Even as an adult, I don’t really know what I want to be when I grow up. The entire idea of pinning down a path for myself seems daunting. I’ve tried on a lot of hats–pastry chef, hair stylist, translator, illustrator, but none of them fit well for very long. We’re trained to think that everything has its place, but figuring out where our own isn’t always so cut-and-dry. In the past, each time I began to diverge from my chosen path, I viewed it as a failure: I wasn’t good enough, I was too flighty, I was impulsive. But taking a step back, I realize this was never the case. Each job I took, each course of study I completed taught me a set of valuable skills. I learned how to perform tasks that I could apply to numerous fields even outside that specific career. Each moment taught me more about myself, about what I enjoyed and what I did not, and what I identified with. I wonder if I might have decided to become a vegan had I not worked in restaurant kitchens, or if I would have explored the option of cosmetology had I not explored my theories on art in philosophy classes. Even when I fell out of love with jobs and schools, I learned valuable lessons about moving on.
I love working as a makeup artist. I love learning my products, experimenting with techniques, teaching people how to emphasize their best features. It’s a rewarding career: there’s no feeling quite like turning the mirror on a client and watching their eyes as they realize the beautiful person in the mirror is actually them. It’s an honor to work with people on some of the most important occasions of their lives, knowing that you were a part of their memories and contributed to making their photographs beautiful reminders. But if I imagine myself 10 or 15 years in the future, I don’t necessarily see myself as a makeup artist down the line.
Looking back, I always thought I would end up in the literary field. I love to write and constantly have fiction projects going, but I also love to read and edit other people’s work. My focus in art school was illustration, often taking inspiration from literature or my own projects for my work. And while my attention has shifted somewhat recently into fine arts, I feel myself being pulled back to illustration again. I’m interested to see what themes I end up exploring once the summer break comes and my work can become my own again. I appreciate the instruction and direction that my classes give me, but I’m always anxious to see how they’ve influenced me when I begin to produce pieces that are truly my own again.
With school winding down in just a few weeks, I’m starting to plan my life for the next few months. In my memories, summer holidays were blissfully unstructured, breezy and carefree, but as I get older I feel like structure is no longer an option. It’s mandatory. Structure keeps my productivity up, and productivity it what keeps me sane. I’ve got some exciting new ventures on the horizon and I can’t wait to share them with you as they start to solidify. I’d like to think that by the end of the summer, I’ll be closer to answering that question everyone poses to themselves at some point: “what will I be?” I may never be able to respond with absolute certainty, but each aspect of myself that I explore brings me one step closer.