The Amazing Things That Happened When I Started Sharing My Dreams With People
Despite all of the personal information I share about my life in articles, in my personal interactions with people, I’m not much of a sharer — particularly when it comes to my dreams. Though I’d like to say I’m at a point in my life where the opinions of others don’t matter, at times they still do, especially when it comes to things I value greatly and milestones I hope to achieve.
It was sometime during my college years when I got the message some things, or better yet dreams, are best left unsaid. Routinely, people would ask what I wanted to do after I graduated and the first time I was asked that question, I boldly answered I planned to move to New York and write for a magazine. I was met with one of those “that’s a pretty lofty goal I’m sure you’ll never achieve” looks that I never wanted to see again. Consequently, whenever someone asked me that same question after that first encounter I found myself adding qualifiers like “I want to write for a magazine and move to New York at some point, but I’m sure it won’t happen right away” Or, I’d totally lie and say, “I don’t know.” For some reason, not having an answer seemed better than having an ambitious one in my 20-something-year-old mind.
In a twist of irony — or destiny — I was actually offered a job in New York City one month after graduation. But no sooner had I shared my excitement, had a barrage of pessimistic comments poured in, mostly questioning whether this is what I really wanted and if I could actually survive in a city most naysayers had never stepped foot in. My spirit was pretty much crushed as I learned even achieving your dreams isn’t a surefire defense against people criticizing them. And since that time, give or take a few instances, I’ve pretty much kept my plans for the future to myself. Knowing my own pessimistic mind, I couldn’t take the risk of someone putting even more doubt in my head or dissuading me from pursuing my goals.
But then something happened when I was in Costa Rica earlier this year, throwing out proclamations about how I had to get my life together. As HolistiCitiLyfe founder Leslie Carrington assured me, “Your life is together,” I told her how I’d been thinking about delving deeper into the beauty industry, specifically skin care for Black women, and even makeup since people were always asking me about mine. I also shared how I’d met a dermatologist who complained to me about a young Black female client questioning his experience with African American skin which offended him (his exact words: “It was like, go f-ck yourself”) and how that telling conversation was confirmation for me that there’s a need for what I was feeling compelled to explore.
“You should totally do it!” Leslie said in response to my storytelling which resulted in me offering up one of those awkward, “are you playing with my emotions” laughs as she rattled off all the reasons why I should pursue my newfound interest. I’d grown so accustomed to people giving me reasons not to do something I didn’t quite no how to respond when they gave me reasons why I should. It was the first of many affirmations to come once I took that initial step to be open.
The second came just the morning after as we were about to head to the airport in San Jose. Leslie came over to me with a black case in her hand and said as she was packing her things she came across the case and asked herself why she’d brought it in the first place and how after our conversation she realized she brought it so she could give it to me. It was a set of 25-plus makeup brushes she’d bought in Italy and never used and now they were mine. I would tell that story to the wonder and amazement of my co-workers who assured me this was an undeniable sign from the universe a few days later.
Suddenly, sharing didn’t seem so bad. In fact, I proudly told other friends/co-workers how I’d begun taking free makeup classes at Sephora to brush up on my skills and see if artistry was something I could really do and enjoy. I told them about the beauty school open houses I’d attended and my plans to study part-time. And I began talking to other estheticians and women in the business about my specific interest who all enthusiastically told me I should go to school — in fact they hoped I did — because, as I suspected, there is a lack of knowledge on the skin care needs of women of color and they need more of us to fill in the gap.
And then a beauty editor friend of mine who was clearing out her apartment brought me a bag of goodies that would make any beauty blogger double over in amazement — we’re talking Makeup Forever gift sets, Tarte foundations, Sephora lip glosses, highlighters, illuminators, Ole Henrickson skin care sets. Hundreds of dollars worth of products were put in my lap simply because I’d had the courage to say “This is what I want to do.” And then a couple of weeks later she asked me to do her makeup for a photoshoot and just like that I had my first portfolio pictures.
Having the courage to even admit a desire can be just as hard as actually pursuing it, but once you do it’s amazing the way the universe will respond to your proclamation. Just this past weekend I met a friend of my sister’s who asked me immediately, “Are you a makeup artist?” I smiled and proudly told him, “I’m working on it.”