I have only known Erin for about 6 months, but one thing I can tell you is she is one of the most hard-working, passionate, caring, go-getters I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. I knew she had a story to tell just based off her everyday testimony of her family's motto, "No Quit," which in all honesty, is another story in and of itself. I could tell by little things she would post that she had a story in her that needed to be told. Her no quit attitude went way deeper than just managing her family, her business, caring for the Autism community, being a boss at the gym, and being just an all around encourager.
With all that she has accomplished, the thing I hear her talk the least about are those times in the celebrity limelight. Those fast times. Probably the one thing MOST people would be happy to share. But not Erin. Those things pale in comparison to what she is doing now. From being an awesome mommy, making hundreds of women look and feel their prettiest with her ever expanding Younique make-up team, to caring for a remarkable young man with Autism that she loves to cheer on and support, Erin has such a remarkable story of going from what she calls "insanity" to having the "serenity" she has now.
They say that “insanity” is doing the same thing over & over again but expecting different results.
While in the midst of my madness, I didn’t think a normal life was possible. It felt as if I was so deep in the hole. That lonely steep dark hell hole that had taken Erin and sucked her away from her family, friends and the ones who loved her most. But why was it so hard to stop? It seemed logical enough that if I just stopped drinking my life may still be within reach. Logical yes, but I felt so stuck. Everything I did now revolved around alcohol. Sad times? Numb them. Happy times? Intensify them. Then it just got to a point where I was filled with anxiety without it. A dead end. Hiding. Frantic for when the next sip would be. Petrified they could smell it through my Altoids and strong mint gum. I began to feel like I had backed myself into a corner where there were no escape routes. The fear grew and nerves had to be drowned. It was a never-ending game that was becoming exhausting to keep up with.
I had worked in an alternative school during this horrifying period of my life, with students with severe disabilities, mostly Autism. I have always had a special way with this population and felt strangely at ease amongst them even during the most intense times. I was born with a calm nature, a kind heart, and blessed with the gift of patience with all walks of life. While most people would be afraid when hearing these students scream, melt down, or have to be restrained, I felt the urge to help them feel peace, to calm themselves, and to figure out a way for them to communicate with me. Though towards the end, I was barely hanging on. I couldn’t do my job the way I used to. I was slipping further away from reality and needing to escape the overwhelming feelings of depression, anxiety and constant fear. It was causing me to distance myself from everything and everyone. Even at work, where they needed me the most.
Rewind 4-5 years ago, and I was dancing a whole different tango. No working a 40 hour a week job, living at my parents, and barely staying afloat.
Life seemed like a fairy tale on the outside. A young, innocent 21-year-old woman with a major record deal in the Big City.
They say if you can make it there you can make it anywhere, right? So why was it that amongst some of the most famous musicians, actors and athletes in the world, I felt empty, confused and hollow? Half a million-dollar recording contract with Warner Brothers Records. Same entertainment lawyer as Eminem. Traveling the US recording & living the life, yet I felt as far away from “Erin” as I’ve ever felt before. A grey goose martini for before the meeting with Russell Simmons. A couple glasses of wine before we meet with the big whig film directors. Some Hennessy while we filmed my first independent film. Yes at 11am. Because I was only 21. I didn’t know how to act. I didn’t know who these big names needed me to be. I was in constant search of who Erin was. Without my family or close friends around, I was getting more lost than ever. The big city and the lost little girl, suffering from the tragedy that took place just a few months before moving out there.
I remember my mom promising me that I would never endure such intense pain ever again that awful night at the hospital in Boston. That this was the worst thing that would ever happen to me. It was Christmas Eve and I remember thinking that things would never ever be the same. I sometimes wonder if the death of my boyfriend was the event that caused me to derail. Or was it the tumultuous, heart breaking, 6-year relationship we had that messed me up so badly. Maybe a combination of the two. I guess I will never know. All that I knew was that I needed to NOT feel this pain and that to get so close to someone to have them die on me meant I needed to protect myself and never let anyone in again. It wasn’t all negative times with my boyfriend that passed away in that car crash on the night before Christmas Eve. We learned about love together. We grew together. We hurt each other. Just lots of confusion and feelings I can’t and may never understand. Deep hurt that is buried far within and causes me to react in certain ways, even in my life today. I can’t blame him. I have to understand that this heart wrenching situation happened to me. It changed me as a person. I can learn from it and let it strengthen me or let it eat me up and ruin my soul. I knew that I still had a lot of life left in me and that I deserved happiness.
So I sit here now, writing this piece, gratefully 8 years sober.
I am fortunate enough to have found myself again after losing myself many times over the past 17 years. Happy to have found myself working in Special Needs again, stronger than ever and able to give how I was meant to give. Happy to have gotten the help I needed with my disease and took ahold of my life. Happy to have proven to the one man that I truly loved that I was willing to fight these demons daily and rekindle the love that we had before my alcoholism had poisoned it. Happy to have been blessed with 2 beautiful children that I stare at every single day, still pinching myself to make sure it’s real. Happy to not have to hide anymore. Happy to feel my sorrow instead of numbing the pain. Happy to have my wonderful family back in my life again. Happy, just to be happy.
And insanely grateful for a second chance at being Erin.
Thank you Erin for sharing your remarkable journey! I love following you along where you are now and watching all you do and how you are growing! No Quit forever!!!