I have overcome quite a few personal, extraordinary hurdles in my lifetime. Throughout the years, I've become passionate to share how I turned my STRUGGLES to STRENGTH. My writings are a reflection of my adversities and valuable life lessons.
I enjoy encouraging my audience to PERSEVERE. Because of my traumatic auto accident as a teen, and the years of recovery, I never attended college. Also with immigrant and underprivileged parents, they always wanted me to "attend college" but they never really knew how to go about doing that, between the preparation or application process. Everything you see that I have done, between creating my own marketing materials, website, social media engagement, writing, publishing, printing my books, community engagement and give backs, I researched and taught myself how to do. As you will hear me say over and over again, with "not letting perfection become procrastination", I am a woman on a mission to just get it done, and get myself out there!
The opportunity to connect with and inspire others to follow their dreams, shift to a positive mindset, never lose their passion, and to persevere, through my books, assemblies and retail collections, gives my experiences purpose.
" CREATING has no meaning, until your CULTIVATING".
- Christine DerOhannesian
Here's a glimpse of some things I have personally and humbly overcome.
Age 12, Jumped by Gang
Uprooted from sleepy upstate NY to urban LA. Jumped by a girl gang simply for being the new girl in town and an assumed "snubbed gringa". I fought back hard to defend myself and am currently still in touch with 3 of the girls.
Lesson: Never judge.
Age 18, Broken Neck & Cracked Skull
Survived traumatic auto accident over high school graduation weekend. I was air-lifted to a trauma center with a broken neck and cracked skull.
Lesson: Life is short. Every day is a gift. Make the most of each moment. And, everything happens for a reason.
Age 20, Homeless
Lived in 2 warehouse rooms with no kitchen or bath. Only ate microwavable canned foods and took sponge baths in public restrooms for 6 months until I was back on my feet. I went to work every day polished and professional during that time. No one ever knew.
Lesson: There are Victim vs. Trailblazer mentalities. I chose to not burden others with drama, but to channel those same energies to seek solutions and build my own independent strength.
Age 24, A Lifetime Stolen
Onto my 3rd promotion in a dedicated career, was relocated to Boston. My U-haul truck was stolen with my entire personal belongings and hard -earned apartment furniture. Started anew with one laundry basket of dirty wash on hand. It took a year to rebuild the smallest of items, like tweezers, and forced an appreciation for my lost, favorite, 10 year, perfectly worn-in blue jeans.
Lesson: Possessions do not define you.
Age 29, Devastation
Worked way up the corporate ladder, was training for Vice President, 9 years and 5 promotions later, but I lost my job to the effects of 9/11 and the elimination of my department.
Lesson: Rags to riches, riches to pauper- all can happen over night. People are people. Treat every single one equal.
Age 34, Death
Lost my father.
Lesson: Some people are just conditioned to love and be loved a certain way. While some things can change about a person, certain upbringings can not. Be realistic with yourself and others around you, and adjust expectations accordingly.
Age 37, Divorce
Had unexpected divorce.
Lesson: Our greatest strengths are also our worse weaknesses. We need to surround ourselves with relationships of ALL kind where our strengths are celebrated & remain our strengths, not used against us as a weakness.
Age 38, Rock Bottom
Hit rock bottom w/2 young children, in attempts to start over.
Lesson: Those who love and support you, always have, always will. Those who don't, never did. When you allow the mess to hit the fan, in both cases, you'll realize just how much.
Age 38, Flood
Started my own business with nothing, and just as it started to flourish, I was hit by Hurricane Irene just 6 months later. The years of aftermath and mayhem it created compromised the perception of my business reputation and life choices.
Lesson: You can never explain or justify enough to the public all that you are going through. Perception is truth. If you know you're doing the right thing and always giving your best, hold your head up high and just do you. Believe in yourself, there's no need to convince others.
Age 39, The Ah-Hah Moment
Experienced a personal place of "death, darkness & rebirth". After struggle & short depression, I rediscovered myself with my own spiritual awakening. Created Bumble Fly to cultivate my findings. (my passion & personal commitment to help others discover their own sense of belonging.) I created my brand and logo of Bumble Fly and purchased the domain name with the last $37 available on credit.
Lesson: Only after our darkest moments, can we see the brightest of light.
Age 39, Broken & Pain Killers
Evolved business and opened a Community Cafe with the desire and passion to provide further connection. Again, in turn around and full swing, I encountered 7 breaks in my wrist and hand during a Town fundraiser event, forcing to close the cafe. I almost became addicted to painkillers, but within two quick weeks, I caught myself becoming dependent on the pain free- peace it provided. I forced myself through an intense withdrawal to stop before it started. I sat with my hand in an ice igloo for 2 months instead to numb the pain. I prayed extra hard for internal strength, peace of mind and understanding.
Lesson: my upbringing, strength & support rerouted what could have turned very ugly, not everyone has that will or chance. Try to understand where people come from. Everyone has a story, take time to listen.
Age 40, Removing Toxic
Continued a slow rebuild. Started an up-swing after what I view as God's "slow down, to hurry up".
Lesson: it's ok to walk away from things long enough to rebuild internal strength and create trusting alliances; filter who's truly on your team. Allow things to come back full circle (goals, ideas, plans or people) with improved understanding, adjusted attention, increased patience with some things, less tolerance for others. Stronger, better, solid. Become a rock that will not be moved.
Age 41, Supporting Dementia
Adopted my mother full time. She collapsed with what should have been a stroke, but was saved by the grace of God. The event created an awareness of my mother's increased dementia and need for full time supervision.
Lesson: There will come a time where a deeper level of patience and compassion is needed that every day life will not prepare you for. It's crucial to not allow nonsense or negativity to consume your energy. Be good to yourself, know what you do & do not deserve, so your caring heart can be strong for others.
Age 42, The Downsize
Had a compromised Christmas. My two children and I had our first Christmas in a downsized, tiny apartment. We had NO FIREPLACE to hang up our stockings or chimney for Santa's crawl down. I creatively thought of the story and concept of SANTA'S MAGICAL CHIMNEY. After being told "you're not a writer", I became a registered Author through the Library of Congress. I independently created the Santa's Magical Chimney business from A-Z in product development, design, manufacturing, logistics, etc. all in a scurry rush to share the magic with children all over the world! I quickly realized how many other homes might be left out of the sensible place to hang up their stockings and felt deep compassion and immediate thrill to share the new tradition. Every Holiday, I look forward to sharing my story of perseverance and providing Santa's Magical Chimney particularly to Military Families, and Underprivileged Schools Districts.
Lesson: whatever you endure in life, it's OK to just be. Don't give up on ideas and don't take NO for an answer. You CAN do it, you just have to figure out a way. Trust TIMING. God gives you what you can handle WHEN you can handle it. And like I said, sometimes failure or rejection is just clearing the path of what's meant to be and most likely, the journey to our greatness!
Age 43 and beyond, On A Mission
My personal mission: To set an uncompromising example of determination and perseverance for my children. To continue to live a life of opportunity and positive outlook. To create connection and a sense of belonging through my writings, products and appearances.
"I view my life as a symphony, which is masterfully orchestrated by someone greater than me.
I simply remain an instrument."
- Christine DerOhannesian