EMPOWER NOT TOWER: “Go big or go home?” Is it really worth sucking on bone marrow?

It was a Tuesday morning and I woke up an hour later than intended. I wanted to get up early, put on some makeup, and put on a cute dress to take over the createHER Collective Instagram story for the day. That didn’t happen exactly as planned, but I handled it better than what my expectations were the previous day.

I ended the night signing off to watch “Grey’s Anatomy,” but also signed off with a whole lot of new perspectives on empowerment and the phrase, “go big or go home.”

The first time I ever heard that phrase was on my very first day of high school when one of my teachers talked about the time she broke her vegetarianism to eat a huge burger — bone marrow and all.

But should we really go by this phrase? The answer is no, and I’ll tell you why.

I remember going by this phrase when applying to undergraduate schools — didn’t work out! I followed this phrase when I started submitting my poetry and artwork to the top literary magazines in the country — didn’t work out! That’s when I started looking at smaller publications that I never even heard of until I joined Twitter again. Those definitely worked out (and helped me build a killer CV to use for grad school apps if I do say so myself.)

When looking at graduate schools too, for my MFA, I had that same superficial outlook that I had when I was a junior/senior in high school. I wanted to apply to (and googled) “Best MFA schools in the U.S.” But coming from a “small-but-bigger-than-SAC” school like RWU, who knows if I even stand a chance? What I learned, especially from being in the [insert 2 Ivy League schools here] applicant Facebook groups, just because they are ostensibly the “best,” “top-tier,” and “among the elite,” that doesn’t mean they’re the right fit for you.

My point in bringing up undergraduate and graduate institutions is that it’s not worth gnawing on your thumb right to the bone marrow to prove yourself — to anyone or anything. I was reminded of a poem I wrote:

Perfection is a weakness of mine

To be honest, when I was in high school, I strived for perfection and I’ll be honest it gave me a little OCD!

I’m trying to gnaw on this idea of being perfect;

I chew it down right to that savory bone marrow

until there’s nothing left to even suck on anymore—

at this point all I’m doing is sucking on that

circular piece of bone. The bone is in my right thumb

and I’ve sucked on it so much to feel like I’ve lost

all feeling.

 

Perfection is like sucking on a piece of bone marrow—

you cleanse it of all the meat and the cells that go with it,

until there’s nothing anymore. It becomes addictive,

like a fidget toy. People tell you you’re doing great by

cleaning it and getting all the necessary juice to make you

feel manly, accomplished, whatever. Then you become

addicted to being perfect and receiving that praise.

Even when you feel like you’re unappreciated, just know that you’re doing a great job and people really do appreciate what you do and how hard you work. If they don’t, it’s their loss!

Moral of the story: PERFECTION IS UNATTAINABLE!

 

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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BLOG-MAS TUESDAY: Kindness and Giving Back

With all those memes out there that say, “you know you grew up to be Squidward when…” (or the Grinch, or any other negative character), it’s a shame how many people I see share that.

But before I get into my narrative, I’d like to say HAPPY DECEMBER! A lot of YouTubers do Vlog-Mas and I thought, why not do a little thing called “Blog-Mas?” Since Christmas falls on a Tuesday this year, and I obviously can’t blog every day, I think I should write a simple blog post every Tuesday this month until Christmas comes.

One “theme” that has been constantly brought up, or at least shows up in my life this time of year is kindness. Believe it or not, I remember a time when the universe wasn’t so cruel to me. I know people (now) who manage to stay so positive, even when their world isn’t so kind.

Today, I had to give a social advocacy presentation on sexual assault, harassment, and Title IX on college campuses. One of the things I preached was, “follow up with them and ask how they’re doing; a little kindness can make their day.”

My point?

The holidays are not always a good time for some people. In fact, they can be quite stressful. Any time of the year can be a stressful time. So, a simple “how are you?” can make someone’s day just a little brighter.

Another thing: I chose to give back to my department of English and Creative Writing, and now for my work-study job, I am the Managing Editor for our soon-to-be-revived online magazine and Web Management intern. I am so excited to be doing this, and I love working for the kind and passionate faculty and staff.

Giving back has always been my “thing.” When I was 18-19 years old, I was a volunteer intern for Tufts Medical Center’s Oncology Unit because I wanted to make a difference in these patients’ lives and to give back to the unit for saving my dad’s life. I’m 22 years old now, and I still think about these patients every day, and what more I could have done for them. Except, all I could do was brighten their day and that was more than enough for them.

I mentioned in Toto, We’re Not In Manchester, Anymore | WBA Manchester how I tutored and helped refugee students who were struggling with English or Mathematics. Not only did I love speaking Spanish to those who knew it better than English, but I also remember helping out this one Russian girl with whom I had to communicate through Google Translate. I remember I, a girl who used to struggle with math, couldn’t believe she was tutoring a girl who needed the same help I did when I was younger. She then came up to me, after class, and in perfect English, said: “Thank you for all your help today,” and I nearly cried from happiness. I’m sitting in my favorite building, wanting to tear up as I write this! I had plenty of experience tutoring: in high school, at Saint A’s, at RWU, but nothing compares to the amount of appreciation I have for this one specific trip (even though I realized I could never teach eighth graders, LOL.)

As I think about getting my MFA after I graduate, I look at all these programs I’m interested in and see that they have residency programs to teach. I remember my English professors at SAC, and my English and Creative Writing professors at RWU, and I think to myself, “these are some of the best people I’ve ever met.” With that, I want to share my knowledge with the world and connect with those who love the art of writing as much as I do. I want to promote kindness in the classroom because God and everyone else knows that it does tend to slip through people’s fingers at times.

“In a world where you can be anything, be kind.”

I’m pretty sure I mentioned this in another blog post, but if you “can’t take it anymore,” then give.