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.

How To Confront… Yourself | Self-Improvement

At this point, my readers know that I am a huge fan of the phrase, “practice what you preach.” I recently wrote Is “normal” the new “weird?” | Subtracting bad habits and one bad habit that I forgot to mention was not being able to take my own advice.

This afternoon, I was at sixes and sevens with myself as my body is undergoing chemical change from within. I’m not going to belabor the fact that I’m diabetic. I’m just going to say that. I also recently published Confessions Of A Diabetic: I’m Happier Than I’ve Ever Been Since My Diagnosis at the wee hours of Daylight Savings Time. I did not get to bed until 9:00 a.m. Nonetheless, I felt this nagging sensation at my core as if something needed to be done, yet I was too tired to do anything. I remembered this particular post and how body chemistry is directly correlated to brain chemistry. Put simply, your mental health is only as good as your physical health. If your body aches, your mind aches with it and therefore puts you in a bad mood because your body is in a bad mood. As a kid, whenever I got a stomachache, I always pictured my stomach crying. And I cried with it. I don’t need a psychology or neuroscience degree to know this correlation.

I tend to forget or neglect my own advice. There. I said it. I mean, hey, nobody’s perfect — not even a lifestyle blogger who seems to have her life together.

But this isn’t about having my life together. In fact, I’m not going to lie, I’m doing pretty great in life. However, there are times when I seem to over-romanticize my life. I had someone say to me, “why do you think everything’s sunshine and rainbows?” What’s wrong with being positive? I can’t help but wonder, is there such thing as being too happy? I’m watching Brene Brown’s TED Talk on Netflix right now, and she said earlier on, “I get dangerous because I like myself so much.” Although she was referring to coaching women on body image, this applies to something so much bigger than that. I’m not sure if scientists or psychologists have discovered this yet.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with being happy. In fact, being happy is normal as opposed to being sad and cynical. There comes a point where you have to take inventory of yourself, especially when you’re at sixes and sevens like I was this afternoon. Maybe I just need some sleep. But I can’t use that as an excuse for not taking my own advice. I’m not saying you should punish yourself, rather confront yourself. Let’s be real, as a lifestyle and advice blogger, who would I be fooling if I weren’t pouring 110% of my advice through your screens? In today’s world, we’re getting to the point where the next generation is becoming our bosses. I know, that’s scary to think about. But you shouldn’t take your own power for granted and lackadaisical about your responsibilities and your overall role(s).

Case in point: confront yourself before anyone confronts you.

No One Can Destroy Your Energy | Energy can only gain momentum

My heart was feeling rather heavy today, and I wasn’t sure why. I had a great therapy session yesterday, but then I remembered that I am constantly surrounded by pressure to be this, that, and the other thing. I began to get flashbacks of dialogues from triggering situations. I then remembered that I am only human, I’m 25 years old, and I’m my own person.

I was watching a tarot/oracle reading by Vanessa Somuayina on YouTube, and in my personalized reading she mentioned that I (or anyone watching that particular reading) all start out as novices at something. I was a novice at blogging and now I have 1,592 followers as of an almost-five-year period. A lot of people didn’t understand my need to create content so much or to publicize my life on social media. It’s a way of getting people to relate to my content. My goal is to make social media my full-time job; judge me, I dare you.

Likewise, I am a novice at adulting. Anyone in their twenties is! I’m constantly learning about myself, the world, the people living in it. I am no “sexual anthropologist” like Carrie Bradshaw calls herself in the very first episode. I’m more so of an “anthropologist at life (?)” Call it what you want. But I know what I want and live for. What I live for is creating content that hopefully helps college students, and adults alike.

As of today, I officially own my power, as if I didn’t already. You, too, will learn not to question your work ethic. Your work ethic is superb, no matter what outside forces say. Are they even ostensible “forces”? They’re more like commentaries from the peanut gallery or that idiot in your DM requests trying to tell you some BS (and believe me, I get those A LOT).

However, I am beginning to notice in whatever is I do/create, my worth is not based on followers, “likes,” or what people think about me. Don’t get me wrong, I love you all. But my energy will never be destroyed nor will I lose sleep over a bad review. Energy can’t be destroyed, in general. I’m no expert in physics, but I know that energy is always being turned into something else. For example, I can get tired sometimes to borderline exhaustion. But I channel that exhaustion to something productive, e.g. blogging or journaling. In fact, journaling is how I get my best ideas for posts.

Next time you feel pressured by society, family, or your own mind, just remember to be patient with yourself. Being a novice at something doesn’t determine your worth. It just matters that you’re doing the best you can. Create something with that energy of yours, it’s only gaining momentum.

15 Healthier Habits To Have After 15 Months

When COVID-19 happened, I found it hard to find a steady routine to live by every day, and it was harder because my then-work schedule would change like a girl changes clothes. Besides, the job was taking its toll on my mental health. But then, after 15 months of the pandemic and year of grad school, I decided that it was time to put the beer and wine aside and get my act together. Yes, I seldom drink now. #Wins

Building healthier habits isn’t the only way to practice self-love. Self-love also requires accepting yourself for who you are, and that includes your flaws as well as opening up to them. Maybe it’s because people weren’t at their best during the pandemic, but self-improvement became a vast movement. Me? I just chose to do it on my own terms, not society’s. Besides, how many people actually say they’re going to ostensibly “improve” themselves and actually do it? The answer is very, very few.

That’s the thing about habits; they’re easy to build and harder to kick. When it comes to health and wellness, they’re actually harder to build and and harder to kick. But it slowly gets better over time. Healthy habits CAN be easy to build and to keep! For me? It took about a week to be less dependent on alcohol. But since getting the app, Fit On, I’m more cognizant of what I choose to put in my body. That isn’t to say that you can’t have a strawberry margarita at your local Mexican restaurant with churros and warm chocolate dip for dessert. That’s just simply depriving yourself of having fun!

Some habits include:

  1. Waking up at 6 a.m. (or any time before 11).
  2. Getting a morning workout in. I do yoga and meditation, preferably outside.
  3. If you can’t work out, just simply stretch.
  4. Shower, if needed or just pat-dry your face
  5. Having coffee or tea (whichever you prefer, just don’t drink too much caffeine!)
  6. Have a protein shake or something healthy for breakfast.
  7. Reading.
  8. Communicating however which way with the people you love, even if it’s just checking in.
  9. Soaking up a healthy amount of Vitamin D.
  10. Taking vitamins.
  11. Dancing around in your room to a killer playlist (I personally adore Lana Del Rey).
  12. Getting dressed.
  13. Taking a walk or run and getting in a certain amount of steps.
  14. Spending time with your sweetie and/or friends.
  15. Drink water! I like mine in a glass with a wedge of lime or lemon to boost my metabolism.

As cliche as this sounds, your body really is the only one you have. Treat it well. After all, the most important relationship is the one you have with yourself. Build good habits for you and only you. If this serves as motivation for you, well, that’s just fantastic!

Good luck, my loves.

xoxo, April

Confessions Can Help | Women’s History Month

CW: This post contains content about mental health and sexual assault. Resources are the bottom of page.

A lot of people are probably “still processing last March,” as the memes say. However, I think this month is already pretty monumental, especially for women. It is Women’s History Month, after all. With that being said, we should celebrate women every day. After a tumultuous year, and one year since the coronavirus was declared a pandemic, we may have even more to celebrate.

On Sunday night, while chowing down on my bacon cheese fries from Classic Pizza, my mom and I were watching Oprah’s interview with Meghan Markle and Harry. Simultaneously, social media was blowing up along with every word Meghan said. Mental health, I think, is something that wasn’t so much touched in the media, however. Mental health often goes unlooked, and I don’t know why I’m still surprised at the fact that people can be so inconsiderate to the topic. As a matter of fact, I just read an article about taking mental health days and why they seriously matter in terms of attaining clarity. You won’t get anything done with a clouded mind. And you definitely won’t get anything done when your mental health, at large, is going to sh*t. It’s even worse when you’re stuck in a toxic environment, like Meghan was. Markle begged for help, and the institution wouldn’t give it to her because it just “wouldn’t look good.” They lied to her when they said she’d be protected. Protection and security are ultimately what we, women, want in life, and that may look different for everybody. But needless to say, there are a lot of parallels to Meghan and Princess Diana. And boy, do I have a lot of opinions of Prince Charles. 😡 Harry was absolutely right when he said he didn’t want that (still) raw piece of history to repeat itself. So, he didn’t let that happen to his wife. Harry really is the husband that Diana needed.

In third grade, I had a fascination with Oprah. This began with a Black History Month book report. Oprah was interesting to me because she was a “troubled teenager,” but you really have to understand why. She was molested by her father as a kid, and she additionally grew up impoverished. It wasn’t until the age of thirty-two that she became a millionaire. Something I didn’t know, was that she opened up the doors to “confession culture.” Huh. That’s maybe because self-help was frowned upon in the ’90s, at least that what’s conveyed to Charlotte in a Sex and the City episode. However, what Oprah probably had in the back of her mind, was that these so-called “confessions” could actually help people. That’s exactly what I aim to do on this blog, too. Personal experience does help people.

Nevertheless, I idolized Oprah in secret. I wanted to be a journalist until I was whisked away by outside distractions. I realize, now, that it’s women like Oprah who inspire me to tell stories and women like Meghan Markle who inspire me to convey parts of my story that were left untold.

Resources:

https://www.rainn.org/about-national-sexual-assault-telephone-hotline

Self Love In Bleak Times

January is Self-Love Month, and I’ll be honest and say it’s been sort of a struggle to be positive all the time. I think, as I mentioned in New Year’s Resolutions that people tend to beat themselves up as if they want their resolutions right away. I haven’t been consistent with my walking 2,000 steps every day, but when you need to rest, you need to rest! Besides, who really is positive all the time? January is a time, not a “free trial month” but to make a plan.

The thing about this elusive “self love” (and shout out to my aunt who came up with this idea for a post!) is, why do people put so much pressure on themselves? I’ll admit from personal experience that I strived to be that perfect student in high school, and I got a rude awakening in my first semester of college that really no one can be perfect. With that pressure, aside from OCD, came arrogance and many hours of crying thinking that I wasn’t good enough, even though I was doing just fine. You know what the scary part is? I’m realizing all this as a write this. Self-awareness is something I also need to work on, and I admit that wholeheartedly. Ding, ding, ding! Another thing about self-love! You’ll learn to embrace imperfection.

I wish I could shake my eighteen-year-old self and tell her, “you’re going to be a much more confident young woman, and you’re going to excel beyond words. It may not be at an Ivy League school, you may not be in science, but you will end up getting into your two grad schools of choice, in a field you always loved.”

Self-love is so much more than just giving yourself a bubble bath or a spa day (not that I recommend going to a spa during a global pandemic.) Self love is believing in yourself. Find that faith through whatever outlet, may that be religion or spiritual practices. In bleak times like these, when people are losing their jobs, working jobs they don’t want but need to put food on the table, people also need that place of comfort. As much as I resent retail at the moment, my crew is like my second family. Self-love is that optimism that every day is going to be a good day, despite how you’re feeling that day.

Also, if you did lose your job in 2020, that’s NOT your fault in the slightest. Again, we’re in a pandemic.

Self-love is also knowing that better things are out there for you when something doesn’t work out for you. Don’t ever say you’re being scammed by the universe because you’re destined for better things. This is just the universe, or God, telling you that you are worthy for so much better than what you initially applied for, or whatever. Self-love is not being your own best friend, it is being your own advocate.

With that being said, self-love is knowing when you must step away from the negativity that’s surrounding you. If people refuse to be happy, that’s on them. And it’s most certainly not your fault. People are only mean when they are not happy with themselves. Again, that’s on them. Let them watch the negative news when you could be watching “Forrest Gump,” a movie to put a smile on anyone’s face.

Self-love is the most important love you’ll ever have. Like I said, and it was very timely in Does anybody like you when you’re 23? You have to love yourself, first , that the most important relationship is the one you have with yourself. Well, actually, Carrie Bradshaw said that — but still relevant, nonetheless.

BLOG-MAS Tuesday: You’re your only competition

I remember looking at colleges, wanting to be a lawyer with a cool chemistry background. The schools that I was applying to were extremely competitive. I’d be applying to schools with much more competitive attitudes about applying than I ever had.

Now, as a writer with a whole other motive in life, I find it easier to compare myself to other creatives. However, here’s the plot twist: what if I were my own competition?

That, my friend, is the philosophy that I’ve been following in life nowadays. I haven’t fully come to terms with it until today when I was interviewing my Associate Editor at Rhode Island Monthly. She said she likes to compete with herself every year when entering feature writing contests every year, to see how she improves.

Now, I am at the end of my first semester of grad school, that has taught me more what I wanted to know than anything else (but I guess that’s the point of a master’s degree.) I am beyond grateful to what Emerson offers me, and I am blessed to have taken the leap of faith to write and publish my poetry book. Not only that, but I learned I am a Muckraker, which by definition is someone who uncovers the dirt. In the case of journalism, it’s someone who “uncovers the dirt” in investigations for the sake of reporting and informing the public of what’s going on. I knew this was a phrase already, as I love to playfully troll the page my “fans” created for me on muckrack.com. Who comes up with this? I have no idea. That’s just the beauty of the internet, folx.

I have known school for the past 20 years, now. I don’t know if I’ll ever be ready to give up learning quite yet. But the truth is, you’re learning everyday. You don’t learn from what other people do, you learn by doing, which is the beauty of grad school. Competing and comparing yourself to others, I’m sorry to say, won’t get you anywhere except for defeating your ostensible “competition,” or worse, getting heartbroken over something that won’t even matter in a year, months, or even a week. Not to mention you only damage relationships, that way.

You can’t help but have that expectation of yourself, but there’s no guarantee that you’ll get that 100% on an English test (that actually happened to me, yes.) I also have received the full credit on a paper. I’ve had teachers tell me, “you’re really good at writing,” or “you should be proud of this essay.” But I set beyond-unrealistic expectations of myself, and that’s just me. Perfection is indubitably a weakness of mine. But instead of competing with others, like I did in high school track & field, I compete with myself to see if I can do better, to improve myself.

EMPOWER NOT TOWER: Stop judging and observe.

I remember when I first got a Facebook account, I put Britney Spears’ “Circus” lyrics in my bio: “There’s only two types of people in the world, the ones that entertain and ones that observe.” At the time I put that as my bio at the time not because I was a “budding performer,” but I was constantly feeling “watched.” No, I was not paranoid. However, the unwonted attention actually fed my ego. I wrote it off as jealousy.

I was talking to my manicurist today, and she was telling me how her sweet daughter (though I haven’t met her, she seems like a true gift from God) was bullied for being both smart and athletic. This young woman earned MVP in Lacrosse, Soccer, and Basketball. Impressive right? The parents of other kids were so green with envy to the point where one parent called her a “stupid bitch” on the sidelines. My initial reaction was not just “that’s horrible!” but I did mention how in my old town in Massachusetts, the parents talked more smack about the kids than the kids actually did. And I’m NOT the first person to say that, which is the funny part. But nonetheless, what right does someone have to say such a thing about someone else’s kid?

This made me wonder: why do we live in a world where we constantly judge/are being judged. Why can’t we just simply observe?

Seriously. Let people go on about their daily business. It’s easy to be so quick to judge, but it’s a habit that you can break with ease. I learned how to do it within an hour after watching this video by Isabel Palacios. Like I said in my last post, you are entitled to your opinion without being an a-hole. There’s a huge difference.

Observe because you don’t know what that person is going through internally. Don’t judge because you’re only hurting that person’s self-image and self-love. Don’t say that’s “their problem.” You may feel entitled to judge, but that judgment is fueled by your own insecurities.

“Wait, Let Me Overthink This.” Raise Your Hand If You’ve Ever Been Victimized By Overthinking.

“Thoughts are the seeds of action.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thoughts do not dictate reality, however. In fact, in my opinion, and in my journey through spirituality, our masculine energy (or “the thinker”) makes us crazy! It’s simple: we think too much. We need to learn how to feel and tap more into our feminine energy.

We are now settled (most of us, I hope) into a new decade and year. We are out of the stressful holiday season, and into the new year. As some of you may know, I’ve been practicing ways to further my spirituality. But I have to admit, it scares me at times. I’m not trying to be a psychic, but I’m just saying, as someone with chronic anxiety, it really can be nervewracking. The fact of the matter is that it shouldn’t be so nervewracking that you start to overthink. I was even thinking about the concept of overthinking while I was making ramen and eggs (which tastes DELICIOUS!) I came to realize, you’re basically setting yourself up for self-sabotage.

Why are you questioning what’s already right in front of you?

Now, I am addressing why I can’t ever seem to “make up my mind” about my career, until just recently. And by “recently” I mean last week. Here’s the thing, though: I’ve always known I wanted to work with domestic violence victims, which is what I’m doing. There. I know what I want, I just needed to stop overthinking. In fact, just writing this post brought me back down to reality. Everything is fine. Repeat after me, everything is fine. Inhale, exhale. AND JUST BE GRATEFUL. Write it down, do something because you are doing great. You don’t even need a psychic to tell you that.

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Moreover, I am fulfilled completely as-is. Don’t question whether or not the universe has your back or not. You also need to have your own back. That isn’t to say other people won’t, but trust me, you’re good!

xoxo

April 💕

Self-Care and Spirituality Tips

During this time of year, you’ll notice that everything and possibly everyone around you has been acting “funky–” and not the good kind of funky. That is because the planet Mercury is currently in retrograde and that can affect all astrological signs, but especially Air Signs (like mine.)

You’re reading this thinking, “April, I think you’re being ‘funky’ because you don’t usually get into things like this.” Since transferring schools, I’ve gotten a lot into astrology and even gotten in touch with my spiritual-psychic side (I’m not Raven Baxter, I’m not actually psychic.) You can fight me all you want on this, but even when I went to Catholic School, we learned how others practiced believing.

This time of year actually happens to hit me right in the heart these past two years because we are actually approaching the 2-year-anniversary in which I was hospitalized. If you’re new to the Diaries, check out ‘Cause I Still Got A Lotta Fight Left In Me | My Hospital Stay | My Mental Illness(es) for the whole story.

So, how will I cope? Or how do I cope with something so heavy and tumultuous to remember? I have luckily learned how to achieve this hard-to-grasp aspect that is self-care.

Since practicing my spirituality, I have learned to replace “I want this…” with “I have this…” or “I am this…” PRESENT TENSE!!! It’s essentially a mantra! Another part of it is living in the present, which may sound like a cliche, but I promise you that’s it’s just common practice that a lot of people do struggle with. It’s just a habit that you have to get yourself into. It also helps if you write to your guides. Guides? Really, April? You’re insane. Eh, just a little😉 Learn more about them here. Listen, I’m not trying to “convert” anyone here. I’m just here to give advice and share what has worked for me these past three months of 2019. I have also learned how to treat myself (responsibly, of course) and immerse myself into things that I love to do, or have always wanted to do.

Hey, April, I’m friends with you on Facebook and I noticed you have a camera in your profile picture? What’s up with that? 

Writing may be one of my passions, but I can’t do it full-time, and I’ve been known to drive myself crazy with it. I desperately needed a hobby, not a hobby-turned-full-time-job-that-drains-the-sh*t-out-of-you. So, I branched out into the arts (which I’ve always loved), and I’m in the process of making a documentary for my Arts Administration Capstone and… wait for it…

A YOUTUBE CHANNEL!

Taking time for yourself to do what you love is an important part of self-care, even if it’s just doodling in your notebook. And who knows? You could make a living out of it! Taking time for yourself, in general, is imperative to your overall being. So, you could go for a run, go get yourself a cup of coffee and avocado toast (like I did yesterday!) at your local coffee shop. The other day, I gave myself a facial and I also bought jade rollers, which you will see in another blog post to come.

Right now, I hope you’re in a nice pair of leggings or sweat pants because you deserve some serious comfort from your 9-5 job and/or studying! Happy Friday!

xoxoxo April 💕✌😘