Catch-25 | What you need to know before you turn 25

“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.

Imposter Syndrome After Graduation

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.

Girl Meets (Real) World

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!

xoxo,

April 💕

Words And Mantras To Live By Every Day: The April Diaries Edition

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.

  1. “Choose to be peaceful amidst chaos.”
  2. “Nothing is impossible. The word itself says, ‘I’m possible!'” — Audrey Hepburn
  3. “Everything is okay.”
  4. “I am allowed to be taken care of.”
  5. “I shine bright like a diamond.”
  6. “I’m proud of the work I do with my personal growth.”
  7. “Let them eat cake.” — Marie Antoinette
  8. “I am ready to learn through love.” — Gabby Bernstein
  9. “I am determined to see with love.” — Gabby Bernstein
  10. “I am badass!”
  11. “It only gets better from here.”
  12. “The thing is, I’m actually quite calm.”
  13. “You are rising from the ashes, you magnificent bitch.”
  14. “I step back and let the universe lead the way.” — Gabby Bernstein
  15. “I am grateful. ‘Nough said.

Try using one or more of these to repeat in meditation and/or prayer every day.

The Truth About Feeling Guilty | What Can We Do About It?

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. 😘

xoxo,

April 💗

Influencers Are Leaders

“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.

xoxo,

April 💖

How To Confront… Yourself | Self-Improvement

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.

Is “normal” the new “weird?” | Subtracting bad habits

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. 😊

“Where Do You See Yourself In 10 Years?”

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. 💗

xoxo,

April

What To Do When You Feel “Stuck” In A Funk

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).