"Writing produces anxiety. Looking inside myself and my experience, looking at my conflicts, engenders anxiety in me. Being a writer feels very much like being a Chicana, or being a queer– a lot of squirming, coming up against all sorts of walls. Or its opposite: nothing defined or definite, a boundless, floating state of limbo where I kick my heels, brood, percolate, hibernate and wait for something to happen."
Gloria Anzaldúa, Borderlands
Women of Color, Impostor Syndrome, and The Left: On Being a Marxist Xicana Writer
Reading Borderlands in the midst of a tempestuous period in my personal and political growth has proven to be an exercise in understanding my cultural identity as much as it has been a political challenge. One which promises many insights and revelations if I can just make it to the other side.
Part of the challenge, however, involves working thru these political and cultural questions thru writing, and like Anzaldúa notes, there is a great deal of anxiety we experience when writing. For me, becoming a writer has been one of the hardest endeavors I’ve ever undertaken. Identifying as a Marxist Xicana writer, an even harder one.
However, because I don’t often write about myself or my lived experiences most of the anxiety I expereince comes from insecurities about my competence and skill. This, of course, is not a new thing. Women, and particularly women of color, suffer disporportionately from “impostor syndrome,” a psychological phenomenon in which people are unable to internalize their accomplishments despite evidence of their competence.
According to the Counceling Center at CalTech, “Impostor syndrome can be defined as a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist even in the face of information that indicates that the opposite is true. It is experienced internally as chronic self-doubt, and feelings of intellectual fraudulence.”
I remember first learning of impostor syndrome about a year ago and feeling like I’d finally discovered the root of so much of my anxiety in academia as well as in activist circles. I now had a term for what I’d been feeling all my life and understanding my feelings and their consequenes has been a taxing project I’ve had to undertake in order to be able to move forward as a woman of color writer and activist.
Perhaps this is why I have always subconsciously sought out recognition with more frequency than perhaps others do– not so much to fullfil a need to feel important or recognized, but rather as a means by which to convince myself of my own competency. And because I’m not just a woman, but a first-generation Xicana, I’ve had to straddle both worlds and convince myself AND them of my competency and worth.
Let me tell you, this shit is hella exhausting! So if we, the left, want to see more women of color getting involved and leading our movements, I’ma need y’all to be conscious of our socio-political struggles cause trying to survive is hard enough but we out here hustling to thrive in a world that’s stacked all possible odds against us.
Italy: Gay couple told their blood had been ‘thrown away’ despite being regular donors
A gay couple in Italy have alerted police after being turned away from blood donation clinic, saying nurses told them their blood had been “thrown away” in the past.
How is this shocking? You can’t donate blood in the US if you’ve had sex with a man who has sex with a man since 1977.