I’ve had imposter syndrome countless times in my career as a creative — especially when it concerns my writing. Being from the San Francisco Bay Area, and especially since I work in Berkeley, I often felt that writing should be politicized. A voice for the people, so to say. It is what was taught to me in writing classes, in teaching classes, in workshops where those who wrote about the struggles of race, gender, and class were praised highly — and rightfully so.
Writing is where you leave your beliefs on full display, for the reader to pick apart, to judge or agree. Art is supposed to challenge the current norms, to force people to think differently. A tool to point people in the “right” direction.
But what if my art does not do that?
I am not here to lead a movement. For me, my art is an extension of myself, a limb to make sense of the world and my current experiences.
I guess this goes to show how privileged I am in my position in society to not be compelled to write these things. Does this mean my voice is less worthy to be heard? That I should be quiet in order for more needy voices to be heard?
Have I felt discrimination in my life? Looked down upon because I am a woman? Made fun of because I am part of a minority? Confused because of my Filipino background — not quite Asian because we are Pacific Islanders, not Pacific Islanders because we are Asian. Not Asian because of the Spanish Empire that still echoes through our culture today. And yet, still not Filipino because I am part of the diaspora who lost their mother tongue, tasting our culture only through food.
Yes. Of course, yes.
But what insights could I provide on those topics that has not already been said? If the market is so saturated, what use is it to add my voice to the throng when I could simply just support those voices who have already been heard, who are already speaking upon this topic? Those with already established audiences…
Can I even write anything in that matter, since everything that needs to be said has been said by writers greater than I? Topics such as love, abandonment, and spiritual turmoil — topics that I am compelled to write about.
I don’t know.
I can only write about things that ring true to me.
I am throwing poetry at the wall, hoping at least one of them sticks.