Words And Mantras To Live By Every Day: The April Diaries Edition

I started reading Gabby Bernstein’s (well, listening to on Audible), The Universe Has Your Back. Honestly, it’s changing my life for the better, all the way down to the atoms of my being. No, I am not on any sort of hard drug. (DON’T DO DRUGS! THAT INCLUDES ALCOHOL!)

But in all seriousness, the way that Gabby phrases things to make us understand spirituality and overall mental and emotional well-being is impeccable. I began writing some of her sayings and phrases and prayers all over my weekly calendar to the point where I said this morning, “I’m going to blog about it!” Some of these are quotes, others I’ve modified to fit my own words.

  1. “Choose to be peaceful amidst chaos.”
  2. “Nothing is impossible. The word itself says, ‘I’m possible!'” — Audrey Hepburn
  3. “Everything is okay.”
  4. “I am allowed to be taken care of.”
  5. “I shine bright like a diamond.”
  6. “I’m proud of the work I do with my personal growth.”
  7. “Let them eat cake.” — Marie Antoinette
  8. “I am ready to learn through love.” — Gabby Bernstein
  9. “I am determined to see with love.” — Gabby Bernstein
  10. “I am badass!”
  11. “It only gets better from here.”
  12. “The thing is, I’m actually quite calm.”
  13. “You are rising from the ashes, you magnificent bitch.”
  14. “I step back and let the universe lead the way.” — Gabby Bernstein
  15. “I am grateful. ‘Nough said.

Try using one or more of these to repeat in meditation and/or prayer every day.

Go Little Rockstar: It’s Ready, It’s Yours, You Did It

I tell this story a million times, or at least I think I do, but when I first published on The Odyssey Online, with my first two articles in the queue. Mind you, my boss at the time put all his trust in me and thought I- I was qualified to be Editor-in-Chief of my campus chapter. I took it because there wasn’t a chance I’d have that again… until now.

It’s been years since that breakthrough phone call. But as of recently, I broke through, out of my own personal “gate” to be my own boss. I remember vaguely, when I was eight years old, I told my mom I wanted to be a pop star and to perform in my very own concert. She said, “it takes a really long time.” It does. It does take a really long time. Some people wait a lifetime, like Van Gogh when he sold his first painting. I don’t know if anyone realizes, but I am a huge of Van Gogh and his background. I don’t know what led him to asylum, but I know that he and I both coped with art. Poetry for me, painting for him.

It took a really long time, but I found what I was meant to do. I rewatched Katy Bellotte’s “An Honest Video,” (again) only to be triggered by the same emotions that led me to my hospitalization in 2017. I’ll be honest when I say I nearly gave up on my purpose, due to anxiety. But it was only growth that was making my soul itch. Growth is notoriously uncomfortable.

So, little rockstar, what were you meant to do? I strongly believed I was put on this Earth for a purpose: to inspire. I’ve had publishers tell me that relentlessly. I believed them. As Katy says in the beginning of her video, “ignoring your passions is slow suicide.” She came to the conclusion in her Italian language class that she wanted to go into graphic design. She went from working at L’Oreal in social media to being her own boss at Katy Bellotte Designs.

It’s no secret that I’ve held countless jobs and internships this past year alone. I also believed that I had it all; I have a man who loves me (hi Mark!), family, friends, food to eat, and a roof over my head. I just wasn’t satisfied with my career. I knew a few years back that I was meant for more than journalism. I tried my hand at marketing– what a bust. I tried to run my own business, then COVID hit. Now, things are looking up. I’m so excited to reveal I became a trauma healing, spiritual health and wellness coach! That’s right, I chose courage over fear; faith over doubt; being present instead of brooding on the past.

I talked a bit in my last post about fearing the future. But now, I live by the mantra, “I needn’t worry about the future anymore. It’s bright, it’s here, it’s mine, I did it.”

My head has never been more clear. Go, little rockstar. Keep moving forward. 🚀

xoxo,

April 💖

How To Achieve Your Goals In 2022 Without Losing Your Mind

Hi everyone! First of all, happy New Year. Second, I don’t know about you but I *used* to suck at achieving my New Years’ resolutions. But I’ll be honest with you, the concept of a “New Year’s resolution” is crap, and I’ll tell you why; the name in it of itself sounds intimidating and it sounds like something you absolutely have to achieve, simultaneously putting unnecessary pressure on yourself. However, if you turn that phrase into just simply “goals,” it sheds the pressure.

For example, one of my goals this year is to feel better in my body by intermittent fasting and eating foods that are good for me and give me energy. I was worried at first about losing weight because I thought I’d go straight back into unhealthy eating and drinking habits. Oh yeah, and I quit drinking alcohol cold turkey, which was surprisingly easy! But if you change the phrase, “losing weight” into “being healthier,” again, it sounds less intimidating and actually fun to do! I personally recommend the app “Fastic” — it’s a free app that tracks your fasting windows and actually reminds you to DRINK WATER! If you read/listened to Atomic Habits by James Clear, you’d know that even if you start something and stick with it, whatever “it” is automatically becomes a part of your routine. Don’t get me wrong, I never took a psychology class in my life (and honestly wish that I have!) but I don’t need a psychology degree to know that when you switch a phrase, something you’re trying to achieve will actually become a fun process!

Another trick or “life hack” is choosing quality over quantity. Yes, this concept applies to your lifestyle. For example, another one of my goals is to read 52+ books this year. How do I make that sound less intimidating? I choose good books that I actually want to read, including the books I’m reading in my climate literature class this semester (yes, “cli-fi” is a real multigenre, and yes, I recommend it!). I’m not even going to stress out if I don’t make it past 52 books, as long as I’m having fun reading!

Let’s track back to health for a sec; if you’re struggling with a workout schedule, sit down with your agenda/planner/whatever and schedule when your workouts would take place. But only workout if you feel like it. You can’t force your body to do something. Listen to your body. If you work in the morning/afternoon, it’s more likely that you’ll be working out at night. I have yet to get my schedule in complete order, myself.

In summation, the key to achieving your goals is to have fun doing it, even if you have to change a phrase to wire your brain into wanting to do it.

Like always, I wish you folx godspeed in achieving your goals for 2022! Make this year better than the last two years! Commit to the “new you.”

xoxo,

April

Habits To Let Go Of By 2022

As we all know, 2021 is reaching its end. It’s no secret that 2020 has led some of us, if not all of us, into bad habits like binge drinking or eating or even being a total couch potato while watching Netflix. In May 2020, two months into the pandemic, I started to realize my self-worth, for the second time. (If you know, you know!) With that being said, some of the things that happened in 2020 led me to negative self-talk, which is one thing to let go of by 2022.

With negative self-talk, you’re literally demeaning your self-worth. Some of this negative self-talk may come from outside sources that say you’re not good enough. If you read The Truth About Self-Esteem, you would know that the truth of the matter is that your self-esteem affects every aspect of your life. As a result of negative self-talk, you’re going to go into a rabbit hole of self-sabotage — the cardinal sin of wellbeing.

Another habit to let go of is to not rush through life like it’s some sort of race. Newsflash: life is not a race. Your only competition is you. After watching a video by Nika Nikita, she mentioned this morbid yet true affirmation: “I am speeding to my death.” Believe me, that can easily apply to driving and living life in the fast-lane. Life is too short to self-medicate with alcohol or getting baked just because you had a rough day. There are alternatives, like realizing that you have this plethora of self-love. This is the only life you will ever have, maybe, unless reincarnation is real — depending on what you believe.

Another thing Nika mentions is how you define your success. To me, success is how much I’ve grown to love my curves, — including the extra fat in my tummy. And what’s icing on the cake is that my boyfriend loves my curves, too! I used to think it was just simply having the “best life,” but what is that exactly? It’s up to you! You are the author to your own story. There will be characters that you don’t like, but yet again, you have no control over their behavior. You just have to play it out and realize that you — the main character — are no tragic Shakespearean hero. Whenever I say this, I always think of Macbeth or Hamlet. Put simply, if you keep focusing on what you think is going to make you successful, it will ultimately lead you to your demise. Again, put simply, that is karma or fate. Let me give you a real-life example; if I were to keep job-searching when I already have everything I need to succeed, I’d go completely bonkers because I’d be feeding my brain with, say it with me… NEGATIVE SELF-TALK!

So, what I’m saying to you is to start letting go of these bad habits and create 1) positive self-talk 2) take the time to stroll through life like it’s a walk in the park (or LIVE IN THE MOMENT!) and 3) own your success, just as it is. Create it on your own terms.

In fact, try this as a journal entry: how do I (you) define success?

For me, it’s to enjoy the freedom I have do to everything I want. I let go of negativity and self-criticism and what people think of me. I am doing the best I can and I am blessed beyond measure.

**If you would like to see April Diaries journal entries, let me know in the comments!

Follow me on Instagram: @ aprilinnewengland

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Committing To A Routine

If you’re anything like me, you’re probably ALWAYS on the go. At this point in time, Friday’s and weekends are my only days off, and for that I am grateful. I wake up Monday-Thursday at a screeching 3 AM, and my eyes are screaming for more sleep. On top of that, this semester I have one class that’s on Tuesday and Thursday nights. I’ve unfortunately fallen into the habit of napping every time I get home. No, there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with napping; but I’m realizing that it takes a lot of time out of my day. Don’t get me wrong, rest is important. In fact, I actually made it part of my routine!

Speaking of routines, it’s imperative that you commit to one. Coming to terms with it now, I realize that the word “commitment” doesn’t always refer to romantic relationships. In fact, commitment is a part of adulting and daily life. You’re probably thinking, “but today’s my day off, what do I have to commit to?” For me? Well, it’s no secret that I struggle with anxiety, so changes in routine really f**k me up. It wasn’t until I found this video by Nika Nikita about how to change your life. I figured this was part of my “research” on how I could establish a better routine.

One of the things that I do is script. Scripting is a manifestation tool that helps create the life that you want. But the thing about scripting is that you have to commit to it. You can’t just slap down what you want in your life on a piece of paper and say, “okay, my life is set.” No.

Another thing I try to do is meditate. I highly recommend listening to 741 hertz frequencies or even a guided meditation!

Keeping an agenda or even using Google Calendar or Notion is important, too. You need to have some way of keeping your schedule on track and “schedule out your schedule,” so to speak.

Knowing your limits is important, too. You can’t pour from an empty cup. But it’s important to know when and how you’re going to take your “me days.” But think of it this way, every day is a me day because you get to live.

Part of what I learned is to also nourish yourself, particularly with healthy food. I’ve learned from many years of buying Starbucks at school and from Uber Eats that a White Chocolate Mocha Latte and a chocolate croissant isn’t going to sustain you because of all the sugar. (Which explains why I nearly fall asleep by the time it’s 8 AM at work — yikes!) And besides, healthier foods are what sustain us, in the long run. Also, TAKE YOUR VITAMINS, especially those B-Complex, Vitamin C, and Omega-3. Take them daily, too, as that’s part of the routine. Exercise is important, too, even if you’re just simply stretching. I highly recommend FitOn. It’s completely free!

I will get to resets in another post, but for now, grab an agenda, bullet journal, whatever you use to keep track of yo’self and get to building a healthier mindset, and overall sanity.

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?

Burnt Out

I know, you’re thinking “it’s only week four (five now) of classes. How could you be burnt out?”

As I was typing the words, “burnt out” in the title, I looked at it and said, “has it really gotten to this point?”

As I sit in the atrium next to the Starbucks on campus, I am busy submitting poems to potential magazines and thinking about what to do next. Do I get lunch? No, not quite yet. Do I submit more poems for consideration? No, wait till you generate some more. Do I do work? Yes, April, you should OR you could write another blog post.

I wrote a blog post a while ago called Fitness, Fashion, and Time Management. Maybe this is just me, but I think that my time management is more up-to-par in the second semester. I’m sitting here yawning my like no other (mostly because I woke up at 6:30 to get ready for my 8 a.m. Management class.) I want to yawn some more just saying, “I have an 8 a.m. class Monday, Wednesday, Friday.” Yup, there I go again.

giphy

Anyway, I’m not here to talk about how tired I am (constantly), I’m here to talk more about time management so your head can stay clear.

My morning routines (particularly Monday, Wednesday, Friday), I wake up at an ungodly hour, get dressed, get my usual venti-iced-white-mocha at the campus Starbucks and go to class. Since I commute to campus, I usually go home a half hour after my class. But today, I’ve decided to stay the entire day to catch up on work.

While I don’t have a set to-do list, I do have a consistent plan to get sh*t done. That means having a killer attitude even when you’re absolutely cranky. A constant theme I’ve noticed in the podcasts I listen to is the idea of “faking it till you make it.” To me, what that means, is faking it until it becomes reality. Last Thursday, I was so cranky and burnt out that I refused to take a joke or even smile. But then my mom, oddly enough, made me laugh about a Nacho Mama’s delivery car or something. (Nacho Mama’s is a Mexican place in Bristol). And I actually smiled!

But as I write this portion two weeks later, I have my sh*t together, and I even completed my first exam of the semester! (Pray for me, it was Management). Another thing: I started dancing again, and I completely forgot how much I loved it. Being a part of a team/club (or two, or three) really gives you balance, plus you discover what you’re truly passionate about. Don’t get me wrong, I love writing. But dance has been my first love since I was three years old. (Thanks KD for persuading me to come to dance last Wednesday.)

That goes back to my theory about balance. Balance is a necessity of life, and even if you think you’re so busy, you actually can make time for your friends and the things you love. My friends and my mom keep telling me, “you need a hobby outside of writing.” I think I found it ☻