I have mentored and advised students as an educator for nearly ten years. One day, I had a meeting with one of my students who was a STEM major (I have the pleasure of working with college students). She has a brilliant mind and will impact change to improve the lives of a lot of people. She already has. She is ranked in the top 5% of her class; serves in leadership positions on campus and the community; helps those she cares about; and has been recognized for her many accomplishments. However, there she was, sitting in front of me, telling me that she did not believe that she was doing enough. She said, "Dr. English, I feel like an imposter. Other people are doing way more than I am."
I wasn't disappointed. I wasn't even shocked. I felt a deep need to help. I needed to take action. Unfortunately, the student's story isn't unique. I have had several students who think this way about themselves and their status in life. However, this particular conversation was a trigger for me and reminded me of my own past struggles with imposter syndrome and comparing myself to other people. This conversation forced me to move For Chambers from ideas on my sketchpad to clothing and apparel that I hope will enter as many closets across the world as possible.
The conversation took me back to a challenging period in my life where I was miserable because I compared almost everything that I did to other people. Like her, I had all these self-imposed standards based on various people that I thought ‘had it all together.’
In the midst of it all, social media platforms were launched, which only made matters worse because now I seemed to have unlimited access to the resources I needed to compare myself to even more people. Wonderful, right?
Years went by, and I felt like I was just existing. I wasn't living. Everything came to a head in college. I remember competing at a track meet, and I performed horribly (I was a long and triple jumper). See - one of the top-ranked jumpers was at the meet, and I began to compare myself to him. I began to question my preparation, strategy, and form. I was so focused on him that I ignored my own talents and skills. That day, I reached my tipping point. I guess I got tired of being sick and tired. I had a paradigm shift. I realized that continually comparing myself to others would only be a distraction, and I would never be satisfied. I had that thought for a while, but that day I finally dared to confront my fear and do something about it. It didn't happen overnight. It was most definitely a process, and I have good days and bad days, yet I recover quicker, and the good days certainly outweigh the bad.
I have rediscovered my power throughout the years because I have stopped comparing my progress to other people's progress. Also, I learned to stop blaming people for my perspectives. It wasn’t social media’s fault, it wasn’t my parents’ fault, and it wasn’t anyone’s fault. I am responsible for my own happiness.
For Chambers, launched on March 31, 2020, was developed during my radical self-care and growth season. I don't want anyone else to struggle with comparison culture – not my students, not my colleagues, not my friends or family – not anyone. We all have unique abilities, and those can only be nurtured if you are the primary one doing your own nurturing. Through For Chambers, I have combined style, honest dialogue, and giving to share that message.
At For Chambers, we feel that the clothing that you wear is an extension of you. And - the words that you say speak power over your life and the lives of others. We believe that wholeheartedly. We have designed apparel that boasts powerful phrases that counteract the notion of comparing yourself to others. Your journey is your journey, and no one else's. Our mission is to share that message with as many people as we can.
I am immensely grateful for the love and support that we've received. With every piece of For Chambers apparel, we hope to start a dialogue, whether internal or external. I hope to create a community for those who want to live within their power at all times - even when the situation isn't perfect. We also take our community support a step further by donating 5% of sales to education organizations that help students living and learning in underfunded and underserved communities.
Shop with us, and let's support each other on our journeys!
Proud Owner and Creative Director of For Chambers