Stories

Ready, set, why am I doing this?

So, this is my life. I'm internally screaming. I cry a lot. I'm scared... frustrated. I'm stuck.
Preface
Most of you reading this know me from YouTube or Instagram — from my online shenanigans. I’ve been craving for a place to offload my thoughts, dig deeper in understanding the world around me, and deconstructing what makes me, me. Additionally, I often get messages from the community — from you guys — asking “how to become a YouTuber.” The short answer is: live your life; choose to explore, experience, get to know people, fail, evolve, grow as an individual. This blog is the longform answer — my way of unpacking what that short answer really means. But first, you have to understand who I was before any of you guys knew me. So, here it is:
A Pot of Boiling Water
December 2009: My high school sweetheart and I have been dating for 7 years. I’m in my 6th year as a professional ballerina. My life is predictable. It’s very safe.
In fact, it’s too safe — I’m trapped.
I’m 25 years old and I feel like I’m living someone else’s life. Mom put me in ballet when I was 2 ½ years old and now it’s my job. I’ve done nothing but ballet my whole… entire… life. No other jobs. No other outlets. Did I choose this or did I just stay on the safest path to coast into a semi-successful career? Do I even like ballet?
My boyfriend (let’s call him D) and I haven’t moved forward in our relationship for years — it’s like we’re stuck in a time warp. We still live separately. We go on the same dates. We talk about the same things. We don’t challenge each other but, hey, we’re really good friends.
So, this is my life. I’m internally screaming. I cry a lot. I’m scared… frustrated. I’m stuck.
—–
Have you ever watched a pot of water boil? First, there’s a single bubble that forms at the bottom. It floats to the top. It disappears. And then there’s another bubble. And another. And soon, it’s boiling. If you don’t turn down the heat, the pot overflows.
—–
Michelle found me right when my theoretical pot of water was boiling.
We met a year prior — she’s 10 years older than me, she’s a teacher, she’s a great listener, she’s lived a helluva life — and instead of bringing that boil down to a simmer, her suggestion was a crazy one: pack up your sh*t. Let’s climb Kilimanjaro.
What?
I camped when I was kid — because of, I guess Girl Scouts — but climbing a a giant mountain, hiking through desert, walking in snow, and going to Africa for 10 days seemed OUTRAGEOUS. This was way out of my comfort zone. And it’s exactly what I needed.
I booked my ticket without telling my parents (for fear they’d veto the idea). We flew across the globe. We celebrated New Year’s Eve in a tent in the snow. We climbed a 19,000ft mountain. It is one of the most significant decisions of my life. *
I came back and I was hooked on a feeling: on travel, on nature, on adventure, on exploring the world, and exploring my own potential. I started to question everything. As soon as I came back from Africa, I traveled solo to the Swiss Alps, stayed in a hostel in Chamonix, and skiied by myself. I broke up with D. We went our separate ways and wished nothing but the best. I started rock climbing. I temporarily put ballet on the back burner. Michelle and I hiked Death Valley. We planned other trips. I met Peter (my now fiancé). We went skydiving, I used the last of my life savings — like ALL OF IT — on a 2-month backpacking trip to Peru and an ice-climbing excursion in Bolivia! Woo! Adventure!
September 2010: I’m completely and utterly broke.
——
Damn. Time to hustle.
——
I went back to dancing ballet, taught dance in the evenings, coached kids, booked private lessons, and took any gig that came my way. One day, I got an email casting a small part for an internet video. It paid $50 and it shot in Sacramento. 50 bucks was a good amount of money for me — I was STOKED. I show up and meet Ian and Anthony for the first time — they’re cool dudes and we the shoot goes just fine. They ask if I can come back the next day for another opportunity (they’re looking for someone to be a recurring cast member). I almost didn’t show up because I wanted to save gas. Think about that. My life would have been completely altered had I not showed up.
But I did. It was the “worst audition ever” and I became the 3rd member of Smosh. The rest is history.
Capture1
I hope this gives you some context of who I was before I appeared on YouTube. I was really just finding myself. And I’m still evolving. I think this blog will help me continue to unpack the thoughts rolling around in my head while pulling in discussions that are important to you guys, the readers. I’m just excited to have a place to talk about things that might not always have a place on YT. So, if you’ve made it this far, I thank you for taking the time to read my first post. You da bee’s knees. Stay tuned ❤
Leave a note. Let’s build a community. Start a discussion. Ask a question. What else do you want me to write about? Let me know your thoughts!

 

90 comments

  1. Just wow. You really inspire me Mari, and it’s hard to believe that you were once where I am now; a lost soul, without money or a goal. Maybe I too need to find me an adventure in order to discover my path and progress past this thick fog that my life has turned into. Thanks for sharing your story! ♥

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Being in a ballet company means being around a lot of people who are older than you. You tend to grow up really fast. At the same time, it’s wonderful to be around artists who are passionate about their art and to have the opportunity to learn from those with experience and a wealth of knowledge. Artists tend to be bad businessmen — read books and learn how to negotiate and read contracts on your own. Best wishes to you, fellow dancer!

      Like

  2. ive always looked uo to you mari with so little knowledge about you and after reading this it made me more inspired you have no idea how scared frustrated and stuck i am i hope i can turn my life around cuz everything now is controlled by other people and i cant do shit about it. but hey you inspire me everyday. thank you for sharing your stuff with people like me i really want to know more about you. you’re awesome.

    Like

    1. One of the scariest things is realizing that to make changes in your life, it’s YOUR responsibility. It’s up to you. I felt like other people controlled my life — until I took the reigns and realized that it had been up to me all along, it was just easier to blame others for my problems. Sending so much love to you. Enjoy your journey. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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