It’s one of those days where I wanted to talk about something more than makeup. I’ve struggled with self esteem quite a lot in the past few years. You could say I’ve had something of a quarter life crisis. The root of the issue has, for the most part, been that I have trouble finding direction in life. I’m certain that I’m not alone in this, so I wanted to share my experience.

In the past eight years since finishing high school I’ve had a bit of a rough go of it. I went to university for a few years and, while I liked certain aspects of it, it wasn’t right for me. I was able to get good grades, but I had to work damn hard for them. I felt constantly reminded of how smart I really wasn’t. I had this constant feeling like I was tricking people into thinking I was clever. I dropped out after a while and that’s when things started to go downhill. I went through a bad patch of feeling worthless and lost.

I sifted through a few career ideas. For a while I got into cake decorating. I thought maybe I could train to make wedding cakes. But that sort of fizzled out. Eventually, after about a year or two of drifting, I made a decision. I’d gotten quite into the whole Youtube makeup world and that passion didn’t seem to be disappearing anytime soon. So after a lot of debate I finally signed up for makeup school.

That was a fantastic decision for me. I loved being there. For the first time school didn’t feel painful. It wasn’t a chore. I got to be creative and feel good about it. To this day I’m still grateful for the experience I had there. But, once again, after I left school I got lost. I went back to my crappy day job of working at a grocery store and kind of lost my drive and direction.

That’s when I started Bloomin’ Rouge. My most wonderful and loving friend, Richard, helped me so much with this. He encouraged me every step of the way, told me I have what it takes and that I’d be great at it. He literally spent days on end (well, really months on end) sitting by my side, building my blog with me. Blogging certainly didn’t fix everything. I still doubted my worth and felt guilty for dropping out of university, but it was a big step in the right direction.

Here’s the thing. We live in a society where academics are valued above all else. So being someone that is meant for something different is kind of shit. It feels awful. I could be an amazing artist, but if I can’t do trigonometry I’ll always be an idiot. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve had come up to me and ask me when I’m going back to school. Or how many people I’ve had tell me that a university degree is of the utmost importance. Really, I can’t tell you how many people I’ve wanted to tell to shut the fuck up and mind their own business.

Overcoming the feeling of being stupid and worthless because I’m not academically inclined has been, and continues to be, one of the biggest challenges of my life. You have to find a way to envision an alternative route, see its value, despite what others might think, and commit to it. And for the first time in my life I finally feel like I’m starting on that path. I’m finally starting to internalize that there’s worth beyond academic smarts. I’ve got a blog that I’m proud of. I left my grocery store job and I’m working a job where I get to practice my makeup skills every day – a job where my creativity is genuinely appreciated. I can see multiple possible futures that I would enjoy. I could be a freelance makeup artist (something I’m already starting to dabble in), I could blog full time, I could teach makeup, I could get into web design. The list goes on.

I’m truly starting to feel accomplished in what I’m doing and the fact that I never got a BA or a Masters or a PHD doesn’t have to matter. That’s absolutely wonderful for anyone that does have those qualifications and that loves what there doing. Lord knows I’ve spent enough time being jealous of you. But to finally feel like I might have some kind of value, like I’m good at something, like I can have a worthwhile career is nothing short of splendid for me. I just hope that anyone else who is going through the same struggle can also see the value in their talents.