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 💕

Not Such A Bad Thing To Fall In Love

Contrary to what I said two years ago about ostensibly “hating” Valentine’s Day, I actually have always loved this holiday. Even when some kid in fifth grade said “a lot of people throw Valentine’s cards away,” I said, “I save them,” which prompted another kid to say, “seriously?” Why not? People paid money for them, and even if they were “obligatory,” they still had some thought behind them.

I even remember being in elementary school and hating the idea of love, even though I secretly had a crush on Cole Sprouse during his “Suite Life of Zack and Cody” days with his brother, Dylan, Brenda Song, and Ashley Tisdale.

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Hey, um, elementary school April? Did you even have experience with love? No. You won’t even have your first love until you’re 19.

I love this holiday because it’s the one day, if not every day, that you can express your gratitude for someone you know. (I’m not saying I particularly “liked” anyone in elementary school.) The thing is, when you show gratitude for someone, they’re willing to do more and vice-versa. It’s more or less of a give-and-take game.

Maybe I was just a closeted hopeless romantic. I remember one of the only things I wanted after the eighth grade was to have a boyfriend, not that I was desperate. I was yearning for the real, romantic-with-a-mix-of-friendly love that I didn’t quite get till now (i.e. my current boyfriend — hi Steve!) On that note, I am grateful to the love I share with him. Despite the last two “chapters” of my life, nothing was quite so meaningful until him.

I feel like I’m fulfilling my Carrie Bradshaw “status” in writing about love. But the truth is, love has no set definition. It’s all that you make of it. It’s not always what you see on television and in the movies. It’s challenging, but it’s a good challenge. It’s funny because it actually is give and take. It’s not really about sex, either, which is not in accordance with popular belief. Some choose to wait, and some choose to do it. But either way, communication is also key to conveying what you want. In fact, I felt as though it were just tonight that my boyfriend and I were getting to know each other all over again. Whatever it was, it felt right.

My point in all this is not to conform to popular culture, or what seems “cool.” In the end, it’s all about what’s right for you.

 

Believing | 3 years (and counting) of this blog

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

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

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

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

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

 

Cheers To Two Years Of This Blog

First of all, HAPPY TWO YEARS TO THIS BLOG! Remember when it used to be “Redheaded Ambition?” I do, too. Second, thank you so much to the readers who have been with me throughout this journey of expression. Thank you to my parents (especially my mom) for giving me this idea, and especially to those who encouraged me to keep writing.

I remember when I first started this blog, I was not in a good place in my life. But this was a point where I was starting to become my own person and not give a f**k about what people would think about me/my decisions, and I’ll be honest, some decisions were better than others (e.g. dying my hair a dark brown — yikes!) Yet again, we are human.

I’m at a much better place in my life right now and am truly enjoying the work I’m doing. I also remember when writing this blog, I was trying to be THE boss-ass bitch by doing everything I could’ve ever done with my time. I remember looking at a photo of myself wearing a Madrid baseball cap, green plaid scarf, typical black leggings look with Hunter Boots holding a pumpkin spice latte from Dunkin Donuts sticking my tongue out, and I couldn’t help but think: “I’m in a new place (literally), with a new mindset, with the same deep-red nail polish and same coffee obsession.”

I remember writing The Art of Communication and thinking about how angry I was while initially writing it that summer. Then came the day I started this blog and I was actually ready to put it out there.

Also, while reflecting, I’m going to be honest (as always.) I went against what I preached in THE FASHION DIARIES: Wedding Attire And Getting Real About Love and tried a dating app (I’m not going to say which one.) My advice after the ordeal I went through this past month? Don’t do it. Never would I ever have thought I’d be the one to break things off with a guy, but my other piece of advice is KNOW.  YOUR. WORTH. The reason why I didn’t post this on time was that of this guy who took advantage of my precious time. It’s actually super funny because whenever I’m in my last full year at a school, I have “things” with guys. Moreover, my job as a blogger/influencer/woman is to empower other young women (and even men) that may be going through what I have gone through.

Moral of the story: thank u, next (best song EVER.)

Another funny thing? I was going through something like this two years ago when starting this blog (different circumstances, of course.) I always compare myself to Carrie Bradshaw, but in this case, I feel like Miranda because she, like the rest of the “quad,” are powerful women. But my favorite thing about Miranda is that she never accepted anything less than she deserved.

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And going off of that gif, she never apologized for her success. 💪 One more thing before I wrap up this blog post is that she has supportive friends. And I’m beyond thankful for each and every one of my friends who has supported me throughout all areas of my life.

I love you all, and from now on, I’m dedicating myself to empowerment and, of course, writing!

xoxo

April 💋❤

 

 

THE FASHION DIARIES: Wedding Attire And Getting Real About Love

It’s almost the end of my month, but tomorrow is the beginning of my other month (a.k.a my birth month). April is a time of awakening and a time for celebrating love. That’s right, I’m taking a break from the millions of things I have to do to talk about what I wore to a wedding yesterday and the inevitable topic, love.

You can watch as many of your friends and relatives walk down the aisle, and you can’t help but think: Could that be me one day? No doubt I had that feeling yesterday afternoon. As Kelly Clarkson once sung when she won American Idol, “some people search forever for that one special kiss.”  I can honestly say that wedding made me believe in love again. There’s something emergent about an April Sunday afternoon that just makes you think about all that stuff. I’m a writer/poet, so I kind of have to be a romantic.

It’s true: some people do wait what seems like forever for that one special moment. For some people, the process takes faster than others. I mean, hey, Gloria Steinem found her husband at a later stage in her life, and she absolutely adored him. I watched this Academy-nominated short film for my public speaking class called “Edith and Eddie,” which is about an older couple who married at ages 96 and 95. They were absolutely inseparable. Needless to say, the film nearly brought me to tears.

Confession: I tried apps like Hinge and Bumble, and I’m telling you right now, they SUCK. Never will I ever try Tinder — DON’T FIGHT ME ON THAT! So, after the wedding (and getting a palm reading from my friend), I decided I will wait the old-fashioned way, no matter how long it takes me, to find the one, and it will be absolutely perfect. I’m embarrassed to say that I even tried those apps *insert puking emoji here.*

Now to talk about something a little less heavy: fashion! A springtime wedding means bringing out the florals and traditional spring colors. So, I tried the mesh trend with a floral pattern in rose-gold.

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The platform heel that I’m wearing in this picture is also really in right now. Tip: always pack a pair of d’orsay flats — just in case you want to hit the dance floor like I did later that night. When looking for bags, I went for the metallic look, which is also in right now. Plus, it was big enough to fit the necessities.

Dress: Justfab.com

Shoes & bag: DSW

Hat: Amazon

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Regretting Regret

In life, there are going to be things we regret. I regret not taking a certain class in my senior year of high school, not choosing the right major until about a year later, the list goes on. While meditating yesterday, the little voice coming from my phone was talking about regret. Though I wanted to achieve the concept of zen — unbothered and untouched, I couldn’t help but feel irritated, if not infuriated at the thought of past relationships.

I don’t know why (blame it on biology), I just develop feelings for guys who are interested in me at first but then end up dumping me for whatever reason. Two breakups made me think, “were they ever really attracted to me? Or did they just go with it?”

Talking about relationships trigger me in a sense because I’m realizing now that I’ve always been the one to say “I like you” first. No guy has ever asked me to be their girlfriend. In a way, that has made me feel “ugly.” As a result, it tries to take everything out of me and makes me feel unworthy.

There’s this one poem by Rupi Kaur from Milk and Honey:

“he only whispers i love you 

as he slips his hands

down the waistband 

of your pants

this is where you must

understand the difference 

between want and need

you may want that boy

but you certainly 

don’t need him.”

That’s right, honey, you have to be the one to say they’re unworthy of your time and attention. You are not a weak cup of coffee, you are a strong Colombian coffee. Last night I saw this post on Facebook shared by one of my friends:

“You can’t own a human being. You can’t lose what you don’t own. Suppose you did own him. Could you really love somebody who was absolutely nobody without you? You really want somebody like that? Somebody who falls apart when you walk out the door? You don’t, do you? And neither does he. You’re turning your whole life to him. Your whole life, girl. And if it means so little to you that you can just give it away, hand it to him, then why should it mean any more to him? He can’t have value more than you value yourself.” – Toni Morrison, Sound of Solomon

You’ve probably heard this a thousand times over the course of your life, but God really does come in mysterious ways. This morning during my meditation, I’ve come across the theme of forgiveness. The little voice coming from my phone told me to think of a time when I experienced hurt — naturally, I thought of my previous relationships, and I bet anyone listening to that meditation would think the same.

“What did you feel?”

“Where did you feel it?”

“Was it a sinking feeling?”

“Did your heart tighten?”

“Did your shoulders fold inwards?”

But most importantly, how can you forgive yourself in addition to forgiving others? What would you say to yourself? In that moment, I thought of the great philosopher, HelloKaty saying, “You are not watered-down tequila, you are Patrón!”

Additionally, I learned from The Bachelorette (a show I’d never thought I’d watch), that you have to be selfish sometimes and with that, I’ve learned to forgive myself for feeling hurt, upset, etc. even my regrets. It’s all part of our humanity. Those of us who have those feelings, recognize them, own them, and move on are in a lot healthier state than those who pretend not to have any feelings, at all.