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.

About the author


  1. Michelle Phan was the only beauty guru who WAS a beauty guru. Beauty community after 10 years became hell. Let's hope that our Beauty Queen can say that enough was enough and that she will fix the Beauty Community. Let's Hope that our Beauty Queen gets the number 1. Spot again and Forget about Jeffree,James,manny,Laura and other drama queens. The Beauty Community became a Drama Community. Everyone is talking about scandals instead of her. YES. She is the one who was a true hard worker and who is honest. Hope you all have a good day and I hope you are happy.

  2. I stopped following you after I saw how you have changed and how money changed you but watching this video brought me back to liking you again.

    It’s nice when someone see that they are changing and not changing for the best and what’s causing those changes.

    It’s really amazing that you realized it and you wanted to do something about it. And you did 🙂

  3. so what we can learn from this is that money doesn't buy happiness but it sure helps with feeling sad. If only i could pack up my bags and live in nature :')

  4. Michelle, you are truly inspirational for me. I learn and keep learning thanks to your journey, I cannot imagine how much you have learnt yourself. I hope your path in its good and bad moments leads you to become even wiser so you can spread it to the world. Thanks for this video.

  5. i was looking for her channel forever because i had forgot her name with the lack of her posting. i was talking about a specific makeup look she did that i really like last week to my friend and out of nowhere at 4 am i get her video in my recommend 👺

  6. rewatching this video after seeing her NEW videos is bringing me back, I can’t help but to tear up thinking about how broken I was watching this for the first time VS now. How much I’ve changed, how much she has changed, how much YouTube has changed. This is unbelievable.

  7. I remember how ubiquitous Michelle Phan's name was when it came to beauty on YouTube. I had never even watched her videos but I knew who she was how much everyone knew who she was. I'm glad she's doing better now bc I never realized how much I missed her calm nature on the platform.

  8. Michelle you’re an inspiration to me. You are gifted, you are smart, you are beautiful inside and out. God bless you. 😌🙏🏽

  9. This is not a hate comment but an honest comment. I don't care if she is still trying to sell. Not my concern. This video may seem to her like an evolution of self. The problem is, it's still all about self. Everything is "'me me me" and the humility is still not there.

    You lost yourself because you had to answer to people who paid you? That's Being grown up. Many more people can't run away to Switzerland to find themselves and stress over having to work.

    This is more a sad display of further vanity than an inspiration. Unfortunately Michelle, your vanity is more than skin deep. That's the discovery you shared with all of us

  10. I love you 😍☺️ this video was a breath of fresh air. I’m happy she’s back and always spreading light in a positive way.

  11. You are such an amazing human being. I hope you know that these videos where you show your true self and emotions are extremely important and healing for many people. I've been watching you from the beginning and you will always hold a special place in my heart and inspire me to move forward.

  12. Funny how the people a lot of Californians would call country bumpkins have been saying it’s a toxic lifestyle forever. But not everyone can realize it.

    About the ‘buying time’ thing… yeaaaah. If only 🙄

  13. Wow, I remember watching her videos and looking up to her. Hearing her voice was just so great.. How the beauty community has changed 🙁

  14. Omg I just realized you’re the girl who made Helios I have read the comic so many times I love it thank you for sharing your talent in so many ways

  15. I saw an article about you returning, and then I saw this and realized that I’ve watched this before and didn’t realize it was you

  16. Got a random news story about this lady, Didn’t know anything about this chic before now… but judging by the comments she is a top notch person.

  17. You are back to life. God is really good. God bless you more. I'm here if you need. Comfort. I love you Michelle Phan❤️

  18. I miss you and i love and thank you for the sweet memories i had growing watching you on how to dress up for school :')

  19. This was a most beautiful words of truth. Thank you Michelle for sharing your journey with us.
    God has blessed you with a most beautiful Spirit of love and creativity.

    Keep pressing on. Allow God to continue to show you the woman that you are and will be.

    God Bless You…. and Welcome Back!

    Much Love,

    Rachel ♥️💟🕊🕊🕊🕊💕🌈🌈🌈🌈

  20. You helped your family but are you able to spend quality time with them -especially your mom ?
    I want my kids to succeed in life what parent doesn’t .But it’s not worth it if I don’t see them -spend quality time with them ….I miss my mom who has passed along with my dad and 4 brothers … I would give anything to see them again but I also have my own children’ who have given me their children …. I am so blessed .. Happiness is being with the ones you love … 😘💐

  21. Michelle, if you will read this….be content and realize how other people struggles just to buy food to survive. Everybody is special in our god’s eye. Watch videos here in youtube: Science Found Proofs of Existence of God

  22. Damn, that was a powerful message! I don't follow beauty videos, but I do remember seeing you pop up in YouTube feeds. Thank you for sharing your experience. I hope you find your peace and I hope I find mine too soon.

  23. You have enough money now, and please spend time with the people that love you! They won’t always be there. 🥰💞🥰

  24. I love you Michelle Phan, you are beautiful inside and out ❤️🤗 Watching you really brings me back memories.

  25. I'm glad she is back, but she is kinda just doing the same thing as before, And you would kinda think she wouldn't go through all of this again because that's the reason she left? IDK maybe she changed her mind, just tryna make logic! ❤️

  26. Im one of the majority who viewed your first vid back then. Its from you where I learned basic make up esp the eyeliner thing bec that was emo era days. Im so happy that you are back and I am clueless about this video. I was just left hanging back then why you were not filming anymore. So this vid answers, finally. I wish you all the best of good luck.

  27. this is the 3rd time to watch it hoping to watch another MP vids in the fast few yrs,
    and now in 2019 she's back..💙
    im MP big fan 💋 from Philippines..😘😍😊

  28. I’m so sorry 😞 I used to follow years ago. In the beginning. I learned with you how to do my makeup and I still use many of your tips. I still wash my brushes how you taught me. But one day your videos changed and became too unreal. On the other hand I became a mum and my time for YouTube grew smaller. Today, many years later I heard your name in a video I was watching and came back to your channel. And the first video I’ve seen is this one. And it broke my heart to learn how much you suffered. I can relate to so many of your words that I’m still crying. I hope your time out helped you and that you are happy. I like your decision of learning again. I wish you the best and send you lots of love. I’ll be here.

  29. nice drawing tutorial .. 😀 ..
    I understood the basics of life around the age of 10-14 because of my situation and 1 parent passing away .. but i stayed true to my dreams and my mother did all to support me never question my crazy strange dreams .. 😉 never put money first even if you really really need them .. they are just a tool never bring happiness.. for me happiness was always Nr.1 priority and it´s one of my rules .. "If it´s not fun, It´s not worth it!" 😉 GL

  30. Just because she missed a post wayy before. Don’t assume she quit. Don’t assume she doesn’t wanna post. People go through shit like this. And y’all gotta accept that. Money cannot always buy you happiness. But like she said money can save you time for yourself

  31. Oh sweetie, I sure hope you are happy now and found your bliss and kind, supportive people. This was heartbreaking to listen to. Very important lessons in here. 💕

  32. I just wanted to let you know you inspired me when I was younger. My mom wasn’t around much and doesn’t have any interest or knowledge about Beauty. Your videos were so helpful to me. I learned about makeup & skincare from you. But like I said you inspired me to pursue a career in beauty and I have been in the skincare business for 6 years now and love it! Anytime anyone today asks me how I learned to do makeup or what made me go into this field.. it was you and your videos! So thank you and always do you! ❤️

  33. the first time i watched this video i was 15, now I'm 17 and it kinda hits me the fact that she says she tried to fullfil someone else's dreams… it has been like that my entire life

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