How To Not Become A Doormat And/Or People Pleaser

I used to self-define myself as a “people pleaser,” which is not the case anymore. I am not a doormat to be walked all over. I am a human being, too, who’s just trying to be satisfied in life– my life. After all, we’re not put on this planet to “please” others.

There’s that saying, and I’m pretty sure I’ve quoted this before, “do what you love and you never have to work another day in your life.” But when you take a job, are you doing it for you? Or are you just doing it to please others? If you said yes to the latter, you’re like me: a former doormat. This is just a hypothetical example, but that’s not to say that I haven’t experienced it for myself. As a writer, I hear the words, “get a real job” ring in my ears all the time, from the first time I heard it. Who said art can’t be a job? Maybe I just needed to vent here, but it’s true. Artist, Wayne Thiebaud painted every day until he was 101 — a prime example.

I stay up after 1 a.m. writing this, with a fire in my heart and an enormous passion for what I do. Some people will call you crazy for pursuing your passion. Some people will try to tell you what to do, try to shut you up, or crap on your passions, only for the sake of pleasing their asses.

Moreover, I can’t help but feel like, when I was bullied in middle school that I let people walk all over me, just like a doormat. I let people cut me in line and hear my name mentioned to my face and behind my back. One time, I got hit in the head and let the guy get away with it, without an apology. When I was in eighth grade, it finally smacked me in the face with a textbook that I was letting all the BS happen to me. There came time when I refused to let people put their feet in the back of my chair and to move a couple of seats down for their “friends.”

The funny thing about being a “doormat,” is that people will think you’re never going to be successful. I hate to say this, but if you let people walk all over you, you will not get what you want, out of a situation or in life. Don’t get me wrong, it’s okay to take the high road, but it’s also okay to say “thank you” after an apology when it’s certainly not “okay.” And when someone keeps asking you to do something, just say, “I can’t help you this time/anymore because…” but you don’t even have to give a reason, though a reason can help back up any argument.

BLOG-MAS: What’s Your ‘Why?’ The Purpose Statement

I write this after completing my second-to-last semester at Emerson College’s MA in Publishing and Writing program. Wow. What a milestone! I feel an overwhelming spurt of emotions, mostly happy and I’m not fearing the future quite yet. It’s all about living in the moment, and I couldn’t be happier with where I am in life. But hey, I don’t have that degree in my hand quite yet as I embrace my boyfriend and my family.

I remember when I was taking part in virtual orientation prior to starting classes, and the vice president of the college was talking about what we had written for our purpose statements. I hardly remember my purpose statement, but I do remember it having to do with inspiring others, along with a few mentions of my undergraduate career and how I got here. Essentially, it also incorporated resilience (which is coincidentally the title of my first poetry book). It didn’t take me long to write mine, but it did require some thought.

The statement of purpose isn’t necessarily autobiographical, but it should highlight your greatest strengths and some of the activities you’ve done that would (hopefully) benefit your career at your school of choice. For example, I was a part of RWU’s literary magazine, Mount Hope and I was additionally the Editor-in-Chief of the English and Creative Writing Department’s online zine, Voices. I also had two internships under my belt at the time, one of which was at Rhode Island Monthly, which was a great asset and leg-up to have. This is also a great opportunity for your grad school to see how well you write. I can also add that having a little personal something-something (without belaboring it) in your statement is beneficial because schools also want to imagine you outside of school.

Not only that, but schools also want to know your literal purpose for completing a master’s or PhD. What is your “why?” What you eventually put on paper and send to your school might change as you’re in your program. This world is crazy and so is life. But still, why [insert school here]? Why [insert program here]? You could also incorporate, why now?

Consider this a part two of BLOG-MAS: Reasons To Go To Graduate School. Also, one “don’t” I’ve learned from a professor doing my recs was to not include the location of the school because it’s considered insulting. So yeah, don’t do that! That shouldn’t even be a reason or a part of your “why.”

BLOG-MAS: Reasons To Go To Graduate School

I can hear Taylor Swift’s “…Ready for it?” playing in my head as I write this.

I knew wayyy before I was a senior in college that I wanted to go to graduate school. I had a reason behind it. I knew I wanted to go to graduate school because I knew it would give me a “leg up” in my professional career. The question was, where would I go? What would I do? If you read previous posts, you’d know that I had it narrowed down to law and publishing. I then knew I had to go into publishing for my love of writing and aspirations to one day create my own magazine. I couldn’t let that go to waste! I’ve had people express their preference for me to go into law because I could be successful. But guess what? I’m 25 with a heck of a resume that was possible due to my publishing program at Emerson College.

Some people could have totally wrong reasons to pursue a graduate degree. Yet, at the same time, there are better reasons to go to graduate school.

DO go to graduate school to advance your career.

DON’T go to graduate school just because “it sounds cool.”

DO go to graduate school because you know what you want to do.

DON’T go to graduate school because something like business or law “sound glamorous.”

DO go to graduate school because you want to.

DON’T go to graduate school as a “last resort.”

For some people it’s a quicker decision than others. There’s the ever-popular argument that “everyone is doing it.” Newsflash: not a lot of people do it, and it takes time for some people. You needn’t know what you want to do right when you get out of college. I know people who get their MBA even after getting their first master’s degree, or even their PhD! Whomever said it’s not okay to change your mind clearly doesn’t know this process.

The Crepe Of Life Is In Your Hands | Forgiveness

Alexa, play “Fighter” by Christina Aguilera and then “Unstoppable” by Kat Deluna.

Recovering from a rough Tuesday night and day. I was journaling while picking apart a Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffin from Starbucks. I realize that I bite into the bread every day. I’m not talking about carbs, I talking about life.

Every day you and I are winning in this game of life, as the world was designed for all of us to win (and sometimes lose). I remember this one line from Emily In Paris: “I can’t share a crepe, I need the whole crepe.” Although Emily Cooper (Lily Collins) was referring to a relationship with Gabriel (Lucas Bravo), needing the whole crepe applies to every day life.

The crepe is in our hands every day. It may take us a while to get to the center of that creamy, strawberry or Nutella filling. It’s similar to eating a cream cheese muffin or even a cheese danish! Sometimes you are left with crumbs that you can only throw out or that you can wipe off from your clothing, and in some cases, crumbs that stay on the ground. All of the times, you have to bite into the bread/cake that is less exciting and not as tasty as that filling you’re striving for. It’s a matter of fact that you have to bite through the blandness to get what you want. The journey can be sweet and savory, if you think positively. Even if it is bland and a process, it comes with achieving what you want.

Something that I’ve always found strange, since I was in fourth grade, is that people will judge you for simply eating. I remember in tenth grade I got weird looks from an eighth grader while eating a pizza. (What???) Eating is something that not everyone has a healthy relationship with. However, we need food to survive and to get specific nutrients in our bodies. We build these sustainable diets to get the life we want — or even the “glow-up” that we want. It’s similar to that of life because people will judge you for simply doing you and what benefits your future.

In recent events, and after a therapy session today, my therapist and I came to the conclusion that I was probably made to “sit still look pretty.” Who would’ve known, based on my past, that I’d wind up successful? There were points where I could’ve kicked myself for “missing out.” But did I really? No.

It’s simple: I forgive myself. I forgive my past. I forgive the boys who would make fun of my lunches in fifth grade. I forgive those who questioned my adoration for Miley Cyrus. I forgive those who questioned my love for theatre. I forgive those who made fun of my perm in sixth grade (I’ll even admit that wasn’t my best look). I forgive those who made fun of my learning disability out of sheer ignorance. I forgive those who treated/treat me differently because I was/am different. In fact, thank you for doing those things because I wouldn’t have had the courage and the thickest of skins to go on and do what I do. Thank you, universe, for giving me the spirit guides who told me to go on. I continue to tell my story for the rest of my life. I may not be immortal, but every story is.

If you don’t forgive, how do you expect to move on and do what you do now? What you’re passionate about? Never forget the good things that came out of those bad experiences. They may seem bad then, and I’m there’s a middle schooler somewhere reading this. Truth is, reader, whomever you may be: those who mind don’t matter, those who matter don’t mind. You’re not here to just sit still, look pretty, and have your lips zipped. Live your truth, and don’t let society change that.

The crepe, danish, cupcake, and/or muffin is in your hands.

xoxoxo,

April

The Truth About Self-Esteem

It was Wednesday morning and I don’t know if it was the Opalite around my neck but my self-worth kicked in. Though I can’t describe exactly what happened, I knew that I had to stand up for myself and to be treated better. (Disclaimer: this was not a boyfriend situation — he and I are very much still together and things are going great!)

But riddle me this: when did self-respect translate into being rude? When did doing this for the sake of building your own future make you selfish? Why do people get mad when you are just trying to make yourself happy? Don’t people want you to be happy?

Oddly enough, I had a therapy session that same morning. I had to say to him (my therapist) that I instantly felt regret standing up for myself, but why was that? He told me that when you haven’t stood up for yourself in a long time, that feeling of regret tends to occur. It seems sad that it happens. However, I think it’s growth.

The last time I remember this happening, I was called a “petulant child” by a professor and accused of disrespect, which only made me cry harder after sticking up for myself to another professor. I wish I could say to her now that self-respect does not equal disrespect for another individual. Respect is earned, not given freely. And just because you’re an older adult, that doesn’t mean that you have ultimate authority. #SorryNotSorry

With self-worth comes self-esteem. Psychologist, Melanie Fennell concluded the following:

• Throughout your life you form negative beliefs about yourself as a result of the way you have been treated. Psychologists call this your ‘bottom line’ or ‘core belief ’. Your core belief is how you feel about yourself deep down, for example “I’m worthless” or “I’m no good”.


• Confronting core beliefs feels unpleasant, so we all develop rules for living that protect us from our core beliefs. These rules guide how you live your life, and as long as your rules don’t get broken, your core belief stays dormant. People with low self-esteem often have rules that are demanding and rigid, such as “I must always please other people”, or “As long as I don’t get criticized then I’m OK”.


• It can feel very anxiety provoking when it seems like one of your rules might be broken. If one of your rules is “I’m OK as long as everyone is happy”, it might be anxiety provoking if people around you are not happy – you might feel that you have failed.


• When there is a danger that rules might be broken, you might make anxious predictions about what might happen and fear the worst (e.g. “I’ll be rejected if I can’t do everything that is expected of me”), or you might speak to yourself in a critical way, or avoid tricky situations and use strategies to cope.

There’s no doubt that I, and everyone else have had these experiences. I’ve mentioned before that I’ve striven to be perfect to the point of sickness. When I was being bullied severely, I felt like I had to “bow down” to some higher power of what was right versus wrong. I can’t help but wonder now, was that society? Or just simply the place I grew up? I swear, that town had 10 Commandments of being ostensibly cool.

I remember the first day of eighth grade, I had health class at the end of the day and my teacher said to the class, “if you don’t have self-esteem by now, you’re on your own!” Comically enough, I didn’t have any self-esteem. I could have been in a room full of people and still be lonely AF (no pun intended — those are my initials).

I remember crying to my mom, and I choke up as I write this, that whenever I tried to talk, I got laughed and snickered at. When I tried to stand up for myself, I was called mean. Another truth about self-esteem is that is affects every aspect of your life.

My therapist said I had this sort of glow after I stood up for myself. I’ve been constantly worried about telling people what I wanted to do and what I was going to do with my life, but I shouldn’t let that terrify me because what I do is ultimately my choice. You’re the author of your own life. Write your own story without people telling you that what you’re writing is wrong.

We Were Born To Change

I published a post last night about how moving is essentially an empty bookshelf. In a nutshell, life will be restocked with normalcy; it just takes some time.

I couldn’t help but wonder, after writing that post and my COVID-19 reflection, was everything born to change? I say yes. Our bodies go through puberty, whether we like it or not. Presidents run their course in Office. Laws change. People get married. People unfortunately pass on. Computers crash, forcing us to use new(er) technology than we’re used to. Plans change as people make up their minds. Life was born to happen. I may not know what created the Earth, or what even created the MilkyWay. But things were born to change.

I also can’t help but realize that, in a world that’s driven by social media, photos, and memes, we humans have grown up with technology as our needs… wait for it… CHANGE. Disclaimer: I’m no anthropologist, but I do like to call myself a millennial anthropologist, at best.

Moreover, there are some people who really don’t react well to change, and that can be due to a variety of psychological reasons. But the fact of the matter is, change is something we all have to deal with. I recall someone commenting on my post from last night about how moving is a rite of passage, and I cannot think of a better word to describe such a… CHANGE. People call this other phrases like “end of an era.” The truth is, and I realized this after prepping for an interview I have tomorrow, it’s actually rebirth.

I had to delete a post about snakes and rebirth in fear I’d get reconsidered from my current part-time job. But a snake shedding its skin is like shedding the past and slithering into a new generation, thinking pattern, or even way of life!

When I think about a conversation from when I was working at Dollar Tree, the other woman said the pandemic was actually more so of a second coming of Christ and period of judgement for those who have unfortunately succumbed to COVID-19 complications. I’m not religious [anymore] or anything, but I’m starting to consider my own personal notion that the universe presents rites of passages as literal doorways to new beginnings as some part of us is “born again.”

You and I… we were born to CHANGE.

(Did you like my subtle Lana Del Rey reference, there? I did, too.)

xoxo, April

Moving Is Like An Empty Bookshelf

If you’ve ever moved, you know that it’s painful and excruciating emotionally and physically. It affects everyone who’s involved and depending on your living situation, it can have some ugly and anxiety-ridden moments. Being an empath myself, I’ve taken on my own baggage and everyone else’s baggage. I realize that I had, literally, just moved on Friday but with everything still in boxes and not being able to access everything smoothly, it’s not the same. This is my fourth straight day in a row, crying.

You can say that moving is like an empty bookshelf. A bookshelf is, normally, where all your books are to feed your mind. (I actually converted my coffee station into a bookshelf LOL.) The bookshelf that I’m referring to here is the one that housed all of the cookbooks. And because everything is in boxes, I can’t access my cooking supplies and I wind up ordering from Uber Eats. But nonetheless, I feel as though I have everything taken out of me; I am drained and feeling like I have no purpose.

But that’s not the case. I have plenty of purpose in me, and I know it. Other people know it, too. You, my dear, have so much purpose, too.

I took it to texting my best friend (hi, Katelyn!) who had moved to her own big-girl apartment two summers ago and I asked her if she ever felt lonely when moving to a whole new “world,” or so it seems like it for everyone who moves. I mean hey, I moved to Rhode Island 5 years ago. But this is my first time living in more urban setting. Anyway, this is what she said to me, “I kept busy and I gave it time.”

Keeping busy, such as writing this post while listening to Katy Bellotte’s podcast, “Thick and Thin” helps so much (Netflix, too). I’m trying not to sleep so much because resting only makes me restless and can give you a really bad headache.

Maybe I’m just impatient and headstrong, both gifts and curses at the same time. But I felt like I would get that normalcy right away. No, not the case at all. In fact, anyone who says that clearly has never moved in their lifetime. And that’s just the thing: things take time. Some things happen quicker than others, but to me, that means that some higher power had that planned for you.

Moral of the story: moving is like a bookshelf, you’ll be filled with your resources and normalcy, soon enough.

New Beginnings | Five Years Of This Blog

In the beginning of In Five Years by Rebecca Serle, Dannie Kohen goes for an interview with her dream corporate law firm (spoiler alert: she gets the job). Another spoiler? She gets engaged to her long-time boyfriend that same night. Five years later, she is still working at the firm and is still engaged. You really have to read the book to understand what internal conflict she’s going through.

My In Five Years is different from that of Dannie’s. Five years ago, in 2016, I was home from college on a medical absence because I needed a break from a traumatic break-up. Being jerked around by someone who clearly doesn’t want to be your “forever” is the worst. The awakening to the fact that the relationship was insidiously controlling was even harder to grapple with because I couldn’t help but think, “how did I get into that mess, the way I did?” It was a year I would never get back.

However, in five years I managed to become everything I wanted to be. I got the college academic experience that I wanted and I became happier with myself. Even if myself was 50 pounds heavier than I was in high school. One of the greater things to come out of that horrible relationship was my unearthed love for writing. I didn’t have to worry if he didn’t like it, what only mattered was if I was happy with myself and my writing.

What came with that, was a boatload of confidence that I never thought I would achieve. I learned that you don’t get what you want if you don’t ask for it and work for it, too. My first ever internship was at Rhode Island Monthly magazine. I worked by butt off in that summer of 2018 while simultaneously working for RWU’s Marketing and Communications department to earn some money. Both of those experiences, while also writing for my campus newspaper helped a great deal with my resume. My resume got me to places I never thought I’d be, which only beefed it up some more. In fact, I have an interview this coming Monday to be the Editor-in-Chief of an app! (:

Relationship-wise? It’s safe to say that I’m in the relationship of my dreams.

Location-wise? My whole family and I just moved to North Providence and it’s also safe to say that we are exhausted and overwhelmed at the same time.

As I write this in the Golden Afternoon, on a fall Saturday in my new home, I can’t help but feel like this is a new beginning for everything and everyone. I may have lost my comforter and linens in the move, but the adventure is worth it.

What Having COVID-19 Taught Me

For the past few days now, I’ve been unfortunately gifted with COVID-19. I’m not trying to be political, even though the United States, in particular, is severely divided when it comes to the pandemic. I am lucky to be diagnosed with a breakthrough case and not with the D-variant. I’ve posted to Instagram about the issue, TikTok, and my Media Facebook page about this issue. Though it really shouldn’t be an “issue,” because an “issue” means argument. Not only has the past 18 months taught us to always be careful, be safe, and get vaccinated, the pandemic teaches valuable personal lessons. So, here is what I learned:

1. If you’re congested, get tested immediately.

I think, for me, it started as what seemed to be a cold that I thought I’d eventually get over. And I luckily “did,” or so I thought. However, I do work ungodly hours producing a morning show so I thought it was stress leaving me with a raspy voice due to a congested chest and stuffy nose. I did have a COVID scare a year ago because of that, and I thankfully tested negative at the time. It wasn’t until Saturday October 9 when I got a sore throat and what’s known as “COVID Voice” because I thought I had laryngitis. I warned my favorite YouTuber of this, and she said it was a wonderful suggestion and was one of the incredible people who wished me well.

2. Get in touch with your spirituality.

It wasn’t until last night when I cried because I felt the presence of, and don’t call me crazy, spirit guides. I began journaling regularly (as if I don’t write enough!) and watching videos by the Gem Goddess. This one video that I linked to actually made me cry. I kept hearing the words “forgive me” in my head all day, and I realized it was them trying to tell me something. But that’s another story. Talk about a divine intervention!

3. You realize who’s really there for you.

The first person I told about my diagnosis was my boyfriend and he immediately asked if I needed anything, if I had symptoms, and to be safe. I don’t think anyone realizes this, but when people tell you to “be safe,” it’s another way of saying “I love you.” I received an outpour of support from those who really want to see me better and showed genuine concern.

4. Show your body you love it.

If you treat your body poorly when you’re sick, do you really love yourself? Even though I would’ve liked to have a glass of wine or eat junk food when sick, it’s imperative that you put nutrients in your body. I’ve started taking vitamins religiously and I’ve taken to drinking hot lemon water with honey; it makes you sweat like a pig, but it WORKS. Also, be sure to take a shower at night because nighttime is when you feel worse because your body is shutting down for bedtime.

Having COVID is sobering and it is not fun. But I can tell you this: I am grateful that I nor my family members are on ventilators and that we can all breathe on our own. Tell God, guides, the universe — whatever feels right to you — and tell your own body “thank you.” And tell yourself, “we did it,” “we got this,” and/or “I love you.”

Be well, my friends. I’ll be producing loads of overdue content for y’all.

April

You’re Not Going To Be A Hemingway By Watching A Movie About Hemingway

I’m sitting on my loveseat watching a documentary on Ernest Hemingway, and it’s quite the coincidence because I had written The Truth About Writing Full-Time | You Have A Purpose two years ago today. I’d be lying if I said that it didn’t take me a bit to develop a thick skin, being a full-time writer and content creator. The truth is that no one will necessarily agree with your lifestyle choices, or with the way your brain simply works. You cannot succumb to their criticism just because they simply don’t “get it.” By “it” I mean the way your mind works and/or your ideas. I remember when I was discussing media analysis with my boyfriend and I opened a review by a… “catty” critic from a reviewer of my second published book, The Disappearing Act. Yet again, I found that it was based off the ignorance of the creative process.

What’s funny is that I mentioned very limited knowledge about Hemingway in that post. Just like the creative process and the way people think, there is a reason for everything. There were reasons why Hemingway was an alcoholic. There were reasons why he wouldn’t wake up until 2:00 in the afternoon — it was because a famous American critic gave him a harsh review and Hemingway didn’t take it very well. It wasn’t until a Communist newspaper journalist said, “Hemingway has not produced a book in six years worthy of his talents.” To that, Hemingway responded with “there is only good and bad writing.” Huh. As to why he abusive to his wife, Martha, I will never comprehend an abuser’s mind, other than the fact that he was insecure about another bad review.

There is also a reason why Hemingway wrote about death so much. He had a fascination with it, especially with the way bulls are killed in a Spanish bullfight. I can’t pinpoint exactly what it was. However, I can tell you this: in order to be a writer, you have to have some sort of fascination with something. It’s similar in the way that J.K. Rowling incorporated a lot of death in her Harry Potter books; she’s seen death firsthand by losing her mother in her twenties. That is to say, if you want to write a book, a blog post, article, or even start a YouTube channel, you’re not going to be successful by watching documentaries about authors and your favorite YouTubers all day. You can be inspired by what other people have done. But at the same time, you CANNOT compare yourself to someone else’s success. Someone’s chapter fifteen is not your chapter one. We all start from somewhere, whether you like it or not. I’ve heard of YouTubers who started at age 14 but didn’t make it a full-time job until they were 22 years old (e.g. Brooke Miccio).

Another part of building your brand and developing who you are is discipline and consistency. As they say, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Just like a carpenter or construction worker, they work tirelessly every day until they need some sort of break. There have been times where I have needed to take a break from blogging, only to see that it wasn’t benefiting me because not writing makes me obscenely anxious. But the other thing is to just simply not put pressure on yourself. Whomever said “sometimes you need to be pressured” is disturbed AF.

Be your own [insert your name here]. I wish you Godspeed in whatever it is you try to do, and I love you all!

xoxo, April.

Check out my latest YouTube video here.