Impostor Syndrome House of Horrors

tame your inner critic

Happy Halloween! Wanna hear something truly scary?

So, one of the biggest fears that kept me from writing or sharing any of my work was the belief that no one would care about what I had written. And past not caring, I imagined that people would ridicule me and my work, and I imagined the pain and embarrassment would absolutely kill me. Yup, I had extreme impostor syndrome in relation to my creativity.

It started inside me when I was little and grew in strength and size like a self imposed locked door against vulnerability and potential ridicule. I considered myself as someone lacking in that “thing” that elevated a person into an artist. So I clamped down on any art that tried escaping me, even on accident. It became automatic. I would see something that would inspire a story or dialogue from within me, and then I would think, “No, stop it, that’s stupid. You need to focus on real things! Stop wasting time on this frivolity!” I looked at my creative muse as a nuisance, trying to make me look foolish and distract me from what was real. My inner critic had so much unchecked power over me.

Once I moved into my thirties, I genuinely could not stand being inside my head with myself. I was desperate for release from my traumatic inner world. Around this time I became introduced to the benefits of mindful meditation and cognitive behavioral therapy. Also around this time, I attended my first Burning Man festival and participated in a workshop entitled “Embracing your inner critic”. This workshop hit me deeply. I recognized the self sabotage I had trapped myself in, being a naturally creative person who treats her creativity as a curse. “What if I act like it’s a blessing?” I proposed to myself. What if instead of assuming no one would benefit from my writing, I assume that possibly someone might need what I am writing? Or, what if I stop being concerned by what others need or want and just create because that is what feels good to me?

It started then, during that first Burn, the beginning of an unraveling of my suppression of my creative voice. And once I started minimizing my inner critic’s power, I was able to find my inner goddess, a voice of confidence and love and belief in me. The inner goddess enabled me to lean into my passion for storytelling and allowed me to move forward in crafting the story that was living in my heart. My wish for any creative struggling with fears around the validity of their drive, is that they find the confidence from within to manifest their ideas into reality. It’s a hard ask, yes, but it’s the only path forward, friends! And let me tell you, forward with your creations made real, vs forward without your creations is so very much a better reality.

Stay spooky friends!

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Yodassa Williams is a powerful conjurer of black girl magic (70% Jedi, 30% Sith). A Jamaican American writer, speaker, and award winning performing storyteller, alumna of the VONA/Voices Travel Writing program and creator of the podcast ‘The Black Girl Magic Files’, Yodassa (Yoda) launched ‘Writers Emerging' in 2019, a wilderness writing retreat for women of color and non-binary people of color. In 2020, Yodassa's debut YA Fantasy, The Goddess Twins, will be published by Spark Press. She grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio and currently resides in the Bay Area.

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