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#HERStory Navigating Hidden Battles

Submitted by: Maria

My journey didn't start in the grandiose halls of justice but in a modest, vibrant but small community where dreams were nurtured and the value of hard work was known to all. As a daughter of immigrants, the dreams of my parents and the hopes of my ancestors were my truest companions, guiding my path and fueling my ambition. Yet, beneath the surface of my achievements and accolades, a storm brewed—full of doubt and fear, hidden from the world by a "veil" of confidence.

This is my #HERStory – a story of battles fought in silence, and the triumph of the human spirit as I navigate the complexities of being a first-generation immigrant and a student while I silently struggled with high-functioning anxiety and imposter syndrome... And honestly, feeling unworthy in spaces that were never mine.

Anxiety, for me, wasn't just a word; it was a reality—a shadow that followed me everywhere, casting doubts and clouding my achievements with thoughts of unworthiness. At a young age, seeing my family work hard to provide for myself and my siblings, I knew I wanted to do more and be more to help them when I got older. I have witnessed "those who were supposed to protect us" abuse the law and those who were supposed to help "navigate and enforce the law" on behalf of the people, barely do their job. Because "we couldn't speak English, there's need to know the laws". This was so isolating.. and we became "voiceless" at one point.

So I vowed to not only educate myself, my family, and my community, but to be apart of that same legal field and to show others they are SEEN.

But.. imposter syndrome was my secret uninvited guest, making me feel like a fraud in the very profession I wished to excel in. But I was a fighter, a woman whose resilience was forged in the fires of adversity. I began to learn to channel my anxiety, turning it into a force that drove me, that honed my focus and fueled my passion for justice. I slowly transformed my imposter syndrome into a quest for knowledge, pushing me to learn more, do more, and be more... And I know it's poor upon my health to overwork myself, but this was my one exception.

The journey wasn't easy. Transitioning from a young girl in frowned upon "foreign" community to becoming a beacon of hope in the legal realm was worth the challenges. Adapting to a new culture, navigating the demanding landscape of law school, and finding my place in the competitive world of law that was never welcoming, tested me in every way. But with every challenge, I grew stronger, more determined to not just navigate my path but to pave the way for others like like.

I want my journey to be a reminder that the road to success is filled with obstacles, but it's how we face those obstacles that defines us. It's an invitation to embrace our fears, to see them not as barriers but as gateways to our true potential.

"Camina siempre hacia adelante, llevando tus raíces contigo, pues ellas te darán la fuerza para alcanzar tus sueños."



Thank You Maria; as a woman of color that suffers from anxiety herself, I complete understand your upbringing and using knowledge/education as a necessary outlet. Despite Imposter Syndrome being introduced in the 1970's, it is more found in women with "untraditional" but significantly excelled academically but full of self doubt that they failed. Just know, which I am sure you do, you are more than worthy to be in the space that you are in. The "little you" that believed she could, DID! You should be so proud of yourself. You may have faced language barriers, cultural differences, and discrimination along the way but you are still here.



Below is a NEW RESOURCE. This link we send you to Latinx Therapy. This website has Latinx podcasts, national therapist list for several states, courses/workshops, and wellness resource tab. PLEASE utilize this when and if needed. No matter your lifestyle or credentials, mental health care is for everyone.

PLEASE, feel free to locate our own mental health resource tab to locate a mental health professional at a free or reduced rate, but also you can take a mental health assessment that align with your current symptoms.

If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available. Call or Text 988 or chat to reach the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.

You can also text NAMI to 741-741 to be connected to a free, trained crisis counselor on the Crisis Text Line.

If you can relate to this submitted story, comment and share your own #WWHHW moment.

**This forum is not a substitute to getting professional help

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