Happy New Year, folx! It is the first full week of 2021 and I am already banging out my resolutions. My resolutions are the following: Walk/run 2,000+ steps every morning (9,000 steps each morning by… More
Content warning: Sexual Assault, Abortion
I used to avoid the news like the plague, but that’s similar to avoiding getting COVID in a worldwide pandemic, no matter how hard you try. I still know people who are getting Swine Flu after all these years.
If you’re living in the USA, you’d know that there had been a serious turn of events of Roe v. Wade. In American history, Roe v. Wade is a law that decriminalized abortion, arguing that that only criminalizing the termination of an unwonted pregnancy would be unconstitutional for women.
This blog post comes at the perfect time, when human rights are being challenged more than ever. But let’s be real, when are they not being challenged? So it seems, at least. Who better than profound author, Jodi Picoult, would provide a stunningly perfect commentary on this overturn on women’s rights. She thusly wrote an audible book called Choice, and I’m going to spoil it right now: a cisgender lawyer MALE gets pregnant, and he goes through every injustice that a cisgender, nonbinary, and transgender female goes through when they are pregnant. You’re probably thinking, that’s biologically impossible. It is impossible; this is a book we’re talking about, though. Literary commentary. The power of voice. Jodi Picoult ever so accurately depicts a lawyer named James who discovers he is, in fact, pregnant in a fictional world where no cisgender, nonbinary, nor transgender woman could get pregnant. Instead, it’s men who have to suffer the severe injustices that come with pregnancy. Unfortunately, in his state, there is nothing that medics can do about it because of the new law that overturned what is presumably Roe v. Wade.
One poignant scene, that traveled through my ears via Audible, was the scene in which James is passed up for the promotion that was promised to him months prior, but was given to his female colleague, instead. What was ironic, was that James had supposedly seen women get passed up for promotions. It reminded me of the time when my mother said that she had to go back to work just six weeks after giving birth to my older brother in 1987. “I went through every injustice a female executive went through,” said my mother over dinner.
I would argue what every woman argues on social media, “if you don’t have a uterus, you do NOT get to comment/make laws about a woman’s body.” Period. End of sentence. But here’s another argument that I make, in light of Picoult’s prominent story: imagine if it were you suffering your own consequences. As someone who worked in Title IX, I can easily argue that both men and women, regardless of how you identify, can both be victims of sexual assault and abuse, no doubt. That’s one of the reasons why I was conflicted about the Johnny Depp v. Amber Heard case, while some people had stronger opinions on it. That doesn’t mean that I didn’t care. I did. I’m no lawyer, but I can easily argue both sides of a case.
When it comes to pregnancy, I can say that I’ve never been pregnant. But as Jodi Picoult said wrote in Choices, “[it’s a] twenty-first century Scarlet Letter, and a man will think twice before entering his victim’s bedroom at night.”
Cisgender lawmakers, if you’re reading this, I hope you will listen to Choices and think twice about your own choices, not just based on what your political party ostensibly believes.
If you, or any one you know is a victim of sexual assault, please direct yourself or them to: https://www.rainn.org/resources and/or dial 800.656.HOPE (4673).
“Suffering ceases to be suffering the moment it finds meaning.” — Viktor E. Frankl
It’s very, very rare that I end up in the hospital, until that fateful night, where my life changed forever, yet for the better. I’ve always been fascinated with science, and prior to my scary diagnosis, I even did research intermittent fasting and what it does to the body. It didn’t fully come to me until I was in a therapy session when I realized that my regret-free life… isn’t exactly regret-free.
Be prepared for a lot of quotes. #quotequeen
There’s this one quote by Albert Einstein: “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid.” When I was in high school, I was indirectly told that I wouldn’t do well at an Ivy League institution because they’re “too stressful.” I found this out days ago. Since I found out, I was furious — with a passion in my heart to finish what I started in college.
It’s almost similar to how Elle Woods proved EVERYBODY wrong after Warner told her she wasn’t smart enough for law school. We all know that Warner was full of poop. Elle ALWAYS had it in her, it just took the right people realize it (e.g., Emmett, her professors, and eventually Vivian).
What I find even more infuriating is that I let the wrong people (person) distract me in my freshman year of college. I told said person, after I had chosen to go back to chemistry, that I wanted to minor in English and History and he said, “no.” What? Why? Probably because he either a.) wanted to be better than me and b.) didn’t think I could do it.
I felt, on some level that I took “the easy way out.” But did I? No. I wouldn’t be the writer I am today nor would I have the superb communication skills to master any job.
I told my boyfriend the other day, “it’s funny how a life-altering illness can make you do a complete 180.” He told me, “I love how you’re turning things around for yourself.” THAT is the support that every girl/everyone needs in a relationship, btw, regardless how you identify.
On the topic of turning my life around, I decided to go back into healthcare, which for some reason I was oddly scared to share publicly in fear of judgment. But here’s the thing: who really gives a crap, as long as you have faith in yourself? When I shared the news that I’m going to earn my second masters degree in Applied Nutrition – Dietetics (APN), I received a mixed bag of “reviews.”
“You’re not going into publishing?”
“Work and school is hard, though.”
“What about writing?”
I’m working on a book right now.
I’ve worked throughout my coursework at Emerson.
Writing is a part of any profession.
Yes, I am still going to write like it’s nobody’s business. It’s like Carrie Bradshaw once said, “Why is it that we only seem to believe the negative things people say about us, no matter how much evidence there is to the contrary? […] Odd, but when it comes to life and love, why do we believe our worst reviews?” But the truth is, I stopped caring about what people thought of my path, regardless of their “reviews.” It is like what I said in Girl Meets (Real) World, “a lion does not lose sleep over the opinion of sheep.”
Bottom line and moral of the story: never let anyone tell you that you’re not good enough.
I leave you with one last quote: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” — Eleanor Roosevelt.
Be well, my loves. 💕
“Breakthroughs happen to people who are scared to stop trying.” — Derek Shepherd, “Grey’s Anatomy.”
I remember when I was 23, I picked up a book at Porter Square Books in Providence. It was called Such A Fun Age by Kiely Reid. Then in a blink of an eye, I turned 25. How’d that happen? I spent my 24th year immersed in grad school and working in retail, and got my first “big girl job” as a content editor. At this age (25), I found an emotionally-connected love, a coaching business, and graduated with my masters in publishing and writing. Here’s the Catch-25 though, it’s the breakthrough that comes when you’re on the cusp of a brand new year. There’s a series of lessons that you will indubitably learn by the time you hit the next age. I’m turning 26 in exactly one week (May 28) and in this moment, watching Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, I’ve never felt more grateful.
But you’re probably still wondering, what is this breakthrough? Well, my loves, the breakthrough comes in the form of a “Sex and the City” quote: “you can’t stop being who you are because you’re afraid.” I know I’ve said that in past posts, but this is especially true, since this morning was the first I’ve done yoga in two weeks… yikes! But I felt just confident enough in my new(er) yogi-abilities that I went HARD in just a simple morning yoga routine on the Yoga app. THAT is when you know you’re getting something out of it, instead of thinking, “when will this end?”
That’s another thing, you don’t just give up. Picture this: someone is carrying mass amount of weight on their back, literally. They learn, overtime, to lighten the load. One step at a time. And you will get there. You will lose your balance from time to time, but you learn to get back on track.
The funny thing is, I wish I knew this when I was 19. I had given up on a dream of becoming an oncologist. Before that, I wanted to be a lawyer with a cool chemistry background. It’s kind of a “coulda-shoulda-woulda” situation. The worst of that trio is “shoulda.” But the fact of the matter is, and this is another “catch-25,” to be who you desire to be, you have to live like her/him/them. And the trick is to not “should” yourself, but to say “I am.”
I realize this is different from previous “To the girl who is turning [insert age here]” posts. But there really aren’t any “tips” for 25. You don’t need Sponge Bob Squarepants and Patrick Star to giggle profusely at you. But hey, when life gets tough, you gotta see the positives and laugh some sh*t off!
Related Articles: For The Girl About To Turn 21 | Moving Onto 22, For the Girl About to Turn 22 | Welcome to My Jordan Year (23), Does anybody like you when you’re 23? You have to love yourself, first, What’s funnier than 24? Getting older? 25?| For the girl/boy/whomever about to turn 24.
As of May 7, 2022, I am a master of publishing and writing from Emerson College. I miss it already, but at the same time, I am ready for the next chapter of my life. The whole world is wide open and I love it. But I’m not going to lie when I say I had a prolonged moment of imposter syndrome for the last week. I felt like I didn’t deserve anything I’ve ever gotten to this point in my life. But why would that statement be true? I felt like Elle Woods when she first started law school at Harvard. The truth is, no one EVER told me I was “not smart enough for my masters degree.” Even I know that’s total B.S. even if someone were to actually say that to me.
Immediately after I got home, ate McDonald’s (yes, I can still eat that, as a diabetic), I started looking at PhD programs… as if I have any idea of what I want to be a “doctor” or “philosopher” in. Right now, as I write this, I enjoy being a philosopher of life and writing. I remember the words of the keynote speaker, Kim McLarin, “you are now masters and teachers of your field.” As I was nearly passing out of starvation central, that didn’t stop me from wondering, “my therapist was right; it was hard to complete this masters degree, but I did it.”
Then later on Sunday night, I got to thinking about all the trials and tribulations I went through in the last year alone. I had an unfortunate COVID breakthrough in October, moved to the city (which was hell on its own), and the following semester? You guessed it. Diabetes. All of these events made me feel like I didn’t deserve my masters. My therapist asked me today, “what sacrifices did you make for your masters?” And I said, “I don’t feel like I made any.” The only other thing I could say was “time.”
It’s true, I didn’t feel like I made any actual sacrifices. All I know is that I felt like I didn’t deserve a moment like I did when I crossed the stage to have my hood put on, close my eyes, and bask in the spotlight when my name was called. I felt like I deserved none of it, which is upsetting to me. I can’t help but wonder, is it a lack of validation? Or is it what I think people think of me? Do people think that getting my masters was a waste? Or do I think it was a waste? Personally, I think not. I’m almost 26 years old. I was 23 when I committed to Emerson. I was 24 when I started with unfortunate technical difficulties. And now, it’s just a matter of “what are you doing, April?”
Imposter Syndrome can stem from many forms, such as lack of empathy from people, anxiety, and trauma. A million people can have faith in you, but you have to have faith in yourself. You deserve a day in the sun. Life is not going to be “sunshine and rainbows” all the time, but life doesn’t have to suck. After all, your thoughts create your reality.
And by all means, if someone thinks you “can’t do it,” do it twice, maybe even a third, and take pictures.
I got my cap and gown today and it made me sad. Well, it actually made anxious AF. Why? My anxiety does a good job of being a bitch and convincing me that I have no idea where I’m going. But the truth is, I have time. I will not be homeless and I will not starve. I have the biggest picture envisioned for my future and it starts now.
I wrote in my gratitude journal today, “anxiety is a huge bitch, and I conquer that bitch.” It took me a long time to be able to say that and have it click. I recently joined Punch Drunk Soul, which is a coaching program for aspiring coaches. One of the biggest “pillars,” so to speak, is “compassionate courage,” which is actually something that led me to be “badass coach of the week.” Cue the applause. 👏🏻
What’s coincidental and timely is that The Wizard of Oz was mentioned in my climate fiction class, though we were discussing the symbols of socialism in the movie compared to the short stories we were reading, I can’t help but think of the famous line, “You had the power all along my dear, you just had to realize it for yourself.” But along the way, Dorothy had a lion, a tin man, a scarecrow, and her trusty dog beside her. One thing’s for sure: Dorothy was not alone in navigating her power. And neither am I. I have a man who loves me, friends (special shout out to the 18 new friends I made last week during our Soul Sister Call!), a family (even when we fight), and countless mentors and counselors. Truth is, I really am winning at life. I don’t have to be Charlie Sheen to do so. 😜 Even on days when you don’t feel like you’re doing particularly great, there is a hope — a light at the end of the tunnel. It’s just all about how you navigate the obstacles that are in said tunnel. Every morning we are greeted with an array of choices. So, I suggest you follow your own “yellow brick road.” Embrace the yellow powder that may get on your shoes. As our good friend, Forrest Gump once said, “you can tell a lot about a person by their shoes.” Life really is about the journey, not the destination. I’m realizing that now, as a soon-to-be masters graduate from Emerson College.
I was also thinking about a post I wrote after my first semester at RWU, Self-Reliance Being Put To Use: A Semester In Review . I had just taken an American Literature final and one of the authors we discussed was Ralph Waldo Emerson. Oddly enough, and again, timing is everything, in my climate fiction class someone had presented about the Solarpunk genre. One of the videos she shared prompted the question, “how can we live comfortably?” It’s not people we have to crush under our feet in order to climb the ostensible hierarchy, it’s our former selves. We undergo such much change. Without change, we can’t grow. We can’t transform.
If you’re graduating from high school, college, grad school, etc., I wish you Godspeed and don’t worry, you’ll see me navigate the “real world” on this blog. 😉 You have NOT seen the last of me!
I started reading Gabby Bernstein’s (well, listening to on Audible), The Universe Has Your Back. Honestly, it’s changing my life for the better, all the way down to the atoms of my being. No, I am not on any sort of hard drug. (DON’T DO DRUGS! THAT INCLUDES ALCOHOL!)
But in all seriousness, the way that Gabby phrases things to make us understand spirituality and overall mental and emotional well-being is impeccable. I began writing some of her sayings and phrases and prayers all over my weekly calendar to the point where I said this morning, “I’m going to blog about it!” Some of these are quotes, others I’ve modified to fit my own words.
- “Choose to be peaceful amidst chaos.”
- “Nothing is impossible. The word itself says, ‘I’m possible!'” — Audrey Hepburn
- “Everything is okay.”
- “I am allowed to be taken care of.”
- “I shine bright like a diamond.”
- “I’m proud of the work I do with my personal growth.”
- “Let them eat cake.” — Marie Antoinette
- “I am ready to learn through love.” — Gabby Bernstein
- “I am determined to see with love.” — Gabby Bernstein
- “I am badass!”
- “It only gets better from here.”
- “The thing is, I’m actually quite calm.”
- “You are rising from the ashes, you magnificent bitch.”
- “I step back and let the universe lead the way.” — Gabby Bernstein
- “I am grateful. ‘Nough said.
Try using one or more of these to repeat in meditation and/or prayer every day.
I done goofed.
Last night I made some poor judgments on what to eat and drink.
I took my low blood sugar level for granted and forgot I was diabetic. HOW DOES ONE FORGET THAT!?
I felt an overwhelming feeling of guilt. I tried talking myself out of it to the point where even I said to myself, “shut the f*** up!” I wanted to shut off my overthinking brain so badly.
The truth is, you have to forgive yourself. Everyone makes mistakes! I wrote in my journal last night, “but how long can I keep making that excuse?” The fact of the matter is that nobody’s perfect. I get it, mistakes can cost you. Take my once carefree attitude pre-diagnosis, for example. I know I have the power to one day reverse my diabetes. I have the power to take control over my rumination. I have the capability of reminding myself who I am. At the end of the day, or even in the morning, you still have the sun in you to rise above anything — including your regrets.
Every day is a new day. You can’t go back to yesterday. Every day has a lesson. In fact, each morning, peace arrives at your door in the form of choices. I’m telling you, it’s okay. Everything is okay. Just take the yin and yang and breathe. Seriously. Nothing is more important than the ability to breathe. Overthinking and anxiety can make you forget to breathe, sometimes.
I challenge you to write down your intentions for today. I’ll go first:
1.) Invest in happiness without spending money.
2.) Love with all my heart, but remember to be patient.
3.) Post content.
4.) Do yoga.
5.) Meditate and pray.
6.) Do homework.
Stressing myself out is not an option. It’s not an option for you, either. All it does is raise blood sugar. I’ll say it again, everything is okay.
Go and conquer your day, lovelies. 😘
I tell this story a million times, or at least I think I do, but when I first published on The Odyssey Online, with my first two articles in the queue. Mind you, my boss at the time put all his trust in me and thought I- I was qualified to be Editor-in-Chief of my campus chapter. I took it because there wasn’t a chance I’d have that again… until now.
It’s been years since that breakthrough phone call. But as of recently, I broke through, out of my own personal “gate” to be my own boss. I remember vaguely, when I was eight years old, I told my mom I wanted to be a pop star and to perform in my very own concert. She said, “it takes a really long time.” It does. It does take a really long time. Some people wait a lifetime, like Van Gogh when he sold his first painting. I don’t know if anyone realizes, but I am a huge of Van Gogh and his background. I don’t know what led him to asylum, but I know that he and I both coped with art. Poetry for me, painting for him.
It took a really long time, but I found what I was meant to do. I rewatched Katy Bellotte’s “An Honest Video,” (again) only to be triggered by the same emotions that led me to my hospitalization in 2017. I’ll be honest when I say I nearly gave up on my purpose, due to anxiety. But it was only growth that was making my soul itch. Growth is notoriously uncomfortable.
So, little rockstar, what were you meant to do? I strongly believed I was put on this Earth for a purpose: to inspire. I’ve had publishers tell me that relentlessly. I believed them. As Katy says in the beginning of her video, “ignoring your passions is slow suicide.” She came to the conclusion in her Italian language class that she wanted to go into graphic design. She went from working at L’Oreal in social media to being her own boss at Katy Bellotte Designs.
It’s no secret that I’ve held countless jobs and internships this past year alone. I also believed that I had it all; I have a man who loves me (hi Mark!), family, friends, food to eat, and a roof over my head. I just wasn’t satisfied with my career. I knew a few years back that I was meant for more than journalism. I tried my hand at marketing– what a bust. I tried to run my own business, then COVID hit. Now, things are looking up. I’m so excited to reveal I became a trauma healing, spiritual health and wellness coach! That’s right, I chose courage over fear; faith over doubt; being present instead of brooding on the past.
I talked a bit in my last post about fearing the future. But now, I live by the mantra, “I needn’t worry about the future anymore. It’s bright, it’s here, it’s mine, I did it.”
My head has never been more clear. Go, little rockstar. Keep moving forward. 🚀
“When we deny our stories, they define us. When we own our stories, we get to write a brave new ending.”– Brene Brown
Owning your story is probably the key to success. I write this post-panic attack about my fear of the future. I listen to Katy Bellotte’s podcast, “Thick & Thin,” which is literally about the thick and thins of her life that she brilliantly relates to her fans. Her latest episode was titled, “Am I on the right path?” Even though I have yet to finish it, I can say that I was put on this planet for a reason: to inspire and produce content. However, you are more than your career. I recently had a new friend text me saying that she saw my Instagram photo post-workout and she said she was got her butt out the door and hiked. I had people constantly tell me that I tend to “overshare” on social media (i.e., my mom), and this is the same person who jokingly called me a “walking HIPPA violation.” I do tend to wear my heart on my sleeve very much to the point where I am what Carrie Bradshaw calls “emotionally slutty.” I also write this as I watch the episode of Sex and the City where Carrie gets recruited to model for Dolce & Gabbana. At the end of that episode they play a song that’s meant to inspire people “to be real,” as the song goes. I haven’t a clue what the song is called.
I grappled with the term, “influencer” for a little bit of time. But the truth is, the term “influencer” has a lot more to deal with than promoting products and giving out codes to your followers. Since my diabetes diagnosis (I’m sorry that it’s the 800-pound gorilla in the room, but still), I used my platform to promote awareness of the chronic illness. I’ve also been promoting spirituality without going into toxic positivity. Speaking of which, I just got an email notification about affirmations for leadership. 😜 This now begs the question, are influencers leaders? Without being cocky, I have held plenty of leadership positions. To be a leader is to empower. And the more you empower, the more you inspire people to just do. No, I am not talking about buying products with a special code. I am talking about inspiring people like I inspired my friend, Kaylee.
I recently joined a challenge to become my own BUSINESS OWNER. And one of the challenges was to make a timeline of your life. Some years I try to block out more than others. Some years I don’t remember at all (i.e., my single-digit years). But I can say that it is three days until the 5-year anniversary of ‘Cause I Still Got A Lotta Fight Left In Me | My Hospital Stay | My Mental Illness(es). Like Brene Brown said, I wrote my very own happy ending by not letting trauma drama define me.
Consider this your “big sister” hug from me. I know that I could use one from time to time.
I hardly ever get political on this platform. But as a lifestyle blogger and influencer, it’s important to be an advocate for causes that I care about — especially when they have to do with human rights. In fact, I was once on a (very) beaten path of becoming a human rights attorney. But after many contemplations, writing and publishing is my truest path to success and overall fulfillment.
Moreover, I need to have a heart-to-heart. Yesterday (Fri., March 18 2022) I was on the phone, dialing multiple numbers, on the hunt for new, possible, and competent PCP’s whom I could actually rely on for my recent diabetes diagnosis. What’s coincidental, but also in divine timing, is that I had received a DM from a friend from high school. One of the imperative and truest thing(s) she wrote to me was that being a young woman and finding compassionate healthcare is challenging, but advocating yourself is the most important thing.
But come to think of it, getting compassionate and competent healthcare as a young woman is more than challenging. It is like the Hunger Games, essentially. But why should we have to fight for something that is a human right?
It bothers me greatly that the United States is ostensibly the leader of the free world, yet we are so far behind in healthcare. Is it out of laziness? Is it because everything is supposed to be a joke? Well, when it comes to healthcare, getting medication for your condition — no matter what it/they may be — should not be a problem, nonetheless a battle.
It bothers me, especially because this past week alone, I had to pay out of pocket for my diabetic equipment just so I can test my blood sugar. Why? I have no access to my endocrinologist until the end of the month of April. So until then, I don’t know who I have to slay in order to get proper refills that insurance will cover. I realize this is more information than anyone will really need to know. However, I am a storyteller, after all. And for me, being a storyteller is the one way I get my voice across for issues that are important to me.
As a member of the American Diabetes Association, I chose to do my civic duty and email my Rhode Island senator, congressman, and representative. Thus far, I’ve received word from Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse. What struck me, particularly from Senator Whitehouse’s letter, is the following:
Dr. Frederick Banting discovered insulin 100 years ago and sold the drug’s patent for $1, reportedly saying, “Insulin does not belong to me, it belongs to the world.” Unfortunately, Dr. Banting’s hopes of insulin being affordable and accessible to all have not been realized. Between 2012 and 2016, the annual cost of insulin nearly doubled. Today, many Americans struggle to pay for insulin, some resorting to deadly rationing in order to afford this costly drug.– Senator Sheldon Whitehouse
Ahh, how we all wish for simpler times when the basic necessities would cost less than $5. (That’s even less than gas prices nowadays — ugh!) I’m no expert in the depths of American history or economics, so I do have to pose the question: when did basic necessities become inaccessible?
I also have to say, I am scared once I eventually run out of my (short) supply of insulin. It doesn’t help that I am worried about my blood glucose levels constantly. But you can say that my “American Dream” has been modified to fit my current situation. How do we make our “American Dream” come true? Most people would say we “work to live,” but making your voice heard is imperative, too. Think about it.
a very fed-up April 💙
At this point, my readers know that I am a huge fan of the phrase, “practice what you preach.” I recently wrote Is “normal” the new “weird?” | Subtracting bad habits and one bad habit that I forgot to mention was not being able to take my own advice.
This afternoon, I was at sixes and sevens with myself as my body is undergoing chemical change from within. I’m not going to belabor the fact that I’m diabetic. I’m just going to say that. I also recently published Confessions Of A Diabetic: I’m Happier Than I’ve Ever Been Since My Diagnosis at the wee hours of Daylight Savings Time. I did not get to bed until 9:00 a.m. Nonetheless, I felt this nagging sensation at my core as if something needed to be done, yet I was too tired to do anything. I remembered this particular post and how body chemistry is directly correlated to brain chemistry. Put simply, your mental health is only as good as your physical health. If your body aches, your mind aches with it and therefore puts you in a bad mood because your body is in a bad mood. As a kid, whenever I got a stomachache, I always pictured my stomach crying. And I cried with it. I don’t need a psychology or neuroscience degree to know this correlation.
I tend to forget or neglect my own advice. There. I said it. I mean, hey, nobody’s perfect — not even a lifestyle blogger who seems to have her life together.
But this isn’t about having my life together. In fact, I’m not going to lie, I’m doing pretty great in life. However, there are times when I seem to over-romanticize my life. I had someone say to me, “why do you think everything’s sunshine and rainbows?” What’s wrong with being positive? I can’t help but wonder, is there such thing as being too happy? I’m watching Brene Brown’s TED Talk on Netflix right now, and she said earlier on, “I get dangerous because I like myself so much.” Although she was referring to coaching women on body image, this applies to something so much bigger than that. I’m not sure if scientists or psychologists have discovered this yet.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with being happy. In fact, being happy is normal as opposed to being sad and cynical. There comes a point where you have to take inventory of yourself, especially when you’re at sixes and sevens like I was this afternoon. Maybe I just need some sleep. But I can’t use that as an excuse for not taking my own advice. I’m not saying you should punish yourself, rather confront yourself. Let’s be real, as a lifestyle and advice blogger, who would I be fooling if I weren’t pouring 110% of my advice through your screens? In today’s world, we’re getting to the point where the next generation is becoming our bosses. I know, that’s scary to think about. But you shouldn’t take your own power for granted and lackadaisical about your responsibilities and your overall role(s).
Case in point: confront yourself before anyone confronts you.
In less than ten days, here in North America that is, it’ll be the first official day of Spring. I think that when adults think of Spring, they think of cynicism and “oh, watch there be snow in May.” I, on the other hand, was taught to believe that Spring brings new beginnings. Having gone to a Catholic high school, I learned that Spring was the initiator of the Paschal Mystery. What I find “mysterious” about that concept of religion, is that it theology and science go hand-in-hand. Another thing I was taught, is that Chemistry is the foundation of all sciences. Chemistry is more than just mixing strange liquids into a flasks and test tubes. It is the elegance of all that the world is and what we are. Falling in love is a chemistry. You hear terms like “brain chemistry” all the time. And brain chemistry is not a myth. Yes, I started out as a chemistry major and my fourth grade teacher was right; I hate math and I always will, even though it’s inevitable and I practically aced honors Precalculus junior year.
Moreover, I touched upon this in The Correlation of Hummingbirds, Dancing, and Algebra, but this blog post is going to be slightly different. This post discusses Spring cleaning, except, we clean our behavior of the weeds that are bad habits.
It takes a really, really short amount of time to develop a habit. I couldn’t tell you exactly how much time it takes. But I know that even if we commit to doing something 5% less frequently, it could change us for the better. For example, I receive a journal prompt via text message every Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday morning. If I go one of those days without journaling at 7 a.m., chances are, I won’t do it at all for a while. Yes, that did happen and I sat my butt down on my bed and wrote in my journal today’s prompt. It just occurred to me that I should also stop swearing so much. A lot of people have a tendency to say “sh*t” under their breath. Personally, I have a tendency to say “ow,” even when I’m not in pain. All it does is just manifest a bad mood and, of course, unnecessary pain. So, I wrote in my journal the following: “I can stop saying ‘ow,’ ‘f**k,’ and/or ‘sh*t’ 5% less for each word, to help myself feel like there’s less of a weight on my wellbeing.” Personal growth is not always about “doing more.” In fact, personal growth is subtracting these bad habits, toxic people, foods, etc.
I mean, really, I’m not always in pain. And even though I also have a proclivity to stress myself out, I can’t do that anymore, for health’s sake. Plus, I’m not always stressed!
However, I can’t help but wonder if stress has become the new “normal” and if “normal” has become the new “weird.” I was talking to a coworker at lunch in the cafeteria last week, and it’s amazing how much she and I have in common! However, the one thing that she and I had in common completely was abnormal for society, and that was growing up in the midst of constant chaos. She even said at one point, “I get suspicious if things seem normal.”
What stops us, in general, from feeling normal? Did the definitions of “normal” and “weird” swap? Impossible. What’s weird is hissing and swearing at absolutely nothing, even when said “nothing” is wrong. What’s weird is having pain where your appendix should be, even if you already had it surgically removed. What’s weird is thinking you don’t deserve what you’ve earned. Have you ever been so happy you were terrified?
Let us “normalize” things that are supposed to be normal! Let’s normalize human tones of voice, instead of lashing out. Let’s normalize being happy. Let’s normalize intelligence over ignorance. Let’s normalize shaking hands when meeting people who aren’t our bosses. Not only are these all completely normal, but it’s good practice for developing good habits. 😊
A month ago, I nearly succumbed to diabetic ketoacidosis, with a blood sugar level almost so lethal that I could barely walk. I hardly remember anything/everything that night, and honestly, my overall memory is somewhat impaired to this day. I keep saying the line, “some days and even hours are better than others.” But with keeping my diabetes management consistent and a part of my daily routine, I’ve found that I am happier than I’ve ever been since my diagnosis.
I saw a picture of myself on International Women’s Day in 2021 in my Snapchat memories, when I was heavy drinker, 20 pounds heavier, and a cashier at a part-time retail job that paid minimum wage in Rhode Island (which is lower than any other state in New England). I’m thinking, as I write this, with my cat curled up next to me on my queen-sized bed, and in desperate need of a neck massage, that I was definitely not in love with that life that I once led. Although I had since quit said retail job and found a man who loves me for all that I am, I still had a lingering proclivity to drink and to binge-eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. That ended in January when I chose to start intermittent fasting, which I think had at least something to do with my demise. My nurses in the hospital even said, “you can’t just not eat.” They’re right, it’s not ideal for a diabetic to skip meals.
Another thing: when your physical health is good, so is your mental health. It’s no secret that I have acute anxiety, depression, and PTSD. I often drank to forget about the reality of feeling anxious, only to forget that alcohol is a depressant (and has a lot of sugar and fat content — empty calories!). Since January 2nd of this year, I’ve been over two months sober. The painful acid reflux was still plaguing me, and I was often tired. It was obvious that I had physical ailments that were explained once I was diagnosed with diabetes.
To think I was once so carefree that I completely disregarded my health astounds me, and not in a good way. This is all going into a novel that I’m working on, based on my experience. The truth is, no one can live like Louis XIV, who lived in the lap of luxury at the Palace of Versailles. I am still the foodie I was in my “past life,” I’m just moderating my meals, carb-counting, reading nutrition facts, taking insulin before meals, and measuring my blood sugar four times a day. I actually have the motivation to work out again and I’m leading a healthy diet that’s not only beneficial for diabetics, but for everyone — no matter who you are. I’m still losing as much weight as I was when I was intermittent fasting. I don’t know if I’d necessarily call my diagnosis a “kundalini awakening,” but everything has been working out career-wise, and my manifestations have been coming true.
What’s also almost in divine-timing is that I found out my best friend is dealing with a chronic illness, as is my boyfriend (not diabetes and both separate illnesses). This goes to show that I’m not alone at all. But my family, relatives, friends, boyfriend, and even (some) strangers need not have a chronic illness to be in my corner because I know that they would all have my back either way. 💖 Connections matter!
I remember answering this question when transitioning to fifth grade. I said, “I am taking a cruise to Australia” because Australia was where I wanted to go, being the animal-lover that I am. Little did I realize that my teacher knew I was going to be a writer and not the next American Idol (the fact that I had a plan to audition when I turned seventeen makes me LOL).
I didn’t think this question would be relevant until this very day. I am sitting in my bedroom, in a completely different state, and things are certainly better than they were ten years ago. I had gone to a Catholic high school. I had gone to college to earn a bachelor of fine arts in creative writing. I am now in my final semester of my masters program in publishing and writing. All of this did not take place in Australia. I’ve never even been. But I have been to Paris and Barcelona and I can say they are my two favorite cities in the world.
I had finished the book, Rules For Being A Girl by Candace Bushnell, whose life story I discovered recently because she birthed my bible, Sex And The City. I thusly created a “Feminist Book Club.” We held our first meeting on a January afternoon on Zoom, while a blizzard was blanketing the ground with a heresy of snow and the wind blowing our air conditioner cover off. Little did I know the topics of gender and feminism would be imperative in my writing career. Speaking of my writing career, I published two books thus far: Resilience, The Disappearing Act, and the brand new Whispers of Daydreams which you can purchase here.
There were an additional three things I didn’t know would happen: 1) I would have two blog brands: The April Diaries and Gals Gotta Eat; 2) I would develop a chronic illness; 3) my writing career would also manifest into a corporate environment, working as a digital content writer for the oldest insurance company in the USA.
You can say I’m reaching a height in my career, but as my fifth grade idol, Miley Cyrus once sang, “it’s all about the climb.” I’ve met Vogue editors who said they haven’t even had that “I made it” moment yet (which I find odd considering it’s Vogue).
Moral of the story: life has its twists and turns, but everything happens for a reason. Yes, I am aware there are countless debates on that. I’m not sure if I believe that everyone has a “destiny,” per se, but there are some people who always have a certain inkling that they “know” what they’re supposed to do in life. For me? That’s to own a publication that inspires people. Now, at twenty-five-years-old-going-on-twenty-six, I am proud to say I have two of those.
Happy International Women’s Day to all my readers. You can aspire to be anything and achieve it, too. 💗
On this Friday, I woke up feeling like a Spring Chicken. By that I mean, if you read my previous post, I’m feeling more motivated than I have been for the past couple of weeks. I woke up at 5:00 a.m. (unintentionally — my melatonin must’ve worn off by then), took a shower and watched Sex and the City reruns on E! I made myself a nutritious breakfast consisting of two eggs over easy, a small whole wheat waffle, and berries. You have to make sure your plate is colorful! That’s why, for lunch, I ordered sweet potatoes in my spinach and romaine salad. You gotta have antioxidants in your diet!
I’m sure many of us are ballin’ on a budget, so without further ado, here are some ways you can indulge in self-care without breaking your bank account:
- Take a shower!
- Put on makeup!
- Paint your own nails!
- Write down everything that you are grateful for!
- DRINK WATER!!!!
- Eat healthy!
- Take your medications! (if applicable)
- Take vitamins!
- Sit down and have a cup of coffee or tea!
- Take a nap if you feel tired!
- Watch a comfort movie!
Okay, maybe you can treat yourself to online shopping, but just be frugal about it!
Happy self-care day, whenever that may be for you. Try to have one at least once a week, or make time every night after you get home from work. You can’t just not take care of yourself, am I right!?
I just got out of my weekly writer’s meeting with my internship site for the semester, and honestly, I feel more motivated than ever to cross the finish line. I am grateful to my boss and everyone else around me for being so flexible. If you don’t know what’s going on, you can read my last post here.
Since my diagnosis, I’ve sought out help in support groups and been to therapy. Therapy was also a good “kick in the butt” (in a gentle way, of course). Also, watching How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days is a great motivator, since the plot is centered around journalism. Reaching out to friends helps, too. I also put my new planner into use and I used my notes section to write down everything I’m grateful for, and everything that I know I am (a.k.a my “best traits”).
Don’t get me wrong, sometimes you need to take breaks. February was a total blur for me, but in a nontraditional sense (I was in the ICU for Pete’s sake!). Believe me, in the beginning of February, I thought I was suffering from burnout, but the fatigue and severe acid reflux only manifested into diabetes. I even go back to my full-time job next week and I could not be more stoked to actually have a real start at a place whose employees actually care about their fellow employees. And this is a simple fact of life: flexibility is the sign of intelligence.
With that being said, you should probably be more flexible with yourself, too. This also means communicating how you feel to others so they’re not left “high and dry.” You’d be surprised at how many people can actually be understanding and try to help you out. I’ll admit that I’m stubborn and had this carefree lifestyle once upon a time and thought I was invincible. FYI: no one is. My internship boss said to the staff last week, “everyone takes a sh*t. Some people get it out easier than others.” The same goes if you’re stuck in a funk. For some people it’s easier to get out of than others, depending on who you are. Everyone has different ways of doing it. I was talking to my publisher today, and we concluded that people deal with anxiety differently. That was no underlying secret to me, to begin with. As Mrs. Incredible says, “you need to learn how to be more flexible” (she said in her seductive voice LOL).
The fact that the last post I made could’ve been my last is something I still can’t comprehend. February 14, 2022 — the day I almost died, and also the day I lived.
I was sitting at my desk at a brand new job… that I had to leave early. I had this continuous feeling that I was going to barf and faint at the same time. Falling asleep in my cubicle would not have been ideal. I had gotten home with lungs filled with cold, bitter air but also a lot of congestion. The amount of pain I was in was unbearable. I wrote this one off as my anxiety making my acid reflux worse; but that didn’t explain why my back was stinging with pain, too. It also didn’t explain why I threw up four times within a matter of two hours.
Then came a little after 11:00 p.m. and I got up from what was supposed to be sleep, but only made me feel worse. I got up out of bed, only to find I could barely walk. I succumbed to my mother’s suggestion to go to the Emergency Room.
You Have What?
The whole night was a total blur, and by that I mean I have no recollection of what happened other than the fact I was in the ICU and wet the bed trying to use a bed pan. (That’s way TMI, but still.) When I regained consciousness, I remember coughing and sounding like the demon from Beloved. I could barely keep my eyes open, nonetheless talk. I was beyond dehydrated. I could barely breathe, due to the dehydration and my overall condition. I later found out from a doctor that I did in fact, have diabetes. All of the events of the day led me to having a near-lethal blood sugar level (over 400). My Diet Coke certainly didn’t help, nor did the honey in my tea earlier that evening. It was then 4:00-5:00 a.m. and I was tired and confused. I don’t know why but I was concerned about my phone, which I later found that my mother had it all along — not that it really mattered where my phone was. My health was/is the only thing that matters here.
It’s needless to say that it came not only out of left field to me, but to everyone else I know. My best friend asked if I was okay, my poor boyfriend was really worried, and my dietician the other day was completely thrown off.
A Second Chance At Life
It’s still an emotion-jerker for me that I’ll never get my old life back, but the truth is, this is a whole new chance at a better life. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful to what my “past life” gave me, but this “new life” is giving me a chance to eat healthier, exercise (as soon as my arms stop hurting from where the IV injections were), but also remind myself that I’m still a fun-loving, fashion-loving, literature-loving, whatever-you-name-it person.
However, that doesn’t mean I don’t have my moments. Some hours are better than others. I can’t fathom how much emotional pain this diagnosis caused me as of recent. I can barely stare at a screen for prolonged periods of time; I’m surprised I’m well enough to even write this post. But today, February 24, just ten days after that day, I put on makeup and pulled myself together for myself. That isn’t to say that I probably won’t have a crying spell tonight, but I was actually able to write down what I’m grateful for the first time in over a week. My hands regained their strength, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to type!
Speaking of “type,” I most likely have type 2 diabetes and I’m coming to terms with it slowly and somewhat gracefully. It’s certainly taking some time to mentally wrap my head around this diagnosis, but just like everything else, it comes with time.
Come join me on this brand new, beautiful lifestyle.
It was almost 6:00 a.m. on a Thursday morning and I felt like I was drowning in a glass tube that only got smaller and smaller, tighter and tighter, and my TMJ was acting up. I’m verbally begging the pain in my left jaw to stop as my tears ricocheted off my cheeks and onto my cotton-candy pink sweater. At the same time, it also feels like I’m on dry land because my throat is pleading for water and Advil. Thoughts of the annoyances of the past scratch dangerously beneath the surface of my skin. Will somebody, please, make it stop! My eyes see something of a pink and indigo Van Gogh painting and I can almost see my blood turning green, right where the scab on my thumb is.
This, my friends, is an anxiety attack I had last week.
For once, I’m able to write down what an anxiety attack feels like for me. Also for once, I choose my choice to be a writer because it’s who I am. A few minutes later, the scab turns into nothing as I sit down at my laptop to write my manuscript for my third book (…which got picked up!).
It’s so easy to feel like we’re never enough, and forget about the ways we’ve grown. Remembering our growth can make us feel more confident about tackling the future. This month, I read more books than I ever did in one month’s time span, saw a dietician, scored a full-time job, kept my sobriety in check (I’ve been sober for one month!), drank more water, and re-started submitting my art and poetry to literary outlets.
I quoted this A Cinderella Story quote in Unstoppable | How I’ve Been After a Month’s Hiatus but the same quote still applies; “never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.” In other words, don’t give up. If people are being negative around you and trying to feed off your positivity, don’t you dare let their negative, growly, bitchiness cross your line of hope for your own future and present. After all, the present is what really matters here.
Hi everyone! First of all, happy New Year. Second, I don’t know about you but I *used* to suck at achieving my New Years’ resolutions. But I’ll be honest with you, the concept of a “New Year’s resolution” is crap, and I’ll tell you why; the name in it of itself sounds intimidating and it sounds like something you absolutely have to achieve, simultaneously putting unnecessary pressure on yourself. However, if you turn that phrase into just simply “goals,” it sheds the pressure.
For example, one of my goals this year is to feel better in my body by intermittent fasting and eating foods that are good for me and give me energy. I was worried at first about losing weight because I thought I’d go straight back into unhealthy eating and drinking habits. Oh yeah, and I quit drinking alcohol cold turkey, which was surprisingly easy! But if you change the phrase, “losing weight” into “being healthier,” again, it sounds less intimidating and actually fun to do! I personally recommend the app “Fastic” — it’s a free app that tracks your fasting windows and actually reminds you to DRINK WATER! If you read/listened to Atomic Habits by James Clear, you’d know that even if you start something and stick with it, whatever “it” is automatically becomes a part of your routine. Don’t get me wrong, I never took a psychology class in my life (and honestly wish that I have!) but I don’t need a psychology degree to know that when you switch a phrase, something you’re trying to achieve will actually become a fun process!
Another trick or “life hack” is choosing quality over quantity. Yes, this concept applies to your lifestyle. For example, another one of my goals is to read 52+ books this year. How do I make that sound less intimidating? I choose good books that I actually want to read, including the books I’m reading in my climate literature class this semester (yes, “cli-fi” is a real multigenre, and yes, I recommend it!). I’m not even going to stress out if I don’t make it past 52 books, as long as I’m having fun reading!
Let’s track back to health for a sec; if you’re struggling with a workout schedule, sit down with your agenda/planner/whatever and schedule when your workouts would take place. But only workout if you feel like it. You can’t force your body to do something. Listen to your body. If you work in the morning/afternoon, it’s more likely that you’ll be working out at night. I have yet to get my schedule in complete order, myself.
In summation, the key to achieving your goals is to have fun doing it, even if you have to change a phrase to wire your brain into wanting to do it.
Like always, I wish you folx godspeed in achieving your goals for 2022! Make this year better than the last two years! Commit to the “new you.”
I met my boyfriend on Bumble, and one of the things he told me right off the bat was that he loved the confidence I exuded in my pictures and my responses. He especially liked that I said in response to a prompt that read, “You should swipe right if you…” and I said something along the lines of “if you can find the right girl and stick to her.” We’ve been dating for almost six months.
I care about my followers. And if you are trying to find love, believe me when I say I was in your shoes. And if you’re on a dating app and you’re thinking about giving up, please DON’T. Believe me when I also say that I was sick of guys who were afraid of commitment and sent pictures of themselves on the toilet (if you’re a guy reading this, women don’t want to see the inside of your underwear — GROSS).
Without further ado, here are tips for all genders on dating apps:
- Pick the pictures that best depict YOU — not some fake smile from a senior photo. I’m talking about your best feature, in your opinion.
- Pick a picture of you when you were genuinely happy (e.g., graduation, in another country, etc.)
- DON’T post a picture of yourself getting sh*t-faced or doing drugs. (PSA: please don’t do drugs.)
- With that being said, an innocent picture of you and another person drinking something like champagne, a martini, or wine is appropriate.
- Pick a picture of you and your friends (something recent, if applicable, I know it’s hard because we’ve been living three total years in a pandemic!).
- DON’T post a picture of you and your ex girlfriend/boyfriend.
- Pick a picture of you doing something you love (e.g., my boyfriend posted a picture of himself in front of BMW’s which he has a passion for — nothing more sexy than that).
- Make your bio coherent and include what exactly you do for a living.
- Have a witty response to one question and something serious in another.
- If applicable, pick a picture of you and a family member, preferably a parent or mother/father figure.
I hope these help, and I wish you all godspeed on finding love in 2022!
Today, on New Year’s Eve, we lost a legend a few weeks before her 100th birthday: Betty White. All of our hearts are broken. People say that 2022 is going to “suck” without our paperweight of culture. I say, let her legacy carry into the new year and beyond. And believe me when I say that 2022 is going to be better year.
I realize that 2021 has been rough for a lot of people. As COVID surges from city to city, we have to remember this affirmation: Even though I cannot see the good in a situation, I know it’s always there. That’s not a Betty White quote, but I still have to proclaim my good word.
- “I have no regrets at all. None. I consider myself to be the luckiest old broad on two feet.”
- “Everybody needs a passion. That’s what keeps life interesting. If you live without passion, you can go through life without leaving any footprints.”
- “It’s not a surprise, we knew it was coming—make the most of it. So you may not be as fast on your feet, and the image in your mirror may be a little disappointing, but if you are still functioning and not in pain, gratitude should be the name of the game.”
- “My mother always used to say, “The older you get, the better you get. Unless you’re a banana.”
- “You’re never too old for anything.”
- “Retirement is not in my vocabulary. They aren’t going to get rid of me that way.”
- “You don’t fall off the planet once you pass a given age. You don’t lose any of your sense of humor. You don’t lose any of your zest for life, or your lust for life.”
This is just seven, but I do have to share this one poem that I wrote in light of her legacy:
And just like that,
Heaven is a little brighter,
all four corners are gilded,
and the four women who once
graced our televisions are together again.
— Rest in Peace, Betty White@ AprilFederico
Happy New Year, folx.
I used to self-define myself as a “people pleaser,” which is not the case anymore. I am not a doormat to be walked all over. I am a human being, too, who’s just trying to be satisfied in life– my life. After all, we’re not put on this planet to “please” others.
There’s that saying, and I’m pretty sure I’ve quoted this before, “do what you love and you never have to work another day in your life.” But when you take a job, are you doing it for you? Or are you just doing it to please others? If you said yes to the latter, you’re like me: a former doormat. This is just a hypothetical example, but that’s not to say that I haven’t experienced it for myself. As a writer, I hear the words, “get a real job” ring in my ears all the time, from the first time I heard it. Who said art can’t be a job? Maybe I just needed to vent here, but it’s true. Artist, Wayne Thiebaud painted every day until he was 101 — a prime example.
I stay up after 1 a.m. writing this, with a fire in my heart and an enormous passion for what I do. Some people will call you crazy for pursuing your passion. Some people will try to tell you what to do, try to shut you up, or crap on your passions, only for the sake of pleasing their asses.
Moreover, I can’t help but feel like, when I was bullied in middle school that I let people walk all over me, just like a doormat. I let people cut me in line and hear my name mentioned to my face and behind my back. One time, I got hit in the head and let the guy get away with it, without an apology. When I was in eighth grade, it finally smacked me in the face with a textbook that I was letting all the BS happen to me. There came time when I refused to let people put their feet in the back of my chair and to move a couple of seats down for their “friends.”
The funny thing about being a “doormat,” is that people will think you’re never going to be successful. I hate to say this, but if you let people walk all over you, you will not get what you want, out of a situation or in life. Don’t get me wrong, it’s okay to take the high road, but it’s also okay to say “thank you” after an apology when it’s certainly not “okay.” And when someone keeps asking you to do something, just say, “I can’t help you this time/anymore because…” but you don’t even have to give a reason, though a reason can help back up any argument.
I write this after completing my second-to-last semester at Emerson College’s MA in Publishing and Writing program. Wow. What a milestone! I feel an overwhelming spurt of emotions, mostly happy and I’m not fearing the future quite yet. It’s all about living in the moment, and I couldn’t be happier with where I am in life. But hey, I don’t have that degree in my hand quite yet as I embrace my boyfriend and my family.
I remember when I was taking part in virtual orientation prior to starting classes, and the vice president of the college was talking about what we had written for our purpose statements. I hardly remember my purpose statement, but I do remember it having to do with inspiring others, along with a few mentions of my undergraduate career and how I got here. Essentially, it also incorporated resilience (which is coincidentally the title of my first poetry book). It didn’t take me long to write mine, but it did require some thought.
The statement of purpose isn’t necessarily autobiographical, but it should highlight your greatest strengths and some of the activities you’ve done that would (hopefully) benefit your career at your school of choice. For example, I was a part of RWU’s literary magazine, Mount Hope and I was additionally the Editor-in-Chief of the English and Creative Writing Department’s online zine, Voices. I also had two internships under my belt at the time, one of which was at Rhode Island Monthly, which was a great asset and leg-up to have. This is also a great opportunity for your grad school to see how well you write. I can also add that having a little personal something-something (without belaboring it) in your statement is beneficial because schools also want to imagine you outside of school.
Not only that, but schools also want to know your literal purpose for completing a master’s or PhD. What is your “why?” What you eventually put on paper and send to your school might change as you’re in your program. This world is crazy and so is life. But still, why [insert school here]? Why [insert program here]? You could also incorporate, why now?
Consider this a part two of BLOG-MAS: Reasons To Go To Graduate School. Also, one “don’t” I’ve learned from a professor doing my recs was to not include the location of the school because it’s considered insulting. So yeah, don’t do that! That shouldn’t even be a reason or a part of your “why.”
I can hear Taylor Swift’s “…Ready for it?” playing in my head as I write this.
I knew wayyy before I was a senior in college that I wanted to go to graduate school. I had a reason behind it. I knew I wanted to go to graduate school because I knew it would give me a “leg up” in my professional career. The question was, where would I go? What would I do? If you read previous posts, you’d know that I had it narrowed down to law and publishing. I then knew I had to go into publishing for my love of writing and aspirations to one day create my own magazine. I couldn’t let that go to waste! I’ve had people express their preference for me to go into law because I could be successful. But guess what? I’m 25 with a heck of a resume that was possible due to my publishing program at Emerson College.
Some people could have totally wrong reasons to pursue a graduate degree. Yet, at the same time, there are better reasons to go to graduate school.
DO go to graduate school to advance your career.
DON’T go to graduate school just because “it sounds cool.”
DO go to graduate school because you know what you want to do.
DON’T go to graduate school because something like business or law “sound glamorous.”
DO go to graduate school because you want to.
DON’T go to graduate school as a “last resort.”
For some people it’s a quicker decision than others. There’s the ever-popular argument that “everyone is doing it.” Newsflash: not a lot of people do it, and it takes time for some people. You needn’t know what you want to do right when you get out of college. I know people who get their MBA even after getting their first master’s degree, or even their PhD! Whomever said it’s not okay to change your mind clearly doesn’t know this process.
Chances are you were a first semester senior this past semester, or you’re about to be, depending on where you are in your college career. I remember when I was a first semester senior in college; and I wasn’t completely sure of what I wanted. I didn’t fully know what I wanted until I was a second-semester senior and I was accepted at Emerson College for my MA in Publishing and Writing. For the first semester senior, I’m sorry I took so long writing this post, but even as winter break comes, these are some things you should know now:
- Early bird gets the worm for graduate school.
- Early bird also gets the worm for law school. So, start early.
- It’s okay to dabble in different area of extra curricular.
- It’s okay if you don’t do well in math, especially if it’s algebra that you decide to take. Math is hard!
- Ask and you shall receive!
- You can do anything with a humanities (arts, writing, history, etc.) degree.
- It’s okay if you don’t have a secure plan right after college, but make sure you have a job! (No matter if it’s retail, etc.)
- You should have an internship secured for your last semester.
- Don’t beat yourself up if you thought you were in ostensibly “the wrong major,” no one is in the “wrong major,” so embrace what you know. Everything you learned comes in handy.
- You don’t have to make highest honors.
- You don’t have to go to graduate school.
- Save your money early.
- Not everyone will like what you choose to do after college. But in the end, it’s up to you.
Merry Blog-Mas everyone! (:
Recovering from a rough Tuesday night and day. I was journaling while picking apart a Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffin from Starbucks. I realize that I bite into the bread every day. I’m not talking about carbs, I talking about life.
Every day you and I are winning in this game of life, as the world was designed for all of us to win (and sometimes lose). I remember this one line from Emily In Paris: “I can’t share a crepe, I need the whole crepe.” Although Emily Cooper (Lily Collins) was referring to a relationship with Gabriel (Lucas Bravo), needing the whole crepe applies to every day life.
The crepe is in our hands every day. It may take us a while to get to the center of that creamy, strawberry or Nutella filling. It’s similar to eating a cream cheese muffin or even a cheese danish! Sometimes you are left with crumbs that you can only throw out or that you can wipe off from your clothing, and in some cases, crumbs that stay on the ground. All of the times, you have to bite into the bread/cake that is less exciting and not as tasty as that filling you’re striving for. It’s a matter of fact that you have to bite through the blandness to get what you want. The journey can be sweet and savory, if you think positively. Even if it is bland and a process, it comes with achieving what you want.
Something that I’ve always found strange, since I was in fourth grade, is that people will judge you for simply eating. I remember in tenth grade I got weird looks from an eighth grader while eating a pizza. (What???) Eating is something that not everyone has a healthy relationship with. However, we need food to survive and to get specific nutrients in our bodies. We build these sustainable diets to get the life we want — or even the “glow-up” that we want. It’s similar to that of life because people will judge you for simply doing you and what benefits your future.
In recent events, and after a therapy session today, my therapist and I came to the conclusion that I was probably made to “sit still look pretty.” Who would’ve known, based on my past, that I’d wind up successful? There were points where I could’ve kicked myself for “missing out.” But did I really? No.
It’s simple: I forgive myself. I forgive my past. I forgive the boys who would make fun of my lunches in fifth grade. I forgive those who questioned my adoration for Miley Cyrus. I forgive those who questioned my love for theatre. I forgive those who made fun of my perm in sixth grade (I’ll even admit that wasn’t my best look). I forgive those who made fun of my learning disability out of sheer ignorance. I forgive those who treated/treat me differently because I was/am different. In fact, thank you for doing those things because I wouldn’t have had the courage and the thickest of skins to go on and do what I do. Thank you, universe, for giving me the spirit guides who told me to go on. I continue to tell my story for the rest of my life. I may not be immortal, but every story is.
If you don’t forgive, how do you expect to move on and do what you do now? What you’re passionate about? Never forget the good things that came out of those bad experiences. They may seem bad then, and I’m there’s a middle schooler somewhere reading this. Truth is, reader, whomever you may be: those who mind don’t matter, those who matter don’t mind. You’re not here to just sit still, look pretty, and have your lips zipped. Live your truth, and don’t let society change that.
The crepe, danish, cupcake, and/or muffin is in your hands.
As we all know, 2021 is reaching its end. It’s no secret that 2020 has led some of us, if not all of us, into bad habits like binge drinking or eating or even being a total couch potato while watching Netflix. In May 2020, two months into the pandemic, I started to realize my self-worth, for the second time. (If you know, you know!) With that being said, some of the things that happened in 2020 led me to negative self-talk, which is one thing to let go of by 2022.
With negative self-talk, you’re literally demeaning your self-worth. Some of this negative self-talk may come from outside sources that say you’re not good enough. If you read The Truth About Self-Esteem, you would know that the truth of the matter is that your self-esteem affects every aspect of your life. As a result of negative self-talk, you’re going to go into a rabbit hole of self-sabotage — the cardinal sin of wellbeing.
Another habit to let go of is to not rush through life like it’s some sort of race. Newsflash: life is not a race. Your only competition is you. After watching a video by Nika Nikita, she mentioned this morbid yet true affirmation: “I am speeding to my death.” Believe me, that can easily apply to driving and living life in the fast-lane. Life is too short to self-medicate with alcohol or getting baked just because you had a rough day. There are alternatives, like realizing that you have this plethora of self-love. This is the only life you will ever have, maybe, unless reincarnation is real — depending on what you believe.
Another thing Nika mentions is how you define your success. To me, success is how much I’ve grown to love my curves, — including the extra fat in my tummy. And what’s icing on the cake is that my boyfriend loves my curves, too! I used to think it was just simply having the “best life,” but what is that exactly? It’s up to you! You are the author to your own story. There will be characters that you don’t like, but yet again, you have no control over their behavior. You just have to play it out and realize that you — the main character — are no tragic Shakespearean hero. Whenever I say this, I always think of Macbeth or Hamlet. Put simply, if you keep focusing on what you think is going to make you successful, it will ultimately lead you to your demise. Again, put simply, that is karma or fate. Let me give you a real-life example; if I were to keep job-searching when I already have everything I need to succeed, I’d go completely bonkers because I’d be feeding my brain with, say it with me… NEGATIVE SELF-TALK!
So, what I’m saying to you is to start letting go of these bad habits and create 1) positive self-talk 2) take the time to stroll through life like it’s a walk in the park (or LIVE IN THE MOMENT!) and 3) own your success, just as it is. Create it on your own terms.
In fact, try this as a journal entry: how do I (you) define success?
For me, it’s to enjoy the freedom I have do to everything I want. I let go of negativity and self-criticism and what people think of me. I am doing the best I can and I am blessed beyond measure.
**If you would like to see April Diaries journal entries, let me know in the comments!
Follow me on Instagram: @ aprilinnewengland
Follow me on TikTok: @ aprilinnewengland
If you’re anything like me, you’re probably ALWAYS on the go. At this point in time, Friday’s and weekends are my only days off, and for that I am grateful. I wake up Monday-Thursday at a screeching 3 AM, and my eyes are screaming for more sleep. On top of that, this semester I have one class that’s on Tuesday and Thursday nights. I’ve unfortunately fallen into the habit of napping every time I get home. No, there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with napping; but I’m realizing that it takes a lot of time out of my day. Don’t get me wrong, rest is important. In fact, I actually made it part of my routine!
Speaking of routines, it’s imperative that you commit to one. Coming to terms with it now, I realize that the word “commitment” doesn’t always refer to romantic relationships. In fact, commitment is a part of adulting and daily life. You’re probably thinking, “but today’s my day off, what do I have to commit to?” For me? Well, it’s no secret that I struggle with anxiety, so changes in routine really f**k me up. It wasn’t until I found this video by Nika Nikita about how to change your life. I figured this was part of my “research” on how I could establish a better routine.
One of the things that I do is script. Scripting is a manifestation tool that helps create the life that you want. But the thing about scripting is that you have to commit to it. You can’t just slap down what you want in your life on a piece of paper and say, “okay, my life is set.” No.
Another thing I try to do is meditate. I highly recommend listening to 741 hertz frequencies or even a guided meditation!
Keeping an agenda or even using Google Calendar or Notion is important, too. You need to have some way of keeping your schedule on track and “schedule out your schedule,” so to speak.
Knowing your limits is important, too. You can’t pour from an empty cup. But it’s important to know when and how you’re going to take your “me days.” But think of it this way, every day is a me day because you get to live.
Part of what I learned is to also nourish yourself, particularly with healthy food. I’ve learned from many years of buying Starbucks at school and from Uber Eats that a White Chocolate Mocha Latte and a chocolate croissant isn’t going to sustain you because of all the sugar. (Which explains why I nearly fall asleep by the time it’s 8 AM at work — yikes!) And besides, healthier foods are what sustain us, in the long run. Also, TAKE YOUR VITAMINS, especially those B-Complex, Vitamin C, and Omega-3. Take them daily, too, as that’s part of the routine. Exercise is important, too, even if you’re just simply stretching. I highly recommend FitOn. It’s completely free!
I will get to resets in another post, but for now, grab an agenda, bullet journal, whatever you use to keep track of yo’self and get to building a healthier mindset, and overall sanity.
When I was younger, I had dreams… I still do. I am a girl with dreams that turned into visions. These visions became reality. I dreamt of being a fashion designer, a lawyer, a doctor, now I’m living my dream as a writer.
I recently got a job at… drumroll please… MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)! That’s right, I am going to be working in their communications department and I’m so excited to continue my career in content creating at one of the top higher institutions in the country.
How did I get here, you ask? Well, my first internship was actually in HIGH SCHOOL. So that’s what brings me to my first tip:
- Start Early: I said this in a few posts, and I’ll say it again: your major in college is bound to change. However, when you’re in high school, you’ll have interests in mind. My first internship was at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, which I LOVED! I was picked out of 30 applicants to be a volunteer intern, not just due to my high grades and GPA but due to my experience, as someone who lives with a cancer patient. With that being said, I worked in their oncology department. I thought, at the time, that I was going to be a chemistry major with a pre-law background. That was not the case at all. Again, things change, and everything happens for a reason.
2. Take Advantage of Every Opportunity in College
If there is something that is up your alley that you want to do, go for it, by all means necessary. Plus, employers like well-rounded students, so it’s 100% okay to have a lot of interests, as long as you’re not exhausting yourself. Me? I was involved in student politics and Title IX and I’m working in publishing.
3. Any Major Can Do Anything
There’s no doubt that with through every phase of your career (i.e. grad school, undergrad, PhD) that you’re going to wish you did something different. I mean come on, when I was in my first year of grad school, I thought I wanted to work at a veterinary clinic and actually looked into UPenn’s Veterinary program. As I was looking through the majors of the 2020 cohort, I noticed that some were English majors! But no matter what the prerequisites are, you better work b*tch. You want biology and chemistry courses? Take EdX courses! Better yet, these courses have certificate options so you can most definitely add those to your resume!
4. Just Go For It, Even If You Don’t Feel Qualified
I was a sophomore (for the second time) in college when I transferred to RWU. More than anything, I was wanting to write. And I wanted to write for a publication, a magazine at that. Most of you know that I interned for Rhode Island Monthly, and it was indubitably one of the best summers of my life. Having been in Rhode Island for a year, at the time, I wanted to write and edit for one of the premier magazines in the country, and nonetheless a household magazine. I even befriended Lily Herman, who was someone I looked up to greatly because she had her words published in elite publications (e.g. Teen Vogue). With that being said, NETWORK. Even though I felt slightly unqualified, I was getting ready to “kill or die” for an internship (yes, I did use that line — it worked).
It was Wednesday morning and I don’t know if it was the Opalite around my neck but my self-worth kicked in. Though I can’t describe exactly what happened, I knew that I had to stand up for myself and to be treated better. (Disclaimer: this was not a boyfriend situation — he and I are very much still together and things are going great!)
But riddle me this: when did self-respect translate into being rude? When did doing this for the sake of building your own future make you selfish? Why do people get mad when you are just trying to make yourself happy? Don’t people want you to be happy?
Oddly enough, I had a therapy session that same morning. I had to say to him (my therapist) that I instantly felt regret standing up for myself, but why was that? He told me that when you haven’t stood up for yourself in a long time, that feeling of regret tends to occur. It seems sad that it happens. However, I think it’s growth.
The last time I remember this happening, I was called a “petulant child” by a professor and accused of disrespect, which only made me cry harder after sticking up for myself to another professor. I wish I could say to her now that self-respect does not equal disrespect for another individual. Respect is earned, not given freely. And just because you’re an older adult, that doesn’t mean that you have ultimate authority. #SorryNotSorry
With self-worth comes self-esteem. Psychologist, Melanie Fennell concluded the following:
• Throughout your life you form negative beliefs about yourself as a result of the way you have been treated. Psychologists call this your ‘bottom line’ or ‘core belief ’. Your core belief is how you feel about yourself deep down, for example “I’m worthless” or “I’m no good”.
• Confronting core beliefs feels unpleasant, so we all develop rules for living that protect us from our core beliefs. These rules guide how you live your life, and as long as your rules don’t get broken, your core belief stays dormant. People with low self-esteem often have rules that are demanding and rigid, such as “I must always please other people”, or “As long as I don’t get criticized then I’m OK”.
• It can feel very anxiety provoking when it seems like one of your rules might be broken. If one of your rules is “I’m OK as long as everyone is happy”, it might be anxiety provoking if people around you are not happy – you might feel that you have failed.
• When there is a danger that rules might be broken, you might make anxious predictions about what might happen and fear the worst (e.g. “I’ll be rejected if I can’t do everything that is expected of me”), or you might speak to yourself in a critical way, or avoid tricky situations and use strategies to cope.
There’s no doubt that I, and everyone else have had these experiences. I’ve mentioned before that I’ve striven to be perfect to the point of sickness. When I was being bullied severely, I felt like I had to “bow down” to some higher power of what was right versus wrong. I can’t help but wonder now, was that society? Or just simply the place I grew up? I swear, that town had 10 Commandments of being ostensibly cool.
I remember the first day of eighth grade, I had health class at the end of the day and my teacher said to the class, “if you don’t have self-esteem by now, you’re on your own!” Comically enough, I didn’t have any self-esteem. I could have been in a room full of people and still be lonely AF (no pun intended — those are my initials).
I remember crying to my mom, and I choke up as I write this, that whenever I tried to talk, I got laughed and snickered at. When I tried to stand up for myself, I was called mean. Another truth about self-esteem is that is affects every aspect of your life.
My therapist said I had this sort of glow after I stood up for myself. I’ve been constantly worried about telling people what I wanted to do and what I was going to do with my life, but I shouldn’t let that terrify me because what I do is ultimately my choice. You’re the author of your own life. Write your own story without people telling you that what you’re writing is wrong.
I published a post last night about how moving is essentially an empty bookshelf. In a nutshell, life will be restocked with normalcy; it just takes some time.
I couldn’t help but wonder, after writing that post and my COVID-19 reflection, was everything born to change? I say yes. Our bodies go through puberty, whether we like it or not. Presidents run their course in Office. Laws change. People get married. People unfortunately pass on. Computers crash, forcing us to use new(er) technology than we’re used to. Plans change as people make up their minds. Life was born to happen. I may not know what created the Earth, or what even created the MilkyWay. But things were born to change.
I also can’t help but realize that, in a world that’s driven by social media, photos, and memes, we humans have grown up with technology as our needs… wait for it… CHANGE. Disclaimer: I’m no anthropologist, but I do like to call myself a millennial anthropologist, at best.
Moreover, there are some people who really don’t react well to change, and that can be due to a variety of psychological reasons. But the fact of the matter is, change is something we all have to deal with. I recall someone commenting on my post from last night about how moving is a rite of passage, and I cannot think of a better word to describe such a… CHANGE. People call this other phrases like “end of an era.” The truth is, and I realized this after prepping for an interview I have tomorrow, it’s actually rebirth.
I had to delete a post about snakes and rebirth in fear I’d get reconsidered from my current part-time job. But a snake shedding its skin is like shedding the past and slithering into a new generation, thinking pattern, or even way of life!
When I think about a conversation from when I was working at Dollar Tree, the other woman said the pandemic was actually more so of a second coming of Christ and period of judgement for those who have unfortunately succumbed to COVID-19 complications. I’m not religious [anymore] or anything, but I’m starting to consider my own personal notion that the universe presents rites of passages as literal doorways to new beginnings as some part of us is “born again.”
You and I… we were born to CHANGE.
(Did you like my subtle Lana Del Rey reference, there? I did, too.)
If you’ve ever moved, you know that it’s painful and excruciating emotionally and physically. It affects everyone who’s involved and depending on your living situation, it can have some ugly and anxiety-ridden moments. Being an empath myself, I’ve taken on my own baggage and everyone else’s baggage. I realize that I had, literally, just moved on Friday but with everything still in boxes and not being able to access everything smoothly, it’s not the same. This is my fourth straight day in a row, crying.
You can say that moving is like an empty bookshelf. A bookshelf is, normally, where all your books are to feed your mind. (I actually converted my coffee station into a bookshelf LOL.) The bookshelf that I’m referring to here is the one that housed all of the cookbooks. And because everything is in boxes, I can’t access my cooking supplies and I wind up ordering from Uber Eats. But nonetheless, I feel as though I have everything taken out of me; I am drained and feeling like I have no purpose.
But that’s not the case. I have plenty of purpose in me, and I know it. Other people know it, too. You, my dear, have so much purpose, too.
I took it to texting my best friend (hi, Katelyn!) who had moved to her own big-girl apartment two summers ago and I asked her if she ever felt lonely when moving to a whole new “world,” or so it seems like it for everyone who moves. I mean hey, I moved to Rhode Island 5 years ago. But this is my first time living in more urban setting. Anyway, this is what she said to me, “I kept busy and I gave it time.”
Keeping busy, such as writing this post while listening to Katy Bellotte’s podcast, “Thick and Thin” helps so much (Netflix, too). I’m trying not to sleep so much because resting only makes me restless and can give you a really bad headache.
Maybe I’m just impatient and headstrong, both gifts and curses at the same time. But I felt like I would get that normalcy right away. No, not the case at all. In fact, anyone who says that clearly has never moved in their lifetime. And that’s just the thing: things take time. Some things happen quicker than others, but to me, that means that some higher power had that planned for you.
Moral of the story: moving is like a bookshelf, you’ll be filled with your resources and normalcy, soon enough.
In the beginning of In Five Years by Rebecca Serle, Dannie Kohen goes for an interview with her dream corporate law firm (spoiler alert: she gets the job). Another spoiler? She gets engaged to her long-time boyfriend that same night. Five years later, she is still working at the firm and is still engaged. You really have to read the book to understand what internal conflict she’s going through.
My In Five Years is different from that of Dannie’s. Five years ago, in 2016, I was home from college on a medical absence because I needed a break from a traumatic break-up. Being jerked around by someone who clearly doesn’t want to be your “forever” is the worst. The awakening to the fact that the relationship was insidiously controlling was even harder to grapple with because I couldn’t help but think, “how did I get into that mess, the way I did?” It was a year I would never get back.
However, in five years I managed to become everything I wanted to be. I got the college academic experience that I wanted and I became happier with myself. Even if myself was 50 pounds heavier than I was in high school. One of the greater things to come out of that horrible relationship was my unearthed love for writing. I didn’t have to worry if he didn’t like it, what only mattered was if I was happy with myself and my writing.
What came with that, was a boatload of confidence that I never thought I would achieve. I learned that you don’t get what you want if you don’t ask for it and work for it, too. My first ever internship was at Rhode Island Monthly magazine. I worked by butt off in that summer of 2018 while simultaneously working for RWU’s Marketing and Communications department to earn some money. Both of those experiences, while also writing for my campus newspaper helped a great deal with my resume. My resume got me to places I never thought I’d be, which only beefed it up some more. In fact, I have an interview this coming Monday to be the Editor-in-Chief of an app! (:
Relationship-wise? It’s safe to say that I’m in the relationship of my dreams.
Location-wise? My whole family and I just moved to North Providence and it’s also safe to say that we are exhausted and overwhelmed at the same time.
As I write this in the Golden Afternoon, on a fall Saturday in my new home, I can’t help but feel like this is a new beginning for everything and everyone. I may have lost my comforter and linens in the move, but the adventure is worth it.
For the past few days now, I’ve been unfortunately gifted with COVID-19. I’m not trying to be political, even though the United States, in particular, is severely divided when it comes to the pandemic. I am lucky to be diagnosed with a breakthrough case and not with the D-variant. I’ve posted to Instagram about the issue, TikTok, and my Media Facebook page about this issue. Though it really shouldn’t be an “issue,” because an “issue” means argument. Not only has the past 18 months taught us to always be careful, be safe, and get vaccinated, the pandemic teaches valuable personal lessons. So, here is what I learned:
1. If you’re congested, get tested immediately.
I think, for me, it started as what seemed to be a cold that I thought I’d eventually get over. And I luckily “did,” or so I thought. However, I do work ungodly hours producing a morning show so I thought it was stress leaving me with a raspy voice due to a congested chest and stuffy nose. I did have a COVID scare a year ago because of that, and I thankfully tested negative at the time. It wasn’t until Saturday October 9 when I got a sore throat and what’s known as “COVID Voice” because I thought I had laryngitis. I warned my favorite YouTuber of this, and she said it was a wonderful suggestion and was one of the incredible people who wished me well.
2. Get in touch with your spirituality.
It wasn’t until last night when I cried because I felt the presence of, and don’t call me crazy, spirit guides. I began journaling regularly (as if I don’t write enough!) and watching videos by the Gem Goddess. This one video that I linked to actually made me cry. I kept hearing the words “forgive me” in my head all day, and I realized it was them trying to tell me something. But that’s another story. Talk about a divine intervention!
3. You realize who’s really there for you.
The first person I told about my diagnosis was my boyfriend and he immediately asked if I needed anything, if I had symptoms, and to be safe. I don’t think anyone realizes this, but when people tell you to “be safe,” it’s another way of saying “I love you.” I received an outpour of support from those who really want to see me better and showed genuine concern.
4. Show your body you love it.
If you treat your body poorly when you’re sick, do you really love yourself? Even though I would’ve liked to have a glass of wine or eat junk food when sick, it’s imperative that you put nutrients in your body. I’ve started taking vitamins religiously and I’ve taken to drinking hot lemon water with honey; it makes you sweat like a pig, but it WORKS. Also, be sure to take a shower at night because nighttime is when you feel worse because your body is shutting down for bedtime.
Having COVID is sobering and it is not fun. But I can tell you this: I am grateful that I nor my family members are on ventilators and that we can all breathe on our own. Tell God, guides, the universe — whatever feels right to you — and tell your own body “thank you.” And tell yourself, “we did it,” “we got this,” and/or “I love you.”
Be well, my friends. I’ll be producing loads of overdue content for y’all.
I’m sitting on my loveseat watching a documentary on Ernest Hemingway, and it’s quite the coincidence because I had written The Truth About Writing Full-Time | You Have A Purpose two years ago today. I’d be lying if I said that it didn’t take me a bit to develop a thick skin, being a full-time writer and content creator. The truth is that no one will necessarily agree with your lifestyle choices, or with the way your brain simply works. You cannot succumb to their criticism just because they simply don’t “get it.” By “it” I mean the way your mind works and/or your ideas. I remember when I was discussing media analysis with my boyfriend and I opened a review by a… “catty” critic from a reviewer of my second published book, The Disappearing Act. Yet again, I found that it was based off the ignorance of the creative process.
What’s funny is that I mentioned very limited knowledge about Hemingway in that post. Just like the creative process and the way people think, there is a reason for everything. There were reasons why Hemingway was an alcoholic. There were reasons why he wouldn’t wake up until 2:00 in the afternoon — it was because a famous American critic gave him a harsh review and Hemingway didn’t take it very well. It wasn’t until a Communist newspaper journalist said, “Hemingway has not produced a book in six years worthy of his talents.” To that, Hemingway responded with “there is only good and bad writing.” Huh. As to why he abusive to his wife, Martha, I will never comprehend an abuser’s mind, other than the fact that he was insecure about another bad review.
There is also a reason why Hemingway wrote about death so much. He had a fascination with it, especially with the way bulls are killed in a Spanish bullfight. I can’t pinpoint exactly what it was. However, I can tell you this: in order to be a writer, you have to have some sort of fascination with something. It’s similar in the way that J.K. Rowling incorporated a lot of death in her Harry Potter books; she’s seen death firsthand by losing her mother in her twenties. That is to say, if you want to write a book, a blog post, article, or even start a YouTube channel, you’re not going to be successful by watching documentaries about authors and your favorite YouTubers all day. You can be inspired by what other people have done. But at the same time, you CANNOT compare yourself to someone else’s success. Someone’s chapter fifteen is not your chapter one. We all start from somewhere, whether you like it or not. I’ve heard of YouTubers who started at age 14 but didn’t make it a full-time job until they were 22 years old (e.g. Brooke Miccio).
Another part of building your brand and developing who you are is discipline and consistency. As they say, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Just like a carpenter or construction worker, they work tirelessly every day until they need some sort of break. There have been times where I have needed to take a break from blogging, only to see that it wasn’t benefiting me because not writing makes me obscenely anxious. But the other thing is to just simply not put pressure on yourself. Whomever said “sometimes you need to be pressured” is disturbed AF.
Be your own [insert your name here]. I wish you Godspeed in whatever it is you try to do, and I love you all!
Check out my latest YouTube video here.
My heart was feeling rather heavy today, and I wasn’t sure why. I had a great therapy session yesterday, but then I remembered that I am constantly surrounded by pressure to be this, that, and the other thing. I began to get flashbacks of dialogues from triggering situations. I then remembered that I am only human, I’m 25 years old, and I’m my own person.
I was watching a tarot/oracle reading by Vanessa Somuayina on YouTube, and in my personalized reading she mentioned that I (or anyone watching that particular reading) all start out as novices at something. I was a novice at blogging and now I have 1,592 followers as of an almost-five-year period. A lot of people didn’t understand my need to create content so much or to publicize my life on social media. It’s a way of getting people to relate to my content. My goal is to make social media my full-time job; judge me, I dare you.
Likewise, I am a novice at adulting. Anyone in their twenties is! I’m constantly learning about myself, the world, the people living in it. I am no “sexual anthropologist” like Carrie Bradshaw calls herself in the very first episode. I’m more so of an “anthropologist at life (?)” Call it what you want. But I know what I want and live for. What I live for is creating content that hopefully helps college students, and adults alike.
As of today, I officially own my power, as if I didn’t already. You, too, will learn not to question your work ethic. Your work ethic is superb, no matter what outside forces say. Are they even ostensible “forces”? They’re more like commentaries from the peanut gallery or that idiot in your DM requests trying to tell you some BS (and believe me, I get those A LOT).
However, I am beginning to notice in whatever is I do/create, my worth is not based on followers, “likes,” or what people think about me. Don’t get me wrong, I love you all. But my energy will never be destroyed nor will I lose sleep over a bad review. Energy can’t be destroyed, in general. I’m no expert in physics, but I know that energy is always being turned into something else. For example, I can get tired sometimes to borderline exhaustion. But I channel that exhaustion to something productive, e.g. blogging or journaling. In fact, journaling is how I get my best ideas for posts.
Next time you feel pressured by society, family, or your own mind, just remember to be patient with yourself. Being a novice at something doesn’t determine your worth. It just matters that you’re doing the best you can. Create something with that energy of yours, it’s only gaining momentum.
When COVID-19 happened, I found it hard to find a steady routine to live by every day, and it was harder because my then-work schedule would change like a girl changes clothes. Besides, the job was taking its toll on my mental health. But then, after 15 months of the pandemic and year of grad school, I decided that it was time to put the beer and wine aside and get my act together. Yes, I seldom drink now. #Wins
Building healthier habits isn’t the only way to practice self-love. Self-love also requires accepting yourself for who you are, and that includes your flaws as well as opening up to them. Maybe it’s because people weren’t at their best during the pandemic, but self-improvement became a vast movement. Me? I just chose to do it on my own terms, not society’s. Besides, how many people actually say they’re going to ostensibly “improve” themselves and actually do it? The answer is very, very few.
That’s the thing about habits; they’re easy to build and harder to kick. When it comes to health and wellness, they’re actually harder to build and and harder to kick. But it slowly gets better over time. Healthy habits CAN be easy to build and to keep! For me? It took about a week to be less dependent on alcohol. But since getting the app, Fit On, I’m more cognizant of what I choose to put in my body. That isn’t to say that you can’t have a strawberry margarita at your local Mexican restaurant with churros and warm chocolate dip for dessert. That’s just simply depriving yourself of having fun!
Some habits include:
- Waking up at 6 a.m. (or any time before 11).
- Getting a morning workout in. I do yoga and meditation, preferably outside.
- If you can’t work out, just simply stretch.
- Shower, if needed or just pat-dry your face
- Having coffee or tea (whichever you prefer, just don’t drink too much caffeine!)
- Have a protein shake or something healthy for breakfast.
- Communicating however which way with the people you love, even if it’s just checking in.
- Soaking up a healthy amount of Vitamin D.
- Taking vitamins.
- Dancing around in your room to a killer playlist (I personally adore Lana Del Rey).
- Getting dressed.
- Taking a walk or run and getting in a certain amount of steps.
- Spending time with your sweetie and/or friends.
- Drink water! I like mine in a glass with a wedge of lime or lemon to boost my metabolism.
As cliche as this sounds, your body really is the only one you have. Treat it well. After all, the most important relationship is the one you have with yourself. Build good habits for you and only you. If this serves as motivation for you, well, that’s just fantastic!
Good luck, my loves.
Dear future husband… if I ever meet you…
I don’t even know if I want to “settle down,” after what I’ve been through.
My first relationship was someone whom I dated for two weeks. It wasn’t love, it was a typical high school romance. In fact, why was I so hung up on a guy who left me for some other girl? It didn’t take me too long to turn my obsession into becoming a smarty-pants. There were subtweets and hurt feelings involved, but I learned to move on from high school to college — behavior and all.
My first college boyfriend, that classified as a “college boyfriend,” was two years older than me. I always knew I liked older men, and this was just icing on the cake. He claimed he loved me for who I was, even when I gained weight. However, I didn’t see it from the beginning. He told me he “only gets out of only my pleasure.” He never got anything out of, well, anything. I officially got the fact that he loved me, just not in that way. I was so embarrassed about everything that happened on our one-year anniversary that I couldn’t even tell my best friend. Then, that October morning, he told me he was never attracted to me at all. Which led me to asking everyone else after him, “why did you waste my time?”
But the first time I used that line was the first guy I moved onto after him. I swore to God I would never use that app again. I touched on this briefly in Cheers To Two Years Of This Blog and there’s absolutely no doubt that I’ve grown, even after Believing | 3 years (and counting) of this blog. Two apps. Three (maybe four) guys. And a whole lot of “I will never do that again.”
I hate that I met the one guy I thought I truly loved on dating app, only to find out he just “liked” me. Yes, I know, he dropped the L-bomb way too soon. I lied that March when he took it back. It wasn’t worth getting into a petty argument with my friends. And to those friends: I’m sorry. I’m sorry that I lied when I said I was okay, when I wasn’t. I’m sorry that kept making excuses for him.
Perhaps I just avoid confrontation. Perhaps I just “want so much.” But I’m not who my exes say I am. I am me. I’m damaged, but I don’t want to be the one to salvage a man. You may have baggage, but I can’t be the one to fix you. You’re not a dog. As you can probably tell, I left some stuff out. But I shouldn’t have for the sake of a blog post. I want to be honest with you. I want to share my virginity for you and only you. Yes, I’m still a virgin. And I think I’m fabulous for that. But that doesn’t mean I’m stupid. I don’t want to make out in a car after meeting twice. I don’t want to be lead on for the millionth time. I don’t want to be in an “open relationship–” I can only stick to one guy at a time. And for you, it should be me or nothing at all.
When we — maybe, just maybe– we get married, I’ll be open to it. But you better have your whole heart into it, not just half-heartedly. And for God sakes HAVE GOOD GRAMMAR! I hope you love pizza night Friday’s just as much as I do. I hope you love animals, just as much as I do. I hope you love to dance, and that you are actually good at it, and you aren’t afraid to show me off at a wedding. I hope you love wine nights… multiple times a week. More than anything, I hope we can support each other in our dreams. I don’t want to have to move because of you because I think I know who you might be. I want to go to law school after I get my master’s, so hopefully you’ll be wherever I end up.
When I’m a partner in a law firm, I hope not to gain just 15 of them. I want you to be my life partner. I hope I’m not asking too much, yet everyone has a set of boundaries that they must set. And when you say “thick and thin,” mean it.
I don’t know what else to write. So, I’ll just leave it at that.
Last week, I got off the phone with my therapist. I was feeling a sense of hope yet another sense of hopelessness. That’s when I realized my imposter syndrome was so bad that my anxious self would not let me pull myself out of it. I was constantly focused on the future — what it could hold. Did I mention I’m impatient AF?
I couldn’t help but compare myself to people who rent their own apartments because I still live at home. I couldn’t help but compare myself to people who had full-time jobs. But then I realized, I’m furthering my education by going to grad school for my career: publishing and writing. I’d be lying if I said that I was never judged. You can’t really stop the world from judging, but in reality, you’re your own worst critic.
I then saw a post from some media outlet (I’m sorry I don’t remember who posted it!) But it was a series of TikToks from a very successful woman (her name also escapes me — ah!!). No, her success was not a story that happened overnight. Her success came from within and many, many bouts of comparing herself. However, comparing herself was getting her nowhere. This same woman worked at Trader Joe’s for quite some time, until she proved herself to be a successful realtor. I’m definitely no expert in real-estate, but this woman seems to be pretty prominent in the industry.
One thing this woman asked herself was, “why isn’t everyone else’s success happening to me?” Instead she switched her mindset to “in time, everything will be yours.” She then got to work. And that’s the thing about applying yourself to whatever it is you set your mind to. Think of it as a job; you can’t just submit your resume without your cover letter! In real life, you can’t just go on and on about the things you’ve done; you need to prove yourself that you can do the job. Don’t get me wrong, it is perfectly fine to be absolutely confident. But you need to have a plan in order to execute the results you want. This means putting in the time and energy to do so.
In time, something — no matter what it is — will be attained. You just have to get off your behind and achieve it. That means writing your cover letter — not recycling the ones you’ve already written because trust me, belaboring your point to a billion employers will only have you killing your own brain cells. If something’s clearly not working in your favor, you have to change it. No one else is going to do that for you. How you think of yourself and how you put yourself on paper matters. Think about it: the energy you put out is the same energy you will get back. It’s karma and manifestation! If you think that life is absolutely exhausting you, you will feel that lethargy and negativity. Don’t burn yourself out before you try to better yourself and especially don’t burn yourself out when you’re going after your dreams!
Be patient with yourself. If you’re not seeing results right away, don’t beat yourself up about it. Don’t be mad at the universe, either. In time, it’ll be yours.
When people see me on social media just living “my best life,” they don’t know that my mind is a constant battlefield of insecurity. Right now, as I’m writing this, I feel better because I don’t feel insecure about putting my insecurities out there, hoping that someone out there will understand. I can tell you right now that I am confident that I will inspire someone out there and give someone a big virtual hug (through words — I’m better at writing than I am talking!). After all, no one is put on this Earth to please and constantly kiss people’s asses. I could give people a million reasons to make fun of me: I’m a 25-year-old virgin, I live at home, and I don’t own my own vehicle (correction: I don’t own a vehicle yet…stay tuned on the ‘gram). I’ve even dealt with my fair share of imposter syndrome.
This past Monday, June 7, I was in my round-about driveway laying in the sun when I chose to take pictures of myself… in a bathing suit. I didn’t care if I was wearing a one-piece from SHEIN, what mattered was my state of mind. Before that, I hadn’t worn a bathing suit in years because I had gained a whopping 50 pounds in college. But just the other day, I realized that in college, gaining weight is 100,000% normal as long as you’re happy. Yes, I’ve been pressured to lose weight. I’m not going to lie and say that family members’ words didn’t bother me. What’s terribly f—ed up about that is society, in it of itself, wants people to “look good” instead of just simply being “happy.” In fact, I can look in the mirror and honestly say, “wow, April, you look sexy!” THAT’S what exudes confidence and gives me serotonin.
Moreover, I took this one photo of myself where the lower half of my stomach was prominent and my thigh was gigantic. I then realized, that’s just an angle. And what’s funnier is that “angle” wasn’t even natural. Wait… am I picking apart myself here? April, snap out of it! You look hot! No, I’m not being conceited. No, I am not being cocky. In fact, it took a matter of five days just to get myself like that picture. (My laptop is not letting me load it.) I felt so inspired that I took another bathing suit picture and joked that I was channeling Pamela Anderson!
You can make fun of me all you want. No one’s opinion defines me. What matters is how you define yourself. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Once upon a time, a girl had just graduated from college during a pandemic. She was in search of a job, and she found one… at her local dollar store. That job lasted about a year until she found something better than retail — something in her field.
She found a job as an editor for Hollywood.com. She always knew she’d be in entertainment, some way or another.
Did I mention this young woman is me?
Here’s the thing: I didn’t necessarily break up with my retail job. In fact, I moved on. But I guess I didn’t move on entirely considering I still shop there. I mean, come on, it’s only been two weeks!
I remember giving my manager my two-weeks notice in early May. I felt bad because his eyes widened like no other and proceeded to ask, “can I ask why?” I told him I got a job as an editor.
Instead of using some Sex and the City analogy, I’m going to use an Emily In Paris analogy. So, here we go. Emily takes the job in Paris because her boss is pregnant and her boss decided not to go. Emily tells her then-boyfriend, Doug that she’s guaranteed senior brand manger when she returns after a year in the city of lights (and other things). She and Doug don’t break up until the third episode of the first season, but that’s because Doug can’t seem to grapple Emily “moving on.” But don’t worry, the rain washes away the pain of the previous day (rain also means prosperity — remember that after you break up with somebody).
Nonetheless, Emily Cooper moved on with her life because she knew she was so much better than Doug and Chicago, no matter how cosmopolitan her life may have been there. In fact, she found men like Gabriel (Lucas Bravo) and Mathieu Cadeau (Charles Martins), but not that men are the most important part of her new life in Paris. She claims in the first episode that “work makes her happy.” And honestly, work makes me happy, too, if I’m enjoying it and it’s in my field.
It’s a way of saying, “you were good to me, but I’m ready for something more.” It’s a way of saying, “I’m moving on from what no longer serves me.” In this case, Doug no longer served her.
Now, listen, why am I telling you that career is better than love? I’m not. Plot twist. It goes both ways in both love and career. You can move on from a person and say, “you no longer serve me.” You can indirectly say to a job, “I want to be something else.” In my case with my manager, he said (and keep in mind he’s a year younger than me…), “I want you guys to graduate from [dollar store name here] and I want you guys to go to college.” Keep in mind, I kept that job to stay afloat during my first year of grad school. Now, I’m out of my first year of grad school and I want to keep growing in my career, thusly, I am. I work for Hollywood.com now. I haven’t felt this “high” since my internship at Rhode Island Monthly. (I’m NOT talking smoking, here, people! I don’t smoke! And neither should you!)
You should get that “high,” whatever it might be from — a career, a relationship, something that just makes your heart and mind sing. Your heart and mind are a two-way street. It’s not a cheesy love song that you’re listening to in your head. You could overthink, and that’s one of the worst things to do to yourself. But in the ultimatum, you’re doing what’s best for you.
I mean, when I published No one’s going to tell you what to do, I was mocked when I couldn’t make up my own mind. But they were wrong to mock me. Some people have it figured out, some don’t. But since I don’t know most of the people who read my blog, I’m not going to mock. In fact, I wouldn’t mock you in the slightest. I’d help you. This blog is meant to help my readers who are college students, high school seniors, and even graduate students who might want to get their Ph.D. Do I want to get my Ph.D? I don’t know! It’s only the summer of 2021! Don’t rush anyone or anything. Everything has its own divine timing.
This past year taught me more about adulting than any other. I’m not counting the time I cried in the financial aid office practically begging for more money in my junior year of college. Maybe it was because I was scared. Maybe it was because I, for once, would deal with finances bigger than my head. I say bigger than my head because my future is so much bigger and brighter. And yours is, too.
This past year, I’ve published two books, started graduate school, and got my first “big girl job” in the world of editing – all of this for the purpose of fulfilling my grad school career and beyond.
Never will I ever say I am ostensibly “washed up.” No. Nobody is. You are simply a new version of yourself. That’s advice #1. I might as well get into the list.
2.) Adulting may seem daunting, at first, and sometimes stressful. But there will come times that you will have to ask for help.
3.) I said this many, many times but being single is actually f—ing fantastic.
4.) Dating apps are not worth the aggravation.
5.) Friends with benefits are not a thing. I have not tried this, nor will I ever. DON’T F— YOUR FRIENDSHIPS.
6.) Where there’s a will, there’s a way. I don’t know where that’s from, but it’s true.
7.) The unfortunate art of “growing apart” hurts like an SOAB, but it’s a part of life and life is full of transitions.
8.) It’s okay if you’re still living with your parents. I am! In fact, a lot of graduate students have gone back home due to the pandemic to live with their ‘rents.
9.) Making an Instagram for your dog is okay. Yes, I made one for my Yellow Labrador, Brody, and you can follow him @goodestboybrody.
10.) It’s okay to stay up past midnight to have more “me time.”
11.) Take that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity because you never know if it’ll come back.
12.) You are worth so much more than a guy who just wants to sleep with you/go down on you.
13.) If you practice the law of attraction, manically manifesting/fixating will not help you.
14.) If you’re constantly feeling compared to, it’s not you. It’s them.
15.) It’s acceptable if you’re a little “all over the place” now. You’ll have it figured out — whatever “it” is.
16.) Take that chance and email that job/employer.
17.) Don’t knock it til you’ve tried it.
18.) You never lose, you learn.
19.) Pick something you want to improve and focus on it.
20.) It’s okay to walk away from something that no longer serves you.
21.) You’ll learn the value of acceptance and your intuition.
22.) You’ll know exactly what you want. Dreams don’t work unless you do.
23.) With that being said, don’t give up.
24.) Don’t give up, but take some time to rest and take care of yourself. Take a nap, sis. You deserve it.
I once said that I really wouldn’t want to be anybody else. And you know what? That’s actually true, and what’s funnier than 24? I actually believe when I say I am me and I love the me that I am. I don’t need SpongeBob or Patrick to laugh at that. Thank you, anyway!
xoxo and happy birthday!
I’ve watched Legally Blonde more times than I can count on both hands. There’s that poignant scene where Elle is venting to Paulette (Jennifer Coolidge also happens to be an Emerson alum… just saying). Before Professor Stromwell hits her with that famous “if you’re going to let that stupid prick ruin your life…” quote, Elle tells Paulette, “it’s the first time in my life that people expected me to become more than just a Victoria’s Secret model.”
In my first year at Emerson, I learned, I worked, I wanted to cry (but didn’t), and I persevered. In my many years in academia, I wanted to give up. Again, I never did. But I feel as though this is the first year I actually didn’t want to give up because I felt purposeful in my career. By career, I don’t mean academia. I mean journalism and magazine publishing.
I tried my hand at book publishing — in the marketing realm to be more specific. Of course, that wasn’t for me. So, why would I try to diverge into another field of publishing? As much as I love to read, I could never market a book for a living. That’s not to say that magazine publishing is any easier.
Moreover, I not only feel but I know that I haven’t second-guessed myself completely. It wasn’t long until I left said book publishing gig when I came face-to-face with the reality it just wasn’t for me! I’ve been committed to magazine publishing since I was reading fan magazines in second grade — everything from J-14 to Tiger Beat.
I write all of this after a fantastic day. I got my first freelance check; I found out that I’m getting an A the best class I’ve taken thus far; and I scored my first “big girl job” in the world of editing. Everything comes in threes.
Another thing about second-guessing yourself is that you’re always left with uncertainty. You can feel this in a relationship, in your course of study, or even in a decision that you made. However, with every decision you make comes a lesson and a blessing in disguise. But don’t get me wrong, you can make the best decision of your life. Years later you’ll be able to say either that was the best decision at the time, or again, of your life. Those lessons can help you in the future.
The thing about uncertainty is that you’re stuck with the mentality that something won’t work out. It can thusly make you physically sick or emotionally exhausted. For example, if you’re “stuck” in what you think is a dead-end job, you’re really not. It’s just a means to an end! And in the end, you’ll always feel grateful. So be grateful no matter what happens!
For a while, I’ve never considered myself the “reading type,” but it’s more than essential to my field of study. It helps people to think critically, analyze, and generate new ideas. In fact, I was very bookish as a child. Reading has become more than an escape from reality in the time of COVID, it’s become a lifestyle.
With that being said, summer is upon us. So, here are a few reads I’m adding to the official “April Diaries Summer Reading List”! (Also, apologies for the lack of images, I just got a new laptop — a MacBook Air — and I still haven’t mastered its entirety!)
- A Sky Painted Gold by Laura Wood.
- The Ex Talk by Rachel Lyn Solomon.
- The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner.
- Almost French by Sarah Turnbull.
- Regretting You by Colleen Hoover.
- Atomic Habits by James Clear.
- How To Lead by David M. Rubenstein.
- The Jazz of Physics by Stephon Alexander.
- Pachinko by Min Jin Lee.
- Anything else you can feast your eyes on! It’s up to you!
What do you think of calling this series the “April’s 10”? Let me know in the comments and happy reading!
Also, if you don’t think reading is cool then there is something wrong with you.
CW: This post contains content about mental health and sexual assault. Resources are the bottom of page.
A lot of people are probably “still processing last March,” as the memes say. However, I think this month is already pretty monumental, especially for women. It is Women’s History Month, after all. With that being said, we should celebrate women every day. After a tumultuous year, and one year since the coronavirus was declared a pandemic, we may have even more to celebrate.
On Sunday night, while chowing down on my bacon cheese fries from Classic Pizza, my mom and I were watching Oprah’s interview with Meghan Markle and Harry. Simultaneously, social media was blowing up along with every word Meghan said. Mental health, I think, is something that wasn’t so much touched in the media, however. Mental health often goes unlooked, and I don’t know why I’m still surprised at the fact that people can be so inconsiderate to the topic. As a matter of fact, I just read an article about taking mental health days and why they seriously matter in terms of attaining clarity. You won’t get anything done with a clouded mind. And you definitely won’t get anything done when your mental health, at large, is going to sh*t. It’s even worse when you’re stuck in a toxic environment, like Meghan was. Markle begged for help, and the institution wouldn’t give it to her because it just “wouldn’t look good.” They lied to her when they said she’d be protected. Protection and security are ultimately what we, women, want in life, and that may look different for everybody. But needless to say, there are a lot of parallels to Meghan and Princess Diana. And boy, do I have a lot of opinions of Prince Charles. 😡 Harry was absolutely right when he said he didn’t want that (still) raw piece of history to repeat itself. So, he didn’t let that happen to his wife. Harry really is the husband that Diana needed.
In third grade, I had a fascination with Oprah. This began with a Black History Month book report. Oprah was interesting to me because she was a “troubled teenager,” but you really have to understand why. She was molested by her father as a kid, and she additionally grew up impoverished. It wasn’t until the age of thirty-two that she became a millionaire. Something I didn’t know, was that she opened up the doors to “confession culture.” Huh. That’s maybe because self-help was frowned upon in the ’90s, at least that what’s conveyed to Charlotte in a Sex and the City episode. However, what Oprah probably had in the back of her mind, was that these so-called “confessions” could actually help people. That’s exactly what I aim to do on this blog, too. Personal experience does help people.
Nevertheless, I idolized Oprah in secret. I wanted to be a journalist until I was whisked away by outside distractions. I realize, now, that it’s women like Oprah who inspire me to tell stories and women like Meghan Markle who inspire me to convey parts of my story that were left untold.
It was the end of the morning on a Friday, and I peruse through social media after conference after conference (virtual, of course — we are living in a pandemic, after all.) I saw a striking post on Instagram, then again on LinkedIn later on that night. The post alluded to dearly missed author, Toni Morrison’s birthday on February 18, 1931. She said, “One day, alone in the kitchen with my father, I let drop a few whines about the job.” What job? I may not know. But I presuming it’s about being an author. Yet again, I am no expert on Toni Morrison’s life. She continued to write, “Although he listened intently, I saw no sympathy in his eyes. No ‘Oh, you poor little thing.’ Perhaps he understood that what I wanted was a solution to the job, not an escape from it.”
Her essay on the value of work and home-life included the following:
- Whatever the work is, do it well — not for the boss but for yourself.
- You make the job; it doesn’t make you.
- Your real life is with us, your family.
- You are not the work you do; you are the person you are.
I came to terms with all of these as I continue to live what I call my “quadruple life.” Yes, that’s me being dramatic, but also somewhat serious. I write for three publications, not just this the April Diaries, but I also work part-time at my local Dollar Tree. But who am I at home? Who am I when I’m with my friends? I think, pre-COVID, I would’ve been able to answer these questions. I haven’t seen a single one of my friends since the pandemic started. Nowadays, I just say, “I’m a writer.” But no one ever inclines to say, “not what, who are you?”
When I think about it, when you eventually pass on, your soul is what people will miss — not your career. You may have made an impact on your career and your respective field. But what you bring to it, people will remember forever. The attitude, the liveliness, and your unique charm draws people to you. The same thing goes for events.
I guess it’s easy to say that the coronavirus took a lot of things that probably will remain “changed forever.” Perhaps wine nights will remain virtual, until everyone gets the vaccine. But this is me going on a tangent.
I’ve been identifying as a writer for almost a year now. When my mom asks me, when I complain I have nothing to do, “what is your hobby?” I immediately say “writing” because it’s the only thing I know so far. I love to do tarot and journal in the mornings. I can’t even begin to describe how sacred mornings are for me!
You can’t just work 24/7 — it’s impossible! What’re even worse are the back pains and eye strains (yes, I use blue light blockers) from sitting at your computer for what seems like eternity.
You have to give yourself a break. You have to set some time aside to go back to yourself. You are not your job. You are you, and I am me: the woman who loves mornings, tarot, journaling, photography, going out to eat, and exploring new places!
Who are you?
The best part about growing up is that you get to actually live your dreams, instead of being told “you’re a kid” or “you’re too little.” Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been writing since I was 8. But even then I was saying to myself, “one day, people will take you seriously [as a writer.]” One day turned into Day One, where I served as a coordinator for RISC (Rhode Island Student Collaborative.) Before that came Rhode Island Monthly, where I indubitably had the best summer of my life. And just like that, three years later, I am interning at Art New England and writing for the Boston Globe Magazine, as a “globe correspondent,” in relation to a class I’m taking at Emerson.
As I look back on the popular “for the girl turning 2–” posts [For The Girl About To Turn 21 | Moving Onto 22, For the Girl About to Turn 22 | Welcome to My Jordan Year (23), Does anybody like you when you’re 23? You have to love yourself, first], the lessons that I’ve learned and what I’ve experienced have surely molded me into someone who I am today. But the experiences haven’t existed without the people and the things and ideas that easily influence(d) me. What I know now, however, is that I’m not the girl who settles anymore, instead I learned how to be picky. I’m not the girl who watches Grey’s Anatomy anymore, and as you all know Sex and the City is my bible. But yet again, everyone has their comfort show, and that’s more than okay. It’s good for anxiety.
How I’ve grown as a writer, has honestly changed but also been somewhat lost from when I interned at RI Monthly. There’ve been those who have been with this blog since the beginning — a brokenhearted twenty-year-old, lost, and with no direction. I’ve grown in various forms of copyediting. I laugh at my own grammar mistakes now, which is all you can do, right? Doesn’t that add to the authenticity? There are also those who have grown with me along the way, maybe not so much at the beginning, but have managed to catch up like a Sex and the City re-run marathon. That’s what it’s been like for me, a whole re-run of my life just documented in a digital diary (hence why it’s called “The April Diaries.”) I invite you in. I also invite other people to share their stories with me, as well.
And just like that… the April Diaries has grown up.
NEW YORK, NY (February 1, 2021) – Dillard’s, Inc. (“Dillard’s”) (NYSE: DDS) and New York-based
designer duo, Michael and Alex Toccin, are pleased to announce the launch of LDT, a new brand from
the husband-wife team behind TOCCIN NY.
LDT offers a fresh take on American fashion with the powerfully feminine style of both the ‘60s and ‘90s. The mix of vibrant colors and thoughtful designs are perfectly balanced to create a collection that can be worn every day of the week.
“We are looking very forward to exclusively launching LDT with Alex and Michael Toccin,” said Alexandra
Dillard Lucie, Dillard’s vice president of merchandising. “They have built a fantastic team around the
TOCCIN brand, and we are eager to see their unique style and brand represented at Dillard’s.”
LDT leans into the couple’s ability to translate style and trends into pieces that women can wear, no
matter the occasion.
“LDT is about giving women a fun and fresh take on American fashion that makes every day special,”
said designers Alex and Michael. “We are thrilled to launch this new brand while maintaining our core
mission: to make women everywhere feel comfortable, confident and stylish.”
Michael and Alex named the brand after their young daughter Liv Dakota Toccin. Inspired by designs
that evoke a sense of youthful joy, the custom patterns and prints are combined with an easy-to-wear
style that gives the collection an ageless, elevated edge at an incredible price.
LDT will be available starting February 8, 2021, exclusively in 85 Dillard’s stores nationwide and online at Dillards.com.
LDT is a fresh take on American Fashion, an evolution of the signature Alex + Michael aesthetic for which they’ve become known + celebrated. Named after their daughter, Liv Dakota Toccin, LDT evokes a sense of youthful joy, while still serving up fresh fashion that women of all ages can wear every day of the week. While there are nods to the powerfully feminine style of the ‘60s and ‘90s, the real inspiration for the collection lies in “making everyday special.” Learn more about the collection at LDTofficial.com
May Flaum has been crafting since she was a child. However, when she went to college, she studied the travel industry. After 9/11 happened, she was unfortunately out of a job and her internships were no more. She thusly rekindled her love for crafting when she got her first “crafty” job managing a crafts store and teaching classes. “Before Facebook and Twitter, in person events were the one and only route, as well as blogging, message boards — people wanting to share knowledge and learn from each other,” says Flaum.
When the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, Flaum could only do so much as to host Facebook Live Events. She especially does Facebook Live Events because she is a Brother Crafts Ambassador. To her, being approached by Brother USA was a blessing because she has been using their products for so long (e.g. their famous sewing machine.) In addition to Facebook Lives, she also thinks of features for their site, produces YouTube videos, and videos and tutorials that go onto the Brother USA Website.
Crafting has become more than just a hobby for most during the pandemic. With that being said, her advice to young DIYers, especially those who are selling their hobbies on sites like Etsy is to “just go for it.” Flaum also emphasizes coming back and revisiting the idea of selling your hand-crafted pieces, as well as lifting others up and finding someone to compliment. “It only takes a second! You never know who might need it!” says Flaum.
Her background in the traveling industry has actually helped her plan out travel events. She has absolutely no regrets because the logistics of her education have helped her a great deal. “It’s never wasted,” she says.
5 Crafting Must-Haves for 2021
By May Flaum, Brother Crafts Ambassador
- A Designated ‘Create Space’
Whether you’re a crafter, sewer, or embroiderer, it always helps to have your own space meant for creating. This space is where you can keep your machines, embellishments, fabric, vinyl, glue, etc. That way, when you’re on to your next project, you will have everything you need organized and ready to get to the fun part- the making! This doesn’t need to be a large space or even permanent spot – it could be a small desk with drawers and space to keep your supplies or even a portable storage system so you always have your creative supplies with you and organized – wherever you create. It makes creating a little escape into your own craft world easy.
- SVG Files
In 2021, crafting meets technology with the use of SVG Files – or Scalable Vector Graphics. These files give crafters the ability to easily incorporate their favorite designs in an array of projects. Some machines even come with built in designs making projects possible as soon as you turn on the machine. Whether you are creating your own graphics, utilizing free SVG files, purchasing from digital shops, like Etsy, or using the files that come standard in your machine, SVG files make all sorts of crafting from sewing to scrapbooking fun!
- Craft Vinyl
My go-to for creating decals, custom apparel, stencils, and more is craft vinyl. The possibilities are endless with vinyl from stickers to iron-on. Just cut your craft vinyl from your desired (SVG or other) design and transfer it onto your desired project. Craft vinyl comes in a variety of finishes glossy, glitter, flocked, patterned, pearlized and so much more. Easy to cut, weed, and apply it adds a lot to customize and craft a wide variety of projects.
- An Electronic Cutting Machine
An electronic cutting machine is a must-have for any crafter in 2021. As mentioned above, having access to digital designs is a gamechanger and an electronic cutting machine, like the Brother ScanNCut DX, will become your go-to for everything from birthday cards to ornaments, pillowcases, and gift bags. For example, the ScanNCut machine comes with built-in designs, including holiday patterns and letter fonts so you can quickly create and edit on the touchscreen display. Creating with craft vinyl and importing SVG files only takes moments as well – expanding your creative possibilities and making more possible at a fraction of the time to hand-cut.
For any kind of crafting, it’s always a good idea to keep ribbon, buttons, glitter, and other accessories of your choosing on hand to spruce up your projects. From scrapbooking to picture frames, a finishing touch can go a long way. Look for items that are in colors that you create with often, and don’t be afraid to mix and match to create the perfect finishing touches to your handmade creation.
*Featured Image courtesy of May Flaum.
January is Self-Love Month, and I’ll be honest and say it’s been sort of a struggle to be positive all the time. I think, as I mentioned in New Year’s Resolutions that people tend to beat themselves up as if they want their resolutions right away. I haven’t been consistent with my walking 2,000 steps every day, but when you need to rest, you need to rest! Besides, who really is positive all the time? January is a time, not a “free trial month” but to make a plan.
The thing about this elusive “self love” (and shout out to my aunt who came up with this idea for a post!) is, why do people put so much pressure on themselves? I’ll admit from personal experience that I strived to be that perfect student in high school, and I got a rude awakening in my first semester of college that really no one can be perfect. With that pressure, aside from OCD, came arrogance and many hours of crying thinking that I wasn’t good enough, even though I was doing just fine. You know what the scary part is? I’m realizing all this as a write this. Self-awareness is something I also need to work on, and I admit that wholeheartedly. Ding, ding, ding! Another thing about self-love! You’ll learn to embrace imperfection.
I wish I could shake my eighteen-year-old self and tell her, “you’re going to be a much more confident young woman, and you’re going to excel beyond words. It may not be at an Ivy League school, you may not be in science, but you will end up getting into your two grad schools of choice, in a field you always loved.”
Self-love is so much more than just giving yourself a bubble bath or a spa day (not that I recommend going to a spa during a global pandemic.) Self love is believing in yourself. Find that faith through whatever outlet, may that be religion or spiritual practices. In bleak times like these, when people are losing their jobs, working jobs they don’t want but need to put food on the table, people also need that place of comfort. As much as I resent retail at the moment, my crew is like my second family. Self-love is that optimism that every day is going to be a good day, despite how you’re feeling that day.
Also, if you did lose your job in 2020, that’s NOT your fault in the slightest. Again, we’re in a pandemic.
Self-love is also knowing that better things are out there for you when something doesn’t work out for you. Don’t ever say you’re being scammed by the universe because you’re destined for better things. This is just the universe, or God, telling you that you are worthy for so much better than what you initially applied for, or whatever. Self-love is not being your own best friend, it is being your own advocate.
With that being said, self-love is knowing when you must step away from the negativity that’s surrounding you. If people refuse to be happy, that’s on them. And it’s most certainly not your fault. People are only mean when they are not happy with themselves. Again, that’s on them. Let them watch the negative news when you could be watching “Forrest Gump,” a movie to put a smile on anyone’s face.
Self-love is the most important love you’ll ever have. Like I said, and it was very timely in Does anybody like you when you’re 23? You have to love yourself, first , that the most important relationship is the one you have with yourself. Well, actually, Carrie Bradshaw said that — but still relevant, nonetheless.