What Am I Doing?
This is the first time I've been able to get on the blog for a while- hello again, how are you doing?
I have a lot of drafts saved from when I had a blog idea that I didn't want to forget. I had sat down and begun tapping away at one of those, but it didn't feel quite right, so I've written this instead. It's a bit of a self-indulgent and rambling use of my blog space, I'll admit, but it might also be a little bit of comfort for anyone else feeling the same way. Now, don't get me wrong, I have a wonderful life that's full of things that give me fulfilment outside of my career! But, those comforts don't make this element of my life feel any less terrifying.
What am I doing? Why am I doing it? Where am I going?
These questions started to take up far too much of my brain space when I began my third year of uni. I thought I'd get some clearer answers after my graduation, but that didn't happen. So I applied for some jobs, signed up to some film crew career websites, spent some money, set up my business, and have done my absolute best. It's been over a year, and I'm still not sure what I'm doing, why I'm doing it, or where I'm going. For a minute I thought I did know! I applied for some jobs that I felt really confident about, but I didn't get them and I've perhaps taken that a bit too personally. It was the same reply I've had 100 times; 'We think you're super-duper great and just perfect for the job, BUT you just don't have the experience!' Are you even a recent graduate if you haven't pulled your hair out screaming HOW DO I GET EXPERIENCE IF YOU WON'T GIVE ME EXPERIENCE WITHOUT EXPERIENCE??? So, in short, I'm back at square one. Well, not entirely back at square one, but the rejections in combination with some other personal events has made it feel like square one. So, I suppose, I'm back at square two and I'm not sure how many squares there are, or which one I'm trying to get to.
I recently hit a low, and those big pink questions became all I could think about. I'd been considering a complete change in career, but I love what I do so much that I couldn't really think about what else I might be good at. I often think about that- I could be the worlds best unicycle basketball player, but I'll probably never find out as I won't ever try it. I started to consider my motivation for being a makeup artist, and for who I am as a person. I was questioning whether this is really what I want, or am I just doing it because it looks cool? Am I trying to prove something to myself or others? It felt weird to be questioning myself on something that I had always been so sure about. The internal struggle was happening. I had been offered a full-time job position outside of the makeup world in a place that I really loved and would've been very comfortable. I turned it down because the contract didn't allow me to have the flexibility needed to be an MUA and it felt like giving up on my dream. At least, after that, I know that makeup is where I'm supposed to be. Despite this, I still just had a horrible, heavy feeling that makeup stardom simply isn't meant to be for me, no matter how badly I want it. (Or at this point I don't even need makeup stardom, just making a living!) We're taught from a young age that if you really do your best, then that's enough. Good things will come if you work hard. But it's difficult to bear this in mind when someone else's best is better (or more experienced) than yours and, unfortunately, sometimes hard work just doesn't pay off.
Please know that the point of me writing this is not to make you feel sorry for me. In a sense, it's a way to make me feel less sorry for me, and for you to feel less sorry for you (should you be feeling that way in the first place). Going to University is all well and good, and I am still glad I had that experience, but, no-one teaches you what to do on the other end of it. For roughly 21 years my life was structured, scheduled, and graded. I was preparing for secondary school, then GCSE's, then A-Levels, then a degree, and then nothing. So when you're thrust into the open to make your own decisions, what now? I didn't have to write an essay about being a grown-up, so I don't know how to do it. No-one is grading my actions, so I don't know what they're worth. My time has only ever been spent working towards a very clear goal, and being taught how to best use my time to achieve said goal. One thing I do know is that I can't be the only recent grad feeling this way.
Because I was getting tired from all the moping, I began to look at my friends, family, and people that pop up on my Facebook that I haven't spoken to in years that I'm proud of. Old friends who've scored cool jobs, or got out of their comfort zone. The ones who don't know what their super-cool dream jobs are yet, but are doing amazingly and still living independently. The powerful parents. Someone who I met once in a drama club 6 years ago starting their own online show. Now, I know that social media is a glossy representation someone's life etc, but me celebrating the achievements of sometimes near-strangers made me reflect on how I treat myself. If someone posted on Facebook saying that they have got some clients for their brand-new business already, would I comment "that's actually really rubbish going, when this other person is really rich from being a MUA already *angry emoji*"? Of course not! I'd be commenting YAAAAAS CONGRATULATIONS!! THAT'S AMAZING WELL DONE KEEP GOING!! (Well, I wouldn't actually comment anything cos I don't know this hypothetical person and it'd be weird, but I'd be thinking these things). Why don't I show this same kindness and support to myself, who I know far better than an old Facebook friend? This has shifted my thinking slightly, slowly learning to celebrate rather than berate.
I've recently moved in hoping that a new environment would bring a fresher way of thinking, and I think that's worked to an extent. I started off by being disappointed that I'm moving into shared housing rather than a place of my own, but my new super-positive celebratory thoughts followed soon after, proud that I'm on my own now. I feel more in control now, and I can trust myself to make my own decisions. Slowly but surely, the work is trickling in, and I've received some really heartwarming and motivating feedback. I've also learnt how to relax, and enjoy my downtime without thinking that I'm wasting time. I believe that this has been essential to the growth of my 'plan' and career, even though I'm working and stressing less. I've reconnected with people as well as my own personal hobbies, and this has freed some space in my mind which can be used for pondering the important stuff more easily. I'm not telling you to move house the minute you're stressed, but finding a new perspective has been essential. You know that they say that you shouldn't work in the same space that you relax in because you can never feel truly relaxed? It's been like that, but with brain space rather than physical space.
I was going to say I've lost a bit of direction with where I was going with this post, but I'm not sure I knew where I wanted it to go in the first place- oh the irony. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I still don't know what I'm doing, why I'm doing it, or where I'm going with it, and I'm (almost) completely fine with that. I'm bearing in mind that I have actually got lots to be proud of from the last 365 days, and so do you. I am also sure that I am making the most of my time, even if some of it is spent in bed playing The Sims, because that part of life is also essential to becoming a successful, whole human person. It's okay to cry and panic from time to time, as long as it's not all the time and you can remember that things will work themselves out, just perhaps not in the way you expected them to. I've learnt to take as many opportunities as I can, especially the ones that I don't think I'm capable of, as those always feel the best once you've done it. But at the same time, I'm learning to say no to some opportunities when what I really need is pizza and a cuddle whilst watching something with Paul Rudd in it, because my career doesn't define me entirely (but my love for Paul Rudd does define me a bit). Doing your absolute best shouldn't mean social isolation and exhausting yourself, followed by guilt or disappointment when it doesn't work out. It means doing the best you can, whilst maintaining your health and life.
You carry on doing you, even if you don't know what 'you' is, and I'll carry on doing whatever 'me' is. We'll get there in the end, even if we don't know what 'there' looks like or where the end is. All I'm going to worry about is what I'm doing today, and perhaps what I'm going to have for dinner tomorrow.
Look after yourself, you're doing great.