I had a very Interesting scenario in the post office today. But I’ll tell you, no one else there even realized how significant of an event happened, or even that there was an event. I almost lost a huge chunk of the me I’ve been working to become. Because my invisibility cloak and imposter syndrome showed up in an instant.
If you haven’t followed me for a while, you may not know what my invisibility cloak is. It’s the shield I wear when I want to blend in, to not be noticed. When I am hiding in plain sight. I wore it for 20 years, starting when in was a teenager. I’ve been working for 2 full years to remove it from my wardrobe.
So at the post office, of our small town, I ran into a friend whom I hadn’t seen in a while. She said she was excited about all the stuff I am doing and creating in our community. And she said it IN FRONT OF OTHER PEOPLE. (insert ‘Psycho’ music here)
I felt the older gentleman standing in line behind her turn and look at me. My body’s muscle memory received the attention as “HE’S STARING AT ME, thinking “who the crap is this girl, and what’s SHE doing saying she’s on the Chamber of Commerce Board.” The hair on the back of my neck stood up, and I was ready to flee.
It was not even a choice I made, that cloak was back as if it had never left me. I resisted the impulse to hang my head in shame, and lower my voice.
The irony of this specific stranger’s attention is - I SPEAK TO AUDIENCES ON STAGE. People stare at me when I am giving a presentation. Yet, here I was standing in the Post Office with a handful of people looking bored while standing in line (who probably weren’t even really listening or paying attention), feeling like hiding or running away from a stranger’s lazy gaze.
But here’s the thing. It was actually a victory. Wait, what? No, it was, I swear.
Because I RECOGNIZED what it was. I realized IN THAT MOMENT what was happening, and that it didn’t have its full power over me any more. I was able to consciously stop my instinctual response - that was a HABIT for years and years.
This is where there is MASSIVE growth for me. Have you had an experience like this before? Where you recognize an old shadow of your old self showing up uninvited?
I’ve been working on this exact shadow of who I WAS for YEARS. It does not go away overnight. It’s WORK. It’s constant. It’s frustrating. And there are STILL times when I give in, say, “I’m too tired to fight today,” and turn tail and run.
And it’s OK.
Because now, I have more days than I don’t where those shadows don’t get to choose for me. I choose. I decide.
This is what I wanted to share with you. Those things that are holding you back, you’re strong enough to tell them to leave you alone. You get to tell the mean-girl shadow to SHUT UP.
I don’t want to mislead you and tell you that every day is easy. Because it’s not. But the hard days don’t have to last.
Choose to let yourself out-grow that shadow of who you were. You don’t have to leave all of you behind. In fact, I hope you take the core of who you are with you! Because you’re a good person, and the world needs more of you - showing up as the real, now you.
Just like it needs me to tell that shadow who wants me to run away, out of the POST OFFICE of all places, that she isn’t who I am anymore.
We are stronger, and the old shadow us-es, they can be outshined with our new brighter light. The light that says, ‘I am here, and standing in my own power.’