I see you.
I see you doubting yourself.
I want to tell you right here and right now that the internal monologue that is telling you that you aren’t good enough, that you are an imposter it’s lying to you – big, fat bare-faced lies.
You see the imposter syndrome that we get, the doubts we have about our self-worth, our intelligence, our legitimacy in these spaces. It’s the syndrome that people with authenticity, lived experience, and integrity suffers from in colonial spaces and with people who have their positions because of their privilege. This syndrome we suffer really should be called humility-because that’s a far more accurate term.
So, babes, ride on through it. You are the real deal. You are raw. You are real – and real is rare. You are every one of your grandmothers’ dreams come true.
You come from a whole line of ancestors whose DNA courses through your veins; their wisdom rests comfortably in your soul’s bones. You carry the blood of centuries of soft, stubborn warrior women. They did not live and die for you to doubt yourself. You have many lifetimes of stamina, eons of strength. Our creation is ongoing. You have 233 years of rage in your body. Do not soften yourself to appease colonial fragility. Keep your wild eyes and your poet’s heart. Flick off those parasites that are sucking on your magic because you are in this space in spite of the white structures that have historically excluded our people, erased us and held us captive against our will. These are the same structures that have beaten and shamed our old people for their knowledge – yet those same colonisers want to profit off our experiences and commodify our stories no bpup-bpup ngan, in a world where little truth exists, stand out like a beacon. Stand alone and burn as bright as you can, start a wildfire of ideas, don’t shrink, be that meteor sailing across the midnight sky because you are a fire to be reckoned with. And if the rest of the colonial world doesn’t see that, well, it’s because they are too busy guarding their light which they know is far dimmer than yours.
Remind yourself of why, out of all the billions and millions of people wondering upon this sacred earth, you are in this space doing this work. Our existence does not orbit around the Karen’s and Becky’s of this world, recalibrate and vibrate to our grandmothers’ energy and rhythms and every one of your sisters who stand by your side – because you aren’t made of broken pieces of broken bits. You know the genesis of every scar on your body, even ones that rest beneath your skin, ones that tease the edges of your spirit, threatening to breach the guard you have posted at the gate. No, my darling, you aren’t a paragraph. You’re the whole god damned story, babes. You are sitting on the edge of knowing. You are the resistance. You are hope made flesh.
You are a form of beautiful chaos, a force to be reckoned with.
So, shake off colonial expectations.
Shake off the guilt they imprint on our bodies.
Free your hurricane mind and put on your cloak because you aren’t ordinary darling. It’s not a coat that looks best on you. You and I are split from the same star, so let’s stand together and fan a flame. It will either light away or burn a path depending on what stands before us – but either way, don’t look back because you’re not going that way.
Love Mama X
Tabitha Lean is a Gunditjmara woman living on Kaurna country. As a First Nation woman I am blessed to have my mother’s stories and the blood of all the women before me coursing through my veins. It is in their honour, that I centre their unique knowledge, voices and stories in all my work.