At 24, I read the “The Dirty Girls Social Club” and I was really jealous. I wanted to write a book. I wanted to be a NY Times Bestseller. I wanted to live the fabulous life of an author. But that wasn’t my reality. At the time I worked at a nonprofit as an Education Coordinator. During that time I was a ferocious reader. After a long day at work, where I was dissatisfied and uninspired, I escaped in the world of fictional characters and imagined myself writing my own book.
Still, I was seething with envy. I wanted to be Alisa. I wanted to meet her and ultimately compete with her. Who was this Alisa Valdes Rodriguez? What did she have that I did not have? Why didn’t I get this opportunity? For starters, I hadn’t pursued a career in writing. I settled for a job that was safe.
When you settle for what’s safe you don’t explore your potential.
Still, I focused on what I lacked. I didn’t have a job that I loved. I didn’t know what to do with my life. I didn’t want to be in education anymore. I bitched and moaned and complained, and I continued reading Alisa’s work. I was inspired and angry…at myself. This jealousy, this bitterness had nothing to do with Alisa – a woman I had never met – and everything to do with me and my regrets.
Why didn’t I get a degree in Journalism at UMass Amherst? Why didn’t I start a writers group? Why didn’t I write anymore or at all?
I thought about all of this one night. Crying and confused, I picked up my journal. It had been so long since I had written anything, I didn’t even know where or how to begin. So I answered my own questions.
I am scared. I don’t know how to do what I love professionally, or if it will work out in the end. I hate losing control, security and ultimately failing. I hate not knowing what the outcome will be.
This moment, well, it was my aha moment. I shifted my focus on what I felt, feared and needed, and the motivation was jealousy. Did I really just say that? I sure did. Competition can be healthy when we aren’t tearing other women down.
“The Dirty Girls Social Club” propelled me. Alisa Valdes Rodriguez gave me a glimpse of what could be. This experience solidified what I knew deep within: what I lacked professionally was creativity and a love for my work. I just had to leap. I had to explore my potential. I could no longer play it safe. I jumped and here I am: living the life that I desperately desired. And I can thank that moment of jealousy for the push.