I am enough.
Every day I fight with myself. I fight every day with imposter syndrome and the fear of being too old, a woman and not social enough for the tech community in Chicago. At nearly every networking event I attend, there are video game machines, ping pong tables, open floor plans, fancy coffee bars and kitchens, and BEER ON TAP. I enjoy coffee and would like to play games on occasion, but hate beer and drinking culture. I don’t judge others who enjoy drinking, but I really have no interest in participating in the social events. Am I just too old? Do they want to attract ONLY millennials and recent college grads? I don’t think an open floor plan is conductive to concentration, and I do not want to be forced to listen to everyones banter and gossip.
I fight the fear of not fitting in, not being smart enough, not knowing enough, not having a CS degree, and thus possibly not being able to pass a technical challenge in an interview —for which I have yet to even be given the opportunity. However, having given up my business and committed entirely to improving myself and my life by changing careers, I am still as dedicated as ever. I know I can do this. I have gone through worse. I have been poorer, worked harder, survived 22 years of being a single mom while running my own business all alone, raising two successful, beautiful, healthy, intelligent daughters, and saved many animals by being a significant player in the rescue community.
I struggle to make enough money to feed my family while I am searching for my first job as an Android developer, driving for Lyft as much as I can mentally and physically tolerate, while also trying to find time to study, to work on projects and to take more courses online. (I love Lyft as a company — for its opportunities and ideals— but I really just don’t enjoy driving and I come out stiff, sore and exhausted after every shift.)
This morning I read a couple of Medium posts I’d like to share with you. They made me feel a little better:
“I want to quit. Right now.” by @Jonwestenberg https://medium.com/hi-my-name-is-jon/i-want-to-quit-right-now-1e59c4a6828a#.yi0hod7nd
“Fuck You Startup World” by @shemag8 https://medium.com/@shemag8/fuck-you-startup-world-ab6cc72fad0e#.qiu8u0763
I liked Jon W’s post, especially, because of this quote:
The right path is the one you want to be on. And yeah, you’ll want to quit, but you’ll be just like the rest of us if you go through that. Being an artist, being a creative, being an entrepreneur, it’s about fighting with yourself to keep playing the game when it all feels hopeless. It’s about making one more gamble, and every time, setting your sights on a win, instead of leaving the table.
You know what? I WANT to be on this path. I’m not letting anything get in my way. I want to be the developer people go to for help — and who is able give it to them. I want to be the middle aged woman who inspires others like her to change careers into tech — or any field they want to be a part of. I want to be an inspiration to my daughters to believe in themselves, and to go for what they want in life, despite the challenges, depression, and their fears. I am enough. I don’t always feel like I am, but inside, I KNOW.
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