Never Let Anyone Tell You That You’re Not Good Enough

“Suffering ceases to be suffering the moment it finds meaning.” — Viktor E. Frankl

It’s very, very rare that I end up in the hospital, until that fateful night, where my life changed forever, yet for the better. I’ve always been fascinated with science, and prior to my scary diagnosis, I even did research intermittent fasting and what it does to the body. It didn’t fully come to me until I was in a therapy session when I realized that my regret-free life… isn’t exactly regret-free.

Be prepared for a lot of quotes. #quotequeen

There’s this one quote by Albert Einstein: “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid.” When I was in high school, I was indirectly told that I wouldn’t do well at an Ivy League institution because they’re “too stressful.” I found this out days ago. Since I found out, I was furious — with a passion in my heart to finish what I started in college.

It’s almost similar to how Elle Woods proved EVERYBODY wrong after Warner told her she wasn’t smart enough for law school. We all know that Warner was full of poop. Elle ALWAYS had it in her, it just took the right people realize it (e.g., Emmett, her professors, and eventually Vivian).

What I find even more infuriating is that I let the wrong people (person) distract me in my freshman year of college. I told said person, after I had chosen to go back to chemistry, that I wanted to minor in English and History and he said, “no.” What? Why? Probably because he either a.) wanted to be better than me and b.) didn’t think I could do it.

I felt, on some level that I took “the easy way out.” But did I? No. I wouldn’t be the writer I am today nor would I have the superb communication skills to master any job.

I told my boyfriend the other day, “it’s funny how a life-altering illness can make you do a complete 180.” He told me, “I love how you’re turning things around for yourself.” THAT is the support that every girl/everyone needs in a relationship, btw, regardless how you identify.

On the topic of turning my life around, I decided to go back into healthcare, which for some reason I was oddly scared to share publicly in fear of judgment. But here’s the thing: who really gives a crap, as long as you have faith in yourself? When I shared the news that I’m going to earn my second masters degree in Applied Nutrition – Dietetics (APN), I received a mixed bag of “reviews.”

“You’re not going into publishing?”

“Work and school is hard, though.”

“What about writing?”

My responses?

I’m working on a book right now.

I’ve worked throughout my coursework at Emerson.

Writing is a part of any profession.

Yes, I am still going to write like it’s nobody’s business. It’s like Carrie Bradshaw once said, “Why is it that we only seem to believe the negative things people say about us, no matter how much evidence there is to the contrary? […] Odd, but when it comes to life and love, why do we believe our worst reviews?” But the truth is, I stopped caring about what people thought of my path, regardless of their “reviews.” It is like what I said in Girl Meets (Real) World, “a lion does not lose sleep over the opinion of sheep.”

Bottom line and moral of the story: never let anyone tell you that you’re not good enough.

I leave you with one last quote: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” — Eleanor Roosevelt.

Be well, my loves. 💕

xoxo,

April

Go Little Rockstar: It’s Ready, It’s Yours, You Did It

I tell this story a million times, or at least I think I do, but when I first published on The Odyssey Online, with my first two articles in the queue. Mind you, my boss at the time put all his trust in me and thought I- I was qualified to be Editor-in-Chief of my campus chapter. I took it because there wasn’t a chance I’d have that again… until now.

It’s been years since that breakthrough phone call. But as of recently, I broke through, out of my own personal “gate” to be my own boss. I remember vaguely, when I was eight years old, I told my mom I wanted to be a pop star and to perform in my very own concert. She said, “it takes a really long time.” It does. It does take a really long time. Some people wait a lifetime, like Van Gogh when he sold his first painting. I don’t know if anyone realizes, but I am a huge of Van Gogh and his background. I don’t know what led him to asylum, but I know that he and I both coped with art. Poetry for me, painting for him.

It took a really long time, but I found what I was meant to do. I rewatched Katy Bellotte’s “An Honest Video,” (again) only to be triggered by the same emotions that led me to my hospitalization in 2017. I’ll be honest when I say I nearly gave up on my purpose, due to anxiety. But it was only growth that was making my soul itch. Growth is notoriously uncomfortable.

So, little rockstar, what were you meant to do? I strongly believed I was put on this Earth for a purpose: to inspire. I’ve had publishers tell me that relentlessly. I believed them. As Katy says in the beginning of her video, “ignoring your passions is slow suicide.” She came to the conclusion in her Italian language class that she wanted to go into graphic design. She went from working at L’Oreal in social media to being her own boss at Katy Bellotte Designs.

It’s no secret that I’ve held countless jobs and internships this past year alone. I also believed that I had it all; I have a man who loves me (hi Mark!), family, friends, food to eat, and a roof over my head. I just wasn’t satisfied with my career. I knew a few years back that I was meant for more than journalism. I tried my hand at marketing– what a bust. I tried to run my own business, then COVID hit. Now, things are looking up. I’m so excited to reveal I became a trauma healing, spiritual health and wellness coach! That’s right, I chose courage over fear; faith over doubt; being present instead of brooding on the past.

I talked a bit in my last post about fearing the future. But now, I live by the mantra, “I needn’t worry about the future anymore. It’s bright, it’s here, it’s mine, I did it.”

My head has never been more clear. Go, little rockstar. Keep moving forward. 🚀

xoxo,

April 💖

Influencers Are Leaders

“When we deny our stories, they define us. When we own our stories, we get to write a brave new ending.”

– Brene Brown

Owning your story is probably the key to success. I write this post-panic attack about my fear of the future. I listen to Katy Bellotte’s podcast, “Thick & Thin,” which is literally about the thick and thins of her life that she brilliantly relates to her fans. Her latest episode was titled, “Am I on the right path?” Even though I have yet to finish it, I can say that I was put on this planet for a reason: to inspire and produce content. However, you are more than your career. I recently had a new friend text me saying that she saw my Instagram photo post-workout and she said she was got her butt out the door and hiked. I had people constantly tell me that I tend to “overshare” on social media (i.e., my mom), and this is the same person who jokingly called me a “walking HIPPA violation.” I do tend to wear my heart on my sleeve very much to the point where I am what Carrie Bradshaw calls “emotionally slutty.” I also write this as I watch the episode of Sex and the City where Carrie gets recruited to model for Dolce & Gabbana. At the end of that episode they play a song that’s meant to inspire people “to be real,” as the song goes. I haven’t a clue what the song is called.

I grappled with the term, “influencer” for a little bit of time. But the truth is, the term “influencer” has a lot more to deal with than promoting products and giving out codes to your followers. Since my diabetes diagnosis (I’m sorry that it’s the 800-pound gorilla in the room, but still), I used my platform to promote awareness of the chronic illness. I’ve also been promoting spirituality without going into toxic positivity. Speaking of which, I just got an email notification about affirmations for leadership. 😜 This now begs the question, are influencers leaders? Without being cocky, I have held plenty of leadership positions. To be a leader is to empower. And the more you empower, the more you inspire people to just do. No, I am not talking about buying products with a special code. I am talking about inspiring people like I inspired my friend, Kaylee.

I recently joined a challenge to become my own BUSINESS OWNER. And one of the challenges was to make a timeline of your life. Some years I try to block out more than others. Some years I don’t remember at all (i.e., my single-digit years). But I can say that it is three days until the 5-year anniversary of ‘Cause I Still Got A Lotta Fight Left In Me | My Hospital Stay | My Mental Illness(es). Like Brene Brown said, I wrote my very own happy ending by not letting trauma drama define me.

Consider this your “big sister” hug from me. I know that I could use one from time to time.

xoxo,

April 💖

Is “normal” the new “weird?” | Subtracting bad habits

In less than ten days, here in North America that is, it’ll be the first official day of Spring. I think that when adults think of Spring, they think of cynicism and “oh, watch there be snow in May.” I, on the other hand, was taught to believe that Spring brings new beginnings. Having gone to a Catholic high school, I learned that Spring was the initiator of the Paschal Mystery. What I find “mysterious” about that concept of religion, is that it theology and science go hand-in-hand. Another thing I was taught, is that Chemistry is the foundation of all sciences. Chemistry is more than just mixing strange liquids into a flasks and test tubes. It is the elegance of all that the world is and what we are. Falling in love is a chemistry. You hear terms like “brain chemistry” all the time. And brain chemistry is not a myth. Yes, I started out as a chemistry major and my fourth grade teacher was right; I hate math and I always will, even though it’s inevitable and I practically aced honors Precalculus junior year.

Moreover, I touched upon this in The Correlation of Hummingbirds, Dancing, and Algebra, but this blog post is going to be slightly different. This post discusses Spring cleaning, except, we clean our behavior of the weeds that are bad habits.

It takes a really, really short amount of time to develop a habit. I couldn’t tell you exactly how much time it takes. But I know that even if we commit to doing something 5% less frequently, it could change us for the better. For example, I receive a journal prompt via text message every Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday morning. If I go one of those days without journaling at 7 a.m., chances are, I won’t do it at all for a while. Yes, that did happen and I sat my butt down on my bed and wrote in my journal today’s prompt. It just occurred to me that I should also stop swearing so much. A lot of people have a tendency to say “sh*t” under their breath. Personally, I have a tendency to say “ow,” even when I’m not in pain. All it does is just manifest a bad mood and, of course, unnecessary pain. So, I wrote in my journal the following: “I can stop saying ‘ow,’ ‘f**k,’ and/or ‘sh*t’ 5% less for each word, to help myself feel like there’s less of a weight on my wellbeing.” Personal growth is not always about “doing more.” In fact, personal growth is subtracting these bad habits, toxic people, foods, etc.

I mean, really, I’m not always in pain. And even though I also have a proclivity to stress myself out, I can’t do that anymore, for health’s sake. Plus, I’m not always stressed!

However, I can’t help but wonder if stress has become the new “normal” and if “normal” has become the new “weird.” I was talking to a coworker at lunch in the cafeteria last week, and it’s amazing how much she and I have in common! However, the one thing that she and I had in common completely was abnormal for society, and that was growing up in the midst of constant chaos. She even said at one point, “I get suspicious if things seem normal.”

What stops us, in general, from feeling normal? Did the definitions of “normal” and “weird” swap? Impossible. What’s weird is hissing and swearing at absolutely nothing, even when said “nothing” is wrong. What’s weird is having pain where your appendix should be, even if you already had it surgically removed. What’s weird is thinking you don’t deserve what you’ve earned. Have you ever been so happy you were terrified?

Let us “normalize” things that are supposed to be normal! Let’s normalize human tones of voice, instead of lashing out. Let’s normalize being happy. Let’s normalize intelligence over ignorance. Let’s normalize shaking hands when meeting people who aren’t our bosses. Not only are these all completely normal, but it’s good practice for developing good habits. 😊

“Where Do You See Yourself In 10 Years?”

I remember answering this question when transitioning to fifth grade. I said, “I am taking a cruise to Australia” because Australia was where I wanted to go, being the animal-lover that I am. Little did I realize that my teacher knew I was going to be a writer and not the next American Idol (the fact that I had a plan to audition when I turned seventeen makes me LOL).

I didn’t think this question would be relevant until this very day. I am sitting in my bedroom, in a completely different state, and things are certainly better than they were ten years ago. I had gone to a Catholic high school. I had gone to college to earn a bachelor of fine arts in creative writing. I am now in my final semester of my masters program in publishing and writing. All of this did not take place in Australia. I’ve never even been. But I have been to Paris and Barcelona and I can say they are my two favorite cities in the world.

I had finished the book, Rules For Being A Girl by Candace Bushnell, whose life story I discovered recently because she birthed my bible, Sex And The City. I thusly created a “Feminist Book Club.” We held our first meeting on a January afternoon on Zoom, while a blizzard was blanketing the ground with a heresy of snow and the wind blowing our air conditioner cover off. Little did I know the topics of gender and feminism would be imperative in my writing career. Speaking of my writing career, I published two books thus far: Resilience, The Disappearing Act, and the brand new Whispers of Daydreams which you can purchase here.

There were an additional three things I didn’t know would happen: 1) I would have two blog brands: The April Diaries and Gals Gotta Eat; 2) I would develop a chronic illness; 3) my writing career would also manifest into a corporate environment, working as a digital content writer for the oldest insurance company in the USA.

You can say I’m reaching a height in my career, but as my fifth grade idol, Miley Cyrus once sang, “it’s all about the climb.” I’ve met Vogue editors who said they haven’t even had that “I made it” moment yet (which I find odd considering it’s Vogue).

Moral of the story: life has its twists and turns, but everything happens for a reason. Yes, I am aware there are countless debates on that. I’m not sure if I believe that everyone has a “destiny,” per se, but there are some people who always have a certain inkling that they “know” what they’re supposed to do in life. For me? That’s to own a publication that inspires people. Now, at twenty-five-years-old-going-on-twenty-six, I am proud to say I have two of those.

Happy International Women’s Day to all my readers. You can aspire to be anything and achieve it, too. 💗

xoxo,

April

January 2022 Reflection: Recognizing Anxiety, Achievements, And Who I Am

It was almost 6:00 a.m. on a Thursday morning and I felt like I was drowning in a glass tube that only got smaller and smaller, tighter and tighter, and my TMJ was acting up. I’m verbally begging the pain in my left jaw to stop as my tears ricocheted off my cheeks and onto my cotton-candy pink sweater. At the same time, it also feels like I’m on dry land because my throat is pleading for water and Advil. Thoughts of the annoyances of the past scratch dangerously beneath the surface of my skin. Will somebody, please, make it stop! My eyes see something of a pink and indigo Van Gogh painting and I can almost see my blood turning green, right where the scab on my thumb is.

This, my friends, is an anxiety attack I had last week.

For once, I’m able to write down what an anxiety attack feels like for me. Also for once, I choose my choice to be a writer because it’s who I am. A few minutes later, the scab turns into nothing as I sit down at my laptop to write my manuscript for my third book (…which got picked up!).

It’s so easy to feel like we’re never enough, and forget about the ways we’ve grown. Remembering our growth can make us feel more confident about tackling the future. This month, I read more books than I ever did in one month’s time span, saw a dietician, scored a full-time job, kept my sobriety in check (I’ve been sober for one month!), drank more water, and re-started submitting my art and poetry to literary outlets.

I quoted this A Cinderella Story quote in Unstoppable | How I’ve Been After a Month’s Hiatus but the same quote still applies; “never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.” In other words, don’t give up. If people are being negative around you and trying to feed off your positivity, don’t you dare let their negative, growly, bitchiness cross your line of hope for your own future and present. After all, the present is what really matters here.

How To Not Become A Doormat And/Or People Pleaser

I used to self-define myself as a “people pleaser,” which is not the case anymore. I am not a doormat to be walked all over. I am a human being, too, who’s just trying to be satisfied in life– my life. After all, we’re not put on this planet to “please” others.

There’s that saying, and I’m pretty sure I’ve quoted this before, “do what you love and you never have to work another day in your life.” But when you take a job, are you doing it for you? Or are you just doing it to please others? If you said yes to the latter, you’re like me: a former doormat. This is just a hypothetical example, but that’s not to say that I haven’t experienced it for myself. As a writer, I hear the words, “get a real job” ring in my ears all the time, from the first time I heard it. Who said art can’t be a job? Maybe I just needed to vent here, but it’s true. Artist, Wayne Thiebaud painted every day until he was 101 — a prime example.

I stay up after 1 a.m. writing this, with a fire in my heart and an enormous passion for what I do. Some people will call you crazy for pursuing your passion. Some people will try to tell you what to do, try to shut you up, or crap on your passions, only for the sake of pleasing their asses.

Moreover, I can’t help but feel like, when I was bullied in middle school that I let people walk all over me, just like a doormat. I let people cut me in line and hear my name mentioned to my face and behind my back. One time, I got hit in the head and let the guy get away with it, without an apology. When I was in eighth grade, it finally smacked me in the face with a textbook that I was letting all the BS happen to me. There came time when I refused to let people put their feet in the back of my chair and to move a couple of seats down for their “friends.”

The funny thing about being a “doormat,” is that people will think you’re never going to be successful. I hate to say this, but if you let people walk all over you, you will not get what you want, out of a situation or in life. Don’t get me wrong, it’s okay to take the high road, but it’s also okay to say “thank you” after an apology when it’s certainly not “okay.” And when someone keeps asking you to do something, just say, “I can’t help you this time/anymore because…” but you don’t even have to give a reason, though a reason can help back up any argument.

BLOG-MAS: What’s Your ‘Why?’ The Purpose Statement

I write this after completing my second-to-last semester at Emerson College’s MA in Publishing and Writing program. Wow. What a milestone! I feel an overwhelming spurt of emotions, mostly happy and I’m not fearing the future quite yet. It’s all about living in the moment, and I couldn’t be happier with where I am in life. But hey, I don’t have that degree in my hand quite yet as I embrace my boyfriend and my family.

I remember when I was taking part in virtual orientation prior to starting classes, and the vice president of the college was talking about what we had written for our purpose statements. I hardly remember my purpose statement, but I do remember it having to do with inspiring others, along with a few mentions of my undergraduate career and how I got here. Essentially, it also incorporated resilience (which is coincidentally the title of my first poetry book). It didn’t take me long to write mine, but it did require some thought.

The statement of purpose isn’t necessarily autobiographical, but it should highlight your greatest strengths and some of the activities you’ve done that would (hopefully) benefit your career at your school of choice. For example, I was a part of RWU’s literary magazine, Mount Hope and I was additionally the Editor-in-Chief of the English and Creative Writing Department’s online zine, Voices. I also had two internships under my belt at the time, one of which was at Rhode Island Monthly, which was a great asset and leg-up to have. This is also a great opportunity for your grad school to see how well you write. I can also add that having a little personal something-something (without belaboring it) in your statement is beneficial because schools also want to imagine you outside of school.

Not only that, but schools also want to know your literal purpose for completing a master’s or PhD. What is your “why?” What you eventually put on paper and send to your school might change as you’re in your program. This world is crazy and so is life. But still, why [insert school here]? Why [insert program here]? You could also incorporate, why now?

Consider this a part two of BLOG-MAS: Reasons To Go To Graduate School. Also, one “don’t” I’ve learned from a professor doing my recs was to not include the location of the school because it’s considered insulting. So yeah, don’t do that! That shouldn’t even be a reason or a part of your “why.”

How To Get Your Dream Job/Internship

When I was younger, I had dreams… I still do. I am a girl with dreams that turned into visions. These visions became reality. I dreamt of being a fashion designer, a lawyer, a doctor, now I’m living my dream as a writer.

I recently got a job at… drumroll please… MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)! That’s right, I am going to be working in their communications department and I’m so excited to continue my career in content creating at one of the top higher institutions in the country.

How did I get here, you ask? Well, my first internship was actually in HIGH SCHOOL. So that’s what brings me to my first tip:

  1. Start Early: I said this in a few posts, and I’ll say it again: your major in college is bound to change. However, when you’re in high school, you’ll have interests in mind. My first internship was at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, which I LOVED! I was picked out of 30 applicants to be a volunteer intern, not just due to my high grades and GPA but due to my experience, as someone who lives with a cancer patient. With that being said, I worked in their oncology department. I thought, at the time, that I was going to be a chemistry major with a pre-law background. That was not the case at all. Again, things change, and everything happens for a reason.

2. Take Advantage of Every Opportunity in College

If there is something that is up your alley that you want to do, go for it, by all means necessary. Plus, employers like well-rounded students, so it’s 100% okay to have a lot of interests, as long as you’re not exhausting yourself. Me? I was involved in student politics and Title IX and I’m working in publishing.

3. Any Major Can Do Anything

There’s no doubt that with through every phase of your career (i.e. grad school, undergrad, PhD) that you’re going to wish you did something different. I mean come on, when I was in my first year of grad school, I thought I wanted to work at a veterinary clinic and actually looked into UPenn’s Veterinary program. As I was looking through the majors of the 2020 cohort, I noticed that some were English majors! But no matter what the prerequisites are, you better work b*tch. You want biology and chemistry courses? Take EdX courses! Better yet, these courses have certificate options so you can most definitely add those to your resume!

4. Just Go For It, Even If You Don’t Feel Qualified

I was a sophomore (for the second time) in college when I transferred to RWU. More than anything, I was wanting to write. And I wanted to write for a publication, a magazine at that. Most of you know that I interned for Rhode Island Monthly, and it was indubitably one of the best summers of my life. Having been in Rhode Island for a year, at the time, I wanted to write and edit for one of the premier magazines in the country, and nonetheless a household magazine. I even befriended Lily Herman, who was someone I looked up to greatly because she had her words published in elite publications (e.g. Teen Vogue). With that being said, NETWORK. Even though I felt slightly unqualified, I was getting ready to “kill or die” for an internship (yes, I did use that line — it worked).

Moving Is Like An Empty Bookshelf

If you’ve ever moved, you know that it’s painful and excruciating emotionally and physically. It affects everyone who’s involved and depending on your living situation, it can have some ugly and anxiety-ridden moments. Being an empath myself, I’ve taken on my own baggage and everyone else’s baggage. I realize that I had, literally, just moved on Friday but with everything still in boxes and not being able to access everything smoothly, it’s not the same. This is my fourth straight day in a row, crying.

You can say that moving is like an empty bookshelf. A bookshelf is, normally, where all your books are to feed your mind. (I actually converted my coffee station into a bookshelf LOL.) The bookshelf that I’m referring to here is the one that housed all of the cookbooks. And because everything is in boxes, I can’t access my cooking supplies and I wind up ordering from Uber Eats. But nonetheless, I feel as though I have everything taken out of me; I am drained and feeling like I have no purpose.

But that’s not the case. I have plenty of purpose in me, and I know it. Other people know it, too. You, my dear, have so much purpose, too.

I took it to texting my best friend (hi, Katelyn!) who had moved to her own big-girl apartment two summers ago and I asked her if she ever felt lonely when moving to a whole new “world,” or so it seems like it for everyone who moves. I mean hey, I moved to Rhode Island 5 years ago. But this is my first time living in more urban setting. Anyway, this is what she said to me, “I kept busy and I gave it time.”

Keeping busy, such as writing this post while listening to Katy Bellotte’s podcast, “Thick and Thin” helps so much (Netflix, too). I’m trying not to sleep so much because resting only makes me restless and can give you a really bad headache.

Maybe I’m just impatient and headstrong, both gifts and curses at the same time. But I felt like I would get that normalcy right away. No, not the case at all. In fact, anyone who says that clearly has never moved in their lifetime. And that’s just the thing: things take time. Some things happen quicker than others, but to me, that means that some higher power had that planned for you.

Moral of the story: moving is like a bookshelf, you’ll be filled with your resources and normalcy, soon enough.