a role model while still learning from others. I am as strong as everyone thinks I am, and one day I will smile when I say:

I have been here before.