EMPOWER NOT TOWER: Stop judging and observe.

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.

I Am April Federico. Part One.

I Am April Federico. Part One.

I returned home in my khaki Bermuda shorts and my Cat in the Hat T-shirt, and I sat down to read a Cheetah Girls book — one that I’ve been meaning to read since 2nd grade. I vaguely recall a group of four of the ostensible “popular” boys and girls walking behind my mom’s black Jeep, that she still owns to this day. She’s had that car since I was in first grade. Keep in mind, that I am a fifth year in college. She got that car when I was 7.5, and I am on the verge of turning 24.

I remember because English, Science, and Geography were my favorite subjects. I hated math with all my being. I feel half my heart burning, at this moment in writing this, the Screwdriver I had, makes me stop and think, “you are not that girl, anymore.” I am not that girl anymore because I’ve grown to have respect for myself when I felt like no one liked me. That’s the most powerful form of love — self-love.

Though my hair may not be washed at this present moment, and I am settling for movies that don’t even satisfy me, like “Jumanji,” I’m sorry but that movie doesn’t inspire me. I turn to a movie on E! called “She’s All That,” where Laney tells the pathetic class president that their little moment on the corner of two streets is “surreal,” meaning their meeting could never happen in real life. It makes me angry, times like these movies were made. Even when “Hairspray,” the 2008 version was made, I hated that time. It was more or less ahead of that time because John Travolta played a woman — fat suit and all. Laney, on the other hand, is a beautiful young woman who is forced to become the most popular girl in school. The fact of the matter is, she’s already beautiful. The only thing that “doesn’t,” is that she “runs like a girl,” she wears glasses, and she is smart. What’s wrong with those? By the way, she is a girl. 

Even when my 32-year-old brother was a high schooler, it made me angry, the dynamic that he grew up with. I didn’t know what that pinging was in my chest at the time, but I know now, that was anger. I was dumbfounded when I found out that his best friend was killed by a drunk driver in 2004. My hairdresser by the time I turned 15, was his classmate, prior to her moving to another school. I found out that my hairdresser was bullied because “she didn’t dress ‘rich.'” But my brother liked her because she was funny. To me, he was the coolest guy in Medfield, Massachusetts. Yes, that’s where I grew up and moved out of, thankfully. I even remember when his friend said, “she’s so shy, she can’t even say hi,” at their “prom party.”

I remember, in 2009, when I went to my first two middle school dances, I wore a red dress. Those two dresses were different, of course. I remember a lot of guys staring at me, the night of December 2nd, 2009. That was when, as Carrie Bradshaw would say, “I got the knack for labels early,” as that dress was from Arden B. Even though I had developed a “passion for fashion,” I felt like I had been gifted the “Ghosts of April’s past.” I don’t know who would have visited/haunted me, but they surely came at later dates.

I found that one scene in “She’s All That” when the supposed popular girl said, “you’re a waste of yearbook space. You’re not gonna cry are you?” And I recall in just 3rd grade when a girl said, “your pilgrim’s house is weird. And you’re weird too. April, are you sad?” all in consecutive order, no pause in-between. To which I say, now, even though that person just may have changed:

Princess Diaries 3 In The Making...Looking Back At Parts 1 & 2 ...

Read Mia (Anne Hathaway’s) quote real carefully, “someday I just might grow out of that, but you, you will never stop being a jerk.” 

What I could say to middle-schoolers, in this moment in time, it does get better. Some people move on to other schools, some people are luckier than that. I have people tell me, “you’re lucky you were strong enough to get out.” They’re right, I was. But that has NOT diminished my self-worth.

And don’t worry about my mom’s car. Its longevity does not make me ostensibly “rude” just for sticking up for myself.

Stop Looking For Validation From Others | Evil is in the Ego

Stop Looking For Validation From Others | Evil is in the Ego

For the past week, I’ve found myself saying out loud, “can’t anyone give me enough credit for ______?” Whether that be job hunting, seeking help, and showing up even when others expect you to quit.

My therapist gave me a handout. And that handout was a story called “The Awakening,” author unknown. I’ve read a lot of stories about ostensible “awakenings.” But this one made me want to watch “A Cinderella Story” for about the hundredth time because it reminded me so much of it. Moments prior to this, I was crying because someone told me “can’t you do something that will make people happy?” And this person tried to trick me into saying they didn’t say this. This had me screaming into my pillows on my couch, and you people would have thought I was nuts. That’s the one “question” I knew I was going to get one day, even though I always do my best, despite my anxiety, depression, and PTSD. THOSE AREN’T LIMITATIONS, EITHER. 

What I am learning right at this very moment is that there are people who want you to fail. There are people who want the worst for you. There are people who are going to be jealous of you. There will be people who disapprove of what you do. There will be people who have opinions based on their own insecurities. It’s a rude awakening, indeed. But the fact of the matter is that it shouldn’t matter to you, even the better of us who know better. As the internet philosopher Katy Bellotte says, “Nothing hurts unless you let it–” that was one of the first things I heard her say when I first started watching her videos.

Oddly enough, what I said after said person said that unbelievable comment was, “I knew I would never get your approval.” As if I ever really needed it. That goes to show, careful what you say, or it will end up in a blog post, or worse, my memoir. C’mon, there’s even a sticker on my laptop that says that, so you should know by now. I’m not being vindictive, it’s called having self-respect — enough to stand up for yourself and do things for yourself. I once apologized to someone after saying, “I have way too much respect for myself as a woman and a human being to be led on…” Why did I do that? Was it human nature in me to be empathetic? Maybe it was the need for approval after hurting someone? What the hell am I even saying right now? I didn’t validation from someone who led me on! However, and this the human nature part, evil really is in the ego and could make you think you did something wrong when you did, in fact, do something right.

What I’m essentially trying to say is that you can have a support group, but know your boundaries. There are some people who will cross some of those very fine lines. You may or may not have to let people in more. You may or may not have to say “f*** it.” As I said in my very first post, The Art of Communication, self-awareness is key. I learned all this by researching social media posts for RISC. Even social media wants you to be healthy! Who would’ve to think that? Speaking of social media, stop comparing yourself to other people.

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