“You don’t belong here,” whispers the critical voice in my head.

“Look around, these people are older than you, wiser than you, better than you.” I wonder what they make of me, the only women in the boardroom. If I were to hazard a guess, I’d say I’m at least 10 years younger than the most junior white male in the room. My mind feels like a bomb about to explode – overwhelmed by this uncontrollable flow of negative subconscious misconceptions about both them and me.

Standing out without a choice
Speaking up without a voice
Looking down, lost

“You don’t belong there,” the nagging voice goes on.

In a dream, standing on stage and presenting ideas about the possibility and necessity of a world without borders, I imagine myself collapsing in a puddle of disgusting sweat. Who am I to have and share such utopian world views? What other stupid ideas does my brain have in store? Why can’t I just shake off this feeling that I belong nowhere? 

Not an expert
Not qualified
No one

“You don’t belong anywhere.”

The void at my core grows wider and deeper. These words like millions of knives tear my body apart. I have known these emotions for as long as I can remember – the feeling of loneliness in the middle of a packed crowd, of inadequacy in the middle of a successful moment, of sadness in the middle of a burst of laughter. 


Hold on. Taking a deep breath filled with a conflicted mix of fear and courage, I mutter to myself… “Dear invisible evil, heartless inner voice, destructive alter-ego, let me ask you this in return: what makes you think you belong to me?!”