Imposter Syndrome is that horrible feeling in the pit of your stomach, that any moment now you’re going to be found out, that you don’t deserve to be where you are. And lots of us suffer from it. Vicky Walker discussed the issue with Bex Lewis, Natalie Collins and Jo Dolby who all talked about their own experience of Imposter Syndrome and gave tips on how to deal with it. Jo Royal summed it up as comparing your insides with other people’s outsides. It was really liberating to hear how widespread it is and to be given practical suggestions for how to deal with it. Cecilia Eggleston has written about the day on her blog, including how this issue affects her.
Rosemary Lain Priestley is a priest and works as Dean of Women in the central area of the London Diocese. She chairs the Church of England’s national network of advisers in women’s ministry and does a lot of work on the inclusion and flourishing of ordained women in the Church of England. She spoke to us about Authentic Inclusion and the fact that God welcomes everyone and loves us for who we are, not what we do or produce. She said: ‘It’s that principle of inclusion, based not on status but solely on God’s love for us, not on our achievements but on God’s grace, that sets the scene for Jesus’s radically inclusive relationships with women, with people who were vulnerable because they were poor or socially marginalised, with those who were sick or dying, with tax collectors and sex workers, with people entirely outside the Jewish community like the Syro-Phoenician woman who persuaded him to heal her daughter and the Samaritan woman at the well with whom Jesus broke social taboos and made himself ritually unclean just by sitting and talking with her and sharing her water.’ You can find her talk on her website.
Next was our regular celebration of a woman in leadership. Wendy interviewed Liz Clutterbuck, who has trained for ordained ministry but was not able to find a curacy for this year. Liz talked honestly about feelings of disappointment and confusion, how she has coped with friends being ordained and started curacies and what she’s doing now.
Finally we heard from Jendella Hallam Benson, a photographer, filmmaker and writer based in London. She talked about her latest work, the Young Motherhood project, which enables women to tell their stories of being young mothers. Jeni had been thinking about doing the project but got the final impetus to do it at a previous GWL which was very encouraging to hear! She says: ‘Unlike common documentary photographic practices I do not wish to co-opt the stories of the “marginalised” or “disadvantaged”. The most important part of this project was travelling around the UK to photograph and interview 27 women who are, or have been, young mothers – that is women who have given birth to children in their early twenties or below – to hear directly from them what their experiences have been raising their children. I see myself as using my skills to amplify their voices in the hopes that their experiences can intelligently inform discussion and start a much-needed conversation within our communities on how best to support young families in our common goal for an inclusive and healthy society.’