Ten Years of Lessons & One Year of Firsts

While I sit here thinking about why the number 1 and 10 are so significant to me right now, I think about all the million things I should be doing. Instead, I ignore the dishes that need to be put away; the piles of dirty laundry that need washing; my makeup kit that needs to be organized for this weekend’s big gig; chipped nails that are in need of some TLC; drawing smiley faces and sand castles with my 3 year old son over and over; because sometimes you just need to be in your head with your own thoughts. My last post on here was in February and I’ll admit that my want to update my blog has been nagging at me. Life gets busy and lets face it, writing a post is on the last of my priorities. But today I feel compelled to write because…I miss it.

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Yesterday was my 1 year anniversary at the tv studio I do makeup at and this past March marked my 10 year anniversary when I began my makeup career (yay me!). I think to myself, why do I feel the need to accurately timeline my career as a makeup artist/? My career doesn’t define who I am, but the experiences I have gone through and how I’ve handled them do. To freelance at anything is no easy feat; there are too many unknowns that not everyone is willing to see it to the end.

This past year is the first time in my career that I have ever experienced some stability. However, I am not naive to the fact that this sense of stability can quickly disappear. I don’t let it discourage me though; so I celebrate my accomplishments and recognize how lucky I am to do what I love and to love the people I work with. 13 years ago, I graduated from a tv production program never once wanting to have a career in it. Now I’ve come full circle working as a makeup artist in the tv industry; funny how life works.

Ten is a big number. To work at something for 10 years; a marriage, parenthood, a career; is something to be proud of. Trying to make sense of it all, I’ve fuddled my way to get where I am. Before kids, I had a clear path of how I wanted my career to go. After kids, trying to make it as an artist seemed impossible; a dream I struggled to let go of. Starting my career later in life and having a family, I had to figure out ways to do what I love, make money fast, and contribute some sort of stability for my family; more importantly to have peace of mind. Looking back on the many odd jobs while doing makeup on the side and even trying different career paths, I am both amused and bewildered. I can’t say I didn’t try! Those experiences and the many people I met along the way helped define the kind of life I wanted and who I wanted in my life. That to me is priceless. Knowing who you are and what you’ll stand for is everything in this cut throat business.

Choosing to be a “starving artist” when your a parent of two is confusing to others. For the most part, I have an amazing support system but it comes with its struggles. I was often consumed with my own thoughts of being selfish, self-absorbed, and unrealistic. Saying you’re a makeup artist is not the same as saying you’re a doctor, you’re a teacher, you’re a lawyer. We’re often asked “But what’s your full-time job?”As irritating as it is to be asked that, I don’t find fault because not all of us are lucky enough to make it a full-time career.

I love to help others, but it really is hard for me to ask for help. Starting out, I was very grateful to have the opportunity to use some very strong connections in this industry. I could have easily fast-tracked my career; would have been a hell of a lot easier! For whatever reason, I wanted whatever outcome my career would have to be because of my own hard work and dedication. A name can only take you so far; if you don’t have the skills to back it up, it’s worthless. When you’ve given yourself no choice, you make it work because you have to survive. So when you meet someone who you want to help that doesn’t really take what you do seriously, you let your emotions get the best of you. This isn’t just a hobby or some job; it’s my livelihood. Looking back, I could have handled certain situations differently, but I will never apologize for my expectations of professionalism and respect for my time.

Being stubborn for once has done well for me. For all the times I have been discouraged because of how someone made me feel, something negative someone has said, or for the lack of support I have felt, the last ten years – from every success to every failure – have all been worth it. While some artists prefer to play it safe, I believe in challenging myself and taking on new experiences. When I’ve felt that I’ve experienced a lot, I get thrown into a new situation learning something completely new again. That’s what this year has been for me; a year of firsts. I probably had less than a handful of jobs working in a television setting before this year, but I forced myself to learn fast. Because it isn’t just about the artistry; it’s about knowing how to work with a whole crew, connecting with those that sit in your chair on a daily basis, learning how to problem solve on the fly, time management, understanding how studio lighting works and how your makeup will translate onto camera, and being a creative in what’s ultimately a corporate world.

I can honestly say I’ve carved out my own path and haven’t really followed someone else’s. I have however, taken opportunities that were given to me with grateful, open arms. I’ve never been particularly good at planning; I kind of run with it and whatever happens, happens. If something doesn’t work, I am back at it thinking of another way to make it work. Something that has always stayed with me is having good work ethics and a good attitude will get you wherever you want to go in life. If your accomplishments are a result of honest hard work, your peers will never expect an apology.

To sum up the last 10 years, with all its challenges it has come with many rewards. I’m still here and I’m not going anywhere. This post isn’t about what advice I can offer other struggling artists, but it’s a reminder to myself of the lessons I’ve learned and how far I’ve come. As I’ve gotten older, letting go of the negativity and what people think has become much easier. I do this for me and my family and that’s all that really matters. I’m not saving lives, but I’m making women feel good about themselves when they may have had a shitty day. It’s a reminder of how lucky I am to be a woman and to live in a country that allows me to freely choose what I want to do with my life; to be a mom of two that make me strive to work hard; to have a loving and supportive husband that I can bounce ideas off of; to be surrounded by peers, family and friends that truly support me every step of the way. In the next little while, I will be greeted with new and exciting opportunities. I can’t wait to see what the next ten years will bring, but I will take it all in one day at a time. If you get anything from this post, having a career in something you love is possible if you’re willing to work hard for it!