Unpacking My Imposter Syndrome With My Therapist

Thaina S. Joyce

I can’t speak for everyone but I can say that imposter syndrome is real 
in the Latinx community. I’ve felt it before I knew it had a name,
right when the consul approved my American visa to fly across the Atlantic 

ocean and land in The Big Apple. A dream lived through the Au Pair 
experience, an adventure that my hustling could afford.  I’m a  gringa now
reading Emma Lazarus’ poem under the Statue of Liberty, 

yearning to be free in the land of opportunities, 
I didn’t always have. I am my ancestors’ wildest dreams, 
born from the marriage of resilience and resistance. I’m a Latina 

woman of color, with many complex layers for simplified labels. I’m not melted 
in a pot. I’m still here having to prove myself, my cost of living. 
Running through hoops, and crossing finish lines.

I stood on a flat podium entirely out of breath, feeling dull, 
completely inadequate. Believing every achievement 
I’ve ever had, doesn’t belong to me. I’m frail 

by my own strengths. Feeling like a supporting character, 
never a protagonist in the story I authored. People where 
I come from, spend their lives living to work, 

but I get to work to live? I am a complete fraud. 
A ghostwriter of a joyful story everyone can see 
but me. Guilt throws me a party, and thrill is the last 

to show up. I receive compliments like the beer
I never drink because it doesn’t sit right. I’ve got a gold knife 
that stabs in the center of the status quo, a life that feels 

like a loophole. I am supposed to celebrate, right? Go ahead, 
give me a medal. My mother says her dreams are coming true 
through mine. Not a day goes by without wishing to shatter

everything I have into small pieces and offer each piece 
to the people I love. Thoughts I hide behind my mask.

I don’t want to seem ungrateful but

Am I even worth the applause?

Thaina (she/her) is a Brazilian-American poet and educator based in Maryland. Her poetry has been featured in Sledgehammer Lit, Olney Magazine, Lumiere Review, and elsewhere. She hopes her work will empower, connect the human experience, and evoke new perspectives. Find her on IG: @thainawrites Twitter: @teedistrict