When we moved to Dallas, I was not scared of forgetting who I was. I’ve been on a spiritual and self-development journey for years now, so it never crossed my mind that this move would be hard on my self image. I always knew it was going to be hard emotionally, physically and socially. But in the core, I know who I am. And I will always be fine, at any place, right? RIGHT?!
I guess I underestimated how much of an effect leaving my job, friends, family and pretty much everything familiar would have. And now I’m writing it down it feels like ‘duh, what else did you think?!’. But I actually thought that everything would be fine. That I’d always be fine. And I am.
But trying to make it as a Youtuber, adjusting to the Texan people and lifestyle, while staying true to myself and knowing my worth is harder than I thought. I know I’m trying to do a job that is wayyy out of my comfort zone at the same time. (Because no – Youtube is NOT easy. At all.) And while it’s only human to want to fit in with the locals, let me explain why the American culture makes it hard.
Many people in Dallas have done plastic surgery, or at least botox and fillers. Many do expensive facials pretty frequently and have lash extensions, and pretty much all women have the long fake nails. And while I’m into beauty and taking care of my looks, I’m not into one of all those things. I don’t want to fall into the trap of spending a lot of money on looks while real beauty (and worth) is on the inside.
But it is really hard to try and do a job that focusses to much on your exterior (I mean, I am basically either filming or film-editing my own face all day every day) as a ‘natural’ 30-year old, while so many other girls in the business are in their twenties AND had a lot of work done. I’m truly trying to embrace my eye bags, starting wrinkles and not-so-plump lips, but that’s kind of a challenge when I don’t see anyone else (I admire) who also had them!
And this fakeness translates into conversations as well as looks. Americans seem very used to pretending to be more than they are. Showing what they have in hopes it assumes that they have even more. Many people spend all their money on luxuries while not even having savings or back-up plans. They are good at pluffing up a whole lot of nothing to fit in. Which I guess brings me to the next point.
What is succes?
Second of all, success is a really weird standard here in the USA. I guess it has something to do with the American dream, but it feels like I have found two ‘American truths’ so far that everyone is trying to live by. The first: You should be successful. Life is only worth living if you’re successful. You’re succes is in your own hands so why aren’t you successful? The second: Succes equals money and looks, okay. Nothing else.
And on one hand I admire the simpleness of that American way of living. At least we are all trying to work hard for our money and be pretty and healthy, right? But the downside to this is I guess what we more generally relate to the human condition. I mean: What’s up with happiness? Where does worthiness ‘no matter what you do or don’t do’ fit in? And what if I tried really hard to build a life where I can be ugly and lazy? Would that not count as succesful?
I guess what I’m trying to say is, I miss some individualistic diversity here. In Europe (or at least the Netherlands) we care a lot more about what YOU like to be and do, even if it’s not what I like to be and do. We care about your wellbeing, we care about your individual dreams. If you don’t want to make a lot of money, fine! If you want to sit on your ass and be fat, great! You do you. And if your life fits what you personally would describe as success, you’ve made it. Congratulations. Even if that means you’re not rich and pretty. And I miss that here.
You’re bound to fail
Last but not least, somehow all the systems here seem to be built on the large chance that you’ll fail. They are built on people’s ignorance, their inabilities, the great chances of the odds not being in their favor. The whole money system is built on the idea of loans and debts. The craziest part is: the ones with the most debt (while paying them all in time) have the most money to spend. The whole job system is built on the premise that you can be fired today if you do anything wrong at all.
The ideal is to make it as a successful and pretty person, and this is everybody’s drive to stay focused and work hard, while only 1% of humanity can actually live that life. The irony is that if 99% of the American people wouldn’t fail the way they are set up to (by having a lot of debt, losing their job quickly, or simply not having the privileges, etc.) the 1% could never be that rich OR pretty! The people that we all aspire to be, are the people that need that large group of ‘losers’ the most. Society is build by and for the rich and pretty, but is run and kept alive by the people who could never make it in.
And while I (being Dutch) can only observe this whole theater from a distance, and enjoy it on the moment the odds are in my favor – because, I am, one of the privileged people, I do realize – it weighs on me to see society work this way. I feel that it is built on the premise that I will fail. I feel that others are failing because of it.
How I will find myself again
I know that I am a Scorpio and I will have a rebirth very soon. I don’t even have to try and make that happen – it’s in my DNA to always transform and undergo whatever life throws at me. I can cry in the light and I can smile at darkness. Because in the hardship of life is where magic happens for me.
And I am kind of learning to be okay with not always knowing who I am, and not always fitting in. A lot of spiritual leaders would actually be very proud if they saw how fulfilled I am in this black box I now call my identity. In some ways, I identify with the American people. Because apart from what I painted above, they are very kind, empathetic, enthusiastic people with a true passion for life and pulling each other up. In other ways, I don’t relate to their way of living at all.
So I guess that makes for the sweet spot I’m living in today. I still have the morals and values that I had in the Netherlands, while learning from the perks the USA has to offer. And I’m not done learning from this country yet!