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.

No One Can Destroy Your Energy | Energy can only gain momentum

My heart was feeling rather heavy today, and I wasn’t sure why. I had a great therapy session yesterday, but then I remembered that I am constantly surrounded by pressure to be this, that, and the other thing. I began to get flashbacks of dialogues from triggering situations. I then remembered that I am only human, I’m 25 years old, and I’m my own person.

I was watching a tarot/oracle reading by Vanessa Somuayina on YouTube, and in my personalized reading she mentioned that I (or anyone watching that particular reading) all start out as novices at something. I was a novice at blogging and now I have 1,592 followers as of an almost-five-year period. A lot of people didn’t understand my need to create content so much or to publicize my life on social media. It’s a way of getting people to relate to my content. My goal is to make social media my full-time job; judge me, I dare you.

Likewise, I am a novice at adulting. Anyone in their twenties is! I’m constantly learning about myself, the world, the people living in it. I am no “sexual anthropologist” like Carrie Bradshaw calls herself in the very first episode. I’m more so of an “anthropologist at life (?)” Call it what you want. But I know what I want and live for. What I live for is creating content that hopefully helps college students, and adults alike.

As of today, I officially own my power, as if I didn’t already. You, too, will learn not to question your work ethic. Your work ethic is superb, no matter what outside forces say. Are they even ostensible “forces”? They’re more like commentaries from the peanut gallery or that idiot in your DM requests trying to tell you some BS (and believe me, I get those A LOT).

However, I am beginning to notice in whatever is I do/create, my worth is not based on followers, “likes,” or what people think about me. Don’t get me wrong, I love you all. But my energy will never be destroyed nor will I lose sleep over a bad review. Energy can’t be destroyed, in general. I’m no expert in physics, but I know that energy is always being turned into something else. For example, I can get tired sometimes to borderline exhaustion. But I channel that exhaustion to something productive, e.g. blogging or journaling. In fact, journaling is how I get my best ideas for posts.

Next time you feel pressured by society, family, or your own mind, just remember to be patient with yourself. Being a novice at something doesn’t determine your worth. It just matters that you’re doing the best you can. Create something with that energy of yours, it’s only gaining momentum.

15 Healthier Habits To Have After 15 Months

When COVID-19 happened, I found it hard to find a steady routine to live by every day, and it was harder because my then-work schedule would change like a girl changes clothes. Besides, the job was taking its toll on my mental health. But then, after 15 months of the pandemic and year of grad school, I decided that it was time to put the beer and wine aside and get my act together. Yes, I seldom drink now. #Wins

Building healthier habits isn’t the only way to practice self-love. Self-love also requires accepting yourself for who you are, and that includes your flaws as well as opening up to them. Maybe it’s because people weren’t at their best during the pandemic, but self-improvement became a vast movement. Me? I just chose to do it on my own terms, not society’s. Besides, how many people actually say they’re going to ostensibly “improve” themselves and actually do it? The answer is very, very few.

That’s the thing about habits; they’re easy to build and harder to kick. When it comes to health and wellness, they’re actually harder to build and and harder to kick. But it slowly gets better over time. Healthy habits CAN be easy to build and to keep! For me? It took about a week to be less dependent on alcohol. But since getting the app, Fit On, I’m more cognizant of what I choose to put in my body. That isn’t to say that you can’t have a strawberry margarita at your local Mexican restaurant with churros and warm chocolate dip for dessert. That’s just simply depriving yourself of having fun!

Some habits include:

  1. Waking up at 6 a.m. (or any time before 11).
  2. Getting a morning workout in. I do yoga and meditation, preferably outside.
  3. If you can’t work out, just simply stretch.
  4. Shower, if needed or just pat-dry your face
  5. Having coffee or tea (whichever you prefer, just don’t drink too much caffeine!)
  6. Have a protein shake or something healthy for breakfast.
  7. Reading.
  8. Communicating however which way with the people you love, even if it’s just checking in.
  9. Soaking up a healthy amount of Vitamin D.
  10. Taking vitamins.
  11. Dancing around in your room to a killer playlist (I personally adore Lana Del Rey).
  12. Getting dressed.
  13. Taking a walk or run and getting in a certain amount of steps.
  14. Spending time with your sweetie and/or friends.
  15. Drink water! I like mine in a glass with a wedge of lime or lemon to boost my metabolism.

As cliche as this sounds, your body really is the only one you have. Treat it well. After all, the most important relationship is the one you have with yourself. Build good habits for you and only you. If this serves as motivation for you, well, that’s just fantastic!

Good luck, my loves.

xoxo, April

Dear Future Husband… If I Ever Meet You

Dear future husband… if I ever meet you…

I don’t even know if I want to “settle down,” after what I’ve been through.

My first relationship was someone whom I dated for two weeks. It wasn’t love, it was a typical high school romance. In fact, why was I so hung up on a guy who left me for some other girl? It didn’t take me too long to turn my obsession into becoming a smarty-pants. There were subtweets and hurt feelings involved, but I learned to move on from high school to college — behavior and all.

My first college boyfriend, that classified as a “college boyfriend,” was two years older than me. I always knew I liked older men, and this was just icing on the cake. He claimed he loved me for who I was, even when I gained weight. However, I didn’t see it from the beginning. He told me he “only gets out of only my pleasure.” He never got anything out of, well, anything. I officially got the fact that he loved me, just not in that way. I was so embarrassed about everything that happened on our one-year anniversary that I couldn’t even tell my best friend. Then, that October morning, he told me he was never attracted to me at all. Which led me to asking everyone else after him, “why did you waste my time?”

But the first time I used that line was the first guy I moved onto after him. I swore to God I would never use that app again. I touched on this briefly in Cheers To Two Years Of This Blog and there’s absolutely no doubt that I’ve grown, even after Believing | 3 years (and counting) of this blog. Two apps. Three (maybe four) guys. And a whole lot of “I will never do that again.”

I hate that I met the one guy I thought I truly loved on dating app, only to find out he just “liked” me. Yes, I know, he dropped the L-bomb way too soon. I lied that March when he took it back. It wasn’t worth getting into a petty argument with my friends. And to those friends: I’m sorry. I’m sorry that I lied when I said I was okay, when I wasn’t. I’m sorry that kept making excuses for him.

Perhaps I just avoid confrontation. Perhaps I just “want so much.” But I’m not who my exes say I am. I am me. I’m damaged, but I don’t want to be the one to salvage a man. You may have baggage, but I can’t be the one to fix you. You’re not a dog. As you can probably tell, I left some stuff out. But I shouldn’t have for the sake of a blog post. I want to be honest with you. I want to share my virginity for you and only you. Yes, I’m still a virgin. And I think I’m fabulous for that. But that doesn’t mean I’m stupid. I don’t want to make out in a car after meeting twice. I don’t want to be lead on for the millionth time. I don’t want to be in an “open relationship–” I can only stick to one guy at a time. And for you, it should be me or nothing at all.

When we — maybe, just maybe– we get married, I’ll be open to it. But you better have your whole heart into it, not just half-heartedly. And for God sakes HAVE GOOD GRAMMAR! I hope you love pizza night Friday’s just as much as I do. I hope you love animals, just as much as I do. I hope you love to dance, and that you are actually good at it, and you aren’t afraid to show me off at a wedding. I hope you love wine nights… multiple times a week. More than anything, I hope we can support each other in our dreams. I don’t want to have to move because of you because I think I know who you might be. I want to go to law school after I get my master’s, so hopefully you’ll be wherever I end up.

When I’m a partner in a law firm, I hope not to gain just 15 of them. I want you to be my life partner. I hope I’m not asking too much, yet everyone has a set of boundaries that they must set. And when you say “thick and thin,” mean it.

I don’t know what else to write. So, I’ll just leave it at that.

xoxo

April

“In Time, Everything Will Be Yours” | Patience

Last week, I got off the phone with my therapist. I was feeling a sense of hope yet another sense of hopelessness. That’s when I realized my imposter syndrome was so bad that my anxious self would not let me pull myself out of it. I was constantly focused on the future — what it could hold. Did I mention I’m impatient AF?

I couldn’t help but compare myself to people who rent their own apartments because I still live at home. I couldn’t help but compare myself to people who had full-time jobs. But then I realized, I’m furthering my education by going to grad school for my career: publishing and writing. I’d be lying if I said that I was never judged. You can’t really stop the world from judging, but in reality, you’re your own worst critic.

I then saw a post from some media outlet (I’m sorry I don’t remember who posted it!) But it was a series of TikToks from a very successful woman (her name also escapes me — ah!!). No, her success was not a story that happened overnight. Her success came from within and many, many bouts of comparing herself. However, comparing herself was getting her nowhere. This same woman worked at Trader Joe’s for quite some time, until she proved herself to be a successful realtor. I’m definitely no expert in real-estate, but this woman seems to be pretty prominent in the industry.

One thing this woman asked herself was, “why isn’t everyone else’s success happening to me?” Instead she switched her mindset to “in time, everything will be yours.” She then got to work. And that’s the thing about applying yourself to whatever it is you set your mind to. Think of it as a job; you can’t just submit your resume without your cover letter! In real life, you can’t just go on and on about the things you’ve done; you need to prove yourself that you can do the job. Don’t get me wrong, it is perfectly fine to be absolutely confident. But you need to have a plan in order to execute the results you want. This means putting in the time and energy to do so.

In time, something — no matter what it is — will be attained. You just have to get off your behind and achieve it. That means writing your cover letter — not recycling the ones you’ve already written because trust me, belaboring your point to a billion employers will only have you killing your own brain cells. If something’s clearly not working in your favor, you have to change it. No one else is going to do that for you. How you think of yourself and how you put yourself on paper matters. Think about it: the energy you put out is the same energy you will get back. It’s karma and manifestation! If you think that life is absolutely exhausting you, you will feel that lethargy and negativity. Don’t burn yourself out before you try to better yourself and especially don’t burn yourself out when you’re going after your dreams!

Be patient with yourself. If you’re not seeing results right away, don’t beat yourself up about it. Don’t be mad at the universe, either. In time, it’ll be yours.

xoxo,

April

Fashion Diaries: Every Body is a Swimsuit Body | Beauty From Within is IN

When people see me on social media just living “my best life,” they don’t know that my mind is a constant battlefield of insecurity. Right now, as I’m writing this, I feel better because I don’t feel insecure about putting my insecurities out there, hoping that someone out there will understand. I can tell you right now that I am confident that I will inspire someone out there and give someone a big virtual hug (through words — I’m better at writing than I am talking!). After all, no one is put on this Earth to please and constantly kiss people’s asses. I could give people a million reasons to make fun of me: I’m a 25-year-old virgin, I live at home, and I don’t own my own vehicle (correction: I don’t own a vehicle yet…stay tuned on the ‘gram). I’ve even dealt with my fair share of imposter syndrome.

This past Monday, June 7, I was in my round-about driveway laying in the sun when I chose to take pictures of myself… in a bathing suit. I didn’t care if I was wearing a one-piece from SHEIN, what mattered was my state of mind. Before that, I hadn’t worn a bathing suit in years because I had gained a whopping 50 pounds in college. But just the other day, I realized that in college, gaining weight is 100,000% normal as long as you’re happy. Yes, I’ve been pressured to lose weight. I’m not going to lie and say that family members’ words didn’t bother me. What’s terribly f—ed up about that is society, in it of itself, wants people to “look good” instead of just simply being “happy.” In fact, I can look in the mirror and honestly say, “wow, April, you look sexy!” THAT’S what exudes confidence and gives me serotonin.

Moreover, I took this one photo of myself where the lower half of my stomach was prominent and my thigh was gigantic. I then realized, that’s just an angle. And what’s funnier is that “angle” wasn’t even natural. Wait… am I picking apart myself here? April, snap out of it! You look hot! No, I’m not being conceited. No, I am not being cocky. In fact, it took a matter of five days just to get myself like that picture. (My laptop is not letting me load it.) I felt so inspired that I took another bathing suit picture and joked that I was channeling Pamela Anderson!

Don’t mind me, just channeling Pam (;

You can make fun of me all you want. No one’s opinion defines me. What matters is how you define yourself. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

What’s funnier than 24? Getting older? 25?| For the girl/boy/whomever about to turn 24.

This past year taught me more about adulting than any other. I’m not counting the time I cried in the financial aid office practically begging for more money in my junior year of college. Maybe it was because I was scared. Maybe it was because I, for once, would deal with finances bigger than my head. I say bigger than my head because my future is so much bigger and brighter. And yours is, too.

This past year, I’ve published two books, started graduate school, and got my first “big girl job” in the world of editing – all of this for the purpose of fulfilling my grad school career and beyond.

Never will I ever say I am ostensibly “washed up.” No. Nobody is. You are simply a new version of yourself. That’s advice #1. I might as well get into the list.

2.) Adulting may seem daunting, at first, and sometimes stressful. But there will come times that you will have to ask for help.

3.) I said this many, many times but being single is actually f—ing fantastic.

4.) Dating apps are not worth the aggravation.

5.) Friends with benefits are not a thing. I have not tried this, nor will I ever. DON’T F— YOUR FRIENDSHIPS.

6.) Where there’s a will, there’s a way. I don’t know where that’s from, but it’s true.

7.) The unfortunate art of “growing apart” hurts like an SOAB, but it’s a part of life and life is full of transitions.

8.) It’s okay if you’re still living with your parents. I am! In fact, a lot of graduate students have gone back home due to the pandemic to live with their ‘rents.

9.) Making an Instagram for your dog is okay. Yes, I made one for my Yellow Labrador, Brody, and you can follow him @goodestboybrody.

10.) It’s okay to stay up past midnight to have more “me time.”

11.) Take that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity because you never know if it’ll come back.

12.) You are worth so much more than a guy who just wants to sleep with you/go down on you.

13.) If you practice the law of attraction, manically manifesting/fixating will not help you.

14.) If you’re constantly feeling compared to, it’s not you. It’s them.

15.) It’s acceptable if you’re a little “all over the place” now. You’ll have it figured out — whatever “it” is.

16.) Take that chance and email that job/employer.

17.) Don’t knock it til you’ve tried it.

18.) You never lose, you learn.

19.) Pick something you want to improve and focus on it.

20.) It’s okay to walk away from something that no longer serves you.

21.) You’ll learn the value of acceptance and your intuition.

22.) You’ll know exactly what you want. Dreams don’t work unless you do.

23.) With that being said, don’t give up.

24.) Don’t give up, but take some time to rest and take care of yourself. Take a nap, sis. You deserve it.

I once said that I really wouldn’t want to be anybody else. And you know what? That’s actually true, and what’s funnier than 24? I actually believe when I say I am me and I love the me that I am. I don’t need SpongeBob or Patrick to laugh at that. Thank you, anyway!

xoxo and happy birthday!

April

The truth about second-guessing yourself | End of my first year of grad school reflection

I’ve watched Legally Blonde more times than I can count on both hands. There’s that poignant scene where Elle is venting to Paulette (Jennifer Coolidge also happens to be an Emerson alum… just saying). Before Professor Stromwell hits her with that famous “if you’re going to let that stupid prick ruin your life…” quote, Elle tells Paulette, “it’s the first time in my life that people expected me to become more than just a Victoria’s Secret model.”

In my first year at Emerson, I learned, I worked, I wanted to cry (but didn’t), and I persevered. In my many years in academia, I wanted to give up. Again, I never did. But I feel as though this is the first year I actually didn’t want to give up because I felt purposeful in my career. By career, I don’t mean academia. I mean journalism and magazine publishing.

I tried my hand at book publishing — in the marketing realm to be more specific. Of course, that wasn’t for me. So, why would I try to diverge into another field of publishing? As much as I love to read, I could never market a book for a living. That’s not to say that magazine publishing is any easier.

Moreover, I not only feel but I know that I haven’t second-guessed myself completely. It wasn’t long until I left said book publishing gig when I came face-to-face with the reality it just wasn’t for me! I’ve been committed to magazine publishing since I was reading fan magazines in second grade — everything from J-14 to Tiger Beat.

I write all of this after a fantastic day. I got my first freelance check; I found out that I’m getting an A the best class I’ve taken thus far; and I scored my first “big girl job” in the world of editing. Everything comes in threes.

Another thing about second-guessing yourself is that you’re always left with uncertainty. You can feel this in a relationship, in your course of study, or even in a decision that you made. However, with every decision you make comes a lesson and a blessing in disguise. But don’t get me wrong, you can make the best decision of your life. Years later you’ll be able to say either that was the best decision at the time, or again, of your life. Those lessons can help you in the future.

The thing about uncertainty is that you’re stuck with the mentality that something won’t work out. It can thusly make you physically sick or emotionally exhausted. For example, if you’re “stuck” in what you think is a dead-end job, you’re really not. It’s just a means to an end! And in the end, you’ll always feel grateful. So be grateful no matter what happens!

You Are More Than Your Career

It was the end of the morning on a Friday, and I peruse through social media after conference after conference (virtual, of course — we are living in a pandemic, after all.) I saw a striking post on Instagram, then again on LinkedIn later on that night. The post alluded to dearly missed author, Toni Morrison’s birthday on February 18, 1931. She said, “One day, alone in the kitchen with my father, I let drop a few whines about the job.” What job? I may not know. But I presuming it’s about being an author. Yet again, I am no expert on Toni Morrison’s life. She continued to write, “Although he listened intently, I saw no sympathy in his eyes. No ‘Oh, you poor little thing.’ Perhaps he understood that what I wanted was a solution to the job, not an escape from it.”

Her essay on the value of work and home-life included the following:

  1. Whatever the work is, do it well — not for the boss but for yourself.
  2. You make the job; it doesn’t make you.
  3. Your real life is with us, your family.
  4. You are not the work you do; you are the person you are.

I came to terms with all of these as I continue to live what I call my “quadruple life.” Yes, that’s me being dramatic, but also somewhat serious. I write for three publications, not just this the April Diaries, but I also work part-time at my local Dollar Tree. But who am I at home? Who am I when I’m with my friends? I think, pre-COVID, I would’ve been able to answer these questions. I haven’t seen a single one of my friends since the pandemic started. Nowadays, I just say, “I’m a writer.” But no one ever inclines to say, “not what, who are you?”

When I think about it, when you eventually pass on, your soul is what people will miss — not your career. You may have made an impact on your career and your respective field. But what you bring to it, people will remember forever. The attitude, the liveliness, and your unique charm draws people to you. The same thing goes for events.

I guess it’s easy to say that the coronavirus took a lot of things that probably will remain “changed forever.” Perhaps wine nights will remain virtual, until everyone gets the vaccine. But this is me going on a tangent.

I’ve been identifying as a writer for almost a year now. When my mom asks me, when I complain I have nothing to do, “what is your hobby?” I immediately say “writing” because it’s the only thing I know so far. I love to do tarot and journal in the mornings. I can’t even begin to describe how sacred mornings are for me!

You can’t just work 24/7 — it’s impossible! What’re even worse are the back pains and eye strains (yes, I use blue light blockers) from sitting at your computer for what seems like eternity.

You have to give yourself a break. You have to set some time aside to go back to yourself. You are not your job. You are you, and I am me: the woman who loves mornings, tarot, journaling, photography, going out to eat, and exploring new places!

Who are you?