How Nature Helped Me Overcome Imposture Syndrome

I will be like a tree planted by the still waters, steadfast and unmovable. I have no idea how many times I've heard some version of this saying growing up in Southern Baptist Black churches in South Carolina. In the context of Christianity, it is a warning. A command to stand fast and wait on the Lord. A command to be complacent and passive in one's own life because this life doesn't belong to the individual; it belongs to God.

I'm not a Christian. I don't acquiesce to the command of a God who desires my subservient compliance and blind adoration; however, I am definitely down with being like a tree planted by the still waters. On Tuesday, April 12, 2021; I went for my normal morning walk in my neighborhood. Three miles, four days a week... thank you very much. 😁 Anyway, I am living the path and gave myself over to the magic of the natural environment. Noticing how beautiful the monochromatic green scape was. How amazing it all seemed to work together without competition or disharmony.

I noticed one of the branches had been cut away from a gorgeous Ash. I also noticed how the wound was filled in with solidified sap. In my observation and connection with nature, I realized we aren't unlike trees in our own natural ability. Regardless of how we sustain them, we are equipped to self-administer our own form of 'sap' to fill in and heal what hurts us most.

As I continued my walk, I thought about how this metaphore applies to me as a writer. What areas have I been wounded in, but have failed to admisnister the healing balm? Lately; I've been seeing so many social media posts about Imposture Syndrome and honestly, I had no idea what the hell it was. But writers seem to suffer greatly from whatever it is. 

After looking up this phenomenon, I realized two things: one: I've been suffering with this syndrome since I decided to take a stab at professionaly writing and, two: This syndrome is an injury that we can heal ourselves. Which brings me to my Tuesday morning walk. (Stick with me... It comes together quite nicely, promise πŸ˜ƒ)

Writers are a unique and particularly tortured bunch of individuals who never find the elusive perfection we seek. We either seek to create perfection in our writing, in our philanthropic endeavors, or through our lifestyles. Ask any writer how many times they've agonized about using one word over the other when they mean the exact same damn thing. It's horrible! Pushing that 'publish' button and running into the nearest room with a door that locks and screaming like a banshee until the tears all dry up and/or the cops have been called to haul our crazy asses away from the self-destructive spiral we spin into.

Where does this anxiety come from? The same place all dense energy in motion comes from... Fear. Fear of not being good enough. Fear of being laughed at, ridiculed. God forbid, others don't understand what the hell we're trying to do or say with our writing. Why does it matter? Simple...

Injured Writers Create from a Wounded and Bruised Place.

So, what if they do, what's that have to do with being like a damn tree? Remember I spoke about how the wounds on the tree were filled with solidified sap? We have the same ability to comfort and heal our wounds as the trees do. We are so good at dishing out love, compassion, and forgiveness to everyone and their mommas but when it comes to giving that same sugar-honey-ice-tea to ourselves... we never remember we deserve to have it as much as the next guy. Be like a tree planted by still waters. 

When part of you is broken, release a little love to that part of yourself. Let it flow until it fills in the cracks, making it stronger and impervious to whatever tried to destroy it in the first place. When the time comes to prune pieces that are no longer viable to your growth, release some compassion to yourself for having the strength it takes to recognize what parts of yourself have been holding you back and being willing to remove them. When strong winds, rains, and storms blow into your life and uproot what you thought was unmovable, release forgiveness to yourself. Know it's alright to miscalculate or overestimate situations. It's all right to trust in something or someone who lets you down. 

Trees, like writers, give all of themselves to those who readily recognize their beauty and bask in the magic created because they simply exist. Rarely are trees and/or writers, for that matter, seen as the complex divine entities they are. So, yes. Be like the trees planted by still waters. Actively engaged in the growth, healing, comfort, and creation of self and magic. Knowing full-well the life given is not a passive act of compliance but a defiant and willful act of strength, power, and healing. 

Because as writers, we are so damn willing to cut ourselves open and bleed the truth of humanity's lies. Like all artists, we are the healers of souls. In order to fulfill that role, we are required to heal our own souls, as well. Required to acknowledge the dense shadow versions of ourselves and cover them with love, compassion, and forgiveness. Challenged to live with every aspect of self without fear, guilt, judgment, or shame. In that place of total acceptance of difficult and easy, dark and light, open and closed-off; that's where the magic of writing happens. 

Whole Writers Create from a Place of Acceptance, Love, Compassion, and Forgiveness.

This is also where the magic of Nature happens. This place of acceptance. Ease, light, and openess. I was on my way back home from another day's walk and was surrounded by dandelion fluff. I always notice it, how could I not? But this time, I stopped moving ans allowed myself to be still. Got really quiet and listened to the universal language most of us don't even know we know. πŸ˜‰ The fluff was moving in such haphazard ways, my first thought was how does it know where to go? What if it doesn't make it? Is the fluff moving against the wind to push toward the place it thinks is best? 

Quieting those thoughts, I stood like a tree planted by still waters and listened. This is the message nature shared with me and I'm happy to share it with you...


Remember, life is a series of moments and just because you wander through them, doesn't necessarily mean you're lost. Thanks for sharing this enchanted moment with me.



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