Does anybody like you when you’re 23? You have to love yourself, first

I guess this is a “for the girl about to turn 23” post. If you’re turning 22, click here. If you’re turning 21, click here. There’s that classic Blink 182 phrase, “nobody likes you when you’re 23.” However, it may seem like that, but I promise you it’s not true.

At 23 it’s as though people expect that you know what you want to do. I promise you it just seems that way, but it’s all about figuring out who you are! If you’re like me, you WILL go back and forth between law and publishing, only to decide that it’s been publishing even before you even transferred colleges.

I binge-watched the entire “Sex and the City” series, and I watched the final episode tonight, and I found myself reciting Carrie Bradshaw’s most famous line: “there are relationships that will take you unexpected places, there are relationships that will get you far from where you were, there are relationships that will take you home, but the most important relationship, is the one you have with yourself.” I think that’s the only quote that I memorized throughout that entire series besides “hello my name is fabulous.” These are both true for when you turn 23. It’s all about how you see yourself — not through other people’s eyes.

In just eight days, I turn 24, not to mention it’s officially GEMINI SEASON! So without further ado, here are 23 tips when you turn 23:

  1. You will want to/or explore going to graduate school. But if you don’t, that’s still okay.
  2. Watch “Wonder,” even if you read the book. It will change you, and you will relate to it in some way or another. Also, watch “Joker,” because it’ll give you another aspect of psychology, for all of you psych majors out there!
  3. Binge watch “Sex and the City,” no, I am not biased. It has hidden life lessons that will help you later on.
  4. Treat yourself to a shopping spree! This could be the last time unless you make bank and you have a steady job. Maybe after you’ve watched “Sex and the City” you’ll want a pair of her blue Manolo Blahniks.
  5. Go back to your roots. It could be bible-study, it could be going back to the country you were born in, or it could simply be the hobby you were born to make a career out of.
  6. Thank your fifth-grade teacher, even if they don’t reply to your email. They knew you better than any other teacher. If you’re graduating from college, thank your professors.
  7. If you’re in a non-related teaching field, you probably don’t want to go into teaching. I’m just telling you from someone who tried to explore that route.
  8. You will make friends on the internet, if you haven’t done so, already. Just be smart about it.
  9. You will be so thankful you didn’t end up with what you thought you wanted.
  10. Ambition is key to no matter what you do.
  11. Rachel from “Friends” will be the most relatable character from “Friends.” Yes, you will be watching that show a lot because adulting is hard.
  12. If you do choose to go to graduate school, pick whatever field you choose with no one’s influence — including your mom’s.
  13. Cry — it doesn’t matter how many times you cry this year, or how many people notice, just cry.
  14. This year is about staying true to YOU — no matter if you’re post-grad or just getting out of undergrad.
  15. If you are a newly-minted college grad, conGRADulations!
  16. Don’t listen to your brain after you’ve had an entire bottle of wine. Your wine-induced brain doesn’t know what the hell she/he is thinking. Besides, you’ll realize that drinking isn’t ostensibly so cool like you thought when you were 21.
  17. Again, it’s okay if you don’t have a “cool job” or internship, yet. You’ll get there with time, patience, and perseverance.
  18. Please let your loved ones know if you got home safely.
  19. Tell your loved ones “I love you,” and mean it.
  20. Especially in these times, go for a job on the front-lines, like working at a Veterans’ or Nursing Home.
  21. Your opinion on love will change, and it will be YOURS. In fact, all opinions will be yours, don’t let anyone convince you otherwise. You’ve learned, you’re educated, and you should make a cohesive argument by now.
  22. If you haven’t learned how to say “no” by now, it’s time.
  23. With that being said, speak up!

Well, nonetheless, welcome to your own Jordan Year, as I transition to my Kobe year. 🥂 Bottoms up. (BTW is a “Kobe year” even a thing?) Well, I’m making it a thing.

xoxo,

April 💕

Take an apple and put it in your own words

Today’s the two-year-anniversary in which my poetry professor told me I have an “authentic and strong voice” in my poems, which led me to write my 60+ page thesis on docupoetics in 2019. Doing a thesis was difficult but after a heartfelt conversation via Instagram Live with my rock star fashion designing friend, Maria del Carmen Mercado, I came to a realization about writing, in general.

She said to me, take an apple and observe it. If you have to write about it, do it. However, don’t write about what society thinks about an apple. Don’t write about what your family thinks about an apple. What you think of an apple, is on YOU. It’s the same thing with fashion designing, for all my fellow fashionistas out there. You can research and get inspiration from any fashion designer, but what they did has already been done. With writers, it’s the same deal; you can research all you want for your book. But what other authors have already written about is already out there, no matter how much you try to put it into your own words. How do you feel about something like, love? Friendship? Marriage? Genocide? Every president of the United States that’s ever lived and served in Office?

It’s hard to tell what we’re feeling about a certain topic when we’re so influenced by other people. We can have our own opinions. We’re not stupid. And we’re certainly allowed to disagree with other people. Social media definitely plays a factor in how we are influenced. Oddly enough, I had a dream about dresses. Perhaps it’s because I’m not trying to spend my money on clothing, though I did “splurge” on an Emerson sweatshirt that I’ve always wanted when I was applying to graduate school (it was only $42.) Nonetheless in my dream, dresses were being judged. But again, who cares what other people think? Dress up for YOU, girl!

I said this in my very first blog post, The Art of Communication, but not communicating how you, yourself, feel about a topic means losing a part of yourself. Your argument gets lost in a sea full of other people’s second-hand research and opinions. This is especially what you need to avoid when writing a paper. Needless to say, this applies to my English Literature majors who are reading this, as well.

Self-Doubt, Influencing, Overthinking, and Jobs

Do you ever feel like you doubt your career path? No, I’m not doubting mine (again, thank God), I KNOW I’m going to be a lawyer, just not right away. And by right away I mean I’m going to LAW SCHOOL in Fall 2021.

As I am listening to a Katy Bellotte podcast, I’m remembering that I randomly brought up my blog to a friend of mine in my art history class (hi, Amanda!) That’s something I normally never do, unless I feel 100% comfortable with you. (I showed Steve my blog when we first started talking, so that alone says a lot about us!) One thing she asked me is if I ever get “Imposter Syndrome,” to which I said, “yes and no,” and went on to say that I wanted to be an influencer and promote all of these brands that would never give me the time of day. But really, I want to influence people to be the best version of themselves. Improving yourself does not come from an article of clothing, though it is nice to build those sorts of connections with people who own clothing and jewelry lines.

This was me about two years ago. I wanted to be an influencer. But the only way to make an impact was to influence people to make a difference; this is especially true if you’re a college student like myself. I worked a “Table Time” the other day, and it dawned on me there are the people who are willing to be, as one person said, “a part of the community,” other people are just there for the mass amounts of chocolate spread out on the table. As some of you know, I do a lot of sexual violence prevention work. It’s more than a hobby for me; it’s a need to make a wave.

I talked about this a little bit in Unstoppable | How I’ve Been After a Month’s Hiatus, but I am SO afraid of tests that I actually have test anxietyyes, that’s an actual thing which is why I have extra time on tests assignments — something that people are so ignorant to, it drives me nuts! Thus, I was afraid of taking the LSAT, and trust me that no book could tell me to “calm down” and “it was going to be okay.” Being on the Student Senate, however, being my mother’s daughter, and knowing my own potential taught me that I got this. But being “high functioning” and needing extra time on things is another story that I don’t have time for.

It’s the unfortunate art of overthinking that tells us, “no you don’t” or “you don’t have this, this, and that to succeed.” Yes, you do. There’s no such thing as “oh, this is an [insert major here] job” or “this job is only for those who have worked in a law office.” Then why would these jobs be posted on Handshake? Or whatever your school uses for job-hunting? Who cares if your major is Creative Writing and you apply for a Legal Assistant job? (Yes, I did that via LinkedIn.) We, “creative writers,” can do anything we set our minds to, such as thinking creatively and independently. Don’t doubt us for even a minute.

In fact, overthinking got me thinking about my own job history. I used to think I was “too good” for a job like working at Dunkin Donuts, Sip ‘n’ Dip, etc. (I spent my teenage years in Massachusetts so I didn’t even know what Sip ‘n’ Dip was — LOL.) But it wasn’t even that I thought I was “too good,” it was more so that I had so much, even infinite potential. In fact, in my sophomore year of high school, I was applying to be an intern for Boston-based fashion designers. All the letters I got back said that they moved. Really? Even Giselle Bundchen started out scooping ice cream and became a (now retired) Victoria’s Secret model! She didn’t even need to be Tom Brady’s wife in order to be a household name OR make money. She makes more money than her husband!

Just know that you aren’t “stuck” in your dreary job forever. And don’t let self-doubt be your reason for why you didn’t do something to benefit your life.

And that’s the tea. 🍵

xoxoxo,

April 💕

 

 

Live in the moment because the present is a present.

“You have so much

but are always hungry for more

stop looking up at everything you don’t have

and look at everything you do.

 

where the satisfaction lives — Rupi Kaur

Whether you like poetry or not, this Rupi Kaur poem mainly goes out to undergraduate seniors who don’t really know what to do after college. (I’m assuming most of you are in or out of undergrad!) If you have something planned, I applaud and congratulate you with all the sincerity in my heart (not to sound corny — LOL). If you don’t, don’t stress, and don’t obsess either, you’ll end up driving people nuts. (Yes, that was an apology long overdue for my indecisiveness.) And hey, even that internship you’re most likely doing this semester will turn into a full-time job! Stranger things have happened!

Something that I didn’t feel completely content with until now, was the fact I wasn’t getting a source of income outside my work-study position. But then I realized, “what’s the point in getting a job ON TOP of an internship? PLUS a work-study job!?” Being perfectly content with what you have already is huge. This is a little thing I like to call gratitude. 

The reason why I say “don’t stress,” I know, it’s easier said than done! I say that because if you do, you could be so obsessed with finding a job that it’s easier to miss out on the life that’s happening right in front of you! You’d be amazed at the people who are all about the hustle and the go, go, go, that they don’t take in any views, scenery, sunsets, you name it!

Life is too short to be sitting around preoccupied. I couldn’t be happier with knowing that I have an internship for the semester on top of work-study. I’ll be graduating in May with my fellow classmates, and with people to celebrate with afterward. I wasn’t even remotely disappointed when I applied and interviewed for a job and didn’t get it! For everything and everyone in my life, I am grateful. I am currently sitting in front of my beautiful fireplace and writing this — savoring and living in the moment. I look at that fire, and I smile, despite my loving Chocolate Labrador, Ginger, making harmonious noise. I look into the fire one more time, recognizing the fire within me, that I know that I am not the same person I was three years ago when I would literally lay down on the hard, wooden floor, smoke from the fire filling my lungs, mind filled with so much uncertainty about whether or not to transfer colleges. Well, look where I am now!

Long story short: the past is the past. The future will come — don’t fear it nor think about it [too much.] The present is seriously a present. 🎁 Savor it, love it, live in it. Don’t question it. End of story.

What are you grateful for in the present? Let me know in the comments!

xoxo

April 💕

 

 

 

Word of the Year: Intention | What will you contribute?

One of the first things Ricky Gervais said during his opening monologue (with a rather large alcoholic beverage in tow — this just goes to show how much people like to get plowed at the Golden Globes), was not to make any political remarks. But let’s be real, was anyone going to take that seriously? The answer is no. In fact, the Golden Globes, for as long as I can remember, have been a platform for celebrities to encourage viewers at home to not only vote but to take action politically. The 2018 Golden Globes especially, everyone wore black for the #TimesUp movement.

Everything that these celebrities said, especially Michelle Williams’ speech on the importance of women voting, was said with intention. The word “intention,” often shortened to “intent,” is not a word thrown around quite often. The words “letter of intent,” appear a lot on graduate school applications, though, as well as job applications. As I am writing this, I am thinking, what do people intend to do with their master’s? Ph.D.? Blog posts? Such as this one?

For me, my intention when writing is to inspire. There will never be a day where I stop writing or creating. It’s scary that in just 16 days, I will be a second-semester senior. The feeling of it is just starting to dawn on me. Do senior scaries exist? Let me know.

I realize I’ve gone back and forth throughout my college career; what to major in, what clubs I want to join, whether or not I wish to go to graduate school, to study abroad (which I didn’t end up doing), and more importantly: what I want to do for a career. What I am coming to the conclusion is that I want to keep riding my pathway to help victims of domestic violence.

Another question that comes to mind is what is my life’s intention? Easy. To help. So, in the words of Robin Williams’ (R.I.P.) famous character, John Keating:

“To quote from Whitman, ‘O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?’ Answer. That you are here — that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?”

Well, what would it be? What will you contribute?

 

Coming to Peace With Your Past|A Decade in Review

In Beyonce’s 2013 Pepsi commercial, she says at the end, “embrace your past.” This phrase didn’t ring 100% true to me until this year — the end of the decade. I’m not going to do a year in review simply because it’s the end of the 2010s and into the 2020s. Everything I’ve learned, everything I’ve become, everything I could be, happened all in this decade.

2010: My dad was fighting cancer, and I’ve learned how to live with his illness, resultantly. This meant learning how to sacrifice. This was also the year I was introduced to social media.

2011: This is the year I broke. Not only was I dealing with a four-month diagnosis of mono, but also with depression and being bullied severely.

2012: I was accepted to my top-choice private school at the beginning of January and at the end of the year, I had my first boyfriend and heartbreak within exactly two weeks!

2013: A whirlwind of things happened this year. I got my license, and I became cold-blooded — something I am not proud of. But I did discover Vine and Instagram!

2014: Began looking at colleges, did [insert an Ivy League school’s pre-college summer program] and hated it. I then started working at the hospital where my dad was treated. I also had appendicitis… who knew I would ever need surgery?

2015: Left high school behind (meaning I graduated… 8th in my class🤓). I also started college.

2016: I moved to Rhode Island two days before my twentieth birthday, and I started writing and editing for The Odyssey. In October, I went through a bad breakup. I also started writing for Her Culture. Did I mention I also started this blog!?

2017: Okay, just read ‘Cause I Still Got A Lotta Fight Left In Me | My Hospital Stay | My Mental Illness(es) where I made two bold decisions: 1) to get a diagnosis and 2) to transfer and start over at RWU.

2018: I interned at Rhode Island Monthly, and it was one of the best experiences I’ve had. For more, read Here’s To The Best Summer Of My Life: A Reflection.

2019: Easy. I wrote a thesis on Docupoetics, got into Title IX advocacy, and met my love (hi, Steve! And THANK YOU, Bumble!).

I’m just going to talk about the year 2019 a little bit more in-depth. 2019 was more about learning my worth as a human being, so much more than I thought I ever would learn. Learning about who you are is one thing, but your worth is another. You can say who you are in a thirty-second elevator pitch, but you shouldn’t even have to explain your worth. I learned not to take any sh*t from sheep from different farms. I found that I am not only creative, but I am seriously courageous and surely resilient. That’s not something you can put in an Instagram bio. Speaking of bios, I went from writing “I run what you run in 10 years in 2 days” meaning I went from an immature, sub-tweeting high school track star to saying “#supportsurvivors” [of sexual assault]. With that being said, I found a career.

Coming to peace with your past is like Beyonce looking at all her past music video outfits in the dancing mirrors. I don’t know what it’s like to be in a music video, but I sure know what it’s like to see yourself in the mirror and look at how much you’ve changed in ten years’ time. Coming to peace with your past is all about moving on, learning from your mistakes and ultimately accepting them. That’s not to say there won’t be regrets. But whoever said, “will it matter in 5-10 years?” was so right.

So I say this: here’s to a new decade of life and blessings. Here’s to a decade of keeping your worth at the forefront of your wind. Here’s to a decade of more blog posts, and who knows? Maybe I’ll have a novel published at this time and I’ll be a leader of social justice. No more settling for less than you deserve, being treated as less than you are and keeping journal pages clean and full of words left unsaid.

Happy New Year! 🥂

 

 

 

 

BLOG-MAS TUESDAY: Getting Out Of The Comfort Zone | Just Trust It

HAPPY first day of Blog-Mas Tuesday, everyone! This idea stemmed last year but unfortunately wasn’t consistent. So, I asked, and y’all answered: “Blog-Mas Tuesday” chumps “Festive Friday Nights” (…by a landslide 😜). Nonetheless, I look back on last year’s (only) Blog-Mas Tuesday to find it was about kindness. I guess I only needed to do one last year because I’ll admit that one rocked if I do say so myself. 💁🏼‍♀️ I particularly liked that post because it was when I first got my start in Title IX, and as some people could probably tell by reading that post, a lot of plans changed.

I know what you’re thinking: this girl cannot make up her mind. No, I just don’t have a clear pathway, yet. 

As said in No one’s going to tell you what to do and/or For the College Student(s) Having Doubts, I’ve been having doubts about taking a year off. But I am feeling better about it because yesterday, I applied for a job in Boston (and may end up living there for a year or two or three, or four).

The funny thing is that I was actually recruited to apply, and although I can’t go to law school right away, this will give me a glimpse of what it’s like to live in a big city that I’ve been talking about living in since May. What’s even funnier is that I read an Instagram post that talked about getting out of the comfort zone.

The comfort zone is something no one can emerge out of easily, but it is possible. For me, getting out of my comfort zone is easier than it was than say, four years ago. Let’s be real: no successful person became successful by living in their comfort zone. It’s all about taking risks to get what you want. If that surely is the case, then I don’t think anyone wants to live in their comfort zone forever.

One thing I know for sure is that everyone wants to be comfortable, no matter if it’s in your own bed, beach house bed, or even your grandmother’s guest room. I remember sleeping on the floor in a sleeping bag at a school in Manchester, NH on a Winter Break Alternative trip when I went to SAC, with people I had yet to come to know. Then came transferring schools, which was even scarier. Moreover, on that particular service trip, I learned what going to school was like in a semi-urban community. Learning how to speak Spanish at a higher level than you’re used to is even more nervewracking because you don’t know if you’re saying everything 100% correctly. [Hint hint: this is actually what I might be doing come August 2020, so stay tuned — minus the sleeping on a floor]. 

“There may be something God has called you to that feels uncomfortable — maybe to the point where you’re not even sure if you can keep moving forward.”

Maybe this is what I was called to do at the time. Maybe this job in Boston is what I was called to do in my gap year. I shouldn’t let this terrify me; I should just trust it. But what is “it?” Fate? God? My guides? The world may never know.

No one’s going to tell you what to do

I’ve always been a dreamer, as a kid. My “goals” in the first grade were to have three cats and live in Disney World — only to have that dream come true on Olympic Day 2013, at my high school, when I dressed up as Sleeping Beauty/Aurora and I lived like Belle: always with a nose in a [chemistry] book. I had two cats at the time. No, I did not live in Disney World.

Even in first grade, I dreamt about finishing college. I’m less than 180 days away from that, as we speak. The first time I ever had to put that on a halt was Spring 2017. The one thing I was never 100% sure of, was what I’d be doing for a career.

I can tell you this: when I first started college, I thought I’d be an oncology doctor until I was getting a warning grade in Biology and I switched from major to major. Everyone knows by now that I study Creative Writing, nonetheless at another college than I started at. With that major, everyone expected me to be an author or an editor. I thought about being an editor for a while, only to find myself on Student Senate.

I honestly don’t remember how exactly I came to be a “future lawyer,” all I know is that I want to help people.

I learned from a fellow Instagrammer that in the end, I take ownership of my life and what I do. I don’t need anyone to nag me that I need to pick a career right away, which is why I feel better about taking a year off. All I need to have is a plan B, C, D, etc. I can tell you right away that plan B may not work out for me as planned, but maybe plan C will!

Sometimes bloggers need life advice, too! But no one is going to tell you what to do, that is if you let them rule your life, which no one has the power to do.

And that’s the tea. ☕

xoxo,

April 💕

For the College Student(s) Having Doubts

College really is hard. I remember when I first started college at SAC, I wasn’t sure how to balance school work and more friends than I ever had in my entire life! (Sad, but it’s true).

I’m just going to cut to the chase in this blog post (I get it, it’s my third one in a week, but my Instagram polls do not lie when people want to read more! Thank you to those who said ‘yes!’)

  1. It is indubitable that you will discover the wonders of alcohol in college. But in my senior year, I can tell you that it’s really not worth getting black/browned out drunk, no matter how stressed you are. (Yes, ‘browned out’ is an actual term).
  2. Investing in a planner, especially the right one, is totally worth it. It’s like wearing the right bra!
  3. Transferring is okay, even if that means adding an extra semester (or year) to school.
  4. Seeking counseling in college is also okay. Yes, all schools have counseling centers, depending on which one you go to.
  5. You won’t know what you’re interested in until perhaps your junior year of college. Some people find out in their freshman year, but it’s okay if you haven’t found your passion, just yet.
  6. College is not like high school, I can promise you that. I’m talking socially. There will be people who clearly haven’t matured, yet. But that’s their problem, not yours.
  7. “Rate My Professor.com” will be one of your best buddies. A subject that’s worth pursuing could be a hit or miss depending on the professor. However, I did learn from a peer mentor that some comments written about a professor are primarily students that don’t put in their best effort.
  8. With that being said, build relationships with faculty and staff! You may just get good recommendations!
  9. Go with your gut when it comes to pursuing a major. It may take about 5-6 tries (like me) but the classes you take will actually boost your resume and cover letters!
  10. Going off of that, no matter which major you choose, I promise you can do anything with it. For example, I’m a Creative Writing major who plans on going into law. That wasn’t always the case. But internships you’ve had will also boost your resume!
  11. You don’t have to have a “set” plan after graduation, but you need to at least have a plan B or C. My mom had to go far as to plan K!
  12. No one said you had to go to graduate school right away! I guess it’s time to share a life update: I’m not going to law school right away!
  13. I recommend getting a job or an internship before you graduate undergrad. Those definitely help you figure out what you want to do. Even if you’re not in college, this is the ideal situation.
  14. It’s no big deal if you don’t study abroad. I had plans to but didn’t. Everything happens for a reason.
  15. Like I said in For the Girl About to Turn 22 | Welcome to My Jordan Year (23), you don’t have to have a cool job right after graduation. I know people who didn’t find the right one until 2 years after undergrad!
  16. Life happens and you may have to take time off, it’s no big deal!
  17. In a year from now, whether you graduate summa, magna, or cum laude, that’s going to matter. Not that it even matters if you graduate with honors or not.

 

Selflessness

I’ve always wanted to take a psychology class, and I find myself wondering almost three times a week why I never took a class in high school. By now, everyone knows I want to be a lawyer with a concentration in family law. Well, I guess the family law part is new. But narrowing it down helps — a lot.

The last blog post I wrote, Certainly Not the Same I guess was more of a reflection, more so than Agape | I Have Changed. I do realize that “Agape” was the second blog post I ever made, and I was reminded of it specifically because I was looking through my “memories” on Facebook of the life-changing experience. As I binge-watch “Atypical” this morning before work, (a show I HIGHLY recommend you watch — it’ll open your eyes and help you relate to a few or more characters), I scroll through my Facebook feed and my Instagram to find this:

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People can fight me on this, but my initial reaction to seeing this was, “What about EMTs? Especially the one I read about in my Literary Philosophy two years ago who treated a white supremacist who spits blood on the EMT because he was African-American?” And it’s not just EMTs, people generally — and I don’t want to say “complain” that they never get anything in return — but it’s quite common.

“If you find it in your heart to care for somebody else, you will have succeeded.” — Maya Angelou

Again, not to be morbid, but Maya Angelou actually passed away on my 18th birthday. I’ve had people compare me to Maya Angelou because I indubitably write poetry — no surprise there! This show, “Atypical” reminds me of when I was 18. Sam Gardner cares about everybody, and even gives Paige Hardaway’s Valedictorian speech for her, even after all they have been through as an off-and-on-again twosome. In one episode in Season 2, he finds that he wants to go to art school. More specifically, he wants to draw marine life. If you know the show, he adores penguins.

Moreover, when you’re feeling underappreciated, don’t, even though the feeling may seem like a natural occurrence. Some people are just so wrapped up in their own selfishness that they forget to show the tiniest bit of empathy for someone else. Nowadays, I try more than my hardest to understand people and what may be going on in their heads. I am not a mind-reader, no one is unless you’re a possible psychic. Nonetheless, I’ve learned plenty over the years to not expect anything in return. Caring is such a strong thing to do, even when people think they can’t care about anything at all because of how they feel. I can tell you right now, that you are succeeding. And I just preached all that without a psych degree. unnamed (22)