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When you were a child, who did you want to be?
I wanted to be like my mother.
She didn't wear a cape, or shoot lasers out of her eyes.
She was someone who wore a smile and made people more beautiful.
I remember telling her clients how I wanted to be just like her when I grow up.
"You'll be poor if you become like me," she'd tell me.
"Become successful, like a doctor, then you can make money and be happy."
When you're a child you don't really understand the concept of money.
You just want to be happy.
"But money buys happiness," they say.
From an early age my ambitions were driven by the expectations of others.
And being the people pleaser that I was, I'd spend the rest of my youth chasing after my
mother's dream, becoming successful.
When I was old enough to help my mother out at the salon, it was then when I realized
how she did more than making people look beautiful.
She made them feel beautiful.
She was always smiling.
But I knew behind that mask she was hurt.
Every other night my parents would fight and it was always over money.
I wanted my family to be happy, so I grew up determined on one day becoming successful.
Senior year of high school, while filling out university applications, an epiphany hit me.
If I pursue my studies in medicine, I'd be spending the rest of my life fulfilling someone
else's dream instead of my own.
My intuition led me to fill out an application for art school instead.
I felt so selfish, but I had to confess to my mother.
She was heartbroken and scared that as an artist I'd struggle to make ends meet like her.
But I promised her that I'd find a way to take care of our family while still pursuing
my ambitions.
She trusted in me and gave me her blessing.
The first day of art school was special because all new students were given laptops.
This became my window to the world, a vital tool for all my creative needs.
But soon enough, reality would remind me how my dreams came at a cost and I needed to make money.
I found a job listing for a beauty advisor position.
I completed the interview but got rejected.
Yeah, it sucked at first.
But then I was reminded how God, the universe, whatever higher power you believe in, has
three answers to your prayers:
Yes, Not Yet, or I Have Something Better.
God was right because that 'Something Better' happened to be the very first beauty video I created.
I was sharing my everyday natural beauty routine.
Nothing groundbreaking.
I didn't expect anyone to watch it.
But after checking back, I couldn't believe all the viewers and comments pouring in.
That one video changed the course of my journey.
The early days of YouTube was magical.
No one was really making videos for money.
But once it was possible for creators to monetize their videos, I was able to leave my part-time
job and turn this little hobby into a thriving career.
I did it, Mom!
I became successful and I was happy.
My channel renewed my sense of purpose.
Eventually my hard work paid off.
And after saving up enough money, my family was taken care of first.
I felt so fulfilled.
Creating these videos didn't feel like work.
It felt more like a dream and I didn't want to wake up.
My growing channel caught the eyes of higher-ups who grew intrigued.
It wouldn't be for long until I'd be swept away by opportunities and promises.
I said my goodbyes and left my family's nest to pursue the American Dream in the 'Wild West.'
It was hard to leave my family because they were all I ever knew, but my intuition told
me to go and I had to follow.
Moving to a new city by yourself can feel isolating.
And in the city of dreams I found myself surrounded by people who heavily influenced my career.
They had big plans and kept me busy until that was all I ever knew... busy.
The taste of success was like a drug and I couldn't get enough.
I figured, the more productive I am, the more successful I'll become
because money buys happiness.
I grew to understand how happiness came at a cost because I had to honor what I signed
on the dotted line.
At that time it was worth it.
I was able to retire my mother and take care of my family like I promised.
But it wasn't enough.
I still had more dreams to cross off my list.
Once I was a girl with dreams who eventually became a product... smiling, selling, and selling.
Who I was on camera and who I was in real life began to feel like strangers.
Money can bring out the worst in people and I was no exception.
My insecurities got the worst of me.
I became imprisoned by my own vanity and was never satisfied with how I looked.
The life I led online was picture perfect
but in reality I was carefully curating the
image of a life I wanted, not had.
Money buys happiness, they say.
But all dreams come to an end and I'd have to wake up to face the harsh truth.
The road to success is not only paved with failures, but you also become a target.
I had to battle through several lawsuits from people who wanted a piece of it.
This nightmare took a toll on me.
It nearly broke me down, but I wasn't ready to give up.
So I kept myself busy, taking on more projects and more work.
"Become more successful and one day you'll be happy again."
Staying busy was my only way I was able to cope with all the stress and anxiety.
It helped to numb the pain.
Years would go by and I find myself becoming more isolated and disconnected from my family,
friends, and you, my viewers.
I'm sorry.
I didn't know what to do or who to talk to.
I felt so alone and I had too much pride to let you see me at my weakest.
I felt so depressed and I didn't know why.
I wanted to be forgotten so I began posting less online.
During one of my sleepless nights I found myself watching one of my earlier videos.
I'd forgotten how genuine and full of life I once was.
It was such an innocent time.
Before the money, before the fame.
I felt like somewhere along this journey I lost myself.
Was it because of money?
I spent my whole life chasing after success only to find myself running away from the
very thing that mattered... myself.
My true self.
In the end, I wasn't fooling her because deep down I wasn't happy.
I've grown to learn how money can buy many things, like peace of mind, comfort, status,
anything but happiness.
At this moment, I was feeling so broken, but my inner child wasn't ready to give up on me.
She reminded me how it's never too late to start over.
Although money can't buy happiness, if there is one thing people wish they had more of,
it's time.
So that's what I did.
With my money I bought myself more time.
Time to find myself before I lost myself.
My intuition told me it was time to leave.
So I followed.
They say, "If you want to fly, you have to give up everything that weighs you down."
And I wanted to soar.
I packed up what I could fit in a suitcase and left.
I left everything - my dreams, success, the life I built and worked so hard for...
all behind me and didn't look back.
I took refuge in a place where I could find meaningful time to heal, learn, and grow.
It was in nature where I found peace again.
No Wi-Fi, no distractions.
Just me, nature, and my thoughts.
This world I was disconnected from embraced me again and nurtured my broken spirit back to health.
Echoes of all the noise and anxiety that once polluted my mind began fading.
With my mind at rest I was able to reflect and confront my ego.
Memories of my blurry past began to take shape.
I was reminded of all the trials I went through and how those trials forged me.
Every experience, choice, good or bad, molded me to become the person I am today.
But they don't control me.
Recognizing this gave me the power and freedom to finally decide what I wanted from my own life.
And I wanted to be happy.
You can't buy happiness, but you can create it.
Right then and there I made a conscious choice, an effort, to create happiness around me.
I did so by letting go of anything that was holding me back and inviting things that would
elevate me in every way.
I wanted to learn again so I became a student, and the school was life.
Growth isn't for everyone.
Some people want to stay the same forever, but not me.
I was ready for growth.
With all the time I was able to buy, I spent most of it learning, dreaming, creating, and
exploring the depths of my curiosity.
It wasn't happiness I was looking for.
It was the truth.
My quest is still not over.
There's still so much more for me to discover and learn, and that takes time.
So what now?
Truth is, I don't know yet.
I just want to create and that's what makes me happy.
Back then I was just someone who was showing you how to look more beautiful.
Now I want to show you how to feel more beautiful.
Music by Kristofferson
Song titles: Where Do Tears Go & Broken Fairy Lullaby
If you'd like to see what I've been working on for the past year, check out my revamped em Cosmetics.
And I finally fulfilled my childhood dream, creating a comic.
You can enjoy it for free at
Make sure your volume is on if you'd like to hear the soundtrack with it.
Thank you for watching.
And of course, good luck.
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Why I Left

396 Folder Collection
James-KG published on March 29, 2019
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