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.

Word of the Year: Intention | What will you contribute?

One of the first things Ricky Gervais said during his opening monologue (with a rather large alcoholic beverage in tow — this just goes to show how much people like to get plowed at the Golden Globes), was not to make any political remarks. But let’s be real, was anyone going to take that seriously? The answer is no. In fact, the Golden Globes, for as long as I can remember, have been a platform for celebrities to encourage viewers at home to not only vote but to take action politically. The 2018 Golden Globes especially, everyone wore black for the #TimesUp movement.

Everything that these celebrities said, especially Michelle Williams’ speech on the importance of women voting, was said with intention. The word “intention,” often shortened to “intent,” is not a word thrown around quite often. The words “letter of intent,” appear a lot on graduate school applications, though, as well as job applications. As I am writing this, I am thinking, what do people intend to do with their master’s? Ph.D.? Blog posts? Such as this one?

For me, my intention when writing is to inspire. There will never be a day where I stop writing or creating. It’s scary that in just 16 days, I will be a second-semester senior. The feeling of it is just starting to dawn on me. Do senior scaries exist? Let me know.

I realize I’ve gone back and forth throughout my college career; what to major in, what clubs I want to join, whether or not I wish to go to graduate school, to study abroad (which I didn’t end up doing), and more importantly: what I want to do for a career. What I am coming to the conclusion is that I want to keep riding my pathway to help victims of domestic violence.

Another question that comes to mind is what is my life’s intention? Easy. To help. So, in the words of Robin Williams’ (R.I.P.) famous character, John Keating:

“To quote from Whitman, ‘O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?’ Answer. That you are here — that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?”

Well, what would it be? What will you contribute?

 

The Year Of The Rat, The Year Of 4, The Year Of ACTION | New Age Morning Rituals and Reads

Happy New Year, everybody! Here we are in the… new roaring twenties? This year came in like a lion for sure, especially with Gronk being a co-host with Steve Harvey on FOX’s NYE special — boy, is that guy a party animal!

I’ve preached on Instagram to not be “all-talk” about yours/mine/our goals for 2020. I can’t stand when people are “all-talk” and no do or action. My Enneagram type is 4, which is coincidentally my number for this year as well as 2020 in numerology. According to a little something I also shared on Instagram, Enneagram 4’s are the artist who will not only bring the action to the new year but to actually act. Here’s the key to resolutions: your “new year” will be the same as the last if you don’t change your habits. As I’ve also preached in Conquering Anxiety And Achieving Well-Being, Overall, you can bitch and moan or you can freakin DO SOMETHING!!! Change and manifestation don’t work unless you do. The (in)famous New Years Resolutions similarly don’t work unless you do.

With that being said, I took some inspiration from The Gem Goddess on YouTube and created my own little morning routine. Even though I have been doing this said routine for two mornings thus far, I remind you that it does not take much time to develop a habitual routine. Moreover, I light a vanilla-scented candle (you can use any scented candle — that just happens to be my favorite scent). I also light vanilla incense and use it until it comes to a stub. I then take my red, polka-dotted journal and jot down my intentions for the day and to what and whom I am grateful. The trick is to say your intentions in the present tense; that way, you can write your intentions as if you already have them, which is KEY in manifestation.  I then meditate on my intentions with the sounds of Inspirabel, high-vibrational music that will also increase your vibrations. Classical music has a way of “doing that.” I recommend listening to it with headphones, or you could also listen to a guided meditation. If you don’t have heat in your room, wrap yourself in a soft, weighted blanket. Comfort is also key. Like I said, I did this for two days and it WORKS!

It also helps if you have some tea to calm your anxious nerves (especially if you haven’t taken your meds yet), or some coffee to wake you up. I know, those two do sound contradictory. I personally have one cup of coffee, then make myself a cup of green tea. In 2019, and in the years before that, I went a little crazy on my coffee intake, but not this year! It’s just not good for you! Speaking of which, I’m not going to drink alcohol unless it’s on a holiday, special occasion, or when I go out to a restaurant to eat. This will do wonders for your body, as well as your mental health.

Another thing: READ MORE! Take a couple of hours to stay off of your phone to read. This January, I am reading Becoming by Michelle Obama, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k by Mark Manson, and Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler. This won’t be easy considering I’m taking a course in British Literature this semester, but I always find a way. 😉

 

 

 

 

Coming to Peace With Your Past|A Decade in Review

In Beyonce’s 2013 Pepsi commercial, she says at the end, “embrace your past.” This phrase didn’t ring 100% true to me until this year — the end of the decade. I’m not going to do a year in review simply because it’s the end of the 2010s and into the 2020s. Everything I’ve learned, everything I’ve become, everything I could be, happened all in this decade.

2010: My dad was fighting cancer, and I’ve learned how to live with his illness, resultantly. This meant learning how to sacrifice. This was also the year I was introduced to social media.

2011: This is the year I broke. Not only was I dealing with a four-month diagnosis of mono, but also with depression and being bullied severely.

2012: I was accepted to my top-choice private school at the beginning of January and at the end of the year, I had my first boyfriend and heartbreak within exactly two weeks!

2013: A whirlwind of things happened this year. I got my license, and I became cold-blooded — something I am not proud of. But I did discover Vine and Instagram!

2014: Began looking at colleges, did [insert an Ivy League school’s pre-college summer program] and hated it. I then started working at the hospital where my dad was treated. I also had appendicitis… who knew I would ever need surgery?

2015: Left high school behind (meaning I graduated… 8th in my class🤓). I also started college.

2016: I moved to Rhode Island two days before my twentieth birthday, and I started writing and editing for The Odyssey. In October, I went through a bad breakup. I also started writing for Her Culture. Did I mention I also started this blog!?

2017: Okay, just read ‘Cause I Still Got A Lotta Fight Left In Me | My Hospital Stay | My Mental Illness(es) where I made two bold decisions: 1) to get a diagnosis and 2) to transfer and start over at RWU.

2018: I interned at Rhode Island Monthly, and it was one of the best experiences I’ve had. For more, read Here’s To The Best Summer Of My Life: A Reflection.

2019: Easy. I wrote a thesis on Docupoetics, got into Title IX advocacy, and met my love (hi, Steve! And THANK YOU, Bumble!).

I’m just going to talk about the year 2019 a little bit more in-depth. 2019 was more about learning my worth as a human being, so much more than I thought I ever would learn. Learning about who you are is one thing, but your worth is another. You can say who you are in a thirty-second elevator pitch, but you shouldn’t even have to explain your worth. I learned not to take any sh*t from sheep from different farms. I found that I am not only creative, but I am seriously courageous and surely resilient. That’s not something you can put in an Instagram bio. Speaking of bios, I went from writing “I run what you run in 10 years in 2 days” meaning I went from an immature, sub-tweeting high school track star to saying “#supportsurvivors” [of sexual assault]. With that being said, I found a career.

Coming to peace with your past is like Beyonce looking at all her past music video outfits in the dancing mirrors. I don’t know what it’s like to be in a music video, but I sure know what it’s like to see yourself in the mirror and look at how much you’ve changed in ten years’ time. Coming to peace with your past is all about moving on, learning from your mistakes and ultimately accepting them. That’s not to say there won’t be regrets. But whoever said, “will it matter in 5-10 years?” was so right.

So I say this: here’s to a new decade of life and blessings. Here’s to a decade of keeping your worth at the forefront of your wind. Here’s to a decade of more blog posts, and who knows? Maybe I’ll have a novel published at this time and I’ll be a leader of social justice. No more settling for less than you deserve, being treated as less than you are and keeping journal pages clean and full of words left unsaid.

Happy New Year! 🥂

 

 

 

 

This Is The Part Of Me | An Honest Post To End The Year

Talk about ending your 2016 with a bang!  After what could have been a heinous year, I’ve come out the other end stronger and more in comfortable with who I really am. That, my friend, is what I call strength. Surprising — since I never thought I possessed strength — until now. This year took a massive toll on my physical and mental health. But my identity is doing much better, thank you very much!

Let’s flashback to when I was a kid and “set the scene.” When I was a young girl, I was shy, and that’s still kind of true now. But, there was no doubt that I was creative — very creative. So, when I finally learned how to use Microsoft Word, I took advantage of it and started writing my own stories. My elementary school teachers even noticed my affinity for writing. I started dozens of stories, and ultimately only finished four (three of them written in the 4th grade):  a Halloween story, a Canadian immigrant story, and a fictional piece titled “Charlotte.” The fourth story was a memoir about finding my way through the second semester of my freshman year and entering my sophomore year in college.

Over the past year I began letting that little girl shine through, but I also let her down in some ways. I started writing again after a long hiatus, during which I had stopped believing in my work. But, once in college, it wasn’t long before I became Editor-in-Chief of the Saint Anselm chapter of the Odyssey Online, and started working and writing for the Communications and Marketing Office.

Life wasn’t all peaches and cream (I don’t even like peaches) just because I returned to writing. I was in two completely wrong majors this past year. I moved from my hometown of 20 years in Massachusetts, to Rhode Island. On top of all that, my depression resurfaced and I began practicing the abominable art of self-doubt, and started feeling “lesser-than.”

This past semester was rougher than the last, especially in October – a month that has never been kind to me. Following a bad break-up, I took two weeks off from school to focus on myself. After that, I not only bounced back from what I went through, but realized I’d been living a lackluster life and it was time to fix it. My creative, ambitious self came back. So, I started my blog, looked into studying abroad, applied to participate in Road For Hope, went on a Rural Immersions trip, and started the Women’s Collective on campus.

In spite of this, lingering self-doubt still triggered thoughts of transferring to another school — a lot. But I started to realize I’ve begun to carve out my niche and establish a name for myself at Saint Anselm. I feel like I’m making my mark. If I transfer I won’t get hugs from my best friend/roommate, I’ll miss heart-to-hearts with my adviser, and I’ll lose the opportunity to learn from the best English professors on any college campus.

At my low point, I had so much that I wanted to do but was too afraid to pursue, and I was afraid that I wouldn’t do myself or my goals justice. My depression and my anxiety tried to break me. But, by the end of 2016, I’d made the Dean’s List — twice!

So, here I am at the close of 2016. I’m listening to my younger self and silencing the negative voices in my head.

Light has always been a motif in my life, no matter what the situation. In 2016 I found this quote in my favorite YouTuber’s Snapchat story, and adopted it for myself:  “I stopped looking for the light at the end of the tunnel and lit that bitch up myself.”

Of course, I still have my moments. Don’t we all? But I can finally say I’m pretty much on Cloud 9 and things are getting better every day.

What can you expect from me in 2017? More blog posts, of course, as well as me rocking it out as an English major, and seeing my work in PRINT. I’ve discovered how much I love being published. One thing’s for sure, in the words of Katy Perry:  “This [writing] is the part of me that you’re never gonna ever take away from me.”

There’s a lot of things you can’t take away from me. My mom had me create a list of qualities that define me (i.e. what I love about myself); and, no, this does not make me self-absorbed. I’ve just gotten started, but I highly recommend it to everyone — and it’s no time to be modest. Here’s what I’ve listed so far, and I’ll bet you share some of the same qualities — so, give yourself credit:

1.) Courageous

2.) Resilient

3.) Love of learning

4.) Passionate about service

5.) Ambitious

6.) Someone who likes to bring out the best in others

What are yours? What’s your truth? What’s your passion? Will you live it in 2017? I challenge you to make your own list of what people can’t take away from YOU.