The Truth About ‘Overnight Success’ | How To Be

I opened up an email from renowned fitness trainer Jill Coleman today, and it was my personal dose of tough love. The quote I’m about to share with you should be, too.

“A life spent looking for shortcuts is a long road to nowhere.” –Naval

Picture this: you’re young and at the park, and you’re on the monkey bars. You jump down halfway through because your hands hurt. Then you just walk to to the other side of the obstacle. 

I don’t blame your hands for hurting, but this is the thing about all areas of life, including your health and well-being (and even manifestation!): you have to build the calluses on your hands and on the trauma you’ve experienced. You can ruminate on what you could’ve done differently all you want, but you can’t change who you were yesterday. 

View the whole Instagram post here.

There is another quote I’d like to share that Natalie Portman quoted in this video (a speech she gave to Harvard graduates); “To be or not to be is not the question; the vital question is how to be,” said by Abraham Joshua Heschel. This will certainly question your thoughts and what you’ve learned about Shakespeare’s Hamlet, which is why I LOVE to question things that mildly brought me to tears (and not in a good way) (LOL). I love questioning the world around me in general, which is why I will forever be a lifelong learner.

I don’t just learn from books and podcasts, I learn from my past mistakes and I learn from the people around me — digitally or via in-person connections. That’s the beauty of the digital world, specifically social media and the ever-growing metaverse.

Let us think about how to be, shall we?

We’re taught from a young age about how to live our lives, mainly from our parents and the environment we grow up in. Let’s take Liz Murray for example. I’m continuously fascinated by her story. She is the brave young woman in the famous not-so-overnight-success-story “Homeless To Harvard.”

As a young girl, Murray lives with her sister Lisa, their drug-addicted, schizophrenic mother Jean, who has AIDS and their father Peter, also a drug addict but also has AIDS, lacks social skills, and is not conscientious. She is removed from the home and put into the care system as her father cannot take care of her.

At 15 she moves in with her mother, sister and grandfather who sexually abused her mother and her aunt. After a fight with her grandfather who resultantly hit Liz, she runs away with a girl from school named Chris who is also being abused at home.

After Jean dies of AIDS, Liz gets a ‘slap in the face’ by her mother’s death and begins her work to finish high school, which she amazingly completed in just two years. She becomes a star student and earns a scholarship to Harvard University through an essay contest sponsored by The New York Times.

In a nutshell, we can succumb to our environments as real-life victims of naturalism, or we can live our best lives. But we must put in the work to do so. It’s about building the calluses around who we used to be and the trauma we experienced and making things better for ourselves.

This, my friends, is strength and courage. I said this before and I’ll say it again, Elle Woods was right when she said, “passion is the key ingredient to the practice […] of life.”

This is also why people call me the #QuoteQueen. 👑

xoxo,

April 💕

RELATED ARTICLES: The Truth About Feeling Guilty | What Can We Do About It?, The Truth About Self-Esteem, The truth about second-guessing yourself | End of my first year of grad school reflection, The Truth About Writing Full-Time | You Have A Purpose, An Abridged Guide On What To Do If You Just Simply Don’t Know What To Do

CHRONIC DIARIES: Dealing With Trauma

I hold a lot of trauma, and it stems from past romantic relationships, toxic friendships, family members, bullies, and even public school teachers.

Trauma can often make you wonder if you were made to live a good life. Spoiler alert: you are made to live a good life, regardless of what you’ve been through. I was on a coaching call with my friend Katarina this morning, and I had basically summed up my entire life story, which at this point if it were a memoir, it’d be titled 180 Degrees because of how many “180’s” I’ve taken in my 26 years of life. She told me I was a fantastic storyteller and I believed her. I am a good storyteller, and I know I can write one, too.

An example of a “180” is transferring colleges. I knew I was unhappy at my previous college for the longest time and I stayed for my friends and my best friend. That is, until I went through what I wrote in my most popular blog post. Some of the trauma I went through there was 1) my ex boyfriend, who made me lose my ability to trust men altogether. 2) I was constantly being talked down to by adults, except for the ones who actually believed in me. I felt like I couldn’t be me.

Another example of a “180” that barely talk about is me transferring high schools. I transferred high schools because I was severely mocked and bullied. Don’t even get me started on my volleyball “team.” Then I got the miraculous call on January 3, 2012, that I’d be starting at my private high school on January 19. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t produce fear-induced tears the night before. But I did because I was scared I was in to be bullied relentlessly once again. There were times where I felt/was mocked, but I said to myself, “this behavior was at [insert town here]. I know how to handle it now.”

It’s a matter of saying, “this isn’t working, I’m going after what I deserve.”

I’m not here to rant, I only provided examples without going into the nitty-gritty details of what exactly I went through. And yes, I will put this all into a memoir someday. In fact, I might just put some of it into my podcast. #PodcastTuesdays

As I write this, I can’t help but wonder, “what/who can you actually make peace with?” I remember writing Coming to Peace With Your Past|A Decade in Review. I realize now that post barely covered the bare minimum of what I went through in a single decade. But as I wrote that sentence, I can’t help but realize now, being hard on yourself is a trauma response. But here’s the thing: I’m already taking steps to a better life, and I have been since I was 15. So, I’m continuing to do it, and I will do it to the better of my ability.

There is no shame in being vulnerable. And there is certainly no shame in being honest. I allow the space between where I am and where I want to be to inspire me, rather than terrify me. This was something I had written the day I had started this blog and I’m still in awe of how much it’s grown.

RELATED BLOG POSTS: CHRONIC DIARIES: How I Manage My Anxiety Day-to-Day; Confessions of a Diabetic: Healthcare Is A Human Right; Confessions Of A Diabetic: I’m Happier Than I’ve Ever Been Since My Diagnosis

You’re Not A Failure, Everyone Starts Out As A Novice

I’ve never told anyone this because this is still roughly fresh in my mind, but I didn’t completely graduate with my masters degree… yet.

My diabetes diagnosis became a day job for me, as opposed to my schoolwork. I had to take three incomplete courses because of it and couldn’t handle any of them. I wound up withdrawing from Emerson.

ABBA sang it best, “Mamma Mia! Here I go again!” If you know me, you know I intend to go back and forth between what it is I want to do. This morning I felt so drained because I thought I wanted to go back to being a writer. Why do that when I committed to getting my MSAN – Dietetics at UNE? Emmett from “Legally Blonde” said it best to Elle when he said, “what if you’re trying to be someone you are? The hell with Callahan, stay.” And that’s what I say to myself: “the hell with imposter syndrome.”

Then Professor Stromwell said to Elle in the beauty salon, “if you’re going to let one stupid prick [in my case, imposter syndrome] ruin your life, you’re not the girl I thought you were!”

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t putting my all into this blog either, even after I monetized it. (After six years, I thought it was time.)

I must’ve said it a hundred times in the 150 blog posts that I’ve made, but imposter syndrome really is a huge b**ch. I remember feeling this overwhelming sense of it after “graduation.” But that amazing feeling you get after a really intense spinning class, or any workout, is the same feeling one gets after helping someone accomplish their goals. I became a nutrition coach, and am in the process of getting my nutritionist certificate and I get to have my OWN PRACTICE via Therapute! How amazing is that!?

Here’s the thing, and the overall message of this post: how are you going to help others if you don’t feel good about yourself? Think about it. Even my therapist seldom follows his own advice. Even when I first started my pharmacy technician job, I felt like a failure because I had this one pharmacist tell me I ostensibly “didn’t listen” when I hadn’t been trained in something.

When I withdrew from Emerson, I felt like the biggest failure. But why? I was doing something that was going to benefit me in the long run. Besides, I get my second chance at another master’s program in a month and I’m already so excited. 😆

I watched a Facebook live hosted by a friend from high school (hi Ali!) and she touched upon mindset around food, particularly carbs. Then she said, “imagine you’re trying to push a boulder up a really steep mountain.” Essentially, the message was that you could either give up because it’s “too hard” or “strategize.” I wish I could’ve given myself that pep talk when I was nearly failing the sciences freshman year of college.

Here’s the secret: it is with strength, mental endurance, and courage even when we don’t feel like our best selves that we carry on. Cry the tears if you must, just don’t let them drown you into a rabbit hole.

You’re not a failure. You’re a novice. Everyone starts out as a novice at first. Don’t listen to those stories about composers like Mozart who started playing a tune on the piano when he was just two years old. In a perfect world, that would be realistic. It’s not.