I Want More For Myself

I had a bit of a cathartic weekend.

It was sparked by a book, as most of my catharses usually are.  I have a hard time tuning into my feelings without the gentle nudging of things like literature or movies–something that I am getting better at but still floundering with like a child learning to walk.

On Saturday I received Andie Mitchell’s book It Was Me All Along in the mail. I settled in for a rousing Saturday night of yoga pants and reading, started the book, and finished it 3 hours later. Her book was amazing, no doubt, and in fact you should all go and buy it, but it was the tipping point in what had been rolling over and over in my head for the last week or so.

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Afterwards, I felt compelled to write, as it is one of my oldest loves, and I was finally able to boil down through writing what I couldn’t conceptualize before.

I want more for myself. 

I am constantly in awe of the people I surround myself with–be them real, live human beings that I interact with or those of you whose blogs I follow and admire immensely (but not in a weird stalker way…yet).  I get so much inspiration from you, the risks you take, and your general outlook on life.

I think I turned a blind eye to my potential once I lost my future and my career. Once it became public that I was not the person that everyone assumed me to be, once I no longer recognized who I was, once I lost everything, my desire to excel and achieve seemed to disappear.  I didn’t recognize it at first because getting a job after 9 months in jail is something to be proud of, especially when it’s one outside the only field you have ever worked in and are legally prohibited from returning to. Being able to get any job was a success in my books.

I became comfortable in that field of employment; I felt safe. So I stayed and continued that field in another company. As long as I wasn’t in jail, as long as I wasn’t drinking or using or lying to everyone I knew, I was safe.

Safety is a funny thing. It stops you from questioning if this is what you really want because there’s the possibility that that could make you feel unsafe. Who wants that? I floated along in my safety bubble for almost 5 years until I made a realization. Then it popped.

I’m an underachiever. 

My childhood was filled with many achievements, many awards. I don’t say that to be snobby; I say that to emphasize that I was a smart and dedicated child. I was going places. I could accomplish whatever I set my mind to (except physics). In many ways, I was an OVERachiever.

Then my life was turned upside down and I clung to whatever safety and sense of normalcy that I could.  I have had a continuous battle with myself for the past couple years and I haven’t been able to figure out why I can never resolve it. None of the jobs I have had post-jail have made me enough money to support myself. Sure, I could have found some way to get by, but without Neil I never would have been able to live an adult life supporting myself in my own apt/home/whatever.

Now you could say that we are a partnership and that this doesn’t matter. For some people this works fine and I applaud them for it. I tried to join that camp and accept that he is the provider and whatever money I happen to bring in will be icing on the cake, but it isn’t working and hasn’t been working since we started dating.  I told myself that “other people are fine with that arrangement” which meant that I should be too. What I finally realized (for being sharp, sometimes common things take me a loooooong time) was that if I was honestly ok with it, I wouldn’t be experiencing this push and pull for so long.

So, as the title states, I want more for myself. Not because I need to make an obscene amount of money (unless you want to give me some), but because I know I am not working to my full potential and I am taking the easy way out. I am not taking risks because honestly I don’t have to, so why would I want to risk the pain of failure again?  This brings me to my next realization:

I’m scared.

I don’t take risks because I’m scared. I’m afraid they won’t pan out, I’m afraid of rejection, you name it. I started this blog because I felt like I had something important to share with people. I spent many years living a double life that came crashing down on me and if I could help one person realize that they didn’t have to live that way, it would be amazing. I wanted to show people that there was another way to live, a healthier way to live, and by changing the way I was living I was able to continuously make amends to myself.

This blog is the thing that I put the most time into. It’s the one thing in my life that doesn’t ever feel like work. For me to say that and to consistently demonstrate it with my actions and then say “if it’s successful that’s cool and if it’s not that cool too” is a cop out.  It’s a way for me to a) not put as much effort into it as I’d like and b) not be let down if it doesn’t work out.  It’s a way to stay safe.

I have always, always loved writing. I want to take time to be more honest with you. I feel like there were many more heartfelt posts in the early days of this blog because things were just spilling out of me.  If I want this to be my livelihood, then I need to commit to that and not back up when I feel vulnerable or that things are getting too hard.  I am still working on all of this, so bear with me, but I wanted to take the time to thank all of you for coming with me on this journey and for sticking around. You make me feel safe (in a good way).

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20 Comments

  1. March 30, 2015 / 7:11 am

    It’s so funny–you think of yourself as an underachiever, but I see you as so much more. SO much more! You don’t realize even half of how incredible you are. You inspire me–yes, you dug yourself into a hole, but you are climbing out of it. You are working further and farther out of that hole (let’s call it a ditch, shall we? It has a bottom, after all!), steadily at times and in spurts at others. But I also know what it is for others to perceive that you have it all together, and yet still feeling like you are treading in shark infested waters.
    The trick is to remember that you just have to whollop them on the nose, figure out the direction for shore, and start to swim that way.
    Always here for you–don’t forget it.
    Susie @ SuzLyfe recently posted…Allergies, Shamrock Shuffle, and Exclusive Discount Codes!My Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      March 30, 2015 / 1:27 pm

      Thanks for the props lady. I just need to start taking some actual action instead of hiding in what’s comfortable.

  2. March 30, 2015 / 8:36 am

    I feel like we’re sharing a brain, and it’s crazy, especially since we’re both Erin’s. Though, truthfully, I just had THE same conversations with my husband and a close friend about my past and living life as a responsible adult. I am sort of starting over in Scotland and it’s scary for sure! However my post title would be that I want more FROM myself, but in the same way you want more FOR yourself, which probably makes at least SOME sense. I think you’re amazing and it takes so much courage to live each day as a honest and soul-baring individual. Continue to follow your passions and accept how brave you are and you can’t fail. 🙂
    Erin recently posted…Weekend DelightsMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      March 30, 2015 / 1:29 pm

      I totally get it. I want more FOR myself by working on using more FROM myself. I know how capable I am, but I need to actually take those steps! Thanks for reading 🙂

  3. March 30, 2015 / 9:32 am

    I just read your story and wow, you are an inspiration. You took the risk to be vulnerable and open so that you could love yourself and others through help and healing. I always say that the opposite of love isn’t hate–it’s fear. And you’ve smothered fear with some pretty big love. By the way, I’m listening to that audiobook right now and I can’t get it out of my mind either. That book is a life-changer.
    Suzy recently posted…Mileage MondayMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      March 30, 2015 / 1:29 pm

      Thanks Suzy! I’m definitely working on kicking that fear in the face haha. Isn’t it the best? I haven’t read a good book like that in awhile.

  4. March 30, 2015 / 12:12 pm

    Great post! I always love your honesty and openness, because it’s something that really struggle with too on the blog! I’m not always good at being vulnerable! In my opinion though, sometimes realizing our weakness or areas where we struggle and acknowledging that we need to do something about them is often the biggest hurdle. And you’re over that one, girl! You’re going to do great things, I’m sure of it!
    Stephanie @ My Freckled Life recently posted…Wait, which Stephanie are you? {Weekend Recap + workouts}My Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      March 30, 2015 / 1:30 pm

      Thanks lady! Yeah I think it was good for me to realize what was actually going on and now that I do I can take life by the reins!!

  5. March 30, 2015 / 12:15 pm

    Wow Erin. This post is amazing and speaks to me directly while also speaking for me.

    “I don’t take risks because I’m scared. I’m afraid they won’t pan out, I’m afraid of rejection, you name it.” Yes! I get so crippled by fear and I’ve written about that on more than one occasion. I also want more for myself, like I feel I’m not living up to my potential. I feel like I have so much more to give, that I can make an impact on people’s lives. I just don’t know why or how or even what.

    My blog is a safety net for me too. I’m a classic introvert and writing is a beautiful way for me to release some of what is trapped inside me. My blog has ups and downs because my life has ups and downs. It would be a farce to not have both sides.

    Thanks for sharing this inspirational post!
    Chris recently posted…You Might Be A CrossFitter If…My Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      March 30, 2015 / 1:32 pm

      Good points Chris. I get stuck sometimes by wallowing in the fear instead of acknowledging it and stepping around it. Now that I have acknowledged it, it’s time for some action!

      Thanks for reading 🙂

  6. March 30, 2015 / 1:08 pm

    Hi Erin! Thanks for opening up and writing this post. I completely understand that fear that you are experiencing. I think anyone would be kidding themselves if they said that they weren’t afraid of taking chances. You’re not alone! I want you to know that your blog has inspired me! I have been following for a few months now and I absolutely love who you are and what you have to say. Just keep being yourself and keep doing what you are doing and you will succeed!
    Lindsey @Fit Life Pursuits recently posted…You’re Invited to The Spring Clean-Eating and Exercise ChallengeMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      March 30, 2015 / 1:32 pm

      Youre too nice! Thank you for following along on this adventure of mine and it’s good to hear that I am not alone in all of this 🙂

  7. Mudita
    March 30, 2015 / 8:10 pm

    Nice work, Erin. You’re making it work for you. Stay strong, and you’ll get there.

    • erinsinsidejob
      March 31, 2015 / 1:01 pm

      I’m working on it!

  8. danielle
    March 31, 2015 / 8:45 am

    this is so easy to relate to, i imagine anyone reading this is feeling this way on some level. i know i am right there with you, i feel like you just pulled the words from my own brain! that would be scary lol. seriously, just remember the good stuff – like how awesome your life is now, this moment. and it will only get better because life gets better the more comfortable we get in our own skin, right? it’s okay to have some shell-shock left in you, i do to and my traumas were 30 years ago! we have there terrifying moments in life that make you wonder if they ever happened, and when you know they did, make you want to scream. but just face it, it’s over. it happened and all you can do is take what you got from it and make that damn lemonade. yes, i’m using the lemons and lemonade reference. sometimes you gotta dig deep girl.
    you got this! me too 😀

    • erinsinsidejob
      March 31, 2015 / 1:03 pm

      mmm lemonade. You’re definitely right about a lot of this. Most days I can accept where I have been and where I am and then others are not so easy. I’m glad I can acknowledge my feelings; that always helps give me the kickstart I need!

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