From the time I was a wee girl, being on TV was all I ever wanted. It’s cute when you’re a kid, but as you get older, people have no problem vomiting all over your dreams with their pessimism and their own issues of inadequacy and insecurities.
Them: “What do you want to be when you grow up, Kristina?”
Me: “I want to move to Hollywood and be on TV.”
Them: “There’s a lot of competition out there. Not many people make it.”
Them: “That’s never going to happen.”
Them: “If you leave, you’ll be back. They always come back.”
Them: “You’ll be pregnant before you get out of high school.”
Them: “People like us don’t do things like that.”
You all know who you are but no hard feeling though ’cause it was my “I’ll show you!’ mentality that kept me going all the way to Hollywood to interview George Clooney on the red carpet…on TV.
But this story doesn’t end with my victory dance, not yet anyway. I wish I could say that I was completely unaffected by what I had been told over and over that as a poor Mexican kid growing up in cowtown USA with a mom on welfare and a dad in jail that I wouldn’t amount to anything. I wish I could say that I rose above it—left those bull shit comments in the small town I left behind. Nope, those negative comments found hiding places all through my psyche for just their perfect time to come out and fuck with me.
People ask all the time how I managed to get so far in my career so quickly and my answer is always simply “By the Grace of God.” He set me on a path, intent on my succeeding. He gave me a confidence and a fire that burned deep down and whispered to me that one day all my dreams would come true. My job was to believe it, pursue it, achieve it, and do it all with unwavering faith. And I did. As a result, all of my wildest dreams were coming true.
That realization came to me one day on the E! News set, side by side with some of the best in the biz, money, status, all of my dreams unfolding as God had promised…and I panicked.
While I did well at E! and was really good at my job, I lived in fear that I would be ‘found out’; that the powers-that-be would realize that they’d made a horrible mistake; that I was out of my league and that I didn’t belong. They’d realize that I was just a welfare kid from the sticks who would never be more than just a welfare kid from the sticks just like all those people back home said I was.
This is the fear that I felt for the entire six years while I was at E!. To be clear, nothing was ever done to me to make me feel this way. There were instances when others would get promoted over me but instead of insisting I get my shot, try to prove myself worthy as I had done before to get to this point in my career, I just put my head down, tried not to make any noise, and just hoped that no one would notice that they’d accidentally just renewed my contract.
It wasn’t until I left E! that I truly understood how I had been self-sabotaging my own career and if I didn’t get my mind straight, then I would never appreciate my accomplishments for what they were — gifts that God had promised me. It has taken a lot of soul searching, church, and prayer to work past these feelings of inadequacy–and I still work through them every day. But I have no doubt that God intended I walk through this and get through this for one reason and one reason only: He ain’t done with me yet.
Impostor syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenon, fraud syndrome or the impostor experience) is a psychological pattern in which people doubt their accomplishments and have a persistent, often internalized fear of being exposed as a “fraud”.