Thoughts on the Coronavirus: is 2020 the new 2012? No, we are afraid of fear, itself

Thoughts on the Coronavirus: is 2020 the new 2012? No, we are afraid of fear, itself

So, I know most of you are tired of hearing about the Coronavirus. I, personally, do not have Coronavirus, but I think it will be like the H1N1 Virus (which I did have, and no, that was not the bubonic plague of 2009.)

But why do I bring up 2012? Simply because, that, my friends, was the year people thought the world was going to end according to the Mayan Calendar. I mean people thought the world was going to end in 2000 — didn’t happen! It was just simply the turn of a century, which people were afraid of. And it’s no doubt that people were afraid of 2020 — the turn of a decade that we’ve known all too well and have gotten used to. I’ve never taken a look back on the societal norms of that decade, except for my own personal events which you can read about in Coming to Peace With Your Past|A Decade in Review . I think we are all afraid of change. We expect so much to happen, yet we are brought with bad news all over the place. Kobe Bryant passed away with his daughter, Gianna, along with a few others in a helicopter crash. Tom Brady became a free agent and we don’t know (for those of you who live in New England) if he’s going to officially come back to the Patriots. Schools around the area in which I live have closed and will resort to classes taught online until further notice. The world is scary!

No, change is scary. Let’s put it bluntly, simply, and to the point. Everything is online, including some classes that we’ll need to pursue in order to finish our degrees (for those of us graduating in 2020.) Some people may think I am biased when I say that domestic violence and abusive relationships might be considered normalized — no. This is just simply an analogy I’m using. But the overuse of social media? Very much so. I wrote in a paper for a theology class in senior year of high school, that people act out of fear. Is fear what makes us post on social media? To make out China or Mexico (where the Swine Flu originated) to be such bad places? Is fear what makes us turn away from that one scene in The Blind Side? Is fear what makes us not watch Freedom Writers? Is fear the one thing that stops us from doing what we’re meant to do? Think about it.

“They encourage students to find their own and present it to the world. In the process, Freedom Writers acquire general academic and life skills while becoming responsible for their own lives and happiness, overcoming social disadvantage.” 

Plain and simple: we avoid fear to just stay in the comfort zone. The comfort zone is fine, but is that what makes history? Is that what made every woman they are today? Every man, likewise? For all of you, sports fans out there: did Kobe Bryant have this fear of entering the NBA draft? Did Thomas Edward Patrick Brady Jr. ever have this fear of being 199th in the draft for the New England Patriots? Let me know. The point is, we don’t know in hell what the future will bring. There’s that.

xoxoxo,

April 💕

Also, title credentials go to the boyfriend, Steve! Check him out at https://www.believeinbostonsports.com/author/stevea1127/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n8cfbBgXIow

BLOG-MAS TUESDAY: Getting Out Of The Comfort Zone | Just Trust It

BLOG-MAS TUESDAY: Getting Out Of The Comfort Zone | Just Trust It

HAPPY first day of Blog-Mas Tuesday, everyone! This idea stemmed last year but unfortunately wasn’t consistent. So, I asked, and y’all answered: “Blog-Mas Tuesday” chumps “Festive Friday Nights” (…by a landslide 😜). Nonetheless, I look back on last year’s (only) Blog-Mas Tuesday to find it was about kindness. I guess I only needed to do one last year because I’ll admit that one rocked if I do say so myself. 💁🏼‍♀️ I particularly liked that post because it was when I first got my start in Title IX, and as some people could probably tell by reading that post, a lot of plans changed.

I know what you’re thinking: this girl cannot make up her mind. No, I just don’t have a clear pathway, yet. 

As said in No one’s going to tell you what to do and/or For the College Student(s) Having Doubts, I’ve been having doubts about taking a year off. But I am feeling better about it because yesterday, I applied for a job in Boston (and may end up living there for a year or two or three, or four).

The funny thing is that I was actually recruited to apply, and although I can’t go to law school right away, this will give me a glimpse of what it’s like to live in a big city that I’ve been talking about living in since May. What’s even funnier is that I read an Instagram post that talked about getting out of the comfort zone.

The comfort zone is something no one can emerge out of easily, but it is possible. For me, getting out of my comfort zone is easier than it was than say, four years ago. Let’s be real: no successful person became successful by living in their comfort zone. It’s all about taking risks to get what you want. If that surely is the case, then I don’t think anyone wants to live in their comfort zone forever.

One thing I know for sure is that everyone wants to be comfortable, no matter if it’s in your own bed, beach house bed, or even your grandmother’s guest room. I remember sleeping on the floor in a sleeping bag at a school in Manchester, NH on a Winter Break Alternative trip when I went to SAC, with people I had yet to come to know. Then came transferring schools, which was even scarier. Moreover, on that particular service trip, I learned what going to school was like in a semi-urban community. Learning how to speak Spanish at a higher level than you’re used to is even more nervewracking because you don’t know if you’re saying everything 100% correctly. [Hint hint: this is actually what I might be doing come August 2020, so stay tuned — minus the sleeping on a floor]. 

“There may be something God has called you to that feels uncomfortable — maybe to the point where you’re not even sure if you can keep moving forward.”

Maybe this is what I was called to do at the time. Maybe this job in Boston is what I was called to do in my gap year. I shouldn’t let this terrify me; I should just trust it. But what is “it?” Fate? God? My guides? The world may never know.

Thoughts On Being Taken For Granted

Thoughts On Being Taken For Granted

I’ve seen a few posts on Facebook about this topic, so I thought I’d share my thoughts on this unfortunate subject on being taken for granted.

I’ve come to the conclusion that I do not have to be perfect, but I do not deserve to be treated as less than I am. As a woman, I believe it is not my job to aspire to marriage. However, when (or if) I do decide to get married or be in any relationship, I refuse to be taken for granted.

As said, I watched this video on Facebook about a husband and wife. The woman does absolutely everything around the house, including getting their young daughter to school on time, making lunch, and even making her husband’s favorite dinner, which he completely rebuffs because, supposedly, the house is “filthy.” He asks his wife, “what did you do all day?” in retaliation. Are you kidding me!? 

We’ve all been there — no matter if you’re male or female. It feels like we do everything for someone or a group of people and they just completely rebuff our efforts to please them (I’m not talking in a sexual way.) Or, they simply don’t think what you’re doing is “enough” (that could actually be taken in a sexual context.)

When I first started this blog, I turned to one of my favorite principles: “If you can’t take it anymore, then give.” I’m certainly not who I was two years ago when I wrote my first blog post on “the Art of Communication.”

There are times when I definitely feel like my efforts aren’t good enough for other people. But the thing is, and I encourage you all to do this: do it for yourself. About a week ago, I led a community connections trip for incoming freshmen at RWU, and I must say, bonding with the first-year students was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I didn’t apply to be a site leader because it’ll “look good on a resume,” I did it because service is a huge part of my life, and I wanted to be among the many people who want Rhode Island communities to feel appreciated.

If you feel like you’re being taken for granted, just know that there are people out there that do/will appreciate your hard work. This also kind of goes along with another blog post of mine, The Two Tips To Achieve Self Love.

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I quoted this in another blog post, and I’ll quote it again, (because TBH when am I NOT pulling a quote out of my butt?) “Your twenties are your selfish years.” Yes, you have to be selfish sometimes, but not so much that you completely take everything and everyone you’ve ever known for granted. Take a minute and pray, or even better, as soon as your feet hit the ground in the morning, say “thank you.” And with every step you take afterwards, say “thank you.” You only get one life. Tell those workers at Starbucks (I’m talking to you, RWU students 😜) “thank you,” or that one professor who listened to your problems “thank you.” A little appreciation goes a long way. It’ll make someone’s day. (Sorry that rhymed 🤣) Heck, even thank Mother Nature for how nice the weather was today (if it was nice — I don’t know where you are in the world!)

If you know me, you’d know that I pray on the daily. I say to God ALWAYS, “thank you for this life and I thank you for protecting me.” I ask God to bless everyone in my life who has impacted me for the better. I’ll pray tonight that my junior/senior year of college will be the best year of my life.

THE FASHION DIARIES: Met Gala 2018

THE FASHION DIARIES: Met Gala 2018

I never really quite grasped the purpose of the Met Gala. But from what I know and understand, it’s one of fashion’s biggest nights! This year’s theme was “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination.”

I actually remember in my freshman year of high school when wearing crosses, in any way shape or form, were one of the biggest trends. I remember walking into a Forever 21 store and finding a section dedicated to lace, pastels, and crosses. I’m not going to lie, I thought it was a cute trend and the theme was very creative. But I can see why people were getting upset. It’s all about seeing both sides of the situations, after all. Yes, I actually learned something from Public Speaking.

So, without further ado, here are my top 10 favorite looks from the 2018 Met Gala!

10.)  Lily Collins

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9.) Amanda Seyfried

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8.) Michelle Williams

Joan of Arc vibes???

7.) Naomi Watts

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6.)  Kate Bosworth

5.)  Anne Hathaway

4.)  Kendall Jenner

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3.) Rihanna

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2.)  Selena Gomez

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1.)  Blake Lively

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I might as well add Andrew Garfield here, because, why not? Psst Andrew, I’m single (insert sly-faced emoji here).

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I do not own any of these photos.*

Regretting Regret

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.

Toto, We’re Not In Manchester, Anymore | WBA Manchester

“Be the one who nurtures and builds. Be the one who has an understanding and forgiving heart one who looks for the best in people. Leave people better than you found them.”

What an eye-opening, life-changing week! Every day after coming back from Hillside Middle School to teach English and Mathematics to refugees, I would plop down on my sleeping bag, exhausted. To me, feeling exhausted is a way of feeling fulfilled. I felt that way every day coming home from Tufts Medical Center. I even felt that way today after coming back from my Intro. to Spanish-American Literature class — the most advanced Spanish course of this semester. Yes, I’m an overachiever, but that’s not the point.

No lie, I had a flare up of panic attacks prior to this Winter Break Alternative Service & Solidarity trip. But, my mom kept reminding me that I’ll be doing something I love: service. And I knew my Spanish double major would come in handy on this trip. I couldn’t stop fidgeting and shaking during the send-off mass, and even stumbled upon my words while reading (every lector’s nightmare). It wasn’t until we actually started working when I felt more at ease.

That Monday, I and another girl on my trip drove to Hillside Middle School for the first time. The coordinator had no idea we were coming, so they let us help out with “lunch buddies.” We stayed with the girls while the boys went off with the principal. The girls were working on a “positivity project” with a woman from Girls Inc. It was a collage of words from women’s magazine that promote positivity. It seems as though the media only promotes being perfect, flawlessness, and almost fakeness. Yeah, you’re trying to advertise your products and clothing. But what real girl is going to buy them to make themselves feel beautiful when these products can only make you feel “plastic.” I remember being in middle school thinking I had to have all these different couture items to make me feel like a celebrity. I was sad that I couldn’t see the girls’ finished projects.

My English major and knowledge in the sciences came in handy, as well. That Monday afternoon, a handful of us went to Elmwood Gardens to help with homework. After helping girls with English and science homework, I was asked by one of the coordinators to lead group discussions — something you’d think I’d be used to. The girls and I talked about random stuff that happened in school, well at least they did. These girls definitely reminded me of myself when I was middle school — inside jokes and talking about boys.

During one of our reflections, we talked about the inevitable: the future. I hate talking about the future with all my heart because I’m more of a “live in the moment” kind of gal. I couldn’t help but feel not so much “on the trip,” unless I was at Hillside or Elmwood, because I felt like I have to tend to you loyal followers and be in constant communication on social media. Let me just tell you this: you’re not going to enjoy the gift of the present if all you’re thinking about is what you don’t know what you want! You simply don’t enjoy life like that. So, it is better to cherish your present in order to not take it for granted. What you want in the future may or may not even work out! I just wish people could stop saying stuff like “I think I’m going to go to California (or wherever) after graduation!” as if they’re so certain what they’re going to do. Just have a realistic plan! I know, I’m only a sophomore in college and I’m going off on this tangent. But this is where I say to myself: “April, stop being this critical because you’re still torn between being a lawyer and a journalist.” 

But, as I watched a Ted Talk given by a young woman from Bhutan, she mentioned that people like her look to have a future based on happiness and to be willing to drop to the lowest social status to obtain this future and to be happy. That was me in my freshman year of high school when I went from public school to private Catholic school. There’s so much sacrifice to live this ideal life. Sacrifice has always been a theme in my life, not just mine, but my family’s. I’m not the only one, I’ve come to realize. The day before, we went to the airport to pick up a family from Bhutan. It was like watching The Good Lie — a movie we watched about Sudanese refugees coming to America. I couldn’t tell if I was going to cry with happiness (for them), if my heart was so full for them, or both. I just wanted to give the grandmother the shoes off my feet so hers wouldn’t freeze in the sandals she was wearing.

I can honestly say I have a somewhat understanding of what my dad and his family went through when they moved from Italy to the United States. There was this one line from The Good Lie: “You come to America and this is how you choose to live your life?” Believe it or not, my dad actually gives semi-good life advice. Because of him, and what my family has been through, and my mom even told me this as she drove me back to school: live life to the fullest and it’s what YOU make of your experience(s). I will never take where I live for granted. I only ever moved to one state, and I used to be so bitter about it. These refugees we were working with were moving to completely different countries on completely different continents with completely different cultures and norms — COMPLETELY DIFFERENT!

There’s another thing that comes with working with refugees: patience. I now know what it’s like to be a teacher and having to control your rowdy eighth graders to get them to do their work. As I help these refugee kids out with math, I’m reminded of when I was an eighth grader with mono and could not grasp the concept of exponents. Well, look at me now, I’m teaching math I couldn’t do when I was in eighth grade! Take that! My favorite subject to help them out with was English (no, duh! I’m a writer!). So my writing assistant skills were put to the test, as well. I felt like my high school Spanish teacher by saying things like “¿Listas/os?” and “¿Necesitas ayuda?” I learned a lot from my mother about teaching, that’s for sure. It was exhausting, but rewarding. My thoughts were on food and sleep after each day as I dozed off on the carpeted floor, writing this all down. Headaches and being “hangry” was another thing.

There was one reflection that I won’t forget. So, let me ask you a question: have you ever wondered where your hands have been? What they’ve touched? Who they’ve touched? The other hands they’ve shaken? How many times they’ve bled or have been callused? Hands might as well be their own living organism. Hands aren’t something we can necessarily control, unless your brain tells them to do something. Like humans, they do things they regret. I can’t help but refer this to both Pontius Pilate and Macbeth. And like humans, they, literally and figuratively, touch the lives of others.

The last day of WBA was ever so bittersweet. I had to say goodbye to those whom I served. We took a brief trip to Mount Uncanoonuc. As I looked over city of Manchester, I came to two conclusions:

1.) We’ve touched (with our hands) the hearts of people from Manchester and refugees from countries around the world.

2.) Toto, we’re not in Manchester, anymore. We’re the whole world in one city.

Enjoy these pictures!

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