The idea was simple: to create a space for young people, where they can talk about all the things they're usually told not to talk about.
Since then, Lithium has grown unbelievably, and with it, so has Olivia.
The magazine, for Olivia, is more than just a place to be creative: it is an extension of herself, a diary of sorts.
Today, the Lithium team has over a hundred people, and Olivia, continues to be the Editor-in-Chief, in addition to also being the Editor-in-Chief of Adolescent Content.
Olivia's love for the work she does shines through, even as we talk. She is confident and certain of the things she says, like she's thought about it all before. Her answers are always unanticipated in the best way possible.
In this conversation with Olivia, we delve into her relationship with death, wanting to leave behind a legacy and the one book revolving around death that moved her.
Push up Daisies: What has your relationship with death always been like, and how do you view it now?
Olivia: Death impacted me from pretty early on, considering that my dad died when I was six. And I think that I, moreso than my friends or other people in my life, have been very heavily aware of it because of how early on it affected me.
So, I wouldn't say that my relationship with death has changed a lot, but I'm not necessarily apprehensive about it now. I recognize that it's inevitable and I've made peace with that.
Push up Daisies: Are you spiritual or religious? How do you think your culture and ideals affect your perception of death?
Olivia: I was raised Roman Catholic, but I'm not that religious or spiritual anymore, so I wouldn't say that it really affects me too much now. But I was definitely raised to believe that there's an afterlife, and that people go to heaven or hell, and I still believe in that because of how I was raised. I would say that culturally, that's what's been the most definitive.
Push up Daisies: As a creative, how does the thought or the fear of death inspire you?
Olivia: In a selfish way, probably with legacy. I guess a lot of people– though they may not want to admit it– they work and put things out there because they want to be remembered, and they want to have people think of them and know that they're going to be thought of, no matter what happens to them. I think everyone has that kind of selfish desire.
Push up Daisies: How would you like to be remembered?
Olivia: It depends on by whom, but I want to be remembered as being really good at what I do and being good at leading people.
I want to be remembered for being a good person– I think everyone feels that way, everyone just wants to be thought of as good. There's such a binary distinction in death between good and bad– like the heaven or hell distinction– and I think that kind of carries through to how people want to be perceived.
And also selfishly, I just want to be remembered by everyone.
Push up Daisies: And what are you most proud of in your life?
Olivia: Probably the magazine, to be honest. I've been working on it for four and a half years now, it's all I do. So, definitely that.
Push up Daisies: Do you feel like it's an extension of you?
Olivia: A hundred percent. I'm always telling the others about this.
We put out a list of ideas for pieces that we want to sign– different articles and things like that– and the ideas that I give to people are based on whatever I'm experiencing at that point in my life.
When I started entering hook-up culture in college, a lot of the pieces that I wanted were about that, so I feel like the content that we put out has very much been a reflection of me throughout different points in my life.
Push up Daisies: How does the thought of death affect your everyday life?
Olivia: I don't think it does. I am a fairly reckless person, I have very little regard for choosing to not do something because it's “dangerous” or bad for my health.
So, I would say that I really choose to not think about death too often. I would much rather just live my life in the ways that I want to live my life. I don't want to stop myself from doing anything just because I'm scared of dying.
Push up Daisies: In what ways can it be healthy to contemplate death?
Olivia: Maybe not thinking about death and mortality, but just being cognizant of it, and being really aware of it can kind of push you to prioritize and think about what's realky important to you. Because life is finite, you're only here for a certain amount of time– what do you want to do with that time?
I think especially once you've lost someone or if you've encountered death in any way in your life, you're going to be much more giving with the relationships that you have.
Because I've lost someone unexpectedly, I'm more likely to tell people how I feel and I'm more likely to just put everything out there because you don't know what's going to happen.
Push up Daisies: Have you ever seen or read something revolving around death that heavily affected you?
Olivia: There's a really good book that I read last year called Long Live The Tribe of Fatherless Girls. It's by an author named T Kira Madden, and it's a memoir– partially about death, partially about grief, among other things.
But she talks about losing her dad and how much that affected her, and just walking through grief– which, for her– and for pretty much everyone– is not a linear process. It's something that is constantly ebbing and flowing.
I have never felt so seen by a book, but I felt like I was learning about myself and my own grief process and how I thought about death, just by reading that book.
Push up Daisies: Do you agree with the stages of grief, and do you think everyone goes through those same stages?
Olivia: I don't think it's as neat and tidy as five stages where you progress from one to the other. I don't usually feel angry, that's just not a stage that I tend to experience.
I think that's a very nice way to put a bow on it, and tell people because that makes it seem like you can kind of approach grief with a blueprint and you can know what to expect– but I think the reality of it is that it's very different for every person, and you don't know what to expect.
So, I get why there are these concrete ideas about how grief should be laid out, but I don't that it's the same for everyone.
Push up Daisies: Do you think the acceptance stage is as easy as it sounds?
Olivia: No, not at all. That comes with time, but it could come with years. It's so circumstantial, it depends on how the person died and what your relationship with them was.
Again, it's different for everyone– some people never accept it.
Push up Daisies: What are your ideal and worst ways to die?
Olivia: Perfect way to go is definitely in my sleep, like a painless situation. That's how I want to die.
Worst way would be something really long and drawn-out and painful, where people have to say goodbye to me. I hate the idea of saying goodbye to people.