Self Love In Bleak Times

January is Self-Love Month, and I’ll be honest and say it’s been sort of a struggle to be positive all the time. I think, as I mentioned in New Year’s Resolutions that people tend to beat themselves up as if they want their resolutions right away. I haven’t been consistent with my walking 2,000 steps every day, but when you need to rest, you need to rest! Besides, who really is positive all the time? January is a time, not a “free trial month” but to make a plan.

The thing about this elusive “self love” (and shout out to my aunt who came up with this idea for a post!) is, why do people put so much pressure on themselves? I’ll admit from personal experience that I strived to be that perfect student in high school, and I got a rude awakening in my first semester of college that really no one can be perfect. With that pressure, aside from OCD, came arrogance and many hours of crying thinking that I wasn’t good enough, even though I was doing just fine. You know what the scary part is? I’m realizing all this as a write this. Self-awareness is something I also need to work on, and I admit that wholeheartedly. Ding, ding, ding! Another thing about self-love! You’ll learn to embrace imperfection.

I wish I could shake my eighteen-year-old self and tell her, “you’re going to be a much more confident young woman, and you’re going to excel beyond words. It may not be at an Ivy League school, you may not be in science, but you will end up getting into your two grad schools of choice, in a field you always loved.”

Self-love is so much more than just giving yourself a bubble bath or a spa day (not that I recommend going to a spa during a global pandemic.) Self love is believing in yourself. Find that faith through whatever outlet, may that be religion or spiritual practices. In bleak times like these, when people are losing their jobs, working jobs they don’t want but need to put food on the table, people also need that place of comfort. As much as I resent retail at the moment, my crew is like my second family. Self-love is that optimism that every day is going to be a good day, despite how you’re feeling that day.

Also, if you did lose your job in 2020, that’s NOT your fault in the slightest. Again, we’re in a pandemic.

Self-love is also knowing that better things are out there for you when something doesn’t work out for you. Don’t ever say you’re being scammed by the universe because you’re destined for better things. This is just the universe, or God, telling you that you are worthy for so much better than what you initially applied for, or whatever. Self-love is not being your own best friend, it is being your own advocate.

With that being said, self-love is knowing when you must step away from the negativity that’s surrounding you. If people refuse to be happy, that’s on them. And it’s most certainly not your fault. People are only mean when they are not happy with themselves. Again, that’s on them. Let them watch the negative news when you could be watching “Forrest Gump,” a movie to put a smile on anyone’s face.

Self-love is the most important love you’ll ever have. Like I said, and it was very timely in Does anybody like you when you’re 23? You have to love yourself, first , that the most important relationship is the one you have with yourself. Well, actually, Carrie Bradshaw said that — but still relevant, nonetheless.

New Year’s Resolutions

Happy New Year, folx! It is the first full week of 2021 and I am already banging out my resolutions.

My resolutions are the following:

  1. Walk/run 2,000+ steps every morning (9,000 steps each morning by the end of 2021)
  2. Turn The April Diaries into a community
  3. Drink more tea
  4. Eat organically
  5. Eat more superfoods
  6. Get a new job
  7. Read more books and magazines (I kind of slacked in 2020 😂)
  8. Drink less alcohol
  9. Be more open about my spirituality
  10. Support others.

Those are the big ten thus far. There’s no doubt that list will grow. There’s also no attempt at perfection, but every improvement counts. Stepping stones, guys, stepping stones. Another thing I’d like to do is have more people to interview on this blog. So if you or anyone you know would like to be featured, let me know in the Contact page.

The thing about resolutions is that they are easy to make and harder to create habits to form them. But at the same time, it’s easier to create bad habits. Why is it harder to create good habits? Perhaps it’s not in our nature to have them. Perhaps, as humans, we are destined for imperfection. And perhaps we simply don’t know exactly what it is we really want to attain. Some want to attain that “hot body,” that new career, while others, like myself, or maybe those same people, a degree. And trust me when I say that those “what does your future look like?” quizzes on Facebook are nowhere near real.

I encourage you, however, not to take quizzes that supposedly “determine” your future but to create your own. I love a good challenge, do you? Some call it creating, others call it manifesting. I’ve been trying to be more transparent about my spirituality, recently, and I’ve gotten a lot of support, so thank you for that! (for those of you who reached out!)

Making the most out of a situation is good, too. Despite what’s going on in the USA right now in terms of the upcoming inauguration, our current president, and the horrible domestic terrorist attack on the Nation’s Capitol Building. But I remain hopeful in Biden’s upcoming presidency. I also sincerely hope that my D.C. followers are safe.

Last thing, I did get another job, a second job, if you will. It’s at an Animal Hospital. More details to come later.

For now,

xoxoxo April ❤

What 2020 taught me, and hopefully taught you

2020, it’s been a hell of year. But I wouldn’t even put the emphasis on the hell. Sure, COVID-19 took a lot away this year, for some people more than others. The Cheeto in Office finally signed the relief bill (too little too late.) But I’m not here to talk about politics. I will say this: our country may be severely divided, but community is more important than ever these days. I know we’re all sick of the “we’re all in this together” phrase, at this point in time, but my goal in 2021 is to make this blog a community. Life’s too short to be all “me, me, me.” In fact, I try not to make it all about me because I want college students and graduate students to know what I wish I knew and to provide little “philosophies,” if you will.

2020 has taught me more about myself and my capabilities more than ever before, and even more about what I can do with my brand. And it hopefully taught you all to be more appreciative for what you have, rather than focus on what you want. But if you focused on what you wanted, it probably came true in more cases than one. Even though COVID-19 took a lot away from us, I believe it still gave us opportunity for growth. My goal at the very beginning of the year was to gravitate less towards negativity and more towards that growth, and it’s brought me more hope than I had say, back in February or the month of April (yes, I always have to make that distinction between the month and my name.)

Without further ado, here is what 2020 taught me, and hopefully taught you, as well:

  1. Take no crap, from anyone.
  2. If people say, “you think life is all roses,” let them. There’s nothing wrong with being happy.
  3. Grow a backbone, and call out others who don’t have the balls to grow one.
  4. Graduate school (and college) are times to explore and try out different avenues. When I was in my last semester at RWU, I took a Law and the Family class while interning at a Domestic Violence resource center. And this past Fall 2020 semester at Emerson I took a Book Publishing Overview class, when my concentration is in magazine publishing.
  5. With that being said, apply to jobs and apply yourself to things you haven’t even considered doing.
  6. Learn how to fend for yourself.
  7. Therapy is important and nothing to be ashamed of.
  8. Being an influencer is not as important as being a good role model.
  9. Everyone makes mistakes, you just have to have to take responsibility for those mistakes.
  10. Take that leap of faith, no matter what it is. In fact, only you know what that is.
  11. Be a positive force in someone’s life. You never know who needs it.
  12. Also with that being said, be kind because you never know who’s fighting what battle.
  13. Someone’s success is not your failure.
  14. In other words, jealousy isn’t worth it, and neither is comparing yourself.
  15. Also, we all go through life at a different pace, and we go at our own pace.
  16. Patience and acceptance are virtues. Accept the things you cannot change.
  17. If you feel like you can change something, ask and you shall receive.
  18. It’s better to be alone than to cry and agonize over people you’re trying to please. Let them go and stop making excuses for them.
  19. Be nice to essential workers, from an essential worker.

I was going to put a twentieth teaching, but I’ll leave that one up to you folx. I don’t know what 2021 will bring, but I know that with each year, despite their drawbacks, have many valuable things to contribute. And you have a few wonderful things to add, as well.

BLOG-MAS TUESDAY: Let’s talk about… strengths and weaknesses

“What are your strengths and weaknesses?” or “What is your biggest strength and what is your biggest weakness?”

These are questions that often come up in job interviews. Most of the time we don’t want to say what our weaknesses are because we’re afraid our weaknesses will decrease our chances of getting said job. I’ve given different answers to different job prospects, mainly because I feel put on the spot. But that’s a weakness of life; you will have to be put on the spot. It’s called “Socratic Method” in law, at least that’s what Emmett says in “Legally Blonde.”

I started to list my strengths and weaknesses. Some of them included “strive for perfection,” “I want it all and I want it now,” “impatient,” and “headstrong.” I look to Ashley Tisdale’s song, “Headstrong,” and I can’t help but feel as though I want everything right this second.

Overtime you can’t help but feel you’ve inherited strengths and weaknesses from your parents. However, you’re responsible for controlling them. It’s true that we have at least 3-5 vices, depending on who you are. And at the end of the day, you’re your own person and you can’t really blame anybody but yourself if something were to go awry. (Disclaimer: I’m not saying take the blame for everything but taking responsibility for something you know you did is important.) People aren’t lying when they say you have to earn your respect. Others think they’re entitled to it because of their position, status, etc. Did they ever think that’s their own ego getting in the way? That’s a weakness: pride.

Also the whole “sorry I’m a Scorpio” or whatever zodiac sign you are, is complete and utter B.S.

Taking responsibility and being responsible are strengths of mine, as is honesty. Both have earned me mass amount of respect, and that’s not me being “proud.” And this has come at the perfect time since Jupiter is in conjunction with Saturn, forming the actions to slow and to take responsibility for our actions. Did I mention they’ll meet in air signs for the next 200+ years?

But did you notice how, in the beginning of this post, I mentioned my weakness first? This is quite common. And at a job interview, there’s no “right” way to phrase your strengths and weaknesses, unless you know they can/can’t get you the job. Nonetheless, it is quite common to take a piece of paper and just write down everything that’s ostensibly “wrong” with you. But the fact is, there is nothing wrong with you; you’re human. We all have our imperfections, personality-wise. Those who are too proud to say such a thing? That’s wrong.

Starting Over Versus Trying Again With Experience | 4 Years Of This Blog

Four years… wow. That’s about the same amount of time it takes to complete a college or high school degree. For some of you, it could be a Ph.D program! But everyone goes through life differently, it has it’s twists and turns and rotaries (that’s round-abouts to you, those who aren’t from New England!) It took me a bit of time, but perhaps I already knew, who my target market was. And it’s been all of you reading this blog! It doesn’t matter if you’re in high school, college, grad school, or beyond. I mean, hey, I bought my first issue of Cosmo when I was in elementary school! It’s funnier because the issue happened to be the prom dress issue. I’ve accumulated probably thousands of magazines since I was eight years old. Nothing unusual to me, at least.

I tried to start this blog when I left The Odyssey Online in June 2016, but didn’t quite have the words to say, yet. It turns out that a writer isn’t a writer because they say they are. They write because they have something to say — something important to them. If someone else doesn’t like it, that person can “go pound sand,” as my mom would say. My personal experience with writing has been a tumultuous one, at best. However, I didn’t “start over” with writing. I tried again with more experience in the craft.

I posed the question on Instagram, “Do you start over or try again with more experience?” And all of the respondents said, “Experience Necessary.” The same thing goes for getting a job or an internship. People can leave a job for whatever reason. They don’t “start over” in their career, whatever their career may be, though they do have the option to try something different. There’s that word again: try.

You can begin essentially anywhere, but you have to keep trying. I remember trying to film my first YouTube video and I tweeted at Katy Bellotte (whom you all know I admire) “my YouTube video came out like 💩” and she actually took the time to respond to my tweet saying, “Keep trying!” I also remember trying to start a literary magazine. That was a bust. But I used the platform for that same lit mag to create a new one. Yes, I’m full of ideas. Yes, I want to build a magazine empire one day. And I think already did. (Follow @ reallemag on Instagram.)

Say it louder for the folx in the back: I TRIED AGAIN WITH EXPERIENCE! I didn’t necessarily start from scratch. With experience comes the inevitable failure, but you take that failure, forget about it, and you LEARN SOME MORE! For me, I chose a magazine and business track at my grad school. No, I will never give that up no matter what people will try to tell me. I started learning via BonBillo and I have to tell you, it’s an awesome platform to help start and grow your business.

You’re always going to be learning, even when you’re not in school. As cliché as that sounds, it’s true as hell. Think about it, when a poet, like I was in undergrad (and still am on the side), they start out with a rough draft — a really rough draft. Then, they take it to their professor and possibly a peer reviewer. It’s a team. As frustrating as the revisions and [constructive] criticisms are, you end up coming up with something fantastic that can be shared with anyone.

Life is essentially poetry. It can be edited a billion times, you’re going to ask for help along the way, major changes happen, you may regret not thinking of the idea in the first place, but in the end, it’s something you’re proud of.

How Airbnb and Travelers are Redefining Travel in 2021

COVID-19 has had a profound impact on travel in 2020. As we look to 2021, these impacts will continue to be felt in a number of ways. Firstly, continued remote working, and in some cases remote schooling, will upend traditional vacation seasons and blur the lines between working and traveling. Secondly, safety and cleanliness will continue to be top of mind for travelers, driving a preference for private, entire homes over crowded hotels. Thirdly, international travel, especially long haul, will continue to be impacted and finally, having been isolated for much of 2020, people will want to use travel to reconnect with friends and family in safe and controlled ways.

In 2021, travel will continue to be less about tourism and more about living, working and connecting safely away from home. Airbnb is ideally suited to meet these changing needs, whether providing an entire home to take a break from the city, to reconnect with loved ones or to try out a new neighborhood to move to. And its platform allows anyone with space to share to tap into these trends and earn some extra needed income.

 Based on commissioned survey data of US travelers and an analysis of search and booking data for next year, Airbnb is revealing the top three trends redefining travel in 2021:

 Live Anywhere – Taking Life on the Road

In 2021, work from home could become work from any home as remote working continues to be a reality for many people. In the survey commissioned by Airbnb*:

 ●           83 percent of respondents are in favor of relocating as part of remote working.

●        A quarter believe they will be able to ‘live where they want to and work remotely’.

●        One in five of those surveyed have relocated their living situation during the pandemic either temporarily or permanently.

●        60 percent of parents are very or somewhat likely to consider working remotely and traveling with their children if schools continue to be disrupted.

●        Unsurprisingly, Gen Z’ers and young millennial are most likely to believe they can move to a new location to work or study remotely.

One of the ways travelers are taking advantage of this trend is trying before they buy–turning to Airbnb to test new neighborhoods and cities before making a long-term commitment. From July to September this year, there has been a 128 percent increase in guest reviews mentioning “relocation”, “relocate”, “remote work” and “trying a new neighborhood” in comparison to the same time frame last year.

 Of folks who have relocated since the pandemic was declared, 24 percent of them say they moved to a suburb and 21 percent to a rural area, both greater percentages than those who say they moved to cities.* And on Airbnb,  people who have the opportunity to work from anywhere are actively booking longer stays (2+ week trips) in small-to-mid-size cities with access to immersive natural surroundings and wide open spaces, including these trending destinations below. 

●        Park City, Utah

●        Truckee, California

●        Steamboat Springs, Colorado

●        Durham, North Carolina

●        Santa Fe, New Mexico

●        Boise, Idaho

●        Richmond, Virginia

●        Greenville, South Carolina

●        Indianapolis, Indiana

●        Fort Walton Beach, Florida

Redefining the Staycation

As uncertainty persists, domestic travel will continue to be a key trend in 2021, with 62 percent of people interested in taking a vacation within driving distance of home.* Looking back at September 2019 for trip planning in 2020, for US guests, cities like Paris, London and Rome were all top destinations. Next year, a range of domestic locations in national parks, winter ski and beach towns are becoming the most popular, perhaps showing a departure from regular seasonal travel, and a preference for traditional vacation getaway destinations year-round. Some of the top spots include:

●        Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee

●        Breckenridge, Colorado

●        Davenport, Florida

●        Palm Springs, California

●        Tulum, Mexico

 Although most travel will remain closer to home in 2021, that doesn’t mean travelers aren’t having new, exciting adventures where they’re staying. Guests are expanding their horizons and seeking unique travel experiences by staying in one-of-a-kind stays on Airbnb. The top trending space types among US travelers next year include a variety of spaces known for using less energy and producing less waste, including:

●        Treehouses

●        Yurts

●        Barns

●        Cycladic houses

●        Domes

The shift to more remote and socially-distanced stays is also reflected in some of the top booked space types. Entire homes have officially replaced apartments as the top space type among guests in 2021, providing controlled, private space for everyone. More off the beaten path stays like cabins and cottages crack the top five space types for 2021 trips, replacing villas and townhouses from 2020.

The Rise of Pod Travel

2020 has made the craving for fundamental human connection very real, and this resonates in how people are thinking about travel in 2021. In fact, relocating permanently or temporarily to live close to family is favored by 85 percent of survey respondents.* And, families are increasingly turning to Airbnb as a way to safely reconnect: over the summer, there were three times more wish lists including family in the title than last summer, and that trend has continued to increase with more than 2.5 times the inclusions this September compared to last year. 

 Whether it means traveling to be close to family members, or reuniting to quarantine with a group of friends, “pod” travel is here to stay for those who want to safely be together while reducing risks associated with socializing with others. For those who have voluntarily relocated this year, 37 percent say it was to be close to family or friends – the most common reason given.* This has become increasingly popular with younger generations, with 61 percent of under-50-year-olds interested in permanently moving and 47 percent interested in temporarily moving to be closer to loved ones.* And on Airbnb, over half of trips searched for next year include three or more people, showing how people are traveling together.

For those who are not hitting the open road, they can still connect with loved ones while apart through Online Experiences. And groups are already finding unique ways to share special moments together, from preparing home-cooked authentic meals, to putting their minds together in virtual scavenger hunts, to sparking their curiosity and creativity through drawing. Some of the most popular Online Experiences groups are taking together from October to the end of 2020 include: 

●        Living Room Legends Scavenger Hunt Game (Austin, Texas)

●        True vs False’ Funny Historical Game (Athens, Greece)

●        Cook Mexican Street Tacos with a Pro Chef (Mexico City, Mexico)

●        Drawn from Within with a New York Artist (New York City, New York)

●        Family Magic Show and Magic Lesson (Chiyoda City, Japan)

Planning for the Future

While travel might look a little different in 2021, future adventures are keeping travelers inspired, with 36 percent of respondents saying they daydream about travel daily or more, increasing to 47 percent amongst people who work from home.* Our research also shows that despite the uncertainty that continues to pervade people’s lives, the more they stay at home, the more the thought of getting out gives them confidence in the future. When asked how planning for a future trip makes them feel, the most selected answer by respondents was simply: hopeful.*

Though travel restrictions are still in place, US travelers are still dreaming of their next far flung adventure, as reflected in the top trending destinations by search for trips in 2021. When the pandemic is over and travel restrictions begin to lift, travelers may be heading to vibrant cultural hubs, idyllic island clusters, and ethereal natural wonders first.

 With Copa América postponed to 2021, soccer fans are eyeing Bogotá, a sophisticated urban metropolis also playing host to one of the final games of the tournament. On the heels of having the top awarded film of the year and the meteoric rise of K-pop, Seoul, South Korea is inspiring US guests to one day experience this dynamic cultural capital themselves. Having to push its 200th birthday celebrations back a year, the state of Maine’s bicentennial events and cozy, quaint vibes are inspiring potential trips in 2021. And after months of spending a lot of time indoors, it’s clear island vacations and escapes to wide open spaces are keeping travelers daydreaming. From the white sand beaches of Maafushi in the Maldives, to the enchanting red peaked landscape of Taos, to the striking Italian island town of Ischia (known for its thermal spas), US guests’ worldly travel aspirations are alive and well:

●        Bogotá, Colombia

●        Seoul, South Korea

●        Hampton, London

●        Tisbury, Massachusetts

●        Maafushi, Maldives

●        Maine, US

●        Salon-de-Provence, France

●        Taos County, New Mexico

●        La Misión, México

●        Ischia, Italy

*Based on a survey commissioned by Airbnb and conducted by ClearPath Strategies from September 15-19, 2020 of 1,010 US adults.

Does anybody like you when you’re 23? You have to love yourself, first

I guess this is a “for the girl about to turn 23” post. If you’re turning 22, click here. If you’re turning 21, click here. There’s that classic Blink 182 phrase, “nobody likes you when you’re 23.” However, it may seem like that, but I promise you it’s not true.

At 23 it’s as though people expect that you know what you want to do. I promise you it just seems that way, but it’s all about figuring out who you are! If you’re like me, you WILL go back and forth between law and publishing, only to decide that it’s been publishing even before you even transferred colleges.

I binge-watched the entire “Sex and the City” series, and I watched the final episode tonight, and I found myself reciting Carrie Bradshaw’s most famous line: “there are relationships that will take you unexpected places, there are relationships that will get you far from where you were, there are relationships that will take you home, but the most important relationship, is the one you have with yourself.” I think that’s the only quote that I memorized throughout that entire series besides “hello my name is fabulous.” These are both true for when you turn 23. It’s all about how you see yourself — not through other people’s eyes.

In just eight days, I turn 24, not to mention it’s officially GEMINI SEASON! So without further ado, here are 23 tips when you turn 23:

  1. You will want to/or explore going to graduate school. But if you don’t, that’s still okay.
  2. Watch “Wonder,” even if you read the book. It will change you, and you will relate to it in some way or another. Also, watch “Joker,” because it’ll give you another aspect of psychology, for all of you psych majors out there!
  3. Binge watch “Sex and the City,” no, I am not biased. It has hidden life lessons that will help you later on.
  4. Treat yourself to a shopping spree! This could be the last time unless you make bank and you have a steady job. Maybe after you’ve watched “Sex and the City” you’ll want a pair of her blue Manolo Blahniks.
  5. Go back to your roots. It could be bible-study, it could be going back to the country you were born in, or it could simply be the hobby you were born to make a career out of.
  6. Thank your fifth-grade teacher, even if they don’t reply to your email. They knew you better than any other teacher. If you’re graduating from college, thank your professors.
  7. If you’re in a non-related teaching field, you probably don’t want to go into teaching. I’m just telling you from someone who tried to explore that route.
  8. You will make friends on the internet, if you haven’t done so, already. Just be smart about it.
  9. You will be so thankful you didn’t end up with what you thought you wanted.
  10. Ambition is key to no matter what you do.
  11. Rachel from “Friends” will be the most relatable character from “Friends.” Yes, you will be watching that show a lot because adulting is hard.
  12. If you do choose to go to graduate school, pick whatever field you choose with no one’s influence — including your mom’s.
  13. Cry — it doesn’t matter how many times you cry this year, or how many people notice, just cry.
  14. This year is about staying true to YOU — no matter if you’re post-grad or just getting out of undergrad.
  15. If you are a newly-minted college grad, conGRADulations!
  16. Don’t listen to your brain after you’ve had an entire bottle of wine. Your wine-induced brain doesn’t know what the hell she/he is thinking. Besides, you’ll realize that drinking isn’t ostensibly so cool like you thought when you were 21.
  17. Again, it’s okay if you don’t have a “cool job” or internship, yet. You’ll get there with time, patience, and perseverance.
  18. Please let your loved ones know if you got home safely.
  19. Tell your loved ones “I love you,” and mean it.
  20. Especially in these times, go for a job on the front-lines, like working at a Veterans’ or Nursing Home.
  21. Your opinion on love will change, and it will be YOURS. In fact, all opinions will be yours, don’t let anyone convince you otherwise. You’ve learned, you’re educated, and you should make a cohesive argument by now.
  22. If you haven’t learned how to say “no” by now, it’s time.
  23. With that being said, speak up!

Well, nonetheless, welcome to your own Jordan Year, as I transition to my Kobe year. 🥂 Bottoms up. (BTW is a “Kobe year” even a thing?) Well, I’m making it a thing.

xoxo,

April 💕

I Am April Federico. Part One.

I returned home in my khaki Bermuda shorts and my Cat in the Hat T-shirt, and I sat down to read a Cheetah Girls book — one that I’ve been meaning to read since 2nd grade. I vaguely recall a group of four of the ostensible “popular” boys and girls walking behind my mom’s black Jeep, that she still owns to this day. She’s had that car since I was in first grade. Keep in mind, that I am a fifth year in college. She got that car when I was 7.5, and I am on the verge of turning 24.

I remember because English, Science, and Geography were my favorite subjects. I hated math with all my being. I feel half my heart burning, at this moment in writing this, the Screwdriver I had, makes me stop and think, “you are not that girl, anymore.” I am not that girl anymore because I’ve grown to have respect for myself when I felt like no one liked me. That’s the most powerful form of love — self-love.

Though my hair may not be washed at this present moment, and I am settling for movies that don’t even satisfy me, like “Jumanji,” I’m sorry but that movie doesn’t inspire me. I turn to a movie on E! called “She’s All That,” where Laney tells the pathetic class president that their little moment on the corner of two streets is “surreal,” meaning their meeting could never happen in real life. It makes me angry, times like these movies were made. Even when “Hairspray,” the 2008 version was made, I hated that time. It was more or less ahead of that time because John Travolta played a woman — fat suit and all. Laney, on the other hand, is a beautiful young woman who is forced to become the most popular girl in school. The fact of the matter is, she’s already beautiful. The only thing that “doesn’t,” is that she “runs like a girl,” she wears glasses, and she is smart. What’s wrong with those? By the way, she is a girl. 

Even when my 32-year-old brother was a high schooler, it made me angry, the dynamic that he grew up with. I didn’t know what that pinging was in my chest at the time, but I know now, that was anger. I was dumbfounded when I found out that his best friend was killed by a drunk driver in 2004. My hairdresser by the time I turned 15, was his classmate, prior to her moving to another school. I found out that my hairdresser was bullied because “she didn’t dress ‘rich.'” But my brother liked her because she was funny. To me, he was the coolest guy in Medfield, Massachusetts. Yes, that’s where I grew up and moved out of, thankfully. I even remember when his friend said, “she’s so shy, she can’t even say hi,” at their “prom party.”

I remember, in 2009, when I went to my first two middle school dances, I wore a red dress. Those two dresses were different, of course. I remember a lot of guys staring at me, the night of December 2nd, 2009. That was when, as Carrie Bradshaw would say, “I got the knack for labels early,” as that dress was from Arden B. Even though I had developed a “passion for fashion,” I felt like I had been gifted the “Ghosts of April’s past.” I don’t know who would have visited/haunted me, but they surely came at later dates.

I found that one scene in “She’s All That” when the supposed popular girl said, “you’re a waste of yearbook space. You’re not gonna cry are you?” And I recall in just 3rd grade when a girl said, “your pilgrim’s house is weird. And you’re weird too. April, are you sad?” all in consecutive order, no pause in-between. To which I say, now, even though that person just may have changed:

Princess Diaries 3 In The Making...Looking Back At Parts 1 & 2 ...

Read Mia (Anne Hathaway’s) quote real carefully, “someday I just might grow out of that, but you, you will never stop being a jerk.” 

What I could say to middle-schoolers, in this moment in time, it does get better. Some people move on to other schools, some people are luckier than that. I have people tell me, “you’re lucky you were strong enough to get out.” They’re right, I was. But that has NOT diminished my self-worth.

And don’t worry about my mom’s car. Its longevity does not make me ostensibly “rude” just for sticking up for myself.

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.

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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.

15 Things To Do To Survive Quarantine

It feels like we’ve lived a full year in the past week, doesn’t it? And it’s only March 19th! So another thing happened, Tom Brady is no longer a Patriot, but a Tampa Bay Buccaneer. I promise this post will be less of a “brain dump” and “trying-to-process” post, like Thoughts on the Coronavirus: is 2020 the new 2012? No, we are afraid of fear, itself. The past two weeks have been turbulence of emotions and uncertainty. I just got off a Zoom “tech rehearsal” for my Senior Art Studio class, and I have to say, it’s better than nothing.

But other than that, here are some good tips on how to survive “staying at home” which is now referred to by the CDC as “quarantine.”

  1. Have a Chick Flick marathon!
  2. Have a horror movie marathon!
  3. Get take-out from Chomp
  4. Support artists
  5. Take a virtual tour of Versailles (I did that in person 6 years ago!)
  6. Download a book from NYPL
  7. Take virtual tours of art museums
  8. Start from a stack of books you have in your room already and work your way down! I recommend anything written by Rebecca Serle, especially In Five Years!
  9. Learn how to bake and cook!
  10. Facetime a friend/significant other
  11. Watch anything on Disney+
  12. Stop perusing social media so much! This only gets on your nerves more!
  13. Spend some time with your pets, especially if you have a cat like mine
  14. Do yoga at home
  15. Meditate