give yourself a chance

Dear girls of the world: give yourself a chance

Dear girls of the world,

I once came across this quote while I was mindlessly scrolling through Facebook:

“In a world that profits from self-doubt, liking yourself is a rebellious act”.

It wasn’t exactly the most profound thing I have ever read neither was it written extraordinarily but it resonated with me in so many different ways. I guess because I know it’s true. We live in a world where almost everything is designed to make us feel inadequate. The sad part is – we buy it. We end up drowned in doubt and disbelief. We end up believing we’re not good enough unless the world says otherwise. And we give in. We try to conform. We overcompensate. We give more than we’re supposed to.

Maybe it’s because of the commodities we choose to consume. Maybe it’s because of the people we surround ourselves with. Girls of the world, I hope you realize that no one ever wins by trying to be everything to everyone. You can give it your all and to some people, it still won’t be enough. The world will always have something to say. The world will never run out of ways to put you down.

But it wouldn’t be fair to assume either that other people are entirely at fault. Sure, the society we belong to affects us but it is us who contribute the most to this kind of mindset. In our own ways, we contribute to this world that profits in self doubt too. We beat ourselves up for things that make us human. We think about things probably way more than we should. There’s nothing wrong with admitting that we cause our own misery sometimes. Girls of the world, there is no shame in admitting that you are partly responsible for some of the problems you face. To deny yourself of your faults is to deny yourself of the opportunity to grow and be better, to make amazing things happen. Trust me, that’s the worst mistake you’re ever going to make.

Whether it’s the noise around you or the voices in your head – never let anything limit you. Not the people who doubt you. Not the mistakes you’ve made. Not the relationships that went to waste. Not where you came from. Not your size. Not the trials that come your way. Not yourself. Whatever happens, give yourself a chance.

We all have issues..Mine come in the form of insecurity because of my size and putting up with emotional abuse growing up.

See you in a few weeks, Hong Kong x ? : @thelifestylewanderer #MaddVentures #WhenInHongKong

A post shared by Maddie Cruz | MADDIECRUZ.COM (@muddycruise) on

I was always at least one size bigger than my peers. As a kid, I was called different names for being fat. I would often be laughed at ; I would laugh with them too sometimes without realizing how much I hurt inside.I remember the times back in high school when I would cry myself to sleep because I felt that I was ten steps behind just because I was bigger in size. I was so young and I wanted so badly to fit in. My weight was the default go-to topic at family gatherings whenever there were no more “interesting things” to talk about. There were so many things I didn’t enjoy because I’ve become so insecure. Fat is just an adjective. It’s not meant to be offensive, but when you’re made to feel as if that’s all there is to you – it can get quite depressing.

More than the teasing, the insults or the discrimination – I believe it was having no one to run to that broke my heart the most. I was abused physically and verbally growing up. Everyday, I was reminded that I was a failure, a catastrophe waiting to happen, that I caused more trouble than I was worth. And I believed it. My self-esteem was so low that it affected my performance in everything, the choices that I made and the people I spent time with. I let the negativity consume me that I forgot about the dreams and goals I had for myself. I settled for toxic relationships. For 19 years, I was wishing my life away. Until it all took its toll. I reached my limit. I lost twhat I believed was the little good that I had in my life.

At 19, I dropped out of university and moved out e. I was already halfway through college taking a pre-law course at a prestigious (and very very expensive university) at this time so you could only imagine how many eyebrows were raised at my decision. All sorts of rumors about me were going around and as you would expect, the “friends” I had turned their backs on me one by one. Looking back at it, I’m not quite sure how I survived. I was so young and unprepared. I barely had enough to get by for a month. All I had was courage and a made up mind. I would tell myself everyday that the time to start building the life I dream of is now.

That’s exactly what I did. I took on multiple jobs so I could have a little more than enough to pay the bills working at least twelve hours a day, seven days a week. I took on every single opportunity that came my way. I was working on side hustles too as a student but I’d have to say – nothing prepared me for the real words. The hard work I put in is slowly paying off.Almost two years into it, my life has never been better. It’s the best decision I’ve ever made. I’m relatively healthier. I’m working on things I’m absolutely in love with. I’ve been discovering so much about myself like for instance, how much I enjoy traveling.

In January 2017, it was my first time to go out of the country and I did it alone. I enjoyed it more than anything. My heart was filled with so much joy ; I would catch myself staring blankly into the sky feeling so thankful for all the things I have now – the good, the bad, the ugly, everything. I remember the times when I couldn’t even afford to ride a Grab or an Uber or when I had to hoard canned goods because that was only what my money was worth. I was 20 then and for a 20-year-old who didn’t come from Manila’s upper upper and started from scratch, the entire experience was surreal.

Just as most first-time-traveler stories go, I came back to Manila with a thirst for more adventure. I told myself that I would stop spending unnecessarily on material things and use whatever extra money I have to save and travel.

In March, I climbed my first mountain. It was tiring but the experience was worth it. Although I almost died at least ten times during travesrse, I’d have to say I was scared so I think I won’t be climbing a mountain again very soon. Haha!

When I was younger, hearing “swimming” and trips to the beach gave me some sort of anxiety because of my size. I’m sure at some point in my life, I swore I hated the beach. I guess it slowly changed when I got the chance to step foot in Boracay’s famed Pukka Beach and even more so when I went camping (it was my first time too!!!!!!) in Fortune Island,Batangas and Anawangin Cove, Zambales. Because I gave myself the chance to embrace who I am – I’m having the best summer ever, walking around in my one piece and getting tanned beautifully.

 

Nothing but good vibes at the Surftown ?? #MaddVentures #BodyPositivity #SummerForAll #DiscoverPH #ItsMoreFunInthePhilippines

A post shared by Maddie Cruz | MADDIECRUZ.COM (@muddycruise) on

I’m going to a couple more local destinations in the Philippines before the summer ends. In September, I will be flying to Hong Kong to cross out Disneyland off my bucket list. I’m also thinking about giving “Celebrate My Birthday In A Different Country” on my bucketlist a go. Talking about it already gets me so excited!

The thing about traveling is that it makes you feel small but empowered. Going to a different country or even just seeing more of your own makes you realize that it’s definitely a big world with countless possibilities. You are just a speck of dust within it it but you have within you the ability to choose which path to go. The world is too big to be limited to a single circumstance, set of people or routine – to let a single shortcoming, set back or mistake define your personhood and your life. Girls of the world, give yourself a chance to experience this. There are thousand of life-changing opportunities just waiting for you to take a chance on them. You lose some? So what – you have the rest of the world to gain.

Girls of the world, I hope you never get tired of trying. Yes, you will fuck up. You will sometimes be the toxic person you were trying to avoid. You will miss out on opportunities that are seemingly once in a lifetime. You will be wrong about certain things. At some point, you will be wrong about yourself. Always remember : we’re not always right about who we think we are but we can always be far better than we could imagine. Girls of the world, give yourself a chance. The world is yours for the taking. Allow the universe to surprise you with what you are capable of. You are meant for endless possibilities.

In the process, I hope you serve as the light for everyone, who just like you, are struggling in the dark. It’s true that life isn’t fair but when the universe sees that you fight hard enough – it will compensate you in countless, unimaginable, beautiful ways.

The life I have now is far from what I had originally planned but it’s a million times better. It’s not always easy but I would not trade the things I have now for anything. Girls of the world, I’m pretty sure my story isn’t the most profound nor the best you’ve read but I do hope it ignites something in you. There are far worse sufferings than your own but it doesn’t make your sufferings any less valid. I hope you find the courage to walk away from things that unnecessarily hurt you and pull you down. I hope you take that leap of faith that can possibly change your life. I hope you stop beating yourself up for the things that make you human. Cry if you feel the need, hurt if you have to but never let anything stop you.

Give yourself a chance – you are worthy of the trust and the love you so freely give to other people.

Maddie

who is on her way to Hong Kong to meet Trisha
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If you have a chance, what will you say to girls all over the world?

This post is a part of the P.S. I’m On My Way’s Ambassadorship for Girl Rising – a global campaign for girls’ education and empowerment.

Girl Rising uses the power of storytelling to share the simple truth that educating girls can transform societies. Our mission is to change the way the world values the girl and ensure that girls’ education is part of the mainstream conversation.

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Maddie is a twenty-year-old freelancer of various sorts, foreign service student and an anglophile who gets easily distracted by dogs. Her interests range from history, politics, pop culture to food, music, movies, clothing, and makeup.

Comments

  • August 30, 2017

    We don’t find a fat woman here. Instead, we find a sexy, confident lady. Kudos!

    reply
    • September 3, 2017

      Thank you so much! I hope to meet you soon! 🙂

      reply
  • August 30, 2017

    I’ve never seen anyone so comfortable in her own skin. Every woman in the world should look up to her. She is the living proof of body positivity and I’m so excited to meet her in Hong Kong!

    reply
    • September 3, 2017

      Thank you so much, Trisha!! I am so excited to rock n roll in HK with you ??

      reply
  • August 31, 2017

    My best read in this series so far. Ang taray ni Ate Girl ^_^

    reply
    • September 3, 2017

      Thank you so much, Noel! This means so much to me. I hope I was able to create positive impact on you, regardless of how small it is. ?

      reply
  • Toni castro
    August 31, 2017

    my baby Maddie I’m so proud of you and always been loving you’re a very good and cool friend to me at your young age I looked into you and your ate cham I’ve been amazed to girls like you who had the confidence to speak out I just read your article and it a good read like your ate cham

    reply
    • Toni castro
      August 31, 2017

      (Continuations) like your ate cham’s been writing keep it up I know your a strong girl turning into a strong woman there is still more challenges to come on your way I hope you could make it like you did before love you see you soon!! ???

      reply
      • September 3, 2017

        thank you so much! Birds of the same feather flock together. We’re friends because we’re both very strong. I love you! ??

        reply
  • September 3, 2017

    Well done Maddie I like how you conquered your inhibitions! Way to go!
    You are an inspiration. Saving it up for my kids.

    reply
    • September 4, 2017

      Thank you so much! I hope to meet you someday 🙂

      reply
  • September 3, 2017

    What a fantastic and inspiring story, Maddie – your influence on the girls of the world is already so positive, and it will only become better. I would tell the girls of the world to watch and learn, because you’re a wonderful role model.

    reply
    • September 4, 2017

      This means so much to me! Like I’ve mentioned in the post, I know other people go through “worse” things like perhaps, poverty and hunger. However, if it at least 1 girl (or even boy!) is moved by my letter, then my mission is done. Thank you so much. 🙂

      reply
  • September 3, 2017

    This was such a touching post Maddie. As you said, fat is just an adjective but when people start identifying you only with that, it can be traumatic…I guess so is the case for so many other things that we subject our peers and friends too. As you yourself proved, one can move beyond all that and leave it behind…

    Have a good time in Hong Kong 🙂

    reply
  • September 4, 2017

    This sounds like me 10 years ago. Just keep being you girl and build the life you want.

    reply
  • September 4, 2017

    This is so true! I agree with you. Human beings are meant to be multi-faceted. It’s never right to make a single trait, mistake or even achivement a person’s end-all, be-all. 🙂 Thank you so much for your comment. I will, I’m looking forward to meeting Trisha in HK! 🙂

    reply
  • September 5, 2017

    wait? Going to Meet Trisha? OMG! I’m dying.. honestly, Trisha is a lifetime inspiration (she knows about it actually as I’ve spoken to her during my coaching session with her) I got so envy knowing you are going to personally meet her. I honestly feel you, Maddie, it’s true, why not give yourself a chance, and though you said this might not be or your story might not be a profound inspiration to us, but, I disagree, it is a good thing you voiced this out and sharing thoughtful and meaningful things for women or girls in the world, although, we live on a different aspect, different issues, yet, we also need someone who has the same insights and life as yours. thanks for spreading your story. This is why I love Trisha’s blog, its an inspiration for women or girls like us.

    reply
    • October 10, 2017

      Hello, Ferna! Yes, I did meet Trisha in HK and our time together was nothing short of amazing. Thank you so much for the kind words. I cannot agree with you more! Trisha’s blog brings different people from different walks of life together in a way that no one else can. 🙂

      reply
  • Megan Jerrard
    September 5, 2017

    First of all, Maddie, you’re absolutely beautiful. Thankyou for writing such an honest and raw post – your message is truly inspiring to others. The quote you referenced actually resonates with me as well. I’m so sorry to hear that your childhood was tough because of your weight. Makes me so sad that we live in a society which makes people feel ashamed of the way they are, as opposed to offering positive support and empowerment. It can be such a toxic world and sometimes we only have ourselves.

    I love your message not to let anything limit yourself – pulling yourself up and finding that inner strength when those around you doubt you and pull you down is one of the most uplifting feelings in the world. And I’m so glad that you’re spreading your message to other girls of the world. Let us all find out inner strength and empower each other to love ourselves.

    reply
    • October 10, 2017

      Hello, Megan!

      My childhood was tough but it shaped me into the person I am today. At an early age, I realized that no amount of love from friends or even family can compensate for self-love. All we really have is ourselves.

      Thank you for the kind words. Let’s keep pushing each other up! 🙂

      reply
  • September 5, 2017

    What a moving letter. I always knew marketing pushed us to unbelievable standards and that it greatly affected my self-image, but I never put them into such beautiful words. This post is beautiful! Maddi, do you have your own blog? If not, you should. I’m so glad you managed to escape an abusive situation and that you’re finding that just simply being you and following your dreams is what will make you feel fulfilled. I’m going to be traveling throughout Asia with my husband starting September 13th – May 1st. If you want to meet us anywhere, you just let me know! (I love the travel community!) I’m following your story on IG now too (@fortheloveofwanderlust)

    reply
    • October 10, 2017

      Thank you so much, Paige!

      Should you ever find yourself in Manila, please do let me know. I shall get in touch with you on Instagram. Enjoy Asia! 🙂

      reply
  • September 5, 2017

    Such a moving post. We’re so much more than our physical appearance and you clearly have the confidence and ability to move mountains. That and you’re gorgeous too 🙂

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    • October 10, 2017

      Thank you so much, Sarah! We are much more than what meets the eye xx

      reply
  • September 6, 2017

    I am so glad you over came yourself. Travel helps bring out some of the best of people and helps us find ourselves and become more confident in ourselves.

    reply
    • October 10, 2017

      Thank you, Jennifer! Traveling has certainly changed my life for the better. ❤

      reply
  • September 15, 2017

    Thanks for sharing your story! My struggle growing up? Never feeling like what I did was good enough. I would hear other people brag about something, and I would feel like I would have to accomplish that too, but at the end of the day, I can’t do it at all. Studying abroad in Japan for four months taught me that (Footsteps of a Dreamer – Travel Was My Wake Up Call). Your story really inspires people to stop, take a step back, and really asses themselves and their lives.

    reply
    • October 10, 2017

      Kiyoko, I’m 100% certain you are amazing in your own ways. You are more than enough. 🙂

      reply
  • September 21, 2017

    Hell, Maddie. I cried upon reading your piece. You are such an inspiration and how you color your words into beautiful story is just so amazing. To more beautiful things in life and never-ending trying!

    reply
    • October 10, 2017

      Thank you, Alyssa! I hope to run into you, someway somehow! 🙂

      reply
  • October 10, 2017

    Thanks for sharing your story Maddie!

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    • October 10, 2017

      Thank you for reading, George ❤

      reply
  • October 18, 2017

    You’ve written such a beautiful post. I couldn’t tell you how much this resonated with me since I grew up being on the heavier side too. I’m so proud of everything you have done to escape your insecurities. To more fun independent travels!

    reply
    • November 6, 2017

      Thank you so much Veronica ❤ Hope to run into you, someway, somehow.

      reply
  • October 26, 2017

    I love this really ? I hate it when they judge you they not really know the struggle being this kind of bullying

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    • November 6, 2017

      Hello, Jaja! I totally get you. Sometimes, people (friends, even!) would send me old pics of myself and would jokingly say, “look what you’ve done!!” without knowing how bad my life was at the time. Keep going, love! We’re not defined by the numbers on a scale. ❤

      reply
  • BangkokBoy
    September 6, 2019

    Thank you for sharing your story with us. This post has been truly empowering. I am so glad that you’ve managed your life amidst all those hurdles that came by. I’m proud of you. You did give yourself a chance — and you flourished!

    reply
  • Sauda Mirembe
    December 21, 2019

    This is one of the midt uplifting and encouraging things i have come across. ❤️??

    reply

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