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From Blowing Up Her Life to Never Being Happier, Amber James

From The Second Chapter, Season 10, Episode 8, released 20th September 2023

[00:00:00] Kristin: This week, I'm speaking with Amber James. Despite having a have it all life in New York City, under the surface, Amber was anything but happy. A pandemic, two health crises, and a family death led Amber to take a risk, blow up her life, and start all over again.

"I think that's why I'm sharing my story now is I want other women to be able to tell their stories, to find their voice, take that chance on themselves and find their happy because everybody's different.

And what society tells us isn't necessarily going to make us happy." - Amber James

Smiling woman with highlighted long hair wearing a navy blouse and read lipstick with a white square bordered in pink that reads The Second Chapter podcast

[00:00:30] Kristin: Hi, Amber. Welcome to The Second Chapter. How are you?

[00:00:35] Amber: I'm doing great. How about yourself?

[00:00:38] Kristin: I am doing very well, thank you. It's lovely to have you.

[00:00:41] Amber: Yeah. Thanks for having me today. I'm excited to chat with you.

[00:00:44] Kristin: I'm excited to hear more about your story. What you might not know about me is that I am a fellow Ohio girl.

[00:00:51] Amber: Oh, where in Ohio?

[00:00:54] Kristin: I'm from Cincinnati, so not quite the same. From what I gather reading about you is a bit smaller of a town.

[00:01:00] Amber: Yes. A small town. Really like just south of Akron, Ohio.

[00:01:06] Kristin: So not too far from me though.

[00:01:08] Amber: too far, but I know this is probably terrible for me to say, but I've never been to Cincinnati. I cannot believe it. I'm so sorry.

[00:01:17] Kristin: Sorry I have to stop recording now, this interview's over. Actually, as someone who similarly to you, fled Ohio I do have to say going back to Cincinnati is a real treat because it is a city that I feel like, it is, it has changed a lot since I lived there, but it does have. Wow. What's most important about a city? It has a good food scene. My brother's a big, part of that.

He's a chef. you know, It's always good to go home and get fed by my brother. He actually has a pizza restaurant now, which is even better

[00:01:47] Amber: Oh, cool. What's it called? Because I have a lot of friends in Cincinnati.

[00:01:50] Kristin: It's Trophy Pizza. and you'll appreciate this as well. It's and it's been called the one like true Brooklyn style pizza in Cincinnati. So definitely recommended.

[00:02:01] Amber: Now I have to go to Cincinnati and tell you, as someone who lived in New York for 15 years, I'll be able to do the real assessment, but I'm sure it is delicious. So that'll give me another reason to go to Cincinnati now. I love it.

[00:02:12] Kristin: And I was a Brooklyn girl for a long time as well. So we have a lot of parallels.

[00:02:16] Amber: we really do.

[00:02:17] Kristin: I'm going to read a clip from the very beginning of your book, because I think that gives people, even more than what we're saying, a little image about you. So sit back, relax, listen to me, read your book.

[00:02:29] Amber: I love it. Go for it.

[00:02:31] Kristin: From a young age, I understood my role. The good girl, the obedient daughter and the diligent student. My brother, on the other hand, was the quingent central rebel who dared to question and defy expectations. Caught in the duality of our roles, I clung even tighter to the straight and narrow path, shouldering the responsibility of being the steady and predictable one. No one explicitly instructed me to act this way, but somewhere along the way, I took it upon myself to step into this role.

The expectations of others became my compass. Tell me a little bit about this childhood. Tell me about your striving for perfection from the beginning.

[00:03:08] Amber: Yeah, I think for me, and maybe this has a little bit to do with growing up in a religious background, is that I really felt I had to be so perfect all the time. I love my brother to death, but he was one of those people that was the rebel. He didn't care if he got straight A's. He got in a little bit of trouble here and there. So I always felt like it was... My responsibility as like the girl to be so straight and so perfect. And I think some of that, yeah, like I said, comes from my religious background of like good and evil and right and wrong, heaven and hell. And so everything was very black and white for me and perfection meant good in that childhood.

[00:03:55] Kristin: And were you the oldest as well?

[00:03:57] Amber: I was the youngest.

[00:03:58] Kristin: Oh, okay. That makes it interesting.

[00:04:01] Amber: Yeah. I think maybe it's I saw the things my brother did and the reaction of people. And then I was like, Oh, I'm not going to do that. But then I took it to a whole other level of perfectionism.

[00:04:11] Kristin: And I do think there is something that I, especially in years prior, I think we're getting better about this, but I do think there's this sort of Oh, he's a boy or that's just, the whole like snakes and snails and puppy dog tails thing. And with girls, they're supposed to be sweet and good and follow the right path and like a rebel girl wasn't a thing, I feel like when we were younger.

[00:04:34] Amber: Definitely not, it was almost looked down upon if you spoke up or ask questions. And I talk about that in the beginning of my book too, how even, Yeah. I got nervous to ask questions because, especially in a religious setting, they don't want you to question what is being taught. And then I translated to certain times in school where if I didn't know the answer, I had teachers being like, Oh, you must not have done the [00:05:00] homework.

You must not have done this. And I'm like, oh, maybe I'm just supposed to lie and just be completely perfect and have the right answers all the time because that's the way, that's what everyone's expecting of me. And I'm not allowed to fall off that straight line.

[00:05:14] Kristin: Yeah, I do think that's a really easy my family wasn't particularly religious until I found out that there was a children's choir at my church and I wanted to sing. So I think around age maybe eight or nine. I started saying I want to go to church because I want to, I want to join the choir.

And eventually that led to my family starting to go to church more. And then suddenly there was that kind of thing for me as well, where it was this feeling of like really good and evil. And there wasn't really a gray area where you could speak up or be rebellious.

[00:05:45] Amber: Exactly. Yeah. And, I don't want to say anything bad about religion. I think just as a child, for me, I decided to take it upon myself to be like, I got to be perfect or things are not going to go well for me. Or, it was essentially this weird acceptance that you do as a child because you don't know anything else.

But that really, I started to harness my own individuality once I turned 18 and went off to college and walked away from this Small town and realised there was a much, much bigger world out there. That definitely suited me and what I was meant for.

[00:06:20] Kristin: But even this big world, like me, stayed in Ohio for college.

[00:06:24] Amber: Yes,

[00:06:24] Kristin: Like me, he were also drinking Light, natural light beer, which for anybody who's never had it, don't.

[00:06:30] Amber: Yeah. Just pass, hard pass.

[00:06:34] Kristin: When I read natural light, I laughed so hard because I was like, that is the Ohio college experience. I'm going to, go out for the first time drinking or maybe not the first time, depends. But, it's going to be natural light.

[00:06:47] Amber: Yes. It's a rite of passage in Ohio.

[00:06:49] Kristin: And you studied journalism whilst drinking Natty Light.

[00:06:53] Amber: yes. Yeah, what, I think there's that whole image that like the writers in the newsroom have all this alcohol and drink all the time. But I think that's just college kids being college kids.

[00:07:03] Kristin: Yeah, exactly. But it does sound like you found your place a little bit more there is a big world out there and, you know, found your people.

[00:07:10] Amber: Yeah, I started working at The Post, which is Ohio University student run newspaper. I started essentially like the third week Into my freshman year, I was like, I need to just start writing because that's what I want to do. And I quickly found my people. And it was like, here we are, all these like budding journalists were so wide eyed, ready to change the world with journalism.

But I think it really brought us really close together because we were all under this. We're looking for the truth and we're trying to get stories out there. And for me, it wasn't even, I was doing like culture and entertainment staff. So it's not like I was covering crimes and courts, but I still knew at that time, I'm like, everybody has a story and and that was my mantra throughout college when I started this like journalism career in college.

[00:08:00] Kristin: at one point my goal was, or my dream was to be a broadcast journalist. And I feel like now I've come back around because I am so passionate about telling the stories of women over 35. So for me, we all do have a story to tell. And some of those stories are fictional stories that we want to write.

And some of those stories are just the amazing stories of everyday life. But it is really interesting to, know about people.

[00:08:24] Amber: there's so much you can learn by talking to other people and opening your world up. So I think that also helped me, going back to that small town. It's like everybody knew everybody. And so it was nice to finally meet different types of people, different. Backgrounds.

And it really opened my eyes to, even though I was in Athens, Ohio, I was still, it was widening my scope of,

[00:08:47] Kristin: Mm hmm.

[00:08:48] Amber: if this is just Athens, Ohio, what else is out there beyond this?

[00:08:52] Kristin: And once you graduated, how did you end up in New York? What happened post graduation?

[00:08:58] Amber: Post graduation, I decided I always knew I wanted to live in New York City and actually during college, I had an internship in New York City at Hearst. So that was really big and prestigious and I absolutely fell in love with the city over those three months. And I knew once I graduate, I'm going to New York. So at graduation, I did not have a job offer yet, but I was not going to let that. deter me. I was like, all right, that was probably one of my biggest first just jump and let's see what happens. So I moved to New York City with two suitcases and a dream, moved into this cute little, it's called like the Macaw houses on the Upper East Side.

So it's all these like little apartment style shared bathrooms, super affordable for someone coming there without a job. And I told my parents, I'm like, I have a couple months rent. If it works out, great. If it doesn't, I'll be back home. Within two weeks of moving to New York, I landed a job as an entertainment reporter [00:10:00] at AOL, which that dates me a little bit.

But it was such an amazing opportunity, and I honestly, it was meant to be.

[00:10:09] Kristin: Yeah. Just even scrolling through not so long ago, Instagram and things, seeing some of the people that you have pictures with, and this will completely put a timestamp on me, but the picture of Joshua Jackson, aka Dawson's Creek Transcribed Oh my god, I was like, aka now,

pacey. But I was team Pacey. And I was like, Oh, Joshua Jackson.

[00:10:31] Amber: Oh, let me tell you, when I got to meet him, it was legit. My 12 year old self was just exploding inside. I'm like, keep it together, Amber, keep it together.

[00:10:42] Kristin: My TAM stamp is a little bit older than 12 at the time, but yes, Joshua Jackson was the dream. Obviously, you did work your way up through being an entertainment reporter, getting to talk to really interesting people, hot celebrities to the point that you were earning a six figure salary, living, I'm going to say living the New York dream, really, the kind of move to New York, get the big job, get the big salary.

You were engaged and then Let me ask you about the first part of the title of your book, I Blew Up My Life. How did you get to the point that you needed to blow up your life and what happened?

[00:11:19] Amber: Yeah, the point that led up to that, a lot of it happened during COVID and living in New York City during that time was really scary and very

[00:11:27] Kristin: Yeah.

[00:11:28] Amber: So I think part of that, my job went 100 percent remote. So What was I supposed to do? It was really tough on me. And in addition to that, then I ended up in the hospital twice, you did not want to be in the hospital in New York City during peak COVID.

That was scary.

[00:11:45] Kristin: And I feel like everybody has a COVID story or, was isolated and all this, but New York City was a completely different world.

[00:11:53] Amber: it really was. I think the thing is, even if you're trying to keep six feet, six feet apart. You can't, everybody's on the subway or everyone is doing what they need to do, but it became to the point when you would walk out and not see anybody,

[00:12:08] Kristin: Yeah.

[00:12:08] Amber: Insane. Like you could walk down the middle of like ninth Avenue and there would be no cars, no people.

That's how isolated it was. And it's because the rates were so high and everyone was really scared of contracting COVID and, hospitals were running out of beds. So it was really a scary, isolating time.

[00:12:28] Kristin: I even feel like I hear stories about, people just there wasn't a place to put, I don't want to say put the bodies, but it was really like that kind of scary that there just wasn't.

[00:12:36] Amber: a hundred percent. Sometimes people don't even believe me when I say there were literally freezer trucks outside of hospitals in New York that bodies were just being put because there wasn't anywhere else. The morgue was loaded up.

And that is so scary. To be able to witness that, I think sometimes, like I said, when I tell that story, I think a lot of people don't want to believe me, but I'm like, no, that was a real reality of things I saw with my own eyes and it, and then it's on top of that, then you start learning that people you work with.

are getting COVID and dying. And that adds a whole other element of grief and fear, because you're like, these are people that I was working alongside and they're gone. And you can't say goodbye to them. You there aren't funerals going on. And it just, it was a lot. I'm tearing up now,

just thinking about it.

It's really, I'm like, Ooh, this is bringing up some raw emotions for me for that time. But it was really scary.

[00:13:32] Kristin: Yeah, I honestly think just as a society in general, no matter where you are, I was in London the entire time other than my dad died and trying to get home. It was to the point that I could go, but the hurdles I had to go through to get there. And I really do think as a society, we don't know emotionally how it's really impacted us because we've all gone back to normal life, but then things come up and there are things that we haven't unpicked yet, really.

[00:13:57] Amber: A hundred percent.

[00:13:58] Kristin: Not to mention just the fact that, that we did spend so much time alone or maybe, with one other person for months and, some in some people's cases, years. anyway, it was a difficult time. So obviously this was affecting you very much and you had to go to the hospital.

You said twice.

[00:14:14] Amber: Yeah. I got appendicitis. So that's an emergency surgery that I almost put off and didn't listen to my body because I was like, do I want to risk getting COVID and doing all this other stuff?

But I was like, this is not normal. I have to get there. So I had an emergency surgery, appendectomy, and then, Two months later, I ended up back in the hospital to get my gallbladder removed.

So two organs in two months, I lost. And it's the recovery from just losing one organ is enough, let alone two. And I just. It was a really scary time because that was another thing. I was living with my fiance and he was really the only person that was there. Nobody else was really around.

I couldn't, my parents couldn't fly in. It just really wasn't safe for them. They're [00:15:00] older. They hadn't gotten their COVID vaccines yet. So it was like this really weird, all I wanted was a hug from my mom or her to make me like her chicken noodle soup. That's all I wanted. But it's I'm literally in this, 500 square foot New York apartment with one other person.

And it just becomes very I felt like the walls were just coming in on me.

[00:15:19] Kristin: And you mentioned your fiancee, who I know was, it was a toxic relationship. So being ill, being in a 500 square foot apartment and being in a relationship that, I don't know if you knew were aware of it going into COVID or if it was just something that kind of proximity led you to go, wait a minute, this is really fucked up.

[00:15:38] Amber: I mean, I think there were a little, there were a few red flags before COVID, but then once we were really spending every day together, I was starting to see the cracks in our relationship and. There was a lot of gaslighting, a lot of just lies. And, I really felt like he was trying to control me a lot and it wasn't until I got sick and realized wait, we're engaged, this is supposed to be, in sickness and health till death do us part, and here I am, I'm sick.

I need this person to be there for me because it's the only person I really have. And. He was trying to be friends with all of his female co workers and going out with them while I was home recovering, and that's really when I started to have to face the reality of how toxic this relationship Really had become.

[00:16:28] Kristin: in the midst of all this illness, pandemic, what does one do to blow up one's life?

[00:16:33] Amber: No. Yes. When I say I blew up my life, I really blew up my life. I quit my job, my six figure job. I broke up with my fiance, moved out. I left New York city and I'd been living there for 15 years. So that was like my home. I left it all behind. And said, I need to just jump, take this chance on myself because I really had to do an inventory of what's making me happy.

I realised none of those things were making me happy. And I was simply checking boxes off a checklist that society says, this is what is going to make you happy and make you successful.

[00:17:12] Kristin: And going back to that perfect, the need to be perfect from childhood.

[00:17:16] Amber: Yes. And I think finally for the first time I was able to just let go of the fear of being perfect to come back home to myself and what was actually going to make me happy. So I, my parents love them so much. Packed up all my stuff in New York City. We drove eight hours back to Ohio and I stayed with them for a month while I got my life figured out and just tried to get my bearings again, which I have to say that was the best month of my life.

It was so much fun.

[00:17:49] Kristin: because I was going to say usually first of all obviously you do things quickly because it was like, I moved to New York, I didn't know what I was going to do. A week later I have this great job. I picture most of the time after being away from home for some amount of time, you picture this sort of regression where you move back home, you become like the kid again and you think, oh, it's going to be a year that you're going to say, oh, I was home a year I was home a month. And it was a really happy time instead of I never got out of my pajamas and my parents and I fought all the time because I regressed to teenager.

[00:18:19] Amber: yeah I apparently go big or go home literally. But for

me during, the 15 years I lived in New York, I loathed going home. I was like, Oh, small town, Ohio. Everyone's just. It's just not New York. And I, New York had gotten to the point where I was so stressed out all the time. And I'm like, why do I have all this anxiety and depression?

And I'm go, go, go. And sometimes I wonder if the stress and the fast pace of New York was actually what caused. me to end up in the hospital in the first place. The body keeps the score and I think that may have had a lot to do with it. But when I moved back home with my parents after living in New York, I just had so much fun being able to reconnect with them.

And I think a lot of that had to do with the fact that also, yeah, in addition to all those other crazy things that happened, I had lost my grandfather during the pandemic and couldn't get home. To go to his funeral. It just wasn't safe. So I think that also changed my view of family and what that means and that time is so precious and we need to not be so stuck in these, Oh, I'm way better than this or whatever.

I need to start making time for my family and being closer to them was a really important part of that transformation.

[00:19:36] Kristin: Yeah. It's true. Because you are, when you're go, go, go. Oh, I don't have time. I don't have time. I'm so busy. And we all have this, it's no secret that it's coming around that people are saying, why does society prize this, virtue of being so busy, but you do get on this kind of rollercoaster and you feel like I can't jump off right now.

I'm way too busy to. ABC, whatever it is. So I do think having to [00:20:00] stop for a minute and, especially after someone that you were close to dies, but to go home and maybe just to breathe for a minute and really value the fact that you are with family, it's a nice thing. I did something similar right after, I think, the pandemic and my mom had to have major surgery and she wasn't going to be able to lift anything and she wasn't going to be able to, and I spent virtually a month with her.

I was the only one who was working a job that was, I freelance, it's self employment. I just said, I have to take a month and I can do some of my working remotely. And it made a difference. Like I was really glad I did that because, my mom's not getting any younger.

[00:20:33] Amber: Yeah, exactly. I think you really start to value that time together. And like I said, yeah, time is so precious and it can be taken from us in an instant. It could have been taken from me in one of those two times in the hospital. I'm lucky.

yeah, I began to value that and also understand now we're all adults and we can all have some fun times together and be like, remember that thing from childhood or remember this or I can actually talk to you like an adult now and I don't feel like I'm regressing to a teenager.

It was nice. And I think, too, going through that craziness, especially a breakup, it was so nice to just be able to go in my room, eyeball my eyes out many a day. But you know what? My mom was like, hey, whatever you need, you let me know. And it was just so nice to have her there and to know that they were literally just a few steps away from me, whatever I needed to talk. And it really, I think, brought us all closer together as a family, because I was finally communicating my needs, saying what I needed, and my parents were like, We can do that for you. As long as you tell us what you need, we're here for you. We got you. And that was so important to me. And once again, it also showed me how toxic my relationship had become that I felt like I couldn't trust anybody or ask for anything that I needed and that my needs were too much, but my family was able to bring me back to center and be like, no, you're worthy of all these things that you want.

And we can give them to you. We love you unconditionally. And I think that's. Man, I did not expect to cry during this interview, Kristin. Thank you.

[00:22:10] Kristin: I'm like the Barbara Walters of

[00:22:12] Amber: I'm like, thanks, Kristin. I'm like, now I'm gonna grab my tissues, but. I am just very thankful that I had that family to lean on during that time. And since then, my family and I, we see each other all the time now because now I live closer to my family.

I moved to Pittsburgh. I didn't stay in Ohio, but it's so close to my family now. And we see each other all the time. And now I get to spend a lot of time with my nieces and nephew and see them growing up. And it's so awesome to have them when they see me, they're running to me Aunt Amber, we're so excited to see you and like big hugs.

And I'm like, this is so amazing. And I'm so glad that even though things had to blow up, it actually brought things back into my life that I actually really needed. And that made me truly happy and see what truly matters in life.

[00:23:04] Kristin: And the fact that you were trying so hard to be perfect? I feel like that's again, something that it's we hear a lot now about how girls are so good at masking do you think that maybe it took all that time that coming back as an adult to your family?

Was that the first time your parents had seen kind of what Trying to be so perfect had maybe how painful that had become for you.

[00:23:26] Amber: Yeah, I really think so. They started to realise, and the thing is they weren't ever putting that pressure on me, I was doing that to myself, but I don't think they realised the extent to which I was doing that. And I have to say, now that I've, written my book and put my story out there after my mom read it, she called me and said, Amber, all I want to do is just give you the biggest hug.

I just want to come and be with you And that. Was like full circle to just them understanding me and me also finally finding my voice to be able to tell people what I needed. And I think that's why I'm sharing my story now is I want other women to be able to tell their stories, to find their voice, take that chance on themselves and find their happy because everybody's different.

And what society tells us isn't necessarily going to make us happy.

[00:24:15] Kristin: It's true. And the second half of the book title is it's I Blew Up My Life, but then it's also, and I’ve Never Been Happier. So you had the happiest month, the way you were with your parents, but what you moved to Pittsburgh and obviously these are cathartic tears of something that, has gotten better, but tell me about.

Never being happier.

[00:24:33] Amber: I think I'd always wanted to live in Pittsburgh, and this finally gave me the opportunity I landed a great remote job, so I could work from anywhere in the United States, and so I decided

Pittsburgh is

[00:24:46] Kristin: Pittsburgh,

[00:24:47] Amber: I love Pittsburgh. I have to say, I want to be like an advocate for Pittsburgh. It's just such a beautiful city.

It's changed a lot since, I was growing up. There's so much culture and [00:25:00] theater and art and the sports, are just, I love it. Like the community, the sports community here. It's just so amazing. But because I was able to start working remotely, I got my beautiful Italian Greyhound Penny Lane

[00:25:14] Kristin: who's sitting here now.

[00:25:15] Amber: Yeah, she's sitting

[00:25:16] Kristin: Those of you who are listening, I'm looking at her and she's adorable.

[00:25:19] Amber: She's so cute. there's that. I'm able to take walks along the river every day. I found a new relationship with somebody who's shown me that I'm worthy. And that... Everything that I thought I had wanted in a partner. I, I had to do a lot of work in therapy to get to that point, but it all worked out and I could not be happier with him.

And he makes me, he treats me like a queen. He gets me flowers. He's just the best. And he doesn't want to change me. He just loves me the way that I am.

[00:25:49] Kristin: I think that's probably the most important thing we could have in anybody is just, you mentioned your parents and unconditional love, but yeah, the idea that somebody's not out to change you. They just really love you.

[00:25:59] Amber: Yes, exactly. Exactly.

[00:26:02] Kristin: And one of the things I always talk about is bring a quote, but I don't think that's going to be difficult for you. Cause I was looking at notes to self, which in addition to writing the book, you have your website notes to self. And there's a journal as well that you've come up with, for notes to self.

[00:26:15] Amber: Yeah. So I started the Instagram at notes to self shop just. Putting together quotes that I had used during the pandemic that I'd written myself, I decided to create a whole Instagram around it. And then I created a journal because I felt during that time, journaling was so important to me and really connecting with myself.

And a lot of people get nervous about blank journals. So I decided to create the journal that I was always looking for during this time. So that's an offshoot of the Instagram.

[00:26:44] Kristin: It's interesting to me because a lot of people know that listen to the podcast regularly, but one of the reasons I asked guests to bring a quote is because when I was going through a really difficult divorce as cheesy as it was, and I knew it was cheesy when I was doing it, but I did not care. I started looking for positive quotes and they didn't have to be like super, oh, this is the inspiration of my life.

It just had to be something that really honestly resonated with me that day. So every day for a year, it was like, this is my quote of the day. This is my quote of the day. And I put it out on Facebook so that it was like, something that I. Committed to every day, finding something that touched me or that helped me that day.

And as, as I don't know, I keep saying cheesy, but as cheesy as it was, it was something that for me, it gave me a little bit of purpose. And it was just enough positivity in my day to keep me like one foot in front of the other. And yeah, I really do believe I'm not so good at journaling and I say so good because I feel like it's something I should do.

I shouldn't say that, but I really do feel like something like that is amazing.

[00:27:43] Amber: Yes, for sure. For sure.

[00:27:45] Kristin: And other than this journal and notes to self, what's the mission behind it? if I can call it a

mission, I think probably.

[00:27:51] Amber: the mission. I've always said that the mission of Notes to Self Shop is you've got this and we've got each other. And it's really about creating a community that we can all tap into to cheer each other on, rally each other. Because I think in our society, sometimes it's seen as like women are that we Competitive.

We're competing for all of the spots at the table. We're doing this. We're doing that. Where Notes to Self is about bringing women together because together we can achieve incredible things. We can push each other forward and we can just do it. Like we got this.

[00:28:29] Kristin: It's interesting. Cause I received, I got an email today that somebody was asking me for some tips on something that like, I hold very dear to myself, something I do for work and for a split, my first reaction was almost like, I don't want to give away all my trade secrets. And then I thought my whole thing is women supporting women and that, somebody else's success.

Isn't gonna take away from my own and it was very quickly from this instant Competitive no to wait a minute. She's gonna do it her way And of course I want to support that because, she wants to tell women's stories as well. Why would I ever deny that?

[00:29:03] Amber: I think we're better together and as a group. Community cheering each other on. And we're all so unique. That's our superpower. We're all unique and we can all be doing, you could be doing essentially the same thing, but every person's going to have a unique perspective, a unique way of doing it.

And I think that's so important. And also by us championing other women, we're also showing other women, this is possible. Yes, you can do this too. It's not just for the men. It's. If it's something you're passionate about and want to do, just go do it. There's no competition needed. Let's just work together.

[00:29:36] Kristin: Yeah. And I think so many aspects of your story are inspirational, whether it's the, I quote unquote escaped this small town and really, made it work. But then when it wasn't working for me anymore. I think it'd be really easy to say, you know what? No, I have to keep going because this was my mission and I, I accomplished it and I'm successful in New York City.

I think it's really brave to say, you know what, I'm going to give it up because. It's not making me [00:30:00] happy. And sometimes I think that's hard to admit,

[00:30:02] Amber: Yeah, it's definitely hard to admit. Because I don't want to say that my time in New York was awful. It was wonderful. But I had reached a point that I knew within myself, I wasn't happy anymore and it was time for a change, a big change. And I am so glad I did that. I think so many of us are held back by fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of, there's all these fears that are just out here in the air.

[00:30:28] Kristin: what people will think.

[00:30:29] Amber: What people will think judgments, but if we let go of that fear and just take that leap and that chance on ourselves, that's when the magic happens and you can find so much that's going to make you happy. I always say you sometimes have to let go of things to let the good things come in. You have to make room for it.

[00:30:49] Kristin: So is that your quote? Or did you bring another quote for me today? Because that was a pretty good quote.

[00:30:53] Amber: That was a great, I have so many quotes. I was like, I don't even know how to pick one.

[00:30:57] Kristin: I know I was thinking that looking at notes to stuff. I was like, she's gonna have a hard time.

[00:31:02] Amber: I think really the quote that is resonating with me at least like right now in my life. It's from Abby Wambach's book, Wolfpack. And she says, you can be grateful for what you have. And demand what you deserve. And I think that is so powerful because as women we're always told to be grateful, work the extra hours, do this.

Don't ask for the raise, keep quiet, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. But two things can be true. You can be grateful and say, I am worthy enough. To ask for what I deserve.

[00:31:34] Kristin: And to want more.

[00:31:36] Amber: Yes, you can want the higher salary. That doesn't make you a bad person. It's that's what you're worth. And I don't think a man would be like, Oh, I'm not worth that.

I'm not going to ask for that,

[00:31:44] Kristin: just be grateful for what I have.

[00:31:47] Amber: just be grateful. I'll just keep taking on tasks without a raise, without a promotion. It'll all come around to me. It's no do you need to stand up for yourself? And if people don't recognise your talent and your worth, maybe that's a sign that there's something bigger, better out there and that you need to move on.

[00:32:04] Kristin: I feel like that statement was very powerful and I don't need to ask you anything else, but I would love to know if there's anything else you would like to tell the second chapter listeners while you're here.

[00:32:13] Amber: Just that, I really hope that everybody can pick up my book. I blew up my life and I've never been happier. You can pick it up on notes to self shop. com Amazon.

[00:32:24] Kristin: And we'll make sure to put the links in the show notes as well. So if anybody's looking for it,

[00:32:27] Amber: You can also follow all my daily inspiration on Instagram at notes to self shop. So that's where you can really find me find all the inspiration that you could possibly want.

I think. Man, I just am so excited to see all the people from around the world that are reaching out to me every single day, telling me that this has changed their life and that this is so important and life changing for them. Me just posting these quotes and I love it. It's being on Instagram and chatting with women from around the world who say that my quotes have given them the courage to go after what they want. That's. means more to me than anything else. To me, knowing that I'm changing people's lives one Instagram post at a time is pretty awesome.

[00:33:12] Kristin: And I'm glad that you found that blowing up your life doesn't mean that you can't be happy.

[00:33:17] Amber: Yes, exactly. I want to be. The beacon of hope for people. I hope other people don't have to blow up their life as crazy as I did. So hopefully they only need to change maybe like one thing, maybe leave the job, leave the relationship, or move it to a city, not all three at once. But the fact that I did all three and came out happier says, You too can do this and it's so worth it.

[00:33:41] Kristin: Absolutely. Thank you, Amber, for coming and sharing that with us today. I definitely think I'll take some of the things on board because there's always things that are, you know, maybe a little blow up here and there to make things a little bit happier.

[00:33:55] Amber: Yes, for sure. I highly recommend.

[00:33:58] Kristin: And very nice chatting with an Ohio girl.

[00:34:01] Amber: Yes, this has been great. So yes I will. I'm coming back full circle here. I am going to Cincinnati and I'm going to go to your brother's pizza shop. And maybe we'll have to meet up at some point for that pizza together and meet

[00:34:14] Kristin: Definitely. I have to ask you though, because Ohio, it is a Cincinnati thing, everybody in Ohio knows it. Have you ever had skyline chili?

[00:34:21] Amber: Yes,

[00:34:22] Kristin: And the way that you do that makes me think you love it.

[00:34:25] Amber: yes.

[00:34:25] Kristin: Oh, good. We can be friends. You're allowed. I'm glad we kept recording.

[00:34:30] Amber: That is one thing about, oh man, that's skyline chili. Chef's kiss. So

good. So unique. There's nothing else like it in the world. It is incredible.

[00:34:40] Kristin: And anyone who doesn't know, they just have to get a Cincinnati and find out it is a top food in my estimation.

[00:34:46] Amber: Me too. Me too.

[00:34:47] Kristin: thank you so much, Amber. Take care. And yes I'm looking forward to seeing you in Cincinnati,

[00:34:52] Amber: Awesome. Sounds good. I'll talk to you soon. Thanks again for having me today.

[00:34:56] Kristin: Thank you.

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