It's Too Personal: My Romanticized Version of Success and Independence

Life (c)  Julian Jagtenberg @ Eri Sabalvoro Blog

On Saturday I went to New York all discombobulated, lacking sleep, but excited to be attending two major events for work. New York has always been my dream city to work in, and being there once again after over a year of immigrating, kind of threw me into a panic. I remember using the idea of me working in NYC as a coping mechanism when I get too stressed during college and when I was working in the Philippines. It was a dream I did set aside so I could focus on the current problems I was facing when I immigrated — getting a full-time job that is related to my undergraduate degree, proving the naysayers that I could pursue a career. And I think did it and I’m actually doing great. But still, the mind is a funny thing — it never tells you that you’re doing enough. I’d like to think I’m just being too hard on myself, but that ‘little voice’ has found its way to convince me that I’m being a fraud and people will find out.

The visibility of young successful women (see Amani, Sarah Blakely, & Sophia Amoruso) who founded their own companies in their early 20s and the responsibility of giving back to my parents are giving me too much pressure. Every month that passes, I think of all the things that I haven’t done and I beat myself up for not having done it. I use other people’s story of success as an inspiration but there will be a few times it’s hard to compare. It’s not the same apple, I know, but it’s hard to remind myself that we are all in different positions and facing different adversities and privileges.

It was rooted in my romanticized version of independence. Working in New York is my metaphor of being independent. It’s a sign that I made it. It’s why I beat myself up for still living with my family- it rattles me that I haven’t moved out when I challenged myself to do it by Q4 of 2017. I’ve given myself so much pressure that now I remembered it, my past accomplishments felt invalid. I got a full-time corporate job in less than a year of my immigration, I got a job with perks of traveling across and outside the USA, I’ve bought my mom a car, I have a side hustle and I have my own website/portfolio. I’m freaking legit. But I somehow I still feel shit and a fraud, because I’m not independent. It was such a pity, I want to pinch myself for giving myself a hard time.

I don’t want to please anyone more than I want to please myself, but I yearn for validation. Some people my age are still an intern or still studying, and I should have found comfort in that — but I can’t. I keep on comparing my situation to people who are more privileged than me, who are doing better than me — and I know I also want to be in that situation. It sucks because I don’t even consider other people as competition, but now I feel like I do. I am fully aware that this is just a phase, most creative and ambitious people face this most of the time — I will be fine and I will live my life on my own terms soon. I’m claiming it. But now, I have to give this anxiousness a rest. Fuck Imposter Syndrome. As long as I’m doing everything I can with all my means, I will give myself some credit. I deserve it.

Erika Emille Sabalvoro