Sometimes we decide to challenge ourselves — push ourselves past the point of breaking. We jump so far out of our comfort zone that it seems impossible to get back. Most people would think this sounds like it should build you up and make you strong, right?
But I couldn’t do it.
Since I was a little girl I wanted to be a beauty therapist. I loved that I could make people happy — that made me happy. When I started studying, I found I loved it even more than I expected.
I also thought I would love being a beauty therapist on a cruise ship — being able to do what I love, travel, and make money. I mean, it sounds like a win-win situation, right?
No. Not right. Never in my whole life have I ever tried so hard to be someone I am not. I can’t tell you how many nights I couldn’t sleep, how many times I didn’t eat, how many times I was alone.
The time I spent working on a cruise ship was probably the loneliest time of my life. I lost my passion for my work — people were just empty shells with faces. Some clients seemed so unhappy. And then you get clients who are really happy — people who love “ship life,” as we called it. I envied those people who were able to grab that opportunity with both hands.
After my first month on the ship, the homesickness started to kick in. My first roommate left and I got a new one, but she was never there. My stuff got stolen from my room. My manager didn't treat me well at all. My body started to feel tired all the time. My eyes were swollen, and my brain felt like it was going crazy. My gums started bleeding to the point that I could barely eat any solid food. The other employees started getting rude. I would constantly ask myself, Why am I here?
I haven’t even mentioned my boyfriend! It was damn difficult. Really. I can't even count the amount of times we fought about stupid stuff long-distance. We were constantly building each other up with positivity, and when things got tough, the positive words showed up less and less. Talking on the phone just got more and more difficult. Sometimes I cried so much we couldn’t even have a conversation.
By month three, my immune system started to give in. I began getting bruises from just touching my skin or bumping into things. My gums were so swollen that they started bleeding even when I applied lipstick. Even though I was working in beauty, I didn’t make an effort with myself anymore. My makeup was never done, my hair always looked the same. I didn’t recognise myself anymore.
Work was more challenging than ever. If we didn't have clients, we didn't have money, so every week was a struggle. I tried to convince myself it was going to get better while I tried using pictures to convince people back home that life onboard was amazing. But the truth was that I was desperate for comfort.
By end of the third month, I was completely lost. I prayed so many nights for God to just tell me what to do, because I didn’t know anymore. My body was weak, and I got sick. I finally went to the medical facility and got put in isolation.
While alone in an isolated cabin for three days, I made up my mind: I was done.
Why would I stay here on the ship and continue to be so unhappy when I had an amazing life, loving boyfriend, and great job opportunities back home? Why would I hurt my body more? Why would I allow a job that I wanted to love so much become the worst thing I could wake up to? Just to say I did it, and it was horrible?
I don't know why I thought I’d have something better than my life at home, in, of all places, a ship with a shoebox-size cabin where you can sleep, shower, and pee at the same time.
I left to be happy. To be me. To stop dreading every day. To be with my amazing family, my love, a job that I can fall in love with again. To regain my positivity. I’m so jealous of the employees who were able to enjoy their journey. I guess it’s made for a specific type of person — and I'm not that specific type of person.
If you've ever left something you thought you'd love, like I did, don’t feel guilty. Feel proud of yourself. You already achieved something you never thought you would. It doesn’t make you weak or stupid — it makes you stronger and happier. Close that chapter of unhappiness and open a new one full of joy.