As I started writing this post, I thought: This is such an overflogged topic. Thousands of books, articles and social media posts have been dedicated to discussing how insecure we all are about our looks, gifts and talents (well written, I might add).
It’s been called different names: inferiority complex, impostor syndrome – but the symptoms are the same. We’re all unsatisfied with something in our lives. We think the best version of who we are doesn’t have stretch marks, has never failed a test. Most importantly, we all are afraid of something. So I decided to add my imperfect writing to the conversation. No matter how insecure I feel about sharing my writing with an audience, charity, they say, begins at home.
I wish I could give you steps, tips to accepting who you are, crushing fear, and tell you I love all my flaws including the scars on my feet. Instead, I’ll tell you what I know now. It’s not a perfect fix, but the first thing you should know is that perfection is an illusion.
I know you are waiting for the moment when you’re at your ideal weight, have learned enough for your first day at work, have rehearsed your speech perfectly; I hate to burst your bubble, but there will never be a moment when you have it all together, so settle that in your mind.
That is not to say we shouldn’t strive to be the best version of ourselves, of course not! Perfect is flawed, perfect is failing, that’s how perfect is made. Perfect is work, but creating it is how we learn that we may not have it all. Thing is, though, we have something someone else doesn’t.
You wouldn’t learn to draw your brows properly if you didn’t draw the first stroke, even if it ends up looking like the Nike sign (believe me I have the horrible photos on social media to prove this). I’ve learned that sometimes, imperfect is better than not trying at all. That is the only time you truly fail. You think your talent isn’t all that, you think you can barely hold a note when singing, but when the lead singer in church comes down with a flu guess who’s going to be required to hold the mic, even though you want to avoid the spotlight. Something you need to realize is that you will never be anyone else, try as you might. Trust me, I’ve tried. Sometimes, your imperfect self will be the only option available. This is what happens when you will be the only option available on short notice to bake that birthday cake for the five-year-old counting on mummy to come through with her Moana themed cake. You will have to try, that’s all that is needed. You’re about to be someone’s superhero.
Something happened recently at work and we needed someone to speak up about staff welfare by sending an email to the management so they could make a tough decision. When it was time, my colleague turned to me and said, “You’re always scribbling down and typing away on the computer during your free time. Well, it’s time to put it to good use. Why don’t you write to them?” I tried to talk myself out of it, but at the end of the day I was the only person up for the challenge, and afraid as I was of writing that email, I needed to speak up on behalf of others.
It’s not always about you. It may be nothing life changing. It can be as simple as telling your teenage niece that she is beautiful, she will lose the weight, it’s just baby fat, you did too.
One of the blessings of my life is having friends who like to talk. For an introvert like me, it means most of the time I’m on the listening end, and occasionally they say something that answers questions in my life without me needing to say anything. On one of our long phone calls (I can’t remember exactly what the conversation was about), my friend A said something that has stuck with me the most this year: “…but Ireju, everyone is afraid of something. We all have fears, they’re just dressed differently.” It resonated with me and made me realise even the most confident person has something they are insecure about. Even the most successful person has failed at something. That set me free to send in this post, and hopefully someone is reading it right now no matter how imperfect it is.
I put A’s theory to the test and asked some of my friends what they are most afraid of. My friend B said: “My fear looks like my eyeglasses I have to wear. They remind me that my eyesight is not perfect, so everyday I rock my cute glasses and wake up knowing it’s a gift I got to see the sun rise.”
My friend C said: “I’m afraid I might never find the right partner after a couple of failed relationships. In the meantime, I am enjoying being single, spoiling myself, learning to love me and my uncluttered space.”
You might ask what my fear looks like or what I’m insecure about. My answer is rejection emails and my stretch marks. Sometimes the posts I write don’t quite hit the mark and get turned down. They end up in a folder. I read it occasionally, just me, and that’s okay. As for my stretch marks, it’s still an ongoing battle. Some days I wear sleeveless clothes very confidently, other days I thank God my trusted black dress with the sleeves are available, and do a full face beat, and that’s okay too.
So tell me, what are you most insecure about, and what does your fear come dressed in? Please share. I’ll be in the comments reading.