Beware the Sides of March | I’ve Seen Both Sides Now

There is no doubt this month pounced its way in like a lion with the coronavirus happy whoreshit, and ended today, March 31st, with the death of Tomie dePaola, famous Strega Nona writer. Remember those books we read as preschoolers or kindergarteners? We were too young to even remotely understand the ideas, let alone words, like “pandemic” or “death.” These words didn’t make sense to me until my grandmother’s death in fifth grade, and when the Swine Flu pandemic began in Mexico in sixth grade.

I remember, in sixth grade, some of the first things that were ever spewed out of the mouths of “authority” at my middle school were “this year’s theme is survival.” Little did I know we were going through a recession, as we are right now, but we were sixth graders just trying to navigate middle school — the worst years of our lives, or at least mine.

giphy

I saw a picture of an otter recently, and it reminded me of how otters sleep while holding hands so they don’t drift apart. Random animal fact, I know. But it should make you smile, nonetheless. But I remember even the simplest of sixth grade days, I had a fuzzy backpack, and I convinced myself I was both bad at math and friends, which made me relate to an American Idol contestant who sang “Barracuda” for an audition. Her name, I forget at this point in time. But one thing I still remember is how she used singing at a mode for survival. This was the year that Adam Lambert lost to Kris Allen. These were simpler times.

However, another thing I was doing, other than watching American Idol, was creating my own stories. My favorite subject, though everyone else hated it, was English. I remember coming home after school and wanting to read something like P.S. Longer Letter Later, and I actually liked Tom Sawyer. I became fascinated with the idea of writing stories. I did this to block out the idea of me being bullied, which was, unfortunately, my reality.

Dealing with reality, nowadays, during this world-wide pandemic [that everyone is sick of talking about], is harder for some people. It makes us feel like we are out of control. But the fact of the matter is, we are more than what we think. Our souls overpower our fear(s). This time is certainly uncertain for a lot of people, if not everybody. According to a quote by Danielle Doby, “…in the uncertainty, you hold the power to create anything.” Shakespeare was living proof of this, which is one of the main reasons he remains as one of my literary idols. He wrote Romeo and Juliet out of the Black Death. Even Isaac Newton’s university closed down for two years, thus he had to retire to a country home where he developed calculus. I was in my senior art studio “class” via ZOOM, and although I had my aches and pains trying to get comfortable for a four-hour class, it was refreshing to see what people were creating. My anxiety has been through the roof recently because of this new transition towards online courses, but now that I’ve seen things through a positive lens and I’m actually getting stuff done in my office [my room — a room which I draw, read, and write in.]

In short, you can see March as “hell month,” or see that March isn’t so bad, after all. I’ve seen both sides of March, now. It can’t phase me any more than it used to do.

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! 🥂

 

 

 

 

It’s Time To Speak Up About Creativity

I’m looking back on the journal that I received on Christmas morning, and I remembered what I wrote that same day. My dad was calling friends and relatives to wish them a ‘happy holiday,’ and I remember him saying this one thing about me to a friend:

“she loves to f**king write.”

Damn right, I do! Like it’s a bad thing? No. I own it. 

Somewhere along the margins, I drew a determined snail slowly gliding her way out of her shell towards a cup of coffee. The context? I contemplated a young girl — too shy to say her own name, mainly because it was also a month — would soon be able to sip her coffee, and speak her mind and share her stories, no matter if it were with words, vocal cords, or a sculpture. It doesn’t matter how fast she is going, how long it’ll take her to get there, and who knows? It may take her faster than she thinks.

I said in Unstoppable | How I’ve Been After a Month’s Hiatus, that my career path would be changing as opposed to what I said in FESTIVE FRIDAY NIGHTS: How To Make Your Dreams Come True | How I Realized Mine. Damn. I don’t know whether to insert an eye-roll emoji or a shrugging emoji. Talk about a girl who can’t make up her mind! I mean, hey, at least I stuck with a major! 🤣 there’s an emoji, for y’all!

But when was the last time I took a pen to paper? At work, I do, but I’m just jotting down ideas for the social media internship. But to physically write my thoughts down as if my blog or Microsoft Word never existed. Jotting down my thoughts sporadically on a page doesn’t help. I want to write. I want to be creative and write for everything — every magazine, publish my work, and just let my God-given artistic side shine like Christmas Lights through an opaque window. Thick the glass may be, I believe that glass is meant to be Society. Society yearns to break through the glass, except for the one-track-minded, who just shake their head ‘no’ and disapprove.

My brother told me, “at least you’re not going to work in social media.” Oops, sorry! It’s amazing how many people think that the arts, especially fashion, are so “superficial.” They’re not. It’s also amazing how our brains and our hearts refuse to listen to each other, like Venus and Mars. People thrive on creativity, and there are some that just simply thrive on logic. It’s not impossible to combine the two. I’ve done it through various works of art, without fearing the opinions of others. But at the same time, we can’t help but want other people’s opinions. I’ve come to realize there will be people who will not like my work, and that’s okay because their opinions don’t pay my bills (or tuition, LOL!)

Moral of the story: dive into your creative side more. I can’t hurt, no matter how ostensibly “bad” you think you are at, say, drawing. There are many ways to be creative. Except, to be creative is one thing, but to be a creator is another. I, personally, have no shame in being a creator. I was never that teenager who would settle for one of those tip-jar-jobs we (almost) all had in high school. Judge all you want, call me a priss, or whatever. But I love being a creator, and to create is what I wanted (and still) do for a living.

No matter what you’re career path is, I wish you Godspeed, and I hope that just for an hour, or even 15 minutes, you can appreciate a work of art or dive into a creative project.

xoxo,

April 😘💕