“Power is perceived. No one has it; you just say you have it and other people will believe you.”
The Collapse series is a complete passion project for me, an opportunity for me to learn and explore the topics that already fascinated me. When I started, I vowed to try to represent different belief systems with respect, following the ‘rules’ of each. That research led me to draw connections between different ideologies, eventually building out the mythology that lies as the backbone of my stories. Some of these ideas resonated with me while building my own little post-apoc world, particularly the idea of manifestation.
On it’s face, to manifest simply means to make something clear or obvious to the mind or eye. Over the years, it’s come to represent the art of positive thinking, of shaping reality by speaking the desired results into existence. The concept lives, in whole or part, within most major religions (if you’re interested, here are articles on optimism and the laws of attraction as they appear in Christianity, Islamic traditions, and Yoga, just to name a few). I intend to do a deeper dive into the mythology of the Collapse / beliefs and human experiences as we go (so subscribe for updates on when those are out!) but for today, I want to talk a little about believing in yourself.
It sounds a little like an inspirational poster, but bear with me.
Growing up, I was never an athlete. Very early, I built an ego around my intelligence to compensate from what I felt was a lack of physical impressiveness. I believed this was something intrinsic to me; people either are or they aren’t, they have or they have not.
Then my journey into yoga, triathlons, injury, and eventually weightlifting helped me to understand that while being an “athlete” may denote a physical aptitude, as my husband (the coach) would say, “being an athlete is a mindset.” Being an athlete means discovering the resilience to persevere through challenge, a journey which all of us find ourselves on at some point or another.
Now let me ask you: what’s something you have always wanted to achieve? You likely have a skill or goal in mind already, something you have seen others do and felt envious over not having done it yourself. Something that, when you construct a “dream” version of you (your idea of the “best” version of you, even), you are always sure to include.
So the next question is: what’s stopping you from moving in that direction? Is it that you feel like you are not worthy? Or are not cut out for it? Do you feel like an impostor?
With all new and scary things, impostor syndrome follows. We all walk into a new class, pick up a new hobby, or set ourselves up as professionals (in real life or on social media) with overwhelming self doubt. We are certain that successful people have something we don’t. They are inherently different.
I will let you in on a little secret: in most cases, success is a mix of hard work, hustle, dedication to development, good timing, and a shit ton of belief. The people who achieve their goals are the ones who take the idea seriously, who are willing to look at the requirements and say “I can do that.” Most of us live in fear of failure, and our fear that we might not make it (and the embarrassment that follows) is enough to keep us from trying. But what if you chalked it up to experience? What if every failure really was a step in the right direction? What if you could glean something from each step that made the next step better?
Don’t think you have what it takes? You probably don’t. Not yet. So start faking it. Start studying. Start developing your craft. Start telling yourself that you are what you want to be. Then start telling others.
No one can take you seriously until you start taking yourself seriously.
Side note: as I’m writing, “High Hopes,” by Panic! At the Disco just came on the radio. If you haven’t heard it, the lyrics are about exactly this topic.
It also occurred to me while listening (for the first time) that ‘Manifest Destiny’ is not merely an allegory or tagline, but an action, a belief that one could manifest their destiny. So while this is not an endorsement of American imperialism, conquest, or (violent) westward expansion into Native American lands, I would still call on you each to go forth and manifest your destinies!