I had been seeing Ms. Land and her book popping up on my feed recently. I finally clicked on it today. Here are my thoughts.
Stephanie Land is a single mother who put herself through college while pregnant. The statement, the idea alone made me impressed and proud of her. My first thought was that she was making it possible to succeed against odds, but as I read other articles that she had written, I felt my perception change.
She was just a success story. One.
It’s fantastic that she made it, but how many others are we disregarding, that we don’t see, and made her success so much more? Moving? Inspiring? What are we, what am I not seeing from this picture? Why is it that there are phrases like ‘dime in a dozen’, ‘once in a lifetime’, ‘million girls would kill for this’? How is she able to move people, and make her point and perception understandable that others seem not to be able to?
Let me explain.
I am currently studying in a private university. I have my mother, who has been helping me pay for my fees. Reading Stephanie Land’s articles was in some ways like looking at myself. I did not feel relieved that I was not in her situation. Instead it reminded me of where I was a year ago. The girl then was struggling, even though she didn’t know it. She was trying to do a sprint on a marathon, and rapidly burning out.
I’ve learned over the past year of putting myself back together. The lesson was to recognise the fear. The fear of losing everything in sight right now – my mental and physical health, my work, my dreams and my future – and knowing that it’s going to be okay. It’s not about fearing the fear. It’s about knowing how bad things can be, and having the guts, just like Stephanie Land, to just keeping swimming.
We are all going to die. It’s a fact. But it doesn’t mean we can’t strive. And I thank Stephanie Land for shining the light at some of the most hardworking people around us. She also reminded me of a mistake I made last year. I was working, but I wasn’t thinking. It’s so easy for us to fall into the trap that society puts us in, to just work and work and work until we are so tired that we cannot think for ourselves and get ourselves out of a system that only benefits those who hold our chains.