If We Are All Imposters, None of Us Are

Outgoing Editor-in-Chief Madison Miszewski has just finished her final year at KCL studying History, and is planning on pursuing a Masters in International Development and Humanitarian Emergencies at LSE this coming autumn. Her interests include forced migration, decolonisation, queerness, diplomacy and a good gin and tonic on a Friday evening.

[Feature Image: Front of the Maughan Library at Kings College London, with students entering and exiting]

Dear Readers,

After 3 years, 194 articles, just under 100 interviews, and hundreds of hours of editing, creating, and loving this publication, it is time to say goodbye. 

I have spent a lot of time over the past few months in isolation thinking about what working on the Clandestine has meant to me, the doors it has opened and the lessons it has taught. It has brought me to some of my closest friends, given me the chance to speak to my mentors, and provided me with a platform upon which I have been able to learn and grow with it. It has become a part of me. I want to leave this publication with a love letter, and what better way to show love than to share what the Clandestine has taught me? 

Our histories are the ones that are whispered. That is why I renamed the Clandestine two years ago, to pay homage to those who have been forced to share their world shattering ideas in the shadows. To all those who have ever been called Anonymous, our blog was, is, and will always be for you. When I renamed the blog, I didn’t think that it would be more than just a historical calling card. But when I became the Editor-in-Chief, I began to notice a pattern.

Every woman or person of a marginalised gender I would approach to write an article, ask for an interview, or even inquire for an opinion would always respond in the same manner. ‘I don’t have anything interesting to say’. The first time I heard this I remember responding quickly, giving hasty affirmations and asking when they would want to write their piece for. It wasn’t until months into running this publication that I realised not a single person I asked to write for the Clandestine had ever responded to my request without doubting the worth of what they had to share with the world. When I realised this, I started to respond differently to those I asked to write for us. Instead of providing a moment of assurance, I began to ask ‘why?’. These are the conversations that helped me to grow as a woman, a queer woman, and a white woman, during my time here. That one word question led to contributors sharing with me feelings of insecurity, insignificance, and imposterism. Women I looked up to told me they felt as though their voices didn’t matter, close friends disclosed histories of abuse, KCL staff shared stories of hardship – all trying to underscore why their own voices should not matter. Because this is what we are taught to do when we are not raised as men, we are taught that our experiences of pain, deprivation, and silence disqualify our voices from shaping our collective future. 

But as soon as each of these contributors shared their thoughts, their goals, their hopes for the world, they proved themselves wrong. They wrote articles that forced the KCL administration to answer for refusing to decolonise, shared intimate, painful, and raw stories about abortion, gender affirmation surgeries, and sexual assault, and even offered insights into daily sexism on their morning commutes. Those who made this publication what it is have made me laugh, cry, and consider yelling at men on the tube and did so whilst often feeling like imposters here at King’s.

It is then that I began to notice excellence in every woman, every person of a marginalised gender, everywhere. I began to listen more in my seminars, to bring in my non-male classmates where they had something to share. I worked harder to listen to my friends, to uplift their ideas and their voices where mine was already loud. I made sure to honor the achievements of my non-male professors, even those I profoundly disagreed with. I have identified as a feminist since I can remember learning the word, but I must be honest here that my feminism had long been focused on an internal kind of empowerment. One where I made sure I did not feel like an imposter. It wasn’t until I gave myself to this publication that I realised everyone else felt like this too. Over the past three years, the Clandestine has changed so many of my ‘I’s’, into ‘we’s’ I am unable to recognise the person I was before it. 

To those who have given their voices to the Clandestine, the activists, organisers, artists, UN employees, future Pulitzer winners, foodies, travellers, lovers, friends, and mentors – thank you. And remember the lesson it taught me: if we all feel like imposters, none of us are.

In love and unity,

Madison Miszewski

Editor-in-Chief (2018-2020)

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