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)

Believing | 3 years (and counting) of this blog

Life is full of possibilities. I’ve learned that throughout my time at RWU. So much has changed in one year, two years, and evidently three years after starting this blog. This includes but is not limited to my outlook on life, my career path, and my interests. I watched this video, and I have to say, it’s spot-on.

If you believe you have a happiness that lies within you, for example, you will be happy. If you believe that “all guys are the same,” you won’t find that love you deserve. Did I mention I found love again? All this time I thought I was a Carrie Bradshaw but it turns out I really am a Miranda! (only people who’ve watched “Sex and the City” will get it)

Moreover, simply dreaming about that love, job, positive mindset, etc. is easy to do. But the truth of the matter is that life, and all the little blessings and/or luxuries that come with it, don’t come easy. They’re not meant to come easy. Nothing is meant to come 100% easy.

We all know that math is tough, as said in The Correlation of Hummingbirds, Dancing, and Algebra, but dealing with anxiety, depression, and PTSD isn’t easy either. “Everything is okay,” is what I’ve been telling myself since I first started high school, despite bullies and flunking math tests. But the one thing I wasn’t cognizant of was that deep down, despite nearly failing math, I believed I would get into private school and excel. I even let this one kid in my English class call me stupid in front of everyone and said that I belonged in Hufflepuff (which doesn’t even exist, unless you live in Harry Potter’s world) because I would soon be rid of them. Besides, being in Hufflepuff doesn’t mean you’re stupid, it actually means you’re nicer and loyal than most. Go ahead and chew on that.

Even when I say “my dumb bunny butt,” sometimes, I don’t believe I’m stupid. In fact, I believe and know I’m the opposite of such. I am by no means an “underachiever,” and I don’t need to watch “Legally Blonde” two more times to instill that belief within myself. Three years ago, I actually got “My story ;sn’t over yet” on my left shoulder” to remind myself that there are pages still left to write, minds and hearts to inspire, a cat to take care of, grad school apps to be sent out, and more!

 

The Correlation of Hummingbirds, Dancing, and Algebra

Yesterday morning, before I went to campus for class, I watched a Hummingbird gracefully and peacefully without melee, go from one orange flower to another. There’s something about Hummingbirds that’s very underrated. Growing up, I admired how beautiful they were, despite my natural adherence to birds. They surprisingly don’t creep me out! Hummingbirds are iridescent and no one would even think to harm them because they’re just simply “doing their thing.”

After looking up their significance and symbolism, (that’s just the analytical writer in me bleeding out), they actually represent a lot more than we realize. Just take a look at this site I found: https://wootandhammy.com/blogs/news/hummingbird-meaning-what-does-a-hummingbird-symbolize-spirit-animal-meaning

Hummingbirds can fly backward as well as hover up and down. We, humans, have a tough time being able to “fly” at all. There’s this lyric that I love to quote, “sometimes you fall before you fly.”  I keep forgetting that song is essentially the “theme song” to a Disney Channel Original Movie with the same name (spoiler 😜). I haven’t seen that music video since, what, second grade? This not only reminds me of being in an elevator but also of algebra and dancing.

Let me start with algebra before I get into dancing. I wasn’t always good at math. I then realize I had it in my mind that I wasn’t good at math because I haven’t done it in a while (3 years to be more specific). I have a lot to learn in College Algebra, I’ve found from taking a knowledge test. This morning as I was finishing up the first lesson, I had flashbacks of my eighth-grade algebra teacher breathing down my neck and saying, “you need to pay more attention to details.” I wound up completing the entire lesson with a few minor setbacks. Why? Because I wasn’t paying attention to the small (but important) details. The same thing goes for dancing. I was selected to choreograph a dance this semester for Dance Club. Shortly after I completed the lesson, I began to “map out” where my dancers would be and where on the stage they’d be traveling during the course of my choreography. It’s hard! But it’s like algebra: a form of problem-solving. And if you get one detail wrong, it messes up the whole dance! Both can be tough, too. But you have to practice, practice, practice, and seek help when needed.

Referring back to the beginning, as a Hummingbird is going from one flower to another, they are determined to find the sweet, savory nectar beyond the tedium of the roughness and the toughness of a flower. Flowers have layers, too! (Not to mention tough layers). I can name so many times where I’ve said to myself (doing algebra) “this is so tedious!” But how are you going to understand it, if you don’t go through the whole process of solving a math problem? When I did the Boston Ballet camp the summer before my freshman year of high school, I thought the conditioning before the actual ballet lessons were tedious. How else is your body supposed to be ready to dance if you don’t warm-up and stretch?

Skin is tough, and there is that phrase, “thick-skinned.” But guess what? You’ll be able to do a pirouette and floor-work, and even get an A in math because you did the work! Who knew?

EMPOWER NOT TOWER: “Go big or go home?” Is it really worth sucking on bone marrow?

It was a Tuesday morning and I woke up an hour later than intended. I wanted to get up early, put on some makeup, and put on a cute dress to take over the createHER Collective Instagram story for the day. That didn’t happen exactly as planned, but I handled it better than what my expectations were the previous day.

I ended the night signing off to watch “Grey’s Anatomy,” but also signed off with a whole lot of new perspectives on empowerment and the phrase, “go big or go home.”

The first time I ever heard that phrase was on my very first day of high school when one of my teachers talked about the time she broke her vegetarianism to eat a huge burger — bone marrow and all.

But should we really go by this phrase? The answer is no, and I’ll tell you why.

I remember going by this phrase when applying to undergraduate schools — didn’t work out! I followed this phrase when I started submitting my poetry and artwork to the top literary magazines in the country — didn’t work out! That’s when I started looking at smaller publications that I never even heard of until I joined Twitter again. Those definitely worked out (and helped me build a killer CV to use for grad school apps if I do say so myself.)

When looking at graduate schools too, for my MFA, I had that same superficial outlook that I had when I was a junior/senior in high school. I wanted to apply to (and googled) “Best MFA schools in the U.S.” But coming from a “small-but-bigger-than-SAC” school like RWU, who knows if I even stand a chance? What I learned, especially from being in the [insert 2 Ivy League schools here] applicant Facebook groups, just because they are ostensibly the “best,” “top-tier,” and “among the elite,” that doesn’t mean they’re the right fit for you.

My point in bringing up undergraduate and graduate institutions is that it’s not worth gnawing on your thumb right to the bone marrow to prove yourself — to anyone or anything. I was reminded of a poem I wrote:

Perfection is a weakness of mine

To be honest, when I was in high school, I strived for perfection and I’ll be honest it gave me a little OCD!

I’m trying to gnaw on this idea of being perfect;

I chew it down right to that savory bone marrow

until there’s nothing left to even suck on anymore—

at this point all I’m doing is sucking on that

circular piece of bone. The bone is in my right thumb

and I’ve sucked on it so much to feel like I’ve lost

all feeling.

 

Perfection is like sucking on a piece of bone marrow—

you cleanse it of all the meat and the cells that go with it,

until there’s nothing anymore. It becomes addictive,

like a fidget toy. People tell you you’re doing great by

cleaning it and getting all the necessary juice to make you

feel manly, accomplished, whatever. Then you become

addicted to being perfect and receiving that praise.

Even when you feel like you’re unappreciated, just know that you’re doing a great job and people really do appreciate what you do and how hard you work. If they don’t, it’s their loss!

Moral of the story: PERFECTION IS UNATTAINABLE!

 

Conquering Anxiety And Achieving Well-Being, Overall

In “Sex and the City: the movie” Charlotte mentions to Carrie she hasn’t been running because her anxieties about life are stopping her. I remember when I wrote Fitness, Fashion, and Time Management, I was in a terrific state both physically and mentally, ultimately providing myself with a healthy lifestyle by working out (almost) every day and getting a salad and drinking plenty of water. Come to the end of that semester, I found myself falling off the rail and into some (very) unhealthy habits. This was due to the stress of finding a job and taking a whopping SIX CLASSES two semesters in a row. This only led me down the rabbit hole of doubt. It wasn’t until the end of the Spring 2019 semester, that I learned the importance of balance (which may seem like a course on repeat.)

Balance is essential. Mental health and physical health go hand-in-hand and balance each other out. Your education, relationships (with yourself and other people), work, and overall well-being need equal attention, which can prove itself to be difficult. No one is 100% “on top of their sh*t” 24/7. Nobody’s perfect. Life happens. But it’s important, like I said in Empower Not Tower: It’s Okay To Fall Sometimes, As Long As You Can Pick Yourself Back Up Again — the title speaks for itself! And can I just say that drinking a lot of coffee and/or alcohol does NOT help? It doesn’t. In fact, it’s actually self-medicating.

The best kind of medication without making yourself sick is 1) tea and 2) therapy. Tonight I saw a tweet by a fellow writer who was struggling with health anxiety and (for ladies, only) period stuff with accompanying physical ailments. That accurately described what I was feeling this afternoon (and prompted me to write this post.)

On the topic of therapy, I see my therapist every two weeks, just to check-in. I’ve been going to therapy since I was a freshman in high school. I’ll be honest, there were extended periods of time when I ignored therapy and didn’t make appointments. Let’s be real, a diabetic doesn’t not take their insulin because they “don’t have time.” With mental health, it’s the same concept. I remember when I used to always keep saying “I don’t have time,” and “I don’t have time to ‘make time!'” For this, this, and that, I kept using that same excuse. In fact, when people told me I needed to make time, I got pretty annoyed it hit a nerve. Now, I’m understanding the importance of it.

This brings me to my next point: you can as they say in the movie, “Tammy,” “bitch and moan” about something, or, you can do something about it. As I used to preach all the time in my Insta-stories, if you want something to happen, YOU 👏 HAVE 👏 TO 👏 MAKE 👏 IT 👏 HAPPEN.

NO EXCEPTIONS!!!!!!!!!!

Nothing is impossible, remember that. And as to paraphrase what it says in the Bible: “The LORD helps those who help themselves.” Life is truly a blessing. So live it to the fullest and in the healthiest possible way.

This is an example of what I like to call a ROUTINE:

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No, you do not have to get up at 5:30 AM unless you’re really feeling ambitious. But a routine helps to ease the anxiousness.

In fact, by the time this goes up, I will be in bed getting my beauty sleep and getting up at a good hour for a jog.

Thank you for listening to my “Ted Talk.”  😊

xoxoxo,

April 😘💕

School Starts Soon (Plus Healthy Tips On How To Stay Organized and ‘On Track’)

It’s that time of year again when back-to-school commercials start airing on television and everyone is dreading the thought of going back to school, no matter if you are in middle school, high school, or college. I’ve grown from being that nervous-as-hell first-grader, not knowing what to expect to the point of tears to actually loving the first day of school/classes!

I value my education more than anything in the world, and it’s become imperative for me to get the most out of my college education. No, I do not mean partying. [What may surprise some people is that I’m not exactly a “party girl.”] I’m not shaming anyone who does, but I’m telling those high schoolers who read my blog that it really isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be, and not what college is all about, no matter what films try to tell us.

Nevertheless, what I mean by getting the most out of my college education is getting involved and getting good grades; then there’s the occasional “letting loose.” One thing I’ve learned, as said in Burnt Out, is how to stay organized. I mentioned in that particular post that I was constantly tired — not because of the 8:00 AM Management classes — but because I didn’t have a set schedule nor did I have a to-do-list and often gave into my anxieties and napped a lot. I’ve come to realize that having a set and pre-filled agenda is a must-have when you’re a [busy] college student. Thus, I went to CVS on a whim, bought an extensive agenda, and filled out the month of August to the best of my ability.

Take a look:

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Bullet journals help, as well. Plus, they’re extremely fun to fill out!

But don’t forget to fill in time spent with friends, boyfriends/girlfriends, and family! Needless to say, I’m not even close to being done filling out the month of August, yet. And this is just August — wait till you see my upcoming “week in the life” coming in September!

If you do find yourself burnt out and exhausted while doing homework, go for a run/walk, grab yourself a smoothie, coffee, soda, etc. and get back to doing your work. On that topic, it’s important to nourish yourself throughout each and every day, without breaking your budget, of course!

Be productive. It’s okay to fall off the rail once in a while and just be bored and sit in one place, so that’s why I chose what I explained in The Two Tips To Achieve Self Love, and to have something to do each day, aside from classes. Go to the gym, volunteer, or read a book (yes, those still exist. Reading is fun!) Yes, I will be posting weekly in accordance with my schedule. It’s not enough just to think about what you’re going to do every day; you need to write it down and it will happen. It’s like making yourself a promise, as well as manifesting, which I touch upon in Self-Care and Spirituality Tips. Mercury is luckily out of retrograde this time around, so no worries here!

As always, I wish you all Godspeed and best of luck in school, no matter what year/grade you’re in.

xoxo

April 😘💕

 

Empower Not Tower: It’s Okay To Fall Sometimes, As Long As You Can Pick Yourself Back Up Again

Remember when we were little kids and we fell down and had to endure the searing pain of scraping knees? When we were kids, we thought that we were invincible and indestructible, no matter what. So, we got up, shed a tear or two (especially if we were bleeding after falling on gravel — the worst!)

I was contemplating what to write for the past six hours since I haven’t written a blog post in well over three weeks. I saw this post on Instagram which prompted an idea:

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Do you think, when we were kiddos, that we would let a scrape define us? We may have scars that exist to this day, but hey, my appendectomy scars have faded at this point in time. But that’s just my own personal example. The fact of the matter is, we don’t know how resilient we are. The idea that originally sparked for a possible blog post today were examples of how far I’ve come despite what has hurt me, physically or emotionally. Being bullied for six years attempted to hold me down on the ground so many times that I need at least ten more sets of hands to count. Being shy and ostensibly different made me an easy target, for sure. The number of times I jokingly wrote “April Federico rocks!” on whiteboards only to have people tell me that I “don’t” was not only annoying but a tad hurtful. This is what I like to call Exhibit A. 1) I did what everyone else was doing, only to be ridiculed (that’s peer pressure, for ya) 2) I actually cared about what people thought of me. I did not have any self-confidence or self-esteem. I’ve had people try to knock me down while walking in hallways, locker doors closed on my nose without an apology, and people pointing and laughing at me when I was eating a pizza at Rock ‘N’ Bowl. At that point, I thought “seriously? They’re trying to ruin this for me too?” In fact, I thought some idiot would pull down my shorts that day so I wore a belt… on shorts that didn’t even have the loops for one. It seemed as though everything I did was subject to ridicule and mockery. Yup, that was middle school and the first half of high school.

The only person I really want to bitch-slap at this point is my middle school self for thinking she had to change because she was hurt by so many people. But at some point, I do want to sit in the parking lots of that middle school like YouTuber Katy Bellotte did in her video. For me, it would’ve been a whopping eight years later. Funny thing is, this is something I just thought of. I WILL do it someday and say, “I’ve fallen, been pushed, all these things, but I really didn’t need to change to give anyone the satisfaction.” Need a reminder of what mutilation I morphed into? Read Personas.

I also saw this one post by Katy Bellotte on her Instagram and she so eloquently said:

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Just some more food for thought. We are the heroes and heroines of our own story that pick themselves up again after we have fallen. Even if we feel defeated, we’re the ones who decide what to do with ourselves after the fact.

 

How to Find the Perfect Internship — I Did!

One of the biggest concerns I had for this summer was finding an internship, and not just any internship – the internship that would help open doors for me to future jobs and eventually law school.

I had it in my mind for the longest time that I wanted to go into publishing, but in high school, I was set on being a lawyer. Don’t get me wrong, I still write for a living and enjoy it each and every day. But since joining the RWU Women’s Collective for Violence Prevention and Victim Empowerment (which advocates for victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, and Title IX) and conducting a presentation on Title IX and sexual assault/harassment on college campuses, I realized that this is the field I want to go into. Also, after talking to the Title IX coordinator on my campus, just to pick her brain in terms of the path I should go on, she recommended either education, law, or both. I decided to take her advice and go back to my high school dream.

Thus, I looked for government jobs on Handshake for the summer. It was close to the end of the semester, so I was ravenously searching and sending in my resume, cover letters, etc. But before hearing back from the positions I applied to, my “backup plan” was communication internships, because I do have a lot of writing experience. [One of] the place(s) that I’m interning at right now, Linden Place Mansion, wound up needing a student with experience in communications, public relations, and social media. There was no way I was passing this up, even though it is unpaid.

Resorting back to my other backup plan of getting a paid job at a pizza joint (just to get some extra money in my wallet and bank account), somehow, the career gods came through and I received an email the night of June 20, 2019, from the Mayor of Providence’s office saying I was selected for their (paid) Advanced Internship Program!

How did I get these internships? I persisted and I had a support system (my best friends, my mom, professors, and my boyfriend). Moral of the story: never give up, build your support system, and don’t be afraid to ask for advice from a professional. In my case, the professional I asked was RWU’s Title IX Coordinator. The parting advice she gave me was to think of education or law and to take initiatives on campus and in the job atmosphere, like applying for jobs at women’s shelters or hotlines. Oh yeah, and don’t forget to perfect that resume and cover letter. What really is a lifesaver is Handshake, a job-searching platform that most universities have (or should have) now. These are things to keep in mind for the upcoming fall semester and the semesters and summers to follow.

“Chase those passions that make your heart flutter…” — Katy Bellotte

 

For the Girl About to Turn 22 | Welcome to My Jordan Year (23)

I almost made this post today (Monday, May 20th), but by the time this post goes live, I’ll be less than 24 hours from my “Jordan Year” a.k.a my 23rd year of living, breathing, and thriving.

This may, unfortunately, be my last year residing in beautiful Rhode Island as I do plan on (hopefully) moving back to Massachusetts for law school, and I am finishing my last year at RWU.

I made a post similar to this last year, but I thought I’d do it again because… duh, it’s my life and I think I’m rather good at giving advice if I do say so myself. I was looking back on For The Girl About To Turn 21 | Moving Onto 22, and I just say, “damn how I’ve grown.”

So here’s to the girl about to turn 22 years old, this is for you:

  1. No matter if you’re graduating on time, or later than you expected, either is okay.
  2. Going along with that, don’t stress if you’re not graduating on time. Life happens/happened!
  3. Do NOT compare yourself. I’m not going to write that overly quoted phrase by whomever because EVERYONE knows what I’m talking about.
  4. There are people who are going to try to bring you down. Don’t listen to them.
  5. Also going along with that, there will be people who try to punish you for their personal B.S. Just know that you did nothing wrong.
  6. Do NOT be afraid to stand up for yourself and speak your mind when needed. If you feel that something is unjust, do something about it.
  7. It’s okay not to have a “cool job” over the summer, especially if you just graduated. I mean, hey, my mom waitressed for a year prior to getting her Master’s (and she really is the boss).
  8. You will find out what you want to do with your life. TRUST ME.
  9. Take your mom’s advice about self-defense and being safe. In fact, just listen to your mom. Period.
  10. If you’re going to argue something, be 110% prepared and know your facts.
  11. With that being said, don’t just be “opinionated.” You can’t call it an opinion if it’s not backed up with confidence and FACT. Don’t mistake confidence for arrogance and ignorance.
  12. Don’t be afraid to dip your toes into something new.
  13. Don’t give into peer pressure nor should you be easily swayed.
  14. If you know, you know. No one’s going to know what’s better for you than you.
  15. It’s not easy being positive all the time. You have to give yourself a break and shed a tear or a couple hundred.
  16. All families are dysfunctional. Yours is not the model of all things dysfunctional.
  17. You WILL realize that you have way too much respect for yourself to be treated as less than you are.
  18. Listen to your heart, except if you’ve been drinking. Your drunk self has no common sense.
  19. A thesis isn’t that bad, and I’m saying that as someone who already wrote theirs.
  20. Indulge in your creative side more.
  21. Please do yourself a favor and watch Grey’s Anatomy.
  22. Don’t be afraid to go back to your roots, even if you haven’t particularly missed them. Confront them.

Now, I officially welcome you all into my 23rd year! 🥂

xoxo,

April 😘💕

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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