Do I deserve to be here?

Models wearing dark colours walking down a catwalk

Attending my first Fashion Week made me reflect on the feeling of imposter syndrome.

A week or so ago, I got to live out one of my dreams: to attend Fashion Week as media. To experience being at a runway show, watching the beautiful clothes come down the catwalk, is surreal. Yet, I could not help but thinking: do I deserve to be here?

Even though I know I worked hard to get to this position, I could not help but compare myself to the much more successful journalists, models, and designers that I saw in attendance. Here I was, front row at a show: me, a lowly uni student from Adelaide! Ultimately, I felt like a fraud.

Imposter syndrome is a phenomenon that even the most successful of people have to encounter. It involves a feeling of self-doubt toward your accomplishments and achievements. You feel as if your success, intelligence, or creativity is not deserving of any recognition. It might manifest into feeling you do not belong in a certain job or workplace, or that an award was only given to you out of sympathy. Though not exclusively, it is often felt by accomplished women. 

There are clear negative effects to mental health. People experiencing imposter syndrome are prone to burn out, as they push themselves to reach impossibly high standards. These standards are often ultimately not met, since you feel guilty toward any success. Imposter syndrome truly messes with your head, leading to feelings of depression or anxiety. For me, I have often felt this way any time I accomplish something that I should be proud of. But how can you work to overcome it, even slightly?

First, sometimes you can channel this feeling of self-doubt into excitement. To feel as if I was not meant to be there added to the craziness of being immersed in such a magical experience at Fashion Week. I took a moment to be proud of myself for being able to attend. We went up to models and influencers and pretended we were bigger than we were: fashion absolutely being an industry where it helps to fake it till you make it.

Also, as hard as it is to recognise, you are meant to be where you are. Otherwise, you simply would not be there! Your talents and skill sets have contributed to your success. So though it was difficult to do so, I felt excited that my efforts had helped my fulfil one of my dreams.

Tagged in What messes with your head, imposter syndrome