I’ve always felt so fortunate for being clear about what I wanted to pursue since I was 16 years old. Once I got the idea in my head that I wanted to be a makeup artist, nothing could change my mind.
I remember being so in love with renaissance art in my high school years, and a quote by Leonardo da Vinci resonated so deeply with me, “He who is fixed to a star does not change his mind.” That was how I felt.
Up until I discovered makeup, I had pondered many different ideas about what to do with my life. I thought I might have liked to be a teacher, an art history teacher. Or maybe I would study psychology.
But once I started getting to know makeup, I knew without a doubt in my mind that I was going for it and that I’d take it as far as I could. My plan had been firstly to move out of Sudbury, ASAP, to work as a makeup artist in Toronto.
But back in those days, in my mind, I imagined that Toronto would only be a stepping stone. When people asked me what my plan was after graduating high school I told them that I would go and work as a makeup artist in Toronto first, and then move to either Los Angeles or New York to continue on with my career.
But something happened since then, since I actually started working in the industry. In the last few years I had found myself… a little less certain about my chosen path.
In many ways, I have been living out my dreams. I’ve been working on major Hollywood productions, with celebrities, on film and television that’s been viewed by audiences all over the world. I was working on Star Trek!
But as I grew older and began to get comfortable in my life, I sort of lost sight of the rest of my dream. And wondered if I should accept what I already had.
You see, back when I was in college, I actually naively thought that Canada and the US had some kind of open border where you could move from one country to the other.
At that time I started looking at apartments, and thought that it really might be doable once I finished school. But then reality sunk in as I learned about the visa process and the lengthy list of requirements.
So, I put it off. I thought, “one day”. And then I stopped talking about it.
It was too daunting to think about for the foreseeable future, and besides, maybe I could accept my life in Toronto.
I started to grapple with the idea that maybe I should give up on the dream that I had when I was literally a child. Why, in the back of my head, was I still holding onto that? I’m a different person now. I’m older and more mature.
I make a decent living, I like my job, I’m close to my friends and family. Maybe I could just settle down and meet someone, and raise a family close to Toronto. Toronto really is a lovely city.
I seriously contemplated all of these things over the past year, and it was causing me a lot of inner turmoil. I think it’s because I knew that deep down I was giving up on myself.
So I decided that for this past New Years, I would go and visit LA. I had never even been there! Then I could finally put these thoughts in my head to rest. Maybe LA wasn’t even that great. I thought if I actually went there and experienced it, I would be able to move on.
But that is not what happened. Instead, I really pictured myself there. I hadn’t had a feeling like that anywhere else that I’ve visited in the world. I saw myself in the neighborhoods I’d live in, where I would go for walks, and the grocery stores that I’d shop at.
I came back to Toronto more motivated than ever to make it happen. And not in the long-term, but as soon as I could.
The thing is, even though the government’s list of requirements for a visa seemed impossible for someone like me, I know people that have done it! People in my circle, just like me. So how did they do it?!
I called them up. Sure enough, I was given step by step instructions and practical advice for how to make it happen.
I mean it was going to be hard, but it’s doable! Everything is figureoutable. After getting off the phone I made it my main mission to do what it took to move and get the visa to the US.
I gave myself a year to do it, and decided that everything that I would do from that point forward would be with the move in mind.
All of a sudden I had this passion for my job, once again, that I had lost in the months prior. I felt so inspired, and so grateful to myself for getting as far as I had already come in my career.
For many years I stopped admitting to people that I wanted to move to LA. Because I was scared that I’d never actually do it.
But not doing it at this point is not an option. Once again, like my high school self, I am fixated.
I’ve just hired an immigration lawyer, and I know that it’s not going to be easy, but I will do it.
Consider this my PDA (my public display of accountability), as Darren Hardy describes it in The Compound Effect.
If there is something that you really and truly feel that you are meant to do. Say it out loud. Be deliberate and start with a plan. And then take the steps, one at a time, until you achieve your goals. You owe it to yourself.
I could have waited until I had made the move to share this part of my story. But I want to be open and transparent through every stage, not just after I’ve accomplished it. I know that there are others out there with the same goals as me and so I’d like to share this process the whole way through.