Dealing with Imposter Syndrome

June 25, 2021

Three months in.

So here we are June, nearly July 2021. I recently made a trip back to Houston, because I set it up in a way that I would return to US periodically to keep my tourist status as well as keep an eye on my rental property. It wasn’t until after returning to Guatemala that I realized that the trip marked three months of living in Guatemala. What an interesting three months I’ve had! I’ve had ups and downs, as one does in life. That being said, I wanted to reflect on this time here; what I’ve learned, what I’ve accomplished, what I’ve experienced,  and what I want from my time here… but what happened was I mostly wrote about how I deal with self doubt and negative self talk and it started getting too long… then I touch on the other things for a bit at the end. Sooo, If you’re into that kind of thing, read on!

As I mentioned in other posts, it felt intuitive to work on my art full time. I came in hot and started putting in the work and the time on all the projects I’ve had in my brain and other projects that I may have gotten as commission etc. I was “IN THE ZONE”, so to speak. I’ve done some reading in my time, you know, I can read… and one of the topics that I had spent some time reading on in the past is what we would call “happiness” and it can be different for everyone which is why I put quotes. But what I found in different sources was that a big part of happiness is time spent “in the zone”, time that you spend zoning out on an activity or objective when you’re not actively thinking about, just executing.

This idea definitely rings true for me. I love getting lost in the art! And it’s so rewarding when I have a finished product and I see that I’ve improved just a little or found some specific technique that I want to keep as part of my “style”.  But like I mentioned earlier, when I’m in it, I’m in it. I’m somewhere else and sometimes, when I reenter reality it’s like coming down from a high. This can be a time when negative thoughts start to penetrate. Self doubt, impostor syndrome, comparing myself to others etc.

I’ve always had these kinds of thoughts and my response has always been to keep moving, keep working, shrug it off. I consider myself a pretty confident guy (to a fault sometimes.) I’m pretty capable, intelligent, and I’ve been able to accomplish some pretty cool things in my short life…but it doesn’t mean that I haven’t been humbled.

Whether that comes from just the natural randomness of existence or from friends, family, coworkers, classmates etc., the times when you get put on you’re butt stay with you. Especially as a person of color, there’s been messaging from a very young age to try to make me feel smaller than I am. Impostor syndrome in the bipoc community is real, and as an artist on top of that, these negative voices can be randomly intrusive and pretty daunting.

I can be in the middle of a 15 hr drawing and I might be struggling with a simple imperfection and suddenly I think,

"what the fuck am I doing here and why would I think that I can quit my job and make it in a completely different industry.”..

Okay shake it off keep drawing, or get a snack, or go for a walk.

I don’t think getting past these kinds of thoughts is as easy as just working through it. Although that is part of it. I think a big part of not letting these kinds of thoughts bog me down or cripple me, is actually acknowledging that I am not special but neither is anyone else that has made a career change. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses no one is perfect. Sure some people have higher levels of natural talent in certain things, different levels of work ethic etc. But in the grand scheme of things “successful people” are just people… just like me.

Furthermore, I have to remind myself that it’s going to take time. That my own specific path is going to be different than others and I cannot compare myself and I must be patient with myself and with the journey. I try to remember that I am privileged to be in the position that I am in and that I need to enjoy my time here. Soak it all in and appreciate the little things. We’re all going to die one day and I don’t want to look back on my life and only see anxiety, overthinking and lethargy.

By the way, I have made some cool strides during my time here. I’ve booked my first web design gig, I published a web comic on my website, I started a podcast which allows me to spend time with some really cool people, I’ve drawn some cool things and there’s more where that came from!

I’ve found that if all else fails, I always have my girlfriend I can lean on and bounce things off of and I am planning to look into some virtual therapy sessions, because I think most people will benefit from professional therapy sessions. Anyway, if you’re having these kinds of thoughts, remember that you are capable of more than you think and hit me up if you need a reminder. In the meantime, just don’t give up.

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