Beware the Sides of March | I’ve Seen Both Sides Now

There is no doubt this month pounced its way in like a lion with the coronavirus happy whoreshit, and ended today, March 31st, with the death of Tomie dePaola, famous Strega Nona writer. Remember those books we read as preschoolers or kindergarteners? We were too young to even remotely understand the ideas, let alone words, like “pandemic” or “death.” These words didn’t make sense to me until my grandmother’s death in fifth grade, and when the Swine Flu pandemic began in Mexico in sixth grade.

I remember, in sixth grade, some of the first things that were ever spewed out of the mouths of “authority” at my middle school were “this year’s theme is survival.” Little did I know we were going through a recession, as we are right now, but we were sixth graders just trying to navigate middle school — the worst years of our lives, or at least mine.

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I saw a picture of an otter recently, and it reminded me of how otters sleep while holding hands so they don’t drift apart. Random animal fact, I know. But it should make you smile, nonetheless. But I remember even the simplest of sixth grade days, I had a fuzzy backpack, and I convinced myself I was both bad at math and friends, which made me relate to an American Idol contestant who sang “Barracuda” for an audition. Her name, I forget at this point in time. But one thing I still remember is how she used singing at a mode for survival. This was the year that Adam Lambert lost to Kris Allen. These were simpler times.

However, another thing I was doing, other than watching American Idol, was creating my own stories. My favorite subject, though everyone else hated it, was English. I remember coming home after school and wanting to read something like P.S. Longer Letter Later, and I actually liked Tom Sawyer. I became fascinated with the idea of writing stories. I did this to block out the idea of me being bullied, which was, unfortunately, my reality.

Dealing with reality, nowadays, during this world-wide pandemic [that everyone is sick of talking about], is harder for some people. It makes us feel like we are out of control. But the fact of the matter is, we are more than what we think. Our souls overpower our fear(s). This time is certainly uncertain for a lot of people, if not everybody. According to a quote by Danielle Doby, “…in the uncertainty, you hold the power to create anything.” Shakespeare was living proof of this, which is one of the main reasons he remains as one of my literary idols. He wrote Romeo and Juliet out of the Black Death. Even Isaac Newton’s university closed down for two years, thus he had to retire to a country home where he developed calculus. I was in my senior art studio “class” via ZOOM, and although I had my aches and pains trying to get comfortable for a four-hour class, it was refreshing to see what people were creating. My anxiety has been through the roof recently because of this new transition towards online courses, but now that I’ve seen things through a positive lens and I’m actually getting stuff done in my office [my room — a room which I draw, read, and write in.]

In short, you can see March as “hell month,” or see that March isn’t so bad, after all. I’ve seen both sides of March, now. It can’t phase me any more than it used to do.

BLOG-MAS: How to Positively Survive Stress During the Holidays

I’ll be honest with you, at the beginning of the month, I sat in my therapist’s office… and cried. The holidays are stressful for some, others not so much. For me? I’ll be candid. The holidays have brought a lot of emotional baggage for the past four years, so basically, since I started college.

People tend to put a lot of pressure on the holidays. I was talking to one of my fellow writers, and she said, “I put a lot of pressure on special days to be extraordinary but sometimes they’re just a regular day with a little extra ‘pizazz.'” For some people, the holidays can bring back unpleasant memories, while others may be struggling to make ends meet and actually put something under the tree, or simply stocking stuffers! I almost didn’t get a tree this year! People could be grieving, while there are those who thrive on social media posting pictures with captions like Merry Chrysler! but don’t let those pictures fool you, social media has a way of hiding stuff “behind the camera–” the things not seen. I’m surprised if there’s someone out there with not the least bit of baggage around the holidays, and I’m not being negative here!

But here are a few tips to survive any aspect of the holiday season:

  1.  Pray or meditate. I know there may be so much to do, but even if you’re a parent wrapping gifts for the kids, a simple meditation (while the kids are sleeping) will help.
  2. When in doubt, make gifts! If you’re crafty, I’m sure you can make something even if it’s a pinecone elf! There are other things to do like writing a poem or making a video!
  3. Journal. I cannot stress this enough. I especially recommend Junk Journaling — I’ve been following Katy Bellotte’s journaling methods, and I LOVE it. I even asked for glue sticks and washi tape for Christmas!
  4. Donate to a cause you care about, even if it’s just a dollar. This year my mom donated to one of my favorite causes, Women for Women. I SUGGEST YOU DONATE, TOO!
  5. Volunteer someplace. Giving blood helps, too especially during the winter.

Here’s an example of “Junk Journaling:”

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Certainly Not the Same

“As I sat in the booth of Quito’s with my mom, we decided to cheer, or ‘clink glasses,’ [I wasn’t yet, 21] to no regrets.”

This was written around this time three years ago at the beginning of what I like to call “Book 2,” a.k.a when I switched my major to English and I was still at SAC. Now, I am 23 years old with a whole new mindset, law school applications, and more!

I am reminded of the same “Sex and the City” phrase every single day: “You can’t stop being who you are because you’re afraid.” For those of you who have been there with me from the beginning of this blog, you’d know that I started this blog shortly after a tumultuous and insidiously controlling breakup. I basically lived a “Sex and the City” lifestyle, minus the infamous sex. (For clarification, I’m still a virgin). This includes dying my hair a dark brown and giving myself a whole new “look.”

One fellow writer of mine posed a question on Instagram not too long ago that asked, “when you die, would you rather be remembered in small snippets of someone’s memory or a statue?”

Remembering this question, and I’m not trying to be morbid, but that me that I was referring to in that last paragraph was just but a ghost of all the women (or girls, considering I’m in my early 20’s) that I used to be. I’m listening to Katy Bellotte’s latest podcast episode of “Thick & Thin,” appropriately titled “Feeling hopeless & redefining yourself.” That me that I was referring to certainly felt hopeless and tried to redefine herself from “so-and-so’s ex-girlfriend” because I certainly did not want to be known as an accessory. Katy alludes to her ever-popular YouTube videos, and she, too, mentions how she changed.

Let’s face it, she and I both graduated from the “cutesy talk,” and we both discovered alcohol come college. However, she did also say there is no shame in being vulnerable, which is something I’ve learned to preach, as well. And as we age, we really do change! Time moves us onto bigger and better things, and we learn, develop, and edit. What mattered a year ago doesn’t matter to me anymore. What mattered two years ago no longer matters, and so on. It’s all about how you redefine and market yourself, as I mentioned in Getting Real About Fitting In. SPOILER: Standing Out Is So Much Better.

That me wanted to be who I am today. I just had a friend tell me that my Instagram makes her happy because I don’t put up any fronts and that I’m all about spreading positivity — hi, Allie! I have my moments, who doesn’t? Whoever doesn’t have their moments is clearly robotic.

Moreover, I realized who I am, and I have the stamina and motivation to fulfill that persona. Except, I don’t have to be a persona. I may not be the same person I was 2-3 years ago, but I am me. In fact, things are going so well that I lost track of what book I’m on. Quality, not quantity, people!

 

 

Believing | 3 years (and counting) of this blog

Life is full of possibilities. I’ve learned that throughout my time at RWU. So much has changed in one year, two years, and evidently three years after starting this blog. This includes but is not limited to my outlook on life, my career path, and my interests. I watched this video, and I have to say, it’s spot-on.

If you believe you have a happiness that lies within you, for example, you will be happy. If you believe that “all guys are the same,” you won’t find that love you deserve. Did I mention I found love again? All this time I thought I was a Carrie Bradshaw but it turns out I really am a Miranda! (only people who’ve watched “Sex and the City” will get it)

Moreover, simply dreaming about that love, job, positive mindset, etc. is easy to do. But the truth of the matter is that life, and all the little blessings and/or luxuries that come with it, don’t come easy. They’re not meant to come easy. Nothing is meant to come 100% easy.

We all know that math is tough, as said in The Correlation of Hummingbirds, Dancing, and Algebra, but dealing with anxiety, depression, and PTSD isn’t easy either. “Everything is okay,” is what I’ve been telling myself since I first started high school, despite bullies and flunking math tests. But the one thing I wasn’t cognizant of was that deep down, despite nearly failing math, I believed I would get into private school and excel. I even let this one kid in my English class call me stupid in front of everyone and said that I belonged in Hufflepuff (which doesn’t even exist, unless you live in Harry Potter’s world) because I would soon be rid of them. Besides, being in Hufflepuff doesn’t mean you’re stupid, it actually means you’re nicer and loyal than most. Go ahead and chew on that.

Even when I say “my dumb bunny butt,” sometimes, I don’t believe I’m stupid. In fact, I believe and know I’m the opposite of such. I am by no means an “underachiever,” and I don’t need to watch “Legally Blonde” two more times to instill that belief within myself. Three years ago, I actually got “My story ;sn’t over yet” on my left shoulder” to remind myself that there are pages still left to write, minds and hearts to inspire, a cat to take care of, grad school apps to be sent out, and more!

 

Week In The Life of a Blogger/Busy College Student!

It has been two weeks since I posted a blog post. You can definitely say things have been busy according to the April Diaries! With that, it is the last weekend of September which only calls for something I promised a long time ago… a week in the life!

Monday

11:00AM: Work-Study! My job is being the editor-in-chief of the English/Creative Writing department zine, “Voices.”

*Depending on the day, I also work table times for clubs and Student Senate*

1:00PM: Queer Theatre and Drama class!

6:30PM: Student Senate meeting!

In between class and Senate, I have time to do homework or go home and chill for a while.

Tuesday

9:30AM: Advancing Public Argument class!

11:00AM: Another work-study meeting!

12:00PM: LUNCHTIME! I usually get a Chicken Ranch Wrap or Sushi.

2:00-3:20PM: African Literature class! I have been waiting so long to take a course like this!

3:30PM: Get (a billionth) coffee of the day. Have you ever had the Pumpkin Spice Chai from Starbucks???

5:00-6:20PM: Math class! As mentioned in The Correlation of Hummingbirds, Dancing, and Algebra, I’m taking (guess what) College Algebra!

6:30PM: Women’s Collective for Violence Prevention and Victim Empowerment Eboard or general meetings! I serve as Vice President of the club!

Wednesday

11:00AM: CPC (Community Partnership Center) Publication meetings!

1:00PM: Queer Theatre and Drama class!

2:00PM: Academic Affairs meetings! This counts as one of my Senate committee meetings.

3:00PM: LUNCHTIME! (Late, I know).

4:00PM: Finance meetings! This is another one of my Senate committee meetings.

*Depending on the Wednesday, I usually have to go to meetings of clubs I represent, CPC full-staff meetings, RISC or Title IX meetings*

Thursday

9:30AM: Advancing Public Argument class!

2-4:50PM: How to Write Your Novel class! This is one of the classes I have to take as a Creative Writing major.

5-6:20PM: Math class!

8:00PM: Hawks’ Herald Eboard meetings (though I am not technically a part of their executive board, I still have to go because I’m their Organization Senate Representative). This is also the school newspaper (that I took a break from) but I chose to write for them, again!

(Fabulous) Friday

9AM-12PM: My advocacy internship at Day One Rhode Island!

1:00PM: Queer Theatre and Drama class!

2-3:20PM: African Lit!

3:30-4:30PM: Senate office hours!

Finally, let the weekend commence!

Saturday and Sunday

The weekend usually varies for me. Saturday’s I’m most likely doing homework, studying, writing, or hanging out with a friend or two. Then Sunday is the day I set aside to hang out with my boyfriend (hi, Steve!)

 

 

The Truth About Writing Full-Time | You Have A Purpose

I’m starting to realize why writing for a living can be tough. Often times, I denied that fact and thought I could do whatever it takes. But I’m not giving up, even though it really is hard and can make you feel a tad manic. I’m not trying to be an Ernest Hemingway, who was a quote-unquote “abusive alcoholic.” And yes, I just quoted “Ten Things I Hate About You.”

For those of you who don’t know, I recently published an eBook of poems. No, this is not a “self-promotion.” This is where I get real. Again, unfortunately, it may an eBook for the rest of its existence. It wasn’t the way I wanted it to come out, mostly because I was trying to self-publish with little to no money. In fact, I published it without spending a dime! I personally don’t know of any authors who self-published and were successful, except maybe Rupi Kaur (correct me if I’m wrong.) Self-publishing is hard! Really, it is. You know what’s harder? Making it as a writer. I’ve had trouble making it as a blogger!

Everyone knows the story of J.K. Rowling and how she got into writing. If you know me, you’d know that I am a sucker for literature and the authors that compile some of the greatest works of all time. I write this as I look at my unread copy of War and Peace sitting on my shelf along with Moby Dick and On the Origin of Species, all of which I am determined to read and conquer one day (or within multiple days.) Two summers ago, prior to starting my career at RWU, I read Ernest Hemingway and Jane Austen excessively. Like myself, Hemingway was a budding journalist before realizing he wanted to write creatively.

I remember when I was still at SAC, my Spanish professor heard me quote Ernest Hemingway (in Spanish) and she strongly encouraged me to write for the campus newspaper. This was a week after I started this blog. Again, as I’m writing this, she’s not the only one who recognized my talent in writing. How am I just realizing this? I don’t know.

But Hemingway was more than an alcoholic, even though it was highlighted in some of the characters of his novels and short stories. But that’s the thing with us, writers. We build based off of personal experience, which may seem like it’s hard to write at times. Coming up with content, even for a blog, is hard. There are touchy subjects that need to be shared in order to empower. Hey, I think I just came up with my reason for #WhyIWrite. And that’s just the thing! You write for a reason, no matter if it’s sports journalism, technical writing, grant writing, travel writing, creative writing, etc. You write because you have a purpose on this planet. That’s the same concept of why people teach young minds, serve in the military, etc. — you have a purpose. Any profession is hard, but you’re doing great.

 

 

A Reflection: The Girl Who Has Always Wanted To Write, Even If It Kills Her

Can you believe the year is more than half-over? It’s officially August 1, and I still can’t believe it. There are twenty-seven more days until I start my ~official~ senior year, and it hardly feels real! As I’m getting ready to apply to… get ready for it… GRAD SCHOOLS, I’m starting to realize what I really want to do — what makes my heart sing. I said in It’s Time To Speak Up About Creativity, that I’ve been diving into my creative side a lot more this year (and for the past two years of college, for that matter.) #CreativeWritingMajor

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. It was my second-grade teacher who first recognized that I loved to write. In fact, it was one of our spelling words and she said as an example, “April loves to WRITE.” I remember getting those Scholastic book order forms and my mom wanted to rip me apart for just wanting journals. Don’t get me wrong, I like to read, too, as it helps me with my writing. In fourth grade, I might’ve been the only one in my class to write six-to-ten pages of a story because I had so much to say, and so much detail to convey. However, I kept saying my favorite subject was math.

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I kept denying my teachers’ comments that math wasn’t my favorite. But they could see right through me. More importantly, they could see my proficiency in writing.

Looking back on that past self, why would I lie to myself like that? If I could just shake that fourth grade April and just tell her to admit that she’s not great at something, I honestly would. But even fourth grade April knew she liked to write, but just wouldn’t admit it for some weird-ass reason. One of my poems was used as an example for future classes! I remember that poem; it was called, “What is a Wish?” To this day, it was one of the best poems I’ve ever written.

Even when I wrote my first short story in first grade, I dreamt about college. In fact, the story took place after I had just finished college. Well, I have a year to go and I know this: I want to write. Always have, always will. I read this great article in Cosmopolitan about a woman who was determined to make a living out of writing. Never have I ever read a story and said, “this is me. I want to do this.”

I randomly look back at old Theology assignments, particularly from junior year, and I came across this excerpt:

As Jesus once said, “make use of the talents God gives you.” Now, I look back on my past and laugh about what character I tried to portray because that was not my God-given role.

I have had various hopes and dreams about what to become, as an adult. I am always curious about what college or university I will attend. And, I always thought that I would have to face the future alone. But I do not. God will be with me, guiding me every step of the way. God will plan my future with me. God will not let me throw away any of the work I have done, the talents I have obtained throughout the course of my life, or the grace I have received because He already has a plan for me: to study medicine. God knows where I am going, but He wants to surprise me. If I do not get into the college of my dreams, God will be crying with me. No matter where I go to college, or in life, God will always be by my side. God will help me make good decisions throughout the rest of my life. God will feed me the education that I not only received in school but the education I received from my past experiences in order to make those good decisions. I am, and will continue to be, a child of God.

I don’t mean to bring religion into this, and yes I did just cross out “to study medicine.” But let’s just say I was indeed surprised at myself throughout my college career and what I could do.

I am that girl who made books with computer paper and staples.

I am that girl who ever so badly wanted a laptop so she could write whenever she wanted.

I am that girl who sat at that old (now broken) desktop computer that I shared with my family members to write stories, only to be unfinished for years on end.

I am that girl who wrote essays so long they might as well be published.

I am April Frances Federico — the girl who has always wanted to write, even if it kills me.

It’s Time To Speak Up About Creativity

I’m looking back on the journal that I received on Christmas morning, and I remembered what I wrote that same day. My dad was calling friends and relatives to wish them a ‘happy holiday,’ and I remember him saying this one thing about me to a friend:

“she loves to f**king write.”

Damn right, I do! Like it’s a bad thing? No. I own it. 

Somewhere along the margins, I drew a determined snail slowly gliding her way out of her shell towards a cup of coffee. The context? I contemplated a young girl — too shy to say her own name, mainly because it was also a month — would soon be able to sip her coffee, and speak her mind and share her stories, no matter if it were with words, vocal cords, or a sculpture. It doesn’t matter how fast she is going, how long it’ll take her to get there, and who knows? It may take her faster than she thinks.

I said in Unstoppable | How I’ve Been After a Month’s Hiatus, that my career path would be changing as opposed to what I said in FESTIVE FRIDAY NIGHTS: How To Make Your Dreams Come True | How I Realized Mine. Damn. I don’t know whether to insert an eye-roll emoji or a shrugging emoji. Talk about a girl who can’t make up her mind! I mean, hey, at least I stuck with a major! 🤣 there’s an emoji, for y’all!

But when was the last time I took a pen to paper? At work, I do, but I’m just jotting down ideas for the social media internship. But to physically write my thoughts down as if my blog or Microsoft Word never existed. Jotting down my thoughts sporadically on a page doesn’t help. I want to write. I want to be creative and write for everything — every magazine, publish my work, and just let my God-given artistic side shine like Christmas Lights through an opaque window. Thick the glass may be, I believe that glass is meant to be Society. Society yearns to break through the glass, except for the one-track-minded, who just shake their head ‘no’ and disapprove.

My brother told me, “at least you’re not going to work in social media.” Oops, sorry! It’s amazing how many people think that the arts, especially fashion, are so “superficial.” They’re not. It’s also amazing how our brains and our hearts refuse to listen to each other, like Venus and Mars. People thrive on creativity, and there are some that just simply thrive on logic. It’s not impossible to combine the two. I’ve done it through various works of art, without fearing the opinions of others. But at the same time, we can’t help but want other people’s opinions. I’ve come to realize there will be people who will not like my work, and that’s okay because their opinions don’t pay my bills (or tuition, LOL!)

Moral of the story: dive into your creative side more. I can’t hurt, no matter how ostensibly “bad” you think you are at, say, drawing. There are many ways to be creative. Except, to be creative is one thing, but to be a creator is another. I, personally, have no shame in being a creator. I was never that teenager who would settle for one of those tip-jar-jobs we (almost) all had in high school. Judge all you want, call me a priss, or whatever. But I love being a creator, and to create is what I wanted (and still) do for a living.

No matter what you’re career path is, I wish you Godspeed, and I hope that just for an hour, or even 15 minutes, you can appreciate a work of art or dive into a creative project.

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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2019: The Year of (actually) Following Resolutions, Graduation, Purple, Lions, and ME

Happy New Year, everyone! It’s hard to believe that one of the best years of my life has gone by so fast. I’m not going to do one of those cheesy “year in review” things (mostly because I did that on my Instagram story — LOL.) However, this year, like the last one, has a lot to offer me — everything from a thesis due in May to graduation in December. Then we start all over again in 2020 with graduate school!

For those of you who don’t know, I am extremely superstitious in terms of colors. I have been oddly attracted to the color purple recently. I also strongly believe in signs and tarot readings. I have additionally been attracted to the lavender rose-quartz crystal. With that being said, I am taking matters into my own hands and pioneering a MAGAZINE called the Bold Lips and Coffee Talk.

My thing about New Years Resolutions is they can have meaning if you’re willing to put in the work to make them come true. Some of mine include the following:

  1. Graduate with the highest honors (if not Magna Cum Laude)
  2. Make my vision of the Rose-quartz Lens come to life
  3. Get a job in writing/editing, or take part in a residency this summer

These are just some, but my list is certainly not limited. But one thing is for sure, is that I may not have a ton of support, but in the end, I have the support of myself because I have the abilities, power, and potential to make my dreams come true.

There isn’t really much to say here except KEEP CREATING. Be as fierce as a lion, and never stop going after what you want in 2019. This is your year as much as it is mine.