“Live your life for you not for anyone else. Don’t let the fear of being judged, rejected or disliked stop you from being yourself.” ~Sonya Parker
The day that I realized that I was trapped inside of my life was an ordinary day. I woke up, dressed myself, drove to work, and applied makeup to my assigned actors and actresses. It was a groundhog day filled with my usual routine as an entertainment makeup artist.
I settled into my chair on set and watched as the director directed and the cameramen captured the scenes on tape.
The vibration from my phone caught my attention. I picked it up and whispered, “hello.”
The person on the other end asked me why I was whispering. I told them, “I’m on set and I must be quiet.”
They asked, “So, you can’t speak out loud at your job?” I was perturbed by this question because, of course, I can speak out loud at my job but not when the tape is rolling.
This question lingered in my mind well after I hung up the phone. So you can’t speak out loud? The more I thought about it, the more I realized it was my truth. I realized I didn’t feel free to truly speak out loud—I didn’t feel free to be me.
I could not speak out loud during a take but I, honestly, could not speak out in the makeup room either. In my mind, it was a classic case of your voice doesn’t count so keep your mouth shut. The actors and actresses have the floor, and who really wants to listen to a makeup artist?
It takes a special kind of actor/person to truly take interest in the lives of the people who serve them. I saw clearly that I wasn’t living my life for myself and that I shrunk within the space around me to allow others to shine.
I was living in the matrix and I needed to take a new pill in order to go on with my life.
I began to understand the reason depression had come over me that year and, at that moment, I knew I had to make a change. Of course, fear pounded on my head and my heart; yet, I could not allow it to stop me from advancing.
I knew I wanted to write but I am a makeup artist not a writer. Who would read a novel written by a makeup artist? I also knew that if I didn’t write I would die. So, I made a decision to apply to UCLA as a transfer student.
I had walked away from college twenty years before to attend beauty school and since I knew that I wanted to major in English, I thought I’d give college another try, but when UCLA accepted me, fear knocked even harder.
How could a forty-one-year-old makeup artist, wife, and mother of two return to college and complete a degree in English?
I had to walk down a new path and live my life for me and not for anyone else. I had to be free to be me.
My life began to change when we studied Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay Pray Without Ceasing. This was where I first heard the concept that we pray without ceasing because our thoughts are our prayers and our prayers are answered and manifested in the person that we become.
I began to spend time talking with the professor in his office in order to understand these concepts.
A new world opened up for me, as I understood that I played a huge role in my reality and that my thoughts were my power.
I began to correlate the relationship my old thoughts had to my past situations. It shook my paradigm.
I recognized that my thoughts kept me in a state of depression, as I focused on my past and all the bad that had happened in my life. These thoughts also catapulted me into the future as I fantasized about a better life. I could not live in the present moment.
I also began to see that I chose to please everyone around me. I thought it was a moral duty to take care of others while I neglected the desires of my heart. Before entering UCLA, my heart ached a lot.
I literally had pains in my chest that woke me in the middle of the night. I had an EKG and while everything looked good, I knew something about me had to change.
After learning a new way of thinking, I knew I could turn my life around, and I did.
I began to renew my mind with new thoughts. When a negative thought come to mind, I observed it and then replaced it with a thought that uplifted and affirmed me. In the beginning, it felt like I was lying to myself.
Although it was difficult obtaining my English degree from one of the top English departments in the country, I graduated and I walked across the stage a month shy of my forty-third birthday. Since then, I have completed my first novel, which I began in 2004 before entering UCLA.
After graduation I continued to read and practice empowering my mind with uplifting messages. I read books by Louise Hay, Florence Schovel Shinn, and Eckhart Tolle. I began to wrap my arms around myself and embrace me.
Each day I release my old paradigm and I allow new thoughts to build an uplifting foundation within me. This has saved my life by giving me freedom to exist and unfold in each moment. I now know that if I live for the present and remain in the now, I breathe easier and feel lighter.
I am free to be me just as you are free to be you. It doesn’t matter what others think or feel about us as long as we are true to who we are.
So, to those who are living their lives for themselves and no one else, I applaud you, and to those who aren’t, I hope this inspires you to do so. You deserve to fully embrace yourself and to enjoy your existence on this planet.
Photo by nic519