Spooky Season = Anxiety Season?

Hello, (A)pril-listers! April here with my first post of the month of October (mainly procrastinating two essays! Yikes! I’m here, to tell the truth about October. October has always been my “worst month,” but it hasn’t been completely terrible beginning in 2017.

October is not only pumpkin spice season, but it is also known as “spooky season.” That term has been thrown around a lot since October’s beginning. But could this ostensible spooky season also be known as anxiety season?

There is no doubt that I suffer from anxiety; I’ve been very open about it. The one thing I get anxious about the most is uncertainty, and this is especially true this week as I spend my free time in between classes prepping for the LSAT. I have narrowed down to [lucky] three law schools. But that is beside the point. October seems to serve as a crucible for students, like myself. Did I mention it’s also Mental Health Day? Perfect timing, April! 👏

My mentor/professor was right: sometimes I do bite off more than I can chew, as they say. In fact, I sat in my therapist’s office, eyes barely open to let tears come streaming out of them. I was exhausted from being super busy. Needless to say, I had to cut one major activity out of my life, which was a shame because I wanted to try it and hopefully make a difference. But as it turns out, I already was making a difference in making my campus safer, one step at a time, according to another mentor of mine. I could go on about how “hustle culture” is extremely toxic and only leads to the inevitable “burning out,” which I have done on more occasions than I can count on ten fingers.

How one perceives of October is a choice, and it’s all about how you make of it. It’s not a fact that October may be a s**tty month because it’s merely a statement of opinion. When you say something often enough it becomes true. This is a manifestation procedure, as said in spiritual terms. It is your choice to make the spooky season less “spooky” and less “anxiety-provoking.” As I sat down with one of my mentors, she mentioned that you have to have self-care methods, this may include a mental health day as well as a cup of green tea with milk and sugar. It just goes to show that talking to people helps, too! I certainly don’t need a degree in psychology to know that there are methods for dealing with each emotion.

Moreover, enjoy “spooky season” while it lasts, and don’t let it become an anxiety season. If it does, use your resources and always ask for help when needed. 

THE FASHION DIARIES: Breakfast At Tiffany’s and Oodles of VINTAGE

It’s been a hot minute (more like almost a YEAR) since I posted a Fashion Diary entry, which is ironic because I’ve written my own personal journal entries practically every day this summer.

Despite PSL’s being back at Starbucks, along with the Maple Pecan Lattes and the newly-raved-about Pumpkin Cold Brew, summer is not quite over yet. Wait until Monday, September 23, guys! My summer fashion choices have been relatively laid-back, with the occasional dress or two, or three. 😜 It wasn’t until recently when my grandmother sent my mom and I packages of clothing that didn’t fit her anymore. For those of you who know me well, I love vintage fashion. So, needless to say, I was fascinated by my grandmother’s impeccable taste.

The first thing that caught my eye was a black and white polka-dotted dress

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***Please excuse the dirty mirror and, of course, the mirror selfie***

Then there’s the makeup look then went with it:

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Not only do I adore fashion, but I am a HUGE makeup junkie. This is actually the same lipstick that Audrey Hepburn wore in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” It’s Revlon’s “Pink in the Afternoon.” The blush, bronzer, and highlighter are from IT Cosmetics and the eyeshadow is from Bare Minerals!

The next thing that caught my eye was a long skirt:

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It’s hard to tell what the pattern is, but rosewood is one of my favorite colors (number 5 to purple, blue, pink, and red). You can’t even tell I’m wearing a skirt and top because it all flows so well! The top is from H&M and the shoes are from ZARA.

Then there’s the makeup look that went with it:

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With natural waves (my hair is actually straight, but if I sleep on it when it’s wet, it gets wavy), and the right lipstick, I rocked this look with confidence. The lipstick is Colourpop x Disney’s Tiana. Shout out to my best friend (hi Katelyn!) for surprising me with it!

 

 

School Starts Soon (Plus Healthy Tips On How To Stay Organized and ‘On Track’)

It’s that time of year again when back-to-school commercials start airing on television and everyone is dreading the thought of going back to school, no matter if you are in middle school, high school, or college. I’ve grown from being that nervous-as-hell first-grader, not knowing what to expect to the point of tears to actually loving the first day of school/classes!

I value my education more than anything in the world, and it’s become imperative for me to get the most out of my college education. No, I do not mean partying. [What may surprise some people is that I’m not exactly a “party girl.”] I’m not shaming anyone who does, but I’m telling those high schoolers who read my blog that it really isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be, and not what college is all about, no matter what films try to tell us.

Nevertheless, what I mean by getting the most out of my college education is getting involved and getting good grades; then there’s the occasional “letting loose.” One thing I’ve learned, as said in Burnt Out, is how to stay organized. I mentioned in that particular post that I was constantly tired — not because of the 8:00 AM Management classes — but because I didn’t have a set schedule nor did I have a to-do-list and often gave into my anxieties and napped a lot. I’ve come to realize that having a set and pre-filled agenda is a must-have when you’re a [busy] college student. Thus, I went to CVS on a whim, bought an extensive agenda, and filled out the month of August to the best of my ability.

Take a look:

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Bullet journals help, as well. Plus, they’re extremely fun to fill out!

But don’t forget to fill in time spent with friends, boyfriends/girlfriends, and family! Needless to say, I’m not even close to being done filling out the month of August, yet. And this is just August — wait till you see my upcoming “week in the life” coming in September!

If you do find yourself burnt out and exhausted while doing homework, go for a run/walk, grab yourself a smoothie, coffee, soda, etc. and get back to doing your work. On that topic, it’s important to nourish yourself throughout each and every day, without breaking your budget, of course!

Be productive. It’s okay to fall off the rail once in a while and just be bored and sit in one place, so that’s why I chose what I explained in The Two Tips To Achieve Self Love, and to have something to do each day, aside from classes. Go to the gym, volunteer, or read a book (yes, those still exist. Reading is fun!) Yes, I will be posting weekly in accordance with my schedule. It’s not enough just to think about what you’re going to do every day; you need to write it down and it will happen. It’s like making yourself a promise, as well as manifesting, which I touch upon in Self-Care and Spirituality Tips. Mercury is luckily out of retrograde this time around, so no worries here!

As always, I wish you all Godspeed and best of luck in school, no matter what year/grade you’re in.

xoxo

April 😘💕

 

Empower Not Tower: It’s Okay To Fall Sometimes, As Long As You Can Pick Yourself Back Up Again

Remember when we were little kids and we fell down and had to endure the searing pain of scraping knees? When we were kids, we thought that we were invincible and indestructible, no matter what. So, we got up, shed a tear or two (especially if we were bleeding after falling on gravel — the worst!)

I was contemplating what to write for the past six hours since I haven’t written a blog post in well over three weeks. I saw this post on Instagram which prompted an idea:

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Do you think, when we were kiddos, that we would let a scrape define us? We may have scars that exist to this day, but hey, my appendectomy scars have faded at this point in time. But that’s just my own personal example. The fact of the matter is, we don’t know how resilient we are. The idea that originally sparked for a possible blog post today were examples of how far I’ve come despite what has hurt me, physically or emotionally. Being bullied for six years attempted to hold me down on the ground so many times that I need at least ten more sets of hands to count. Being shy and ostensibly different made me an easy target, for sure. The number of times I jokingly wrote “April Federico rocks!” on whiteboards only to have people tell me that I “don’t” was not only annoying but a tad hurtful. This is what I like to call Exhibit A. 1) I did what everyone else was doing, only to be ridiculed (that’s peer pressure, for ya) 2) I actually cared about what people thought of me. I did not have any self-confidence or self-esteem. I’ve had people try to knock me down while walking in hallways, locker doors closed on my nose without an apology, and people pointing and laughing at me when I was eating a pizza at Rock ‘N’ Bowl. At that point, I thought “seriously? They’re trying to ruin this for me too?” In fact, I thought some idiot would pull down my shorts that day so I wore a belt… on shorts that didn’t even have the loops for one. It seemed as though everything I did was subject to ridicule and mockery. Yup, that was middle school and the first half of high school.

The only person I really want to bitch-slap at this point is my middle school self for thinking she had to change because she was hurt by so many people. But at some point, I do want to sit in the parking lots of that middle school like YouTuber Katy Bellotte did in her video. For me, it would’ve been a whopping eight years later. Funny thing is, this is something I just thought of. I WILL do it someday and say, “I’ve fallen, been pushed, all these things, but I really didn’t need to change to give anyone the satisfaction.” Need a reminder of what mutilation I morphed into? Read Personas.

I also saw this one post by Katy Bellotte on her Instagram and she so eloquently said:

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Just some more food for thought. We are the heroes and heroines of our own story that pick themselves up again after we have fallen. Even if we feel defeated, we’re the ones who decide what to do with ourselves after the fact.

 

How to Find the Perfect Internship — I Did!

One of the biggest concerns I had for this summer was finding an internship, and not just any internship – the internship that would help open doors for me to future jobs and eventually law school.

I had it in my mind for the longest time that I wanted to go into publishing, but in high school, I was set on being a lawyer. Don’t get me wrong, I still write for a living and enjoy it each and every day. But since joining the RWU Women’s Collective for Violence Prevention and Victim Empowerment (which advocates for victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, and Title IX) and conducting a presentation on Title IX and sexual assault/harassment on college campuses, I realized that this is the field I want to go into. Also, after talking to the Title IX coordinator on my campus, just to pick her brain in terms of the path I should go on, she recommended either education, law, or both. I decided to take her advice and go back to my high school dream.

Thus, I looked for government jobs on Handshake for the summer. It was close to the end of the semester, so I was ravenously searching and sending in my resume, cover letters, etc. But before hearing back from the positions I applied to, my “backup plan” was communication internships, because I do have a lot of writing experience. [One of] the place(s) that I’m interning at right now, Linden Place Mansion, wound up needing a student with experience in communications, public relations, and social media. There was no way I was passing this up, even though it is unpaid.

Resorting back to my other backup plan of getting a paid job at a pizza joint (just to get some extra money in my wallet and bank account), somehow, the career gods came through and I received an email the night of June 20, 2019, from the Mayor of Providence’s office saying I was selected for their (paid) Advanced Internship Program!

How did I get these internships? I persisted and I had a support system (my best friends, my mom, professors, and my boyfriend). Moral of the story: never give up, build your support system, and don’t be afraid to ask for advice from a professional. In my case, the professional I asked was RWU’s Title IX Coordinator. The parting advice she gave me was to think of education or law and to take initiatives on campus and in the job atmosphere, like applying for jobs at women’s shelters or hotlines. Oh yeah, and don’t forget to perfect that resume and cover letter. What really is a lifesaver is Handshake, a job-searching platform that most universities have (or should have) now. These are things to keep in mind for the upcoming fall semester and the semesters and summers to follow.

“Chase those passions that make your heart flutter…” — Katy Bellotte

 

For the Girl About to Turn 22 | Welcome to My Jordan Year (23)

I almost made this post today (Monday, May 20th), but by the time this post goes live, I’ll be less than 24 hours from my “Jordan Year” a.k.a my 23rd year of living, breathing, and thriving.

This may, unfortunately, be my last year residing in beautiful Rhode Island as I do plan on (hopefully) moving back to Massachusetts for law school, and I am finishing my last year at RWU.

I made a post similar to this last year, but I thought I’d do it again because… duh, it’s my life and I think I’m rather good at giving advice if I do say so myself. I was looking back on For The Girl About To Turn 21 | Moving Onto 22, and I just say, “damn how I’ve grown.”

So here’s to the girl about to turn 22 years old, this is for you:

  1. No matter if you’re graduating on time, or later than you expected, either is okay.
  2. Going along with that, don’t stress if you’re not graduating on time. Life happens/happened!
  3. Do NOT compare yourself. I’m not going to write that overly quoted phrase by whomever because EVERYONE knows what I’m talking about.
  4. There are people who are going to try to bring you down. Don’t listen to them.
  5. Also going along with that, there will be people who try to punish you for their personal B.S. Just know that you did nothing wrong.
  6. Do NOT be afraid to stand up for yourself and speak your mind when needed. If you feel that something is unjust, do something about it.
  7. It’s okay not to have a “cool job” over the summer, especially if you just graduated. I mean, hey, my mom waitressed for a year prior to getting her Master’s (and she really is the boss).
  8. You will find out what you want to do with your life. TRUST ME.
  9. Take your mom’s advice about self-defense and being safe. In fact, just listen to your mom. Period.
  10. If you’re going to argue something, be 110% prepared and know your facts.
  11. With that being said, don’t just be “opinionated.” You can’t call it an opinion if it’s not backed up with confidence and FACT. Don’t mistake confidence for arrogance and ignorance.
  12. Don’t be afraid to dip your toes into something new.
  13. Don’t give into peer pressure nor should you be easily swayed.
  14. If you know, you know. No one’s going to know what’s better for you than you.
  15. It’s not easy being positive all the time. You have to give yourself a break and shed a tear or a couple hundred.
  16. All families are dysfunctional. Yours is not the model of all things dysfunctional.
  17. You WILL realize that you have way too much respect for yourself to be treated as less than you are.
  18. Listen to your heart, except if you’ve been drinking. Your drunk self has no common sense.
  19. A thesis isn’t that bad, and I’m saying that as someone who already wrote theirs.
  20. Indulge in your creative side more.
  21. Please do yourself a favor and watch Grey’s Anatomy.
  22. Don’t be afraid to go back to your roots, even if you haven’t particularly missed them. Confront them.

Now, I officially welcome you all into my 23rd year! 🥂

xoxo,

April 😘💕

 

 

Unstoppable | How I’ve Been After a Month’s Hiatus

Long time no post! Yes, I did take an unintentional hiatus from the blog, but don’t worry, your girl is BACK! 😉 I have spent well over a month working on myself and just being the best version of myself I can be. This includes realizing what I really want to do with my life. But in the past month and a half, I’ve realized there’s only one version of myself (despite being a Gemini.) That version of April is someone who knows her worth and her potential. I remember when I wanted to be a lawyer, thinking I’d fail the LSAT, so I gave up on that dream. Then I remembered the famous line from “A Cinderella Story.”

“Don’t let the fear of striking out stop you from playing the game.”

Hilary Duff’s character, Sam, sees these immortal words after Fiona’s wall rips apart in her (or what was Sam’s dad’s) diner. But what Sam finally made clear to Fiona was that she had way too much respect for herself to be treated like, well, Cinderella! Sam always knew she was smart — smart enough to see past Fiona’s B.S.

Now, I have not taken the LSAT or GRE, yet. But this fear of failure has always been a prevalent demon in my life. Everyone knows my strive for perfection is clear-to-see. More recently, this included writing a whopping eight drafts of my thesis (… that I turned in Monday, May 6 😊 ). No matter how many drafts I’ve written, I know they were all 100% worth the strenuous nights and afternoons, yet it is rewarding to be done with my BFA in Creative Writing in just two years. LET THAT SINK IN. (Although I do have one more year to go.) What is amazing that I did not once shed a tear over my thesis, no matter how much I wanted to.

This quote also strikes a chord of truth in me when it comes down to my newly-minted career in RWU’s Student Senate. There was this almost-fictional character holding me back, but it was actually my “fear of striking out.” This was also true with dance auditions, which was why I’ve been falling in and out of love with dance since I was just a mere three-year-old.

Moral of the story: I know I said in FESTIVE FRIDAY NIGHTS: How To Make Your Dreams Come True | How I Realized Mine how I wanted to go into publishing. But if you know something just doesn’t sit right with you, don’t pursue it. Just like if someone doesn’t hear the value in your words, stop talking to them. My mom quotes my late grandfather all the time: “do the right thing.” And I’m about to do the right thing (for myself) in a matter of months: apply to law school so that I can be a voice for the underrepresented and those who may not be able to defend themselves. Don’t worry, I’m NEVER giving up my writing career for as long as I live. Nothing’s stopping me now.

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Getting Real About Fitting In. SPOILER: Standing Out Is So Much Better

In sixth grade, I searched for books in my mom’s shelf to read because I was bored with the typical adolescent genre that everyone my age was reading. I came across a book titled Fit In: Stand Out, only to find out it was all about marketing. It wasn’t until I finished typing that sentence that this ostensible “fitting in” and “standing out” is all about how you market yourself. This Monday without any classes whatsoever has me watching Hairspray (Nicki Blonsky and Zac Efron version), and Tracy Turnblad earns her spot on the Corny Collins Show by absolutely working it at… I don’t even know if it’s a dance or a soiree, tbh. Either way, she was both Link Larkin (Zac Efron) and Corny Collins’ “lady’s choice” and earns a spot on the show.

I was having a sort of “soliloquy/monologue” after not getting into a dance, and after watching the Grammy’s. I was recalling Lady Gaga’s initial speech (the one where she was alongside former First Lady Michelle Obama, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Alicia Keys, and J-Lo). She said, “they said I was weird. That my look, my choices, my sound, that wouldn’t work, but music told me not to listen to them.”

There was no doubt that I was called weird in those dark days of middle school. How do I know that? Because I heard most of it, like “b*tch, I can hear you, even when you’re supposedly ‘talking behind my back.’ TRY HARDER!!!” And booooy did people show how much they didn’t “approve” of me, too. I began to realize that I was letting people market me, but that’s because I wasn’t quite sure how to market myself. I tried to market myself as the girl who loved to sing and do theatre, only to be judged more. Fashion played a big role in my life, too, as a means of self-expression. Even today, I dress up even when I don’t have to, and if I don’t, I simply don’t feel like myself. 

You’re probably thinking, this girl is cynical AF. No. I am reflecting on and sharing my experience with you all so this makes sense.

To paraphrase what Lady Gaga said at the Grammy’s, art, no matter if it is sculpture, filmmaking, poetry, blogging, etc. taught me not to listen to the opinions of those who only aspire to be lemmings — afraid to be different. 

So, what I’m essentially saying is that standing out can be a great, beautiful, and courageous thing.

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“A lion doesn’t concern itself with the opinion of sheep.”

― George R.R. Martin

 

 

 

 

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.

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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 ☻

 

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.