Unstoppable | How I’ve Been After a Month’s Hiatus

Long time no post! Yes, I did take an unintentional hiatus from the blog, but don’t worry, your girl is BACK! 😉 I have spent well over a month working on myself and just being the best version of myself I can be. This includes realizing what I really want to do with my life. But in the past month and a half, I’ve realized there’s only one version of myself (despite being a Gemini.) That version of April is someone who knows her worth and her potential. I remember when I wanted to be a lawyer, thinking I’d fail the LSAT, so I gave up on that dream. Then I remembered the famous line from “A Cinderella Story.”

“Don’t let the fear of striking out stop you from playing the game.”

Hilary Duff’s character, Sam, sees these immortal words after Fiona’s wall rips apart in her (or what was Sam’s dad’s) diner. But what Sam finally made clear to Fiona was that she had way too much respect for herself to be treated like, well, Cinderella! Sam always knew she was smart — smart enough to see past Fiona’s B.S.

Now, I have not taken the LSAT or GRE, yet. But this fear of failure has always been a prevalent demon in my life. Everyone knows my strive for perfection is clear-to-see. More recently, this included writing a whopping eight drafts of my thesis (… that I turned in Monday, May 6 😊 ). No matter how many drafts I’ve written, I know they were all 100% worth the strenuous nights and afternoons, yet it is rewarding to be done with my BFA in Creative Writing in just two years. LET THAT SINK IN. (Although I do have one more year to go.) What is amazing that I did not once shed a tear over my thesis, no matter how much I wanted to.

This quote also strikes a chord of truth in me when it comes down to my newly-minted career in RWU’s Student Senate. There was this almost-fictional character holding me back, but it was actually my “fear of striking out.” This was also true with dance auditions, which was why I’ve been falling in and out of love with dance since I was just a mere three-year-old.

Moral of the story: I know I said in FESTIVE FRIDAY NIGHTS: How To Make Your Dreams Come True | How I Realized Mine how I wanted to go into publishing. But if you know something just doesn’t sit right with you, don’t pursue it. Just like if someone doesn’t hear the value in your words, stop talking to them. My mom quotes my late grandfather all the time: “do the right thing.” And I’m about to do the right thing (for myself) in a matter of months: apply to law school so that I can be a voice for the underrepresented and those who may not be able to defend themselves. Don’t worry, I’m NEVER giving up my writing career for as long as I live. Nothing’s stopping me now.

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Self-Care and Spirituality Tips

During this time of year, you’ll notice that everything and possibly everyone around you has been acting “funky–” and not the good kind of funky. That is because the planet Mercury is currently in retrograde and that can affect all astrological signs, but especially Air Signs (like mine.)

You’re reading this thinking, “April, I think you’re being ‘funky’ because you don’t usually get into things like this.” Since transferring schools, I’ve gotten a lot into astrology and even gotten in touch with my spiritual-psychic side (I’m not Raven Baxter, I’m not actually psychic.) You can fight me all you want on this, but even when I went to Catholic School, we learned how others practiced believing.

This time of year actually happens to hit me right in the heart these past two years because we are actually approaching the 2-year-anniversary in which I was hospitalized. If you’re new to the Diaries, check out ‘Cause I Still Got A Lotta Fight Left In Me | My Hospital Stay | My Mental Illness(es) for the whole story.

So, how will I cope? Or how do I cope with something so heavy and tumultuous to remember? I have luckily learned how to achieve this hard-to-grasp aspect that is self-care.

Since practicing my spirituality, I have learned to replace “I want this…” with “I have this…” or “I am this…” PRESENT TENSE!!! It’s essentially a mantra! Another part of it is living in the present, which may sound like a cliche, but I promise you that’s it’s just common practice that a lot of people do struggle with. It’s just a habit that you have to get yourself into. It also helps if you write to your guides. Guides? Really, April? You’re insane. Eh, just a little😉 Learn more about them here. Listen, I’m not trying to “convert” anyone here. I’m just here to give advice and share what has worked for me these past three months of 2019. I have also learned how to treat myself (responsibly, of course) and immerse myself into things that I love to do, or have always wanted to do.

Hey, April, I’m friends with you on Facebook and I noticed you have a camera in your profile picture? What’s up with that? 

Writing may be one of my passions, but I can’t do it full-time, and I’ve been known to drive myself crazy with it. I desperately needed a hobby, not a hobby-turned-full-time-job-that-drains-the-sh*t-out-of-you. So, I branched out into the arts (which I’ve always loved), and I’m in the process of making a documentary for my Arts Administration Capstone and… wait for it…

A YOUTUBE CHANNEL!

Taking time for yourself to do what you love is an important part of self-care, even if it’s just doodling in your notebook. And who knows? You could make a living out of it! Taking time for yourself, in general, is imperative to your overall being. So, you could go for a run, go get yourself a cup of coffee and avocado toast (like I did yesterday!) at your local coffee shop. The other day, I gave myself a facial and I also bought jade rollers, which you will see in another blog post to come.

Right now, I hope you’re in a nice pair of leggings or sweat pants because you deserve some serious comfort from your 9-5 job and/or studying! Happy Friday!

xoxoxo April 💕✌😘

 

 

 

Fight For Your Dreams, Fight The Patriarchy, And Support One Another In The Process

Every Academy Award show, year after year, there are speeches that may as well go down in history, especially this past award show. I would have liked to compile a “top ten best dressed: Oscars 2019,” but there is more that needs to be said.

Can we all just be in awe of the fact that Lady Gaga is halfway towards being an EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony winner)!? That’s right, for those who missed it, Lady Gaga won an Oscar for “Best Original Song.” Everyone around me questioned Lady Gaga when I was growing up, but I’ve always liked her for being different. I read magazines that reported, “oh, she just likes the attention.” No. She embodies theater and performance. Don’t get me wrong, we’re supposed to question everything in life, and no one can exactly stop anyone for having opinions. But one thing is true is that opinions should be backed up by fact and not plain prejudice and self-importance.

Moreover, this part of her acceptance speech struck a chord of truth in me:

“If you have a dream, fight for it. It’s not about how many times you get rejected or you fall down or get beaten up. It’s about how many times you stand, are brave and keep on going.”

Oftentimes, I find myself questioning (there’s that word again!) my future based on what people say to me. Granted, especially if you’re in the arts, you’re going to have critics. I have/had many critics, no matter what the situation. But I’ve kept on going. I auditioned for dance theatre last month, and auditioned for two dances for the dance club and didn’t get into either one of them. But it was no belittlement of my talent because I know that I put in the effort and I tried. They even took the time to acknowledge how much effort I put in. I hated that people tried to talk me down from being “too passionate” when dancing. In fact, having passion while dancing is a good thing.

I then saw this Facebook post, post-victory and it was a picture of Gaga with a quote from her above it that read:

“I had a boyfriend who told me I’d never succeed, never be nominated for a grammy, never have a hit and hoped I’d fail. I said to him ‘someday, someday when we’re not together anymore, you won’t be able to order a cup of coffee at the fucking deli without hearing or seeing me.”

Did I mention some idiot she went to college with made a Facebook group titled, “Stefani Germanotta, you will never be famous?”

I know both those feelings all too well — to have people close to me not supporting me and, instead, hoping that I’d fail or do less. And I do recall being added to a random-ass Facebook group as a joke by people I didn’t even know in eighth grade. Who knows? There were probably Facebook groups or group chats solely made to diss me. Again, I don’t know, and I never will.

And my point? What you say will come back to unapologetically bite you. But I’m not here to give you karmic facts.

Also, today also happens to be International Women’s Day — one of my favorite days of the year! No, really, it is. I’m also very excited to announce that I will be returning to RWU next year as VICE PRESIDENT, for the second year in a row, of the Women’s Collective for Violence Prevention and Victim Empowerment!!! I remember, at my previous college, I tried to start a women’s empowerment group, and to this day, I feel like I failed my interested peers because of the illnesses that overcame my life that semester. When I first announced it to my (then) class group on Facebook, it was mocked. I was often labeled a “third-wave feminist,” but that was just one source of ridicule on my ever-growing feminism. But look at me now! I could go completely off-topic if I wanted to, but I shall not.

But my point is? Instead of tearing each other down, support one another and build each other up. Many people have tweeted this, so much that it should just be a rule of thumb, at this point. Envy and hatred are never in style, and I’m not just saying that because I’m a fashion blogger (see what I did there?) It’s true, no matter what gender you are. Don’t write-off someone’s vision as “stupid” or something that should be “held off,” but a possibility. Who knows? That vision could be a good idea to others.

 

Getting Real About Fitting In. SPOILER: Standing Out Is So Much Better

In sixth grade, I searched for books in my mom’s shelf to read because I was bored with the typical adolescent genre that everyone my age was reading. I came across a book titled Fit In: Stand Out, only to find out it was all about marketing. It wasn’t until I finished typing that sentence that this ostensible “fitting in” and “standing out” is all about how you market yourself. This Monday without any classes whatsoever has me watching Hairspray (Nicki Blonsky and Zac Efron version), and Tracy Turnblad earns her spot on the Corny Collins Show by absolutely working it at… I don’t even know if it’s a dance or a soiree, tbh. Either way, she was both Link Larkin (Zac Efron) and Corny Collins’ “lady’s choice” and earns a spot on the show.

I was having a sort of “soliloquy/monologue” after not getting into a dance, and after watching the Grammy’s. I was recalling Lady Gaga’s initial speech (the one where she was alongside former First Lady Michelle Obama, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Alicia Keys, and J-Lo). She said, “they said I was weird. That my look, my choices, my sound, that wouldn’t work, but music told me not to listen to them.”

There was no doubt that I was called weird in those dark days of middle school. How do I know that? Because I heard most of it, like “b*tch, I can hear you, even when you’re supposedly ‘talking behind my back.’ TRY HARDER!!!” And booooy did people show how much they didn’t “approve” of me, too. I began to realize that I was letting people market me, but that’s because I wasn’t quite sure how to market myself. I tried to market myself as the girl who loved to sing and do theatre, only to be judged more. Fashion played a big role in my life, too, as a means of self-expression. Even today, I dress up even when I don’t have to, and if I don’t, I simply don’t feel like myself. 

You’re probably thinking, this girl is cynical AF. No. I am reflecting on and sharing my experience with you all so this makes sense.

To paraphrase what Lady Gaga said at the Grammy’s, art, no matter if it is sculpture, filmmaking, poetry, blogging, etc. taught me not to listen to the opinions of those who only aspire to be lemmings — afraid to be different. 

So, what I’m essentially saying is that standing out can be a great, beautiful, and courageous thing.

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“A lion doesn’t concern itself with the opinion of sheep.”

― George R.R. Martin

 

 

 

 

THE FASHION DIARIES: Corduroy Jumpers are the New Blazers | Winter Fashion 101

It’s been a long time since I’ve done one of these fashion diary entries — since September 2018! I’m currently sitting in my favorite coffee shop in my cute little town doing work for thesis. Having a lavender tea never made me feel more relaxed and focussed than I am right now!

Spring Semester isn’t coming for another two weeks (at least for me.) As I said in my last post, this is the year of the color, purple and its many shades (shall I call this post Fifty Shades of Purple? Nah.) The colors purple, black, winter white, and even tan are paving their way into my wardrobe this winter season. New year, new clothes, am I right?

I took it upon myself to purchase a rosewood corduroy jumpsuit from SHEIN, along with a newspaper print top. I mainly bought the top to get myself motivated for my thesis topic LOL. Could it also foreshadow my future career? Who knows?

Anyway, here’s my jumper and top paired with black nylons and black Chinese Laundry high-knee wedged boots:

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While I’m at it, I’ll also attach a picture of my makeup:

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[Shameless self-promo] On the subject of bold lips and eyeshadow, have you checked out my magazine, Bold Lips and Coffee Talk, yet? We’re looking for blog writers and poetry submissions!

So this was short-and-sweet and to-the-point, just like my jumper!

2019: The Year of (actually) Following Resolutions, Graduation, Purple, Lions, and ME

Happy New Year, everyone! It’s hard to believe that one of the best years of my life has gone by so fast. I’m not going to do one of those cheesy “year in review” things (mostly because I did that on my Instagram story — LOL.) However, this year, like the last one, has a lot to offer me — everything from a thesis due in May to graduation in December. Then we start all over again in 2020 with graduate school!

For those of you who don’t know, I am extremely superstitious in terms of colors. I have been oddly attracted to the color purple recently. I also strongly believe in signs and tarot readings. I have additionally been attracted to the lavender rose-quartz crystal. With that being said, I am taking matters into my own hands and pioneering a MAGAZINE called the Bold Lips and Coffee Talk.

My thing about New Years Resolutions is they can have meaning if you’re willing to put in the work to make them come true. Some of mine include the following:

  1. Graduate with the highest honors (if not Magna Cum Laude)
  2. Make my vision of the Rose-quartz Lens come to life
  3. Get a job in writing/editing, or take part in a residency this summer

These are just some, but my list is certainly not limited. But one thing is for sure, is that I may not have a ton of support, but in the end, I have the support of myself because I have the abilities, power, and potential to make my dreams come true.

There isn’t really much to say here except KEEP CREATING. Be as fierce as a lion, and never stop going after what you want in 2019. This is your year as much as it is mine.

FESTIVE FRIDAY NIGHTS: How To Make Your Dreams Come True | How I Realized Mine

“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” — Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

I may not have read The Alchemist, yet. But I know one thing to be true: I am just another up-and-coming “Girl-Boss” trying to make her way through the world she has barely even experienced, just to find that treasure. And by the “world,” I mean the world of the digital age coexisting with publishing. That’s right, publishing, my dream job.

It has dawned on me while searching my brain for topics to write about that I have never discussed my “dream job” with you all. I remember when I was in kindergarten, I had a collection of dolls called the Pop Dreamers, who were based on Disney princesses. One of them kept repeating, “dreams are just wishes and wishes come true.” And then there’s the song, “A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes,” from Cinderella. I even recall writing a poem in fourth grade titled, “What is a Wish?” I wish I still had the poem, first of all. But that was when I first started writing poems and had a knack for it. If it weren’t for that stupid 86 I got on that book of poems in sixth-grade English, I would have continued to write poems.

This may or may not be a cliché, but college is all about discovering yourself. It takes some people less time than others, and for some, it can take possibly a whole lifetime! No matter if you choose to go to college or not, you will find your treasure in the depths of the Egyptian Pyramids, or somewhere more realistic. For me, it happened to be about rediscovering yourself through the odyssey of resilience (that’s actually a title of a poetry book that I WROTE coming out in 2019.) If you know me well enough and have seen my incessant self-promos on Facebook, you’d know that I wrote for a platform called The Odyssey Online — manager found my work to be so impressive that he made me the editor in chief! All of this stuff about journalism and writing came back to me. Even in fourth and fifth grade, I was a part of the Newspaper Club. At the time, what I found to be my “passion” were stuffed animals, particularly Webkinz and Shining Stars. I wrote about what I knew at that time, did some investigation to find out what was the “Webkinz favorite” of Dale Street School (yes, I was the mastermind behind that.)

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would be interning for Rhode Island Monthly (do I bring that up a lot? Yes, yes I do. Don’t like it? I don’t care, it’s my life) and even taking on a web manager position for the English and Creative Writing department and managing editor position for our soon-to-be online magazine, Voices. Even though I have a full year left of college (I graduate December 2019), I am in the process of looking at grad schools. Also, you may congratulate me because I am officially a first-semester-senior!

Anyway, as I was doing my search, I have concluded that I want to start my own magazine, or start out small and work my way up to being an editor. No, I do not know what it’d be about, but again, it’s about working your way towards it. I’m going to use that redundant phrase, dreams don’t work unless you do right in this very sentence, because I think it’s quite relevant. If you want something to be a “hit,” you have to make it a hit. In the end, it’s all up to you. It’s okay to get second, third, and even ten opinions, but your destiny meets you. It’s like what my mom always tells me, “always have a Plan B; I’ve gone as far as Plan K!” I certainly will not know what I’ll be doing after December 2019, but I have the amazing help of everyone on my side. Seek help, if need be. In fact, scratch that, it’s imperative that you ask for help.

 

BLOG-MAS TUESDAY: Kindness and Giving Back

With all those memes out there that say, “you know you grew up to be Squidward when…” (or the Grinch, or any other negative character), it’s a shame how many people I see share that.

But before I get into my narrative, I’d like to say HAPPY DECEMBER! A lot of YouTubers do Vlog-Mas and I thought, why not do a little thing called “Blog-Mas?” Since Christmas falls on a Tuesday this year, and I obviously can’t blog every day, I think I should write a simple blog post every Tuesday this month until Christmas comes.

One “theme” that has been constantly brought up, or at least shows up in my life this time of year is kindness. Believe it or not, I remember a time when the universe wasn’t so cruel to me. I know people (now) who manage to stay so positive, even when their world isn’t so kind.

Today, I had to give a social advocacy presentation on sexual assault, harassment, and Title IX on college campuses. One of the things I preached was, “follow up with them and ask how they’re doing; a little kindness can make their day.”

My point?

The holidays are not always a good time for some people. In fact, they can be quite stressful. Any time of the year can be a stressful time. So, a simple “how are you?” can make someone’s day just a little brighter.

Another thing: I chose to give back to my department of English and Creative Writing, and now for my work-study job, I am the Managing Editor for our soon-to-be-revived online magazine and Web Management intern. I am so excited to be doing this, and I love working for the kind and passionate faculty and staff.

Giving back has always been my “thing.” When I was 18-19 years old, I was a volunteer intern for Tufts Medical Center’s Oncology Unit because I wanted to make a difference in these patients’ lives and to give back to the unit for saving my dad’s life. I’m 22 years old now, and I still think about these patients every day, and what more I could have done for them. Except, all I could do was brighten their day and that was more than enough for them.

I mentioned in Toto, We’re Not In Manchester, Anymore | WBA Manchester how I tutored and helped refugee students who were struggling with English or Mathematics. Not only did I love speaking Spanish to those who knew it better than English, but I also remember helping out this one Russian girl with whom I had to communicate through Google Translate. I remember I, a girl who used to struggle with math, couldn’t believe she was tutoring a girl who needed the same help I did when I was younger. She then came up to me, after class, and in perfect English, said: “Thank you for all your help today,” and I nearly cried from happiness. I’m sitting in my favorite building, wanting to tear up as I write this! I had plenty of experience tutoring: in high school, at Saint A’s, at RWU, but nothing compares to the amount of appreciation I have for this one specific trip (even though I realized I could never teach eighth graders, LOL.)

As I think about getting my MFA after I graduate, I look at all these programs I’m interested in and see that they have residency programs to teach. I remember my English professors at SAC, and my English and Creative Writing professors at RWU, and I think to myself, “these are some of the best people I’ve ever met.” With that, I want to share my knowledge with the world and connect with those who love the art of writing as much as I do. I want to promote kindness in the classroom because God and everyone else knows that it does tend to slip through people’s fingers at times.

“In a world where you can be anything, be kind.”

I’m pretty sure I mentioned this in another blog post, but if you “can’t take it anymore,” then give. 

Cheers To Two Years Of This Blog

First of all, HAPPY TWO YEARS TO THIS BLOG! Remember when it used to be “Redheaded Ambition?” I do, too. Second, thank you so much to the readers who have been with me throughout this journey of expression. Thank you to my parents (especially my mom) for giving me this idea, and especially to those who encouraged me to keep writing.

I remember when I first started this blog, I was not in a good place in my life. But this was a point where I was starting to become my own person and not give a f**k about what people would think about me/my decisions, and I’ll be honest, some decisions were better than others (e.g. dying my hair a dark brown — yikes!) Yet again, we are human.

I’m at a much better place in my life right now and am truly enjoying the work I’m doing. I also remember when writing this blog, I was trying to be THE boss-ass bitch by doing everything I could’ve ever done with my time. I remember looking at a photo of myself wearing a Madrid baseball cap, green plaid scarf, typical black leggings look with Hunter Boots holding a pumpkin spice latte from Dunkin Donuts sticking my tongue out, and I couldn’t help but think: “I’m in a new place (literally), with a new mindset, with the same deep-red nail polish and same coffee obsession.”

I remember writing The Art of Communication and thinking about how angry I was while initially writing it that summer. Then came the day I started this blog and I was actually ready to put it out there.

Also, while reflecting, I’m going to be honest (as always.) I went against what I preached in THE FASHION DIARIES: Wedding Attire And Getting Real About Love and tried a dating app (I’m not going to say which one.) My advice after the ordeal I went through this past month? Don’t do it. Never would I ever have thought I’d be the one to break things off with a guy, but my other piece of advice is KNOW.  YOUR. WORTH. The reason why I didn’t post this on time was that of this guy who took advantage of my precious time. It’s actually super funny because whenever I’m in my last full year at a school, I have “things” with guys. Moreover, my job as a blogger/influencer/woman is to empower other young women (and even men) that may be going through what I have gone through.

Moral of the story: thank u, next (best song EVER.)

Another funny thing? I was going through something like this two years ago when starting this blog (different circumstances, of course.) I always compare myself to Carrie Bradshaw, but in this case, I feel like Miranda because she, like the rest of the “quad,” are powerful women. But my favorite thing about Miranda is that she never accepted anything less than she deserved.

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And going off of that gif, she never apologized for her success. 💪 One more thing before I wrap up this blog post is that she has supportive friends. And I’m beyond thankful for each and every one of my friends who has supported me throughout all areas of my life.

I love you all, and from now on, I’m dedicating myself to empowerment and, of course, writing!

xoxo

April 💋❤

 

 

Learning How To Say ‘No’ And Learning What You Want Out Of Life

This hasn’t really been my week, I’ll be honest. But you know what they say, the dark brings out the stars. Light has always been a motif in my life. In fact, my horoscope for today said, “don’t feel bad about wanting more.” In some cases, you need to push for what you want, which often means sacrifice.

If you know me, you’d know I always say, “October isn’t my month.” It really isn’t. No matter how much I love fall, the leaves, the weather, and even people start to show their true colors. I can’t help but think to myself, “do I really love fall? Or just the fashion and the pumpkin spice lattes I can get at Starbucks?” I had to ask myself a different question last week, but in a different context: “do I really want to write about fashion?” Needless to say, I wound up quitting my fellowship at CFashionista, but no worries, I’ll still be writing about fashion in my school newspaper.

Another thing: I took it upon myself to schedule a phone call with a graduate student at a prospective graduate school I really want to attend once I graduate from RWU. After sitting in countless senior seminar poetry classes, I’ve come to realize that the one thing I truly love to write is… guess what… POETRY.

I rediscovered poetry December 2016, when I was in the process of transferring colleges. It helped me cope with a lot that was going on in my life. (My poetry portfolio will be coming out within the next year or so, I figure.) Moreover, I’m planning on pursuing my MFA in poetry after I graduate.

Pursuing poetry as a concentration meant saying “no” to fiction writing. Don’t get me wrong, I love both; but poetry is my strongest avenue. This is where I’m going to get into saying “no,” when you need to.

I often call myself a “people pleaser,” which doesn’t necessarily work out for me. But in reality, you have to learn how to start saying, “no,” especially if it’s something you don’t want to do. I laugh as I write this because I’m remembering this Jimmy Fallon clip of Kevin Hart being scared shitless of Robert Irwin’s animals. No joke, I’d be scared, too. But like a lot of people, I have a problem with saying “no,” at times. Saying “no” will end up working out in your favor, when necessary. We know what we want, we’re not stupid.

So, moral of this blog post, don’t be afraid to say “no,” because, in the end, you’ll learn what you really want out of life. That goes for absolutely everything. Need I say more? I think not.

xoxo,

April 💜