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Why I Left


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. emcosmetics.com And I finally fulfilled my childhood dream,
creating a comic. You can enjoy it for free at heliosfemina.com. 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.

Glenn Chapman

100 Comments

  1. Wow looking at this now and a few years back is like a different experience because I too learn and grew and watching this again had so much more meaning. Thank you and welcome back, Queen. <3

  2. The nastiness in the beauty community isn’t going to stop until people completely stop supporting problematic influencers. Stop complaining, stop picking sides, and stop making excuses, for influencers who have proven to be undeserving. It’s disheartening to see so many original influencers put their creativity on hold because the platform became too toxic. People say they miss Michelle, while still choosing to support toxic influencers. You all know who those influencers are…

  3. Sometimes you have to let go,to renew yourself,or you will lose yourself, I agree Michelle.

  4. If I liked you once when I started learning doing my makeup, I like you now even more for how human you are! All the hard times will only serve to find your self and your purpose on this world! Thank you for sharing your story!

  5. To this day she's the only beauty youtuber who I've watched so much eventhough I don't even own a single make-up product. She was just that genuine and good

  6. this was so heart wrenching/warming, thank you you really dont understand how much i needed this video in this moment. this vid is so old but so so relevant ❤️

  7. I cried…this was such a beautiful simple meaningful video and it makes me miss the days when YouTube was drama free and simple. I'm so glad you're back! ❤️❤️

  8. This is my fav video on youtube as of right now. I cried hearing her voice & everything. I just relate to her pain so much & felt every bit of her.. Thankyou michelle for this video ❣ so inspiring omg!

  9. "Sharing my everyday makeup routine….not groundbreaking" what!?!? GIRL you created the beauty community of youtube. I remember only you and juicystar

  10. Wow, this story was so… freeing. I'm so glad to see you back Michelle, it was a pleasant surprise to see you on the interview with Andrew Yang 🙂

  11. So technically, money did buy you happiness, without money you wouldn't have been able to get away to find yourself, go back to school to continue your education and launch your beauty product line… you need money to do all of that…. there is nothing wrong in accepting and knowing that money can buy happiness… people tend to confuse and forget that their problems is not so much the money, but in fact it is us that change, money does not change us, it changes our circumstances, its what we make of it…we change… we get the taste of it and like you said it becomes an addiction that we will chase it at whatever cost, that we end up losing ourselves and forget the reason why we started what we started… what was once fun and exiting became work, we find people around us using us, taking advantage of once kindness, we become overworked under-payed and unappreciated. Its ok money fixed your problem and hopefully this time you have full control of your life and the decisions you make are solely yours. GOD bless you glad that you are better (2 years later) and still going on strong.

  12. Tati, Jeffree, Patrick, Michelle long ago the four nations lived in peace and harmony but than James Charles attacked

  13. im so inlove with this girl 10years ago tell now im stil loking,finding her new video 😍😍😍

  14. This was very much needed! You inspired me so much when I was little. I watched your sailor moon transformation video all the time and I’m so glad that you are taking time for yourself. Take care wherever you are! I send you my prayers 🙂

  15. Unbelievable! You came back yesterday! 16/09/2019
    We love you We support you! Please Come with us! 💚❤💛💜💙💖

  16. Such a soulful message & video. 👍🏽💖💕💕💕💕 Good Luck, take care & stay happy. 😊
    Blessings to you! 🕯

  17. Listen closely

    She said she had to honor what she signed on the doted lined.

    She basically signed her life/soul away to the higher ups (Illuminati). At first the fame and money was worth it but she found herself deteriorating.

    That’s what ultimately lead to her down fall..selling your soul will cost you.

  18. I remember just watching her videos because of how peaceful she was, I loved the way she talked and moved I idolized her so much and cried 2 years ago when she uploaded this, now she's back and I'm not crying really, im not, I'm sobbing

  19. she’s so pure .. i remember watching all her videos & i’m so glad she’s actually drama free .

  20. Im glad you took the time to find yourself, and happiness again ❤️ welcome back, we have missed the happy you!

  21. “ I become in prisoned by my own vanity and was never satisfied with how I look. “

    Stay woke when you want to be famous and put yourself out there

  22. I remember watching your videos over a decade ago. You are legendary and I hope you have found peace and happiness.

  23. Guess who's back, back again, Michelle Phans back, tell a friend…. I couldn't help it I'm going to go comment this on the hello video too (edited) due to typo

  24. Awesome. Can’t wait to see the spiritual stuff you have to share ❤️❤️❤️

  25. I have never seen a Michelle Phan video, just her most recent one, where she announced she's coming back. This is my second video of hers, and it's making me so sad. I understand why she left. God, idek what to say, this video has inspired me and has made me think about my future. Her words really stuck with me. I'm thankful she's come back, even if I don't know her that well.

  26. You are my hero and inspiration! Here since day 1 until forever <3
    So glad to have you back 🙂

  27. Back now that she finally posted we freaking love uuuuuu 💋💋💋💋💋💋💋💋💋💋💋

  28. Fan will always be a fan. Ilysm Michelle!! You are the most awesome beauty vlogger

  29. Love you Michelle!!! Tank you for say why you left. Tank you for been here for so far. Kisses and good look from Argentina.😍😍😍😘😘😘

  30. Can’t wait for your return. Please share with us your world. We are all struggling to find a purpose in life to live. I agree that the best things in life do not come with a price. I’ve always liked your video because it’s always so calm and relaxing to hear your voice and the steps you give looks so simple. Makes me think that life isn’t as complicated.

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