Dear girls of the world: Stand up to your circumstance

Dear girls of the world,

I know you feel lost. I know you feel left out. I know you feel that some people benefit from “privilege” while others, like you, don’t. And maybe you’re right. Maybe the social, racial, and economic injustices of this world are completely messed up. Maybe it isn’t fair. Maybe it is a huge hurdle to jump and maybe some people “don’t make it” because of these conditions.

But you know what? It’s more than that. It’s not only the injustices holding you back. It is the mental slavery you are trapped in: the submission to your circumstance. The acceptance of an unfulfilling life. When you allow your circumstance to define you, you create a negative imprint on your future and the possibilities that await you. I share this with you because I too was once a victim.

When I decided to let go and travel the world, it wasn’t just an act of wanderlust. It was a statement.

A statement to the autoimmune disease I’d been diagnosed with eight years before. To the chemotherapy treatments that still haunted my dreams. To the bottles of medication I debated throwing away on a daily basis. To the recurring flare-ups from a stressful job.

A statement to my youth and deprived upbringing. To the neighborhood that raised me and taught me everything I didn’t want to be. To the naysayers who mocked me for wanting to leave and better myself. To the wealthy private school students who pitied me for being on a full scholarship.

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A statement to my failed relationship. To my dependence on “us” and our love. To the insecurities that told me I didn’t deserve better. To the time wasted trying to get it back.

It was a statement to my family.

A statement to our fears.

I was born and raised in the South Bronx.

A family of four; then six; and then five. You know: the complications of family life. We were poor but had a loving mother, subsided apartment, clothing, water, and food – so I was grateful. I lived in a bubble where failing education and life experience told us: you’re worth nothing.  

And we all believed it.

We believed in the separation between the well off and the less fortunate. And fortune didn’t just mean money. It meant stable homes; absence of abuse and turmoil; and safe schools. We believed in “how things were” and rarely questioned how things should be.

As I grew older and more curious, it seemed as if every time I tried to remove myself from my circumstance, I would fall into the quicksand of self-doubt ignited by those closest to me.

I’ve now realised that it wasn’t because they wanted to bring me down, but simply because they didn’t believe we could move up. Simply because they were afraid to try.

They were afraid of disappointment and mockery. However, I believe that they were really afraid of success. After all, society says you wouldn’t know what to do with it anyway. In some ways it’s easier to live life at rock bottom when you’re so good at it, than to climb up the ladder and fall – HARD.

It’s also easier to accept your circumstance than to realize your greatness. But I’m telling you to let go of your fears and embrace your journey.

Stand up against your situation because you deserve this life as much as the next person.

So what if you fall?

You, out of ALL people, know how to survive. If you already feel like you are at rock bottom, the worst thing that could happen is you end up in the same situation you’re already in, right?

Think of all of the skills you’ve acquired in this hard, unjust life you’ve lived. They are survival skills and highly desired advantages over the next person.

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Your experience with poverty will allow you to travel the world on a shoestring budget, with knowledge of bargain shopping, haggling, and comfort with local transportation. Your inability to afford to wine and dine has made you a killer chef. You’re a builder, a creator, a thinker, and an innovator. You’re a scientist. You’re an artist.

Now it is time to design your life.

It is your turn. While you’ve worked hard just to get by, you’ve become a stepping-stone for other people’s success. Now it is time to find your way. Now it is time to take the first step. And as small as that first step may be, like finding a mentor or releasing negative relationships and influences, it is a step that will help begin to unlock the shackles holding you back.

You deserve to be free.

Sincerely,
Olivia Christine
who is a totally free woman

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Dear girls of the world (6)

Olivia Christine is a travel, life, and wellness blogger exploring the world. Originally from the Bronx, NY and battling Lupus Nephritis, Olivia set forth on a journey of self-empowerment and never looked back. Her blog (ochristine.com), provides access to travel and motivational articles, as well as advice for travelers with health issues. Look out for her book “Call Me Quitter”, detailing how she turned her circumstance around to create a life she loves.

Comments

  • May 6, 2017

    We are so defined by our upbringing sometimes. Until I went to University, and realised that I was just as good (if not, maybe better?) than others on my course, I assumed I would follow in the steps of my parents. Education taught me that if we work hard enough, that we can achieve so much more than our past

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    • May 10, 2017

      Yes, totally! And I don’t know about you but when I realized I *was* better at my niche than most, I was ashamed! Because my culture/upbringing taught me not to be boastful or “above” anyone else. So I was too shy to even acknowledge my greatness.

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  • May 7, 2017

    Beautiful written post and very inspiriational. Stand up girls! 🙂

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  • May 7, 2017

    Some great insights there, from a very brave woman. Sometimes I think you have to face fear to find yourself

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  • May 7, 2017

    Wow, such an inspiring read Olivia! I love her bad ass attitude on life and designed the lifestyle she wanted, no matter what the hurdles or obstacles were. I am loving this empowering series, everytime I read one it inspires and moves me!

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    • May 10, 2017

      Thank you so much! Happy to spread the wealth — we should all be empowering each other!

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  • May 7, 2017

    I completely agree that now is the time to design your life and every little event that you have been through in life, every memory (good or bad) makes you the person that you are today and marks your path. Kudos for you for making a statement and designing your own life

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    • May 10, 2017

      Thanks, Claudia! These are my best years so far and it brings me pleasure to share my story with others who deserve the same joy.

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  • May 7, 2017

    I’m really impressed with your attitude Olivia. It sounds like you haven’t let adversity stop you and you’re getting on living life to its fullest. Congrats and I hope you have a wonderful year.

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    • May 10, 2017

      Thank you so much! Adversity is a funny thing. It’s horrible to experience but gives you this feeling of “there’s only up from here”. We as a society need to continue to reach out to each other to give them that same reminder and boost.

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  • May 8, 2017

    Congratulations Olivia for being a free, young and independent woman. I can not agree more that everyone deserves to be free and I believe this is one of the most important things in life and everyone should fight for its own freedom and happiness.

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    • May 10, 2017

      Totally! And – in my opinion – it is our duty to share that positivity with those still stuck in their ruts. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we all inspired each other?

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  • May 8, 2017

    Great story and told with such conviction. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I’m all for not letting circumstances get in your way. Anything is possible.

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  • May 8, 2017

    Wow! I’m totally moved by your story girl. So inspiring. You are so right about it. This is the principle that I believe – We can’t change how we came into this earth and the circumstances, but we CAN design and choose how we live. Success tastes best when hardships are involved on the way to grab it. Kudos! Keep going.

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    • May 10, 2017

      Thank you so much! You’re right: we can’t control our circumstance but we CAN control our attitude.

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  • May 9, 2017

    Thanks for an inspiring read, Olivia and Trish! Our circumstances don’t define us, and we are the authors of our own stories. I love that you were able to reason that the people closest to you weren’t trying to hold you back. They were just afraid to do it themselves. Hopefully you can inspire them and others to see that the life they desire is possible.

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    • May 10, 2017

      Thanks so much for noticing that. I think the common misconception is that they are “haters” and “unsupportive”. They’re just afraid. And maybe slightly envious but mostly afraid. When we start taking leaps in life we are living THEIR biggest fears too, which is terrifying.

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P.S. I'm On My Way is a blog by Trisha Velarmino. She didn't
quit her job to travel the world. She made a job out of traveling and you can do it, too.