You could post about puppies or a lemonade stand and sooner or later, it will turn it into a political divide.
I have a theory. Ego.
As much as people claim they hate labels, they don’t. People love labels so much that if these titles were human, they’d be whisked off to Vegas and married in a little chapel by Elvis. For the sake of this article, I’ll say “we” (but I kinda mostly mean you.) We define ourselves with a variety of tidy markers that make sense to us and others. Liberal, Conservative. Vegan, Paleo. Christian, Atheist. Straight, Gay. Actor, Builder. Mother, Father. Husband, Wife. And so on. Some people even allow their illnesses to define them.
Part of why a breakup can be devastating is because we’ve lost our identity. We’re no longer a girlfriend or boyfriend, stepmom or stepdad. We’re set adrift, left to gather ourselves. We can recover like a party animal or an athlete. Some jump right back into anything, immersing themselves in destructive behavior in order to avoid feeling lost. Others reassess and get healthy by leaving the hurt area alone to heal while working out other areas instead.
I digress. When a discussion on social media about ANYTHING turns political, it’s nothing but ego. This is a person asserting their label rather than “I” into the conversation. And depending on the tone, it often means, “YOU are the problem. I am not. I am better than you.”
The reason we get offended and engage rather than staying silent and/or rational? Because at some deeper level, we recognize that this person has insulted us. They’ve shit on who we’ve decided we are.
There’s an enormous difference between reacting and responding. Most of us lack the ability to step back and look at the bigger picture in a neutral, removed fashion. We lash out and cling to our beliefs because they ARE us. They define us.
But they don’t have to. It’s a choice. And if my theory is correct, you have the choice to recognize this next time someone turns a casual discussion about buying patio furniture into a split sided political argument.
There are 2 types of people: Those who want to know, and those who want to believe.
Everything is an exchange of energy. Currently, we’re a fractured country and we all know we shouldn’t continue down this path. Too many would rather be RIGHT than happy, which lends itself to the anxious and hostile energy many have been experiencing.
Hurt people hurt people.
If only one person gets something out of this, the time spent writing was worthwhile.
Once upon a time, there was a lovely princess with long red hair and a short-legged dog. She ruled Castle Huntress quite efficiently. Her wares sold, she frolicked by the water with her little dog, and the villagers spoke well of her. “Oh, yes. This is our favorite princess yet! She has a generous nature and a very naughty sense of humor,” said they.
But after hundreds and hundreds of days alone, she began to seek a Prince. Not because she needed one, mind you, but because she had no one with whom to laugh.
Word got out, and soon the village was buzzing. A notice arrived from Prince Haddad of Romania with the offer of companionship. He was tall, dark, and handsome. The prince was also an accomplished warrior who frequented the battlefields. She, a former warrior in her own right, felt a kinship. After all, blood is thicker than water. Following an exchange of letters, the princess accepted.
But he did not appear. She inquired as to his absence and he replied with, “Soon, my dear. For now, I must fight.”
She couldn’t wait for his return from battle, for they had much in common and plenty to talk about. Their letters were never a bore, and they conversed endlessly about everything. The prince made her laugh, was well-traveled, and had a quick wit. He seemed perfect for her.
However, the days turned into nights, and the nights turned into days as the princess sat by the window, brushing her long, red hair and petting her short, black dog. She watched the leaves turn crimson and drop. Then, the snow flurries came and blustered forth. Eventually, spring brought new life and the same promises. “Soon, my dear.”
The princess’s hair grew longer, and her dog grew shorter.
Lady Amy and Lady Susan came to tea. They both agreed, the Prince should be there. If he wanted to see the Princess of Huntress Castle, he would find a way. “Actions are telling,” they warned. The princess did not want to hear their words, but she could not deny them.
Instead, she filled her time with art, entertaining, selling her wares, and tending to her affairs, but she spent most days and nights in solitude.
On a warm day when the sun was high in the sky, she sat by the window watching the clouds form the shapes of postal letters that said, “My dear, I’m on my way.” They burst apart before she could grab one.
Her thoughts were abruptly interrupted by a voice with an accent from a land far away.
“Oi, Princess! Your hair is like fire!” She looked down and saw the Duke Liggitt of Birmingham. He stood below her window with a toothy grin and gazed up at her through spectacles. Though he was slighter in stature, he was reputed to have a robust character and a heart so vast it could fill a castle, along with a title from the Shah dynasty.
“Is it?” She asked. Admittedly, not her wittiest response, but she was quite out of practice, having only spoken to her little dog for days on end.
“Christ on a bike, you’re beautiful,” he said as he bowed and pulled forth a striking white rose swirled with hues of pink, red, and violet. “I’ve traveled a great distance to request the pleasure of your company, and behold, I would be willing to travel even further after setting eyes upon you. I should like to take you dancing. We’ll have such fun!”
“Return as the sun sets,” the princess said. “If my answer is yes, I shall meet you in the foyer.”
Now, the princess was in a quandary. Wait for the handsome prince or dance. Wait…or dance. Her heart was torn. Suitors had called after Prince Haddad, but none were as charming as he or the Duke.
As the clock chimed behind her, her little dog yawned with its greying muzzle glinting in the sunlight, and a vision of her mother on her deathbed appeared. “Don’t be a fool, child. Time is the most valuable thing, meant to be spent, not squandered. Go.”
She knew her mother was right. As she gathered all her hair, the post arrived with another letter from Prince Haddad. “The fight goes on. There’s much to be done. I’ll be there as soon as I can, my dear.” She sighed as she placed the letter atop of the pile of his other correspondences, which mounted several feet in height on her boudoir.
It was just a night of dancing. She could always return early to the castle with the explanation that she simply must walk her short dog by a preferred hour.
As the sun sank in the glowing sky, she stood tall in the ornate foyer, clad in her best dancing slippers. Encrusted in shimmering beads and stones, her servant had given the shoes a quick dust-off before he opened the door with a flourish to reveal the awaiting Marquess of Birmingham, decked out in his finest.
“Good evening, Duke,” the princess said with a curtsey as she held out her hand to be kissed. “I am ready.”
Bipolar Disorder is extraordinarily dangerous. And even more misunderstood. It’s not just ups and downs in moods casually compared to weather changes.
Even on the magic mix of stabilizing medications, I still have swings and perceive things differently.
Thankfully, the meds allow me to question my own mind and be patient before having knee-jerk reactions. I can respond, not react. But I do automatically go to dark places and worst case scenario.
It is a daily struggle…often a battle…with my own mind. Just to function requires making a conscious choice about everything. Energy, diet, who I am around, shutting off news channels, removing negative feeds from my social media, daily exercise whether I feel like it or not, the colors of my home (calming shades)… And much more. Even with all these things, there can be issues. I work for myself. I don’t think I could work for anyone else and conform to those hours. Some days I can’t work at all. The side effects from the medications suck. They’re horrible. And, they’ve created a form of ADHD that is incredibly difficult to manage and I cannot take anything for it because it will throw me manic. Spoon Theory is a real thing. Google it.
Most people don’t understand this, but bipolar disorder also comes with a host of other physical issues, usually cardiovascular-related. The chemicals that are out of whack in us often cause lung and heart issues or autoimmune diseases such as lupus. Even if we don’t kill ourselves, we tend to die much younger due to side effects of bipolar disorder such as bronchitis, pneumonia, heart problems, etc.
About half of us have had suicide attempts, successful or not. I’m pretty sure 100% of us have considered it. Because no matter where you go or what you do, you are still bipolar. It affects every single aspect of your life…everything you do. Every relationship, your work/career, even sleeping, as rapid, pinging thoughts can be difficult to shut off.
There is no cure and the medications can be brutally expensive. The therapy is costly, and no one seems interested in fixing these defects in our health system, so this could be one reason why so many go off their meds. Being stabilized and healthy is very expensive. America seems more interested in profiting than helping when it comes to mental illness.
It is also dangerous for the people around us because we can be tough to live with. I think one of the absolute worst things about bipolar disorder is how people say they are okay with it until they see it. And then they aren’t. They don’t get educated about it and they don’t really understand that it’s the disease, not the person.
It can make us feel incredibly isolated, misunderstood, frustrated, and rejected.
I don’t really think anyone with bipolar disorder wants to die. We just don’t want to live like this any longer. We don’t want to inflict pain on others or deal with the mindfuckery. Sometimes the best way to save yourself and save the people around you seems to be to end it. “Normal” people mostly cannot understand this.
It’s a really weird thing when you can’t trust your own mind. When you can’t tell what’s real and what’s not…when you are trying to perceive what someone means or your feelings – and you’re well aware that you’re bipolar and that you could be taking everything the wrong way. It’s confusing. It can make you distrust…not just yourself, but others.
However, I can say from personal experience that the medications changed my life for the better – probably saved me – and oddly enough, every time I think about dying it makes me appreciate living. So here I am.
One of the beautiful things about having bipolar disorder is seeing life in vibrant colors most can’t visualize. We are also an intelligent, artsy group of people. The same chemicals that mess us up are the very same chemicals that make us incredibly creative and quick-thinking.
Here’s another odd fact: people with mental disorders are far more likely to be in full time, loving relationships than those without mental disorders. The truth is, no matter what they SAY, people like crazy. 😉
If you or someone you love has bipolar disorder, I think the trick is to harness those creative talents, find a way to be as self-employed as possible, chose healthy lifestyle options, stay away from negative stuff (it can really have a bad impact on people like us), and life can be very good.
And here’s the weirdest thing of all…I often ask myself this question: If I could take it away and be normal, would I? The answer is always a resounding “no.” As difficult and punishing as this disorder is, it has also allowed me to live a very unique, ballsy, brave life that most need copious amounts of alcohol to even attempt. I’ve followed my dreams instead of settling for a paycheck. I see the world in high def. I’m not afraid to live outside the social norms and color outside the lines.
For that, I’m eternally grateful to this uniquely heavy genetic disease that I wouldn’t wish on anyone and wouldn’t take a chance on passing on by having children.
And only someone who is bipolar can understand that statement.
April K. Hunter is an author and freelance content creator. She has her B.F.A. in Creative Writing for Entertainment and her work appears in a variety of publications, including RxMuscle, Page & Spine, Medium, and European Journal FONT. Her first book, UNDISCLOSED DARKNESS can be found on Smashwords and Barnes & Noble.
A model and pro wrestler, she’s currently a part-time superhero at geek conventions, Mother of Chickens and owned by one spoiled rotten corgi. When not crafting stories, she is learning something new each day or scouring the internet for funny memes while drinking too much coffee.
I write about things that inspire me, and anger/frustration is a primary source. I avoid the news for many reasons: To be happy, mostly. But the majority of it is there to fill 24 hours with train wrecks to keep us watching in order to keep advertising rates high. When rates dip, news channels go for the jugular. Fear is always a winning tactic.
As a journalist, you learn the tricks. The first thing we’re taught in school…
Crying moms = ratings.
That was written across the chalkboard on day one. Our job is to produce as much of that as possible.
I wrote this out of frustration (hence the caps and prolific use of the word “fuck”) after seeing so many repeatedly getting it wrong on Twitter and Facebook. I’m continually shocked by our refusal to get educated on a subject before we spout off. But it’s an epidemic now since we’re spouting off to others who are equally as ignorant…and the pot of shit just keeps swirling around with the communal wooden spoon of ridiculousness until it boils over and spills onto everyone’s cooktop.
This was written for Facebook to wake up friends and I’m sharing it here.
Here is why the wall and the shutdown is complete bullshit, no matter who you voted for:
If you build a wall, they will dig a tunnel. Actually, most illegals fly in on guest visas and just stay. We’re missing the real issue, the bigger picture here. WE DON’T NEED A WALL. WE NEED TO FIX IMMIGRATION.
I’ve been through it. It’s a horrible, time consuming, EXPENSIVE process for 1 person. A family of 4? Ha. Hahahaha. It took over 2 years and almost $2000. If you count a required trip to Vancouver for an interview with the Canadian government to start the process, then it cost over $4000. And we got in before America jacked the fees. Now many spend $10,000. The US lost our case files. LOST them. Twice. I learned this is common and they’ve attached GPS trackers to papers in recent years. You can’t leave America while everything is processing — for years — not even if your mom dies. It nullifies everything. You must be sponsored. While I don’t condone illegal immigration, I certainly understand it now.
Most people have no idea how broken our system is. If we fix it, we can make it affordable, vetted, tax paying and legal. We can allow those in at an affordable fee who will offer the country something: a skill, talent, art, business. Our wall will be Green Cards. THE GOVERNMENT — We The People — the ones who work FOR US, the public servants we pay — have a duty to fix a broken system for the better of us all. Instead, they squabble like 14-year-old children, throw out fake “stats”, focus on what the other party is doing wrong and divide our stupid country full of lemmings (yes, that’s what you are if you believe what comes out of a screen instead of doing real, credible research from a .edu or .org) rather than working together to use our valuable resources WE PAY INTO to fix the issue together. As the elected body they’re supposed to be – you know, as the elected body they’re supposed to be.
Ironically, this was the estimation when it was bothered to be done: Immigration reform would cost $18 billion dollars. It would GENERATE $48 billion dollars in new revenue for the United States, mostly through increased social security taxes, since most immigrants would be younger, thus paying into our system and not collecting.
In other words, legal immigrants would a) generate far more than they would take and b) not work cut-rate jobs under the table, thus allowing for a higher minimum wage and more (probably shitty) jobs for Americans (who might not want them, but love to fight about having the option.) By contrast, the wall is more accurately estimated to cost over $21 billion. It’s not rocket science.
THIS is why Americans should get their heads out of their asses and be upset over the wall and the shutdown. But most are too ignorant and uneducated to know what’s really going on. If one is ignorant these days, it’s a choice.Everyone knows the media is slanted one way or another depending on the channel. Therefore, everyone also knows the media isn’t correct and they need proper facts and information elsewhere.”Fake News” is a household term.
You should be fucking pissed. Frustrated. Angry. Not at people who are the opposite party, but at the fuckwits in office who aren’t doing their jobs they’re being paid for by the money taken from YOUR PAYCHECK. We are literally paying them to do nothing but divide the country and live on the government provided social programs they condemn.
We live in a cloud of ignorance, blindly accepting what’s spoon-fed to us from whatever screen we watch. We are either “cold-hearted cunts and lack empathy”…or we take to social media with too much outrage and “bleeding hearts” over something we know absolutely NOTHING about and have never personally experienced.
It’s never that cut and dried. NEVER.Life is shades of grey. Step back. See the bigger picture. Stop letting a screen brainwash you to the point where you alienate the ones around you. While not everyone can experience immigration (thank God), learn about it before you become a keyboard warrior based on a headline/screen blurb and nothing else.
A true opinion can only come from experience and education. It cannot be fed to you. That is called parroting.
We don’t need more hostility. We don’t need a wall. We don’t need Americans, who mostly live paycheck to paycheck, going without paychecks. We need people to get educated, stand up, and to demand that their government fix the REAL issue, immigration. As long as we’re divided and infighting, they can do whatever they want and spend as much as they please.
Rome was unbelievably ahead of its time. Infighting and divide are what destroyed it. We’re on the same path.
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” — George Santayana
For the record, I’m of no political affiliation.
Thanks for reading.
April K. Hunteris a television writer, short story author, copywriter, blogger, and primarily writes thrillers and memoirs. She attends Full Sail University for her degree in Creative Writing for Entertainment. Her work appears in a variety of publications, including RxMuscle, Page & Spine, Medium, and European Journal FONT. Her first book, UNDISCLOSED DARKNESS can be found on Smashwords and Barnes & Noble.
A model, cosplayer and professional wrestler, she’s currently a part-time superhero at geek conventions, Mother of Chickens and owned by one spoiled rotten corgi. When not crafting stories, she is learning something new each day or scouring the internet for funny memes while drinking too much coffee.
Yeah, I try not to say that too loudly around schools. If you’re out and about – or, “oot and aboot”, heard often in Florida around this time of year – Tampa Bay area over the next several weeks, guess what? I have FREE SNIFFS.
And I’m talking soy candles and artisan soap. Really good stuff, too. Organic soy wax. High-quality oils and wicks. My soaps may not be made from “women’s fat asses”, but it’s all shea butter, olive oil, glycerin, and goat’s milk. Close enough.
I love creating unique scents and infusing my nerdy obsession with pop culture into my candles and soaps.
*Despite the first and second rule, if you’re too young to have seen the film Fight Club, watch Fight Club. Not only is it more relevant today than it was twenty years ago, but it’s barely aged, you’ll probably freaking love it – and, ladies…it’s Brad Pitt in his prime. 😉 The film is a witty, funny, gritty, honest mindfuck of a story that moves fast enough for those of you with the attention span of a gnat. Okay, done. Now, WE DO NOT TALK ABOUT FIGHT CLUB.*
Come see me…because paying shipping SUCKS.
There’s just no way around it with jar candles and dense soaps. I could mark everything up and say “free shipping included” but does that work? Aren’t you guys smart enough to know I just shoved it into the price?
Here’s my gig list – nearly all of them are having live bands, microbrews, wine, arts, and local handmade crafts, so these are really fun events/fundraisers. I believe they’re all FREE, too. FREEEEEEEEEEEE.
When we were kids, we got what we needed, not what we wanted. We lived on one military paycheck. Clothes were passed down, pants were hemmed, lunches were packed, food was from the garden and we weren’t allowed to eat McDonald’s or Burger King. (Our junk food was pizza.) Going out to eat was an event, we cut our own lawn, we didn’t have air conditioning, and the family shared a single bathroom. Mom used layaway for Christmas gifts. I still shower at night from years of working around the hot water heater schedule. We had well water, recycled, planted, reused, fixed things, cooked, sewed, patched, chopped and got creative. It’s funny how that’s all “in style” at the moment. Even layaway made a comeback. Growing up, it was embarrassing to be the only kid with a brown bag or white hem marks from multiple let-outs. I’m grateful now, but it definitely sucked at the time. I never developed a taste for fast food or soda pop, but I adore peppery arugula and cool, crisp cucumbers with oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper.
I realized while writing this that we are all nickel and dimed to death. We pay for little things here and there; Netflix, a subscription, games, Pandora, cable/hulu, etc. Most have their own cars (and insurance.) Phones. <—-Just that adds up to hundreds each month…and you don’t even have a roof over your head or food on the table yet. THIS is why we don’t have much money left over. Everything adds up. All that little stuff amounts to something. Payments, credit cards…at 15-18% interest, we’re throwing money away by keeping a balance, too. But that’s a whole ‘nother blog. And I would never give up my Pandora. It’s $3.99/month well spent.
AprilsScentSations, The Beginning
I was about ten years old and we were in Peddler’s Village, which is an artsy area of Pennsylvania near Philadelphia. My mother loved to shop. And by shop, I mean dragging us along for hours while she meandered around and bought nothing. I saw a brightly colored candle kit guaranteeing ease at mastering wax creations. I knew better than to ask, but I did. To my shock and amazement, Mom (an artist herself, who gave it up for the joys of marriage) grabbed the kit and plunked it down at the register. Little did she know that was likely the precursor to AprilsScentSations.
Nothing was off limits; we made candles with ice, used empty cardboard milk cartons, made dripped candles, and it was awesome.
I found myself quite lost after my Gram and Mom died. For over a year and a half, I wanded around on autopilot in a low-grade depression, despite meds. “What did you do for fun when you were a kid, before the paycheck?” Bike riding, reading, swimming, candle making and playing with makeup.
So, I started doing those things again.
Florida is weird during the holidays.
Well, I could have stopped at “weird.” Doing craft markets with Christmas songs playing in the background while a trickle of sweat drips down my chest and I’m swatting at mosquitoes doesn’t feel…merry. It never does here. I bury my nose in the candles and then…for a brief moment, it does.
Candles which ARE NOT SOY can cost you a shload in home repairs
It’s crazy how much scent adds to the atmosphere. And how it can slowly ruin your home. A customer told me he was having his air ducts cleaned out and the cleaner came down and said, “You burn a lot of candles.”
He said, “Yeah, we do.”
The cleaner: “There’s so much soot and paraffin wax crap caked up there, it’s ruining your ducts. From now on, nothing but soy candles, they burn clean.”
I haven’t done a lot of blogs because writing is challenging. Sitting for more than a few minutes is difficult. I was in a car accident last year which herniated every disc in my neck except one, and it partially dislocated my hip. The neck injury has deeply affected my arms and hands, especially my right one. I’ve been in intense therapy, yoga, and had four epidurals to try and get back to normal. So far, not much luck but some of the pain has decreased.
I decided to plunge back into AprilsScentSations for the holiday season to offset the loss of bookings, and because it allows me to stand at the stove instead of sitting at a desk. I also find it therapeutic to get away from screens and work with my hands. It’s fun to mix all these scents together. I always wanted to make unique candles that you can’t buy anywhere else. So far, I think I’ve mostly achieved this…and I’ve even noticed a few copycats.
To those who send Amazon gift cards, THANK YOU. I’m on there like mad lately reordering supplies. It’s incredibly appreciated AND helpful!
Heads Up Etsy will have a site-wide sale on Black Friday and my store is included.
I hope to see some of you at the shows!
Ps. This was written VERY quickly and I didn’t really edit it. I need to get it out and get back to shrink wrapping and labeling. I’m fully aware my writing sucks massive weenis on this one. But my point: Come see me. Oh, and there’s a sale on Etsy next week. 🙂
It’s my birthday on Monday. I’m grateful to those who are part of my life and you who make it better. You know who you are. 🙂As I’ve gotten older (and I am older than I look, I think), I’ve realized that relationships matter more than money. That’s probably the primary lesson I’ve learned and I used to choose work over everything else. Here are some more valuable lessons I wish I’d known if you want to benefit from my plethora of mistakes:
(Then again, I don’t know if I would’ve listened had someone told me. I dunno. Hindsight…)
1. Listen to all sides. There are always more sides than yours.
2. Take care of your body. It’s the only one you’ll get.
3. People over politics. Always. Never lose someone over how they vote. It’s fucking stupid. Dump them over being a negative asshole, a liar, or a shitty person. But not for how they vote.
4. Speaking of, sometimes people act strangely because they’re dealing with something or have a mental disorder – diagnosed or not. Patience and finding out where they’re coming from and HOW to talk with them can help.
5. Skincare! Satin pillowcase, always moisturize and use sunscreen.
6. Showering before bed saves time in the morning.
7. Don’t work out or wrestle if you’re hurt or sick. There’s nothing to prove.
8. ZINC and Vit D! Not Vit C for colds. It’s ZINC, D and sovereign silver.
9. It’s all about pets & plants.
10. Not having kids works out fine. We’ll see about in the end. The jury’s out on that one.
11. You’ll never have a healthy relationship if you’re not a healthy, whole person. No one “completes you” and you will not complete anyone. Worst fucking line in cinematic history. Best line: “May The Force Be With You.”
12. There’s no crying in baseball. Or, wrestling.
13. Free speech includes the word “fuck”. Get over it. No one is slapping your baby.
14. You CAN choose your family. In modern times, traditional ideas of marriage and family are somewhat outdated. Partners are actually partners and friends can be family. The true meaning of “Blood is thicker than water”: those who spill blood & battle together are tighter than anyone, including family. It was meant for warriors and soldiers, but hell…life is a battle.
15. Dirty laundry belongs in the wash, not on Facebook. (Oh, and when you publicly post how much you love your significant other, we all know exactly how badly that relationship is going. We also know that if you post about nothing other than politics, you kinda have no life.)
16. Complaining is far easier than changing. Most people are fine with being average. The majority of us don’t LIVE, we exist.
17. Happiness is a choice, not a right. It’s how we choose to see things.
18. You are not too old, and it is not too late.
19. Don’t listen to what others say. Listen to your gut.
20. You get ONE SHOT at life. Do things, go places. Travel is the best education you can give yourself. Every little choice you make today will affect tomorrow…your future…from what you’re eating for lunch, to how you treat your mom, to choosing a job you don’t love because you have money fears…to karma if you steal music or model’s photos from her site. (Yeah…that might be why your car was broken into.)
22. WALK. Every day. Even if you don’t feel like it.
23. WWYD. What Would You Do? Treat people the way you want them to treat YOU. When in doubt, default to that.
24. Respect is earned, not given. And if someone wastes 10 minutes of your time, 7 minutes is YOUR fault. Stand up for your damn self.
25. Make decisions based on love, not fear. If you chose fear, you’ll pay for it with a shitty life.
26. Be honest. Even when it hurts. Even when it’s horrible. Say what you mean, mean what you say.
27. Manners and courtesy go a LONG WAY. (People are afraid of anger. Took me a while to learn the anger one. Still learning about it.)
28. Do not drive slow (or the speed limit) in the passing lane. Which is the left lane in the USA. Many of you do not know this is a law. MANY OF YOU. And for fucks sake, use your turn signal. (Also a law.) We don’t have ESP and you are not on the roads all by yourself. (This isn’t a lesson I learned on my own. It’s one my dad taught me.)
29. Tell people you love them (if you do.) They die suddenly, and you may never have the chance.
30. Forgive assholes. You don’t have to forget…just forgive. Most of the time, it’s for you, not for them.
31. There’s a massive difference between reacting and responding. ALSO: No one can make you FEEL anything. Your feelings are your own. If you DECIDE not to get upset, angry, care or bothered by it…you won’t. BOOM. Just like that.
Ps. Expectation is premeditated disappointment. Want something? ASK FOR IT.
32. Best advice I ever got: Never keep your meds on the counter. Put them into a box and keep them in the cabinet. Seeing your pills all the time is a mental cockblock. You are not A Sick Person, you are a PERSON who just happens to also be sick. Don’t let it affect your aspirations.
33. a. God helps those who help themselves. Thoughts and prayers are nice (if useless for the most part) but DOING something is BETTER. If you don’t believe in God, same thing applies. Verbs make life move forward.
b. “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle.” Yeah…I dunno about that one. Might be bullshit. But you can handle more than you think. Sometimes, you just have to tell everyone around you “no” until you get where you need to be.
34. No matter how stunning someone is on the outside, they can get ugly and unattractive REAL fast. It happens the other way around, too. Less physically attractive people can become very beautiful.
35. Sometimes the line between bravery and stupidity is gossamer thin.
36. Sex is natural. Nudity is natural. Having emotions is natural. Wanting to be loved is natural. These aren’t things to ever feel shame or embarrassment for.
37. I know I’ll continue to learn something new every day.
Got advice? Let’s hear it.
“There are flowers everywhere for those who want to see them.” – Henri Matisse
If you want to spoil me for my birthday, here is a link to my Amazon Wishlist. Xo! #SpoilYourGinger!
1. Because WordPress reaps the benefits of traffic instead of allowing the writers to earn, whereas Patreon lets creators share our work with both Patrons and non-Patrons. When you spend hours, days, weeks – and with writing, MONTHS –working on something, it’s nice to have the option to NOT be a starving artist. Food is good.
Christmas is a magical time of year. Excitement thickens the air with each passing day. Bells jingling, towns twinkling, vibrant hues of red, silver and gold, and the warm, buttery aroma of cookies fresh from the oven heighten our senses. Glistening snow drifts silently in the dark of night and creates a fresh vision of what we disregard every other day.
But, there’s an undercurrent of discontent during the holiday season as well. (I use the word ‘discontent’ because ‘content’ is the goal for most of us.) Every year, we are subjected to the same tired news story about the (alleged) War On Christmas. Unfortunately, if it’s delivered by the almighty TV screen, Americans accept it as gospel truth.
Then there’s the grumbling. “Holiday Trees! What? They’re Christmas trees! I’m saying MERRY CHRISTMAS! This is exactly what’s wrong with America. They need to put Christ back into Christmas. This country needs Jesus.”
For a small class of federal employees, it’s illegal to say “Merry Christmas”, and many companies have been quick to follow in discouraging the saying lest they offend.
I agree the term “holiday tree” is tragic. I’m perfectly fine with Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays. Not so much on the rest. This may piss some of y’all off, but the origin of Jesus Christ has little to do with December 25th, Christmas, or its traditions. More on that in a moment.
I think politically correct = boring as fuck. A writer’s job is to talk about the things you think, but cannot say. Americans LOVE telling others how they should think. We live for it. For all the hypocritical prattling we do about free speech and the Constitution, telling others what to do and how they should think is almost a national pastime. “Don’t be stupid. You need to do it how I would. If you don’t, I’ll complain vehemently about you on social media, which will surely fix everything. If anyone disagrees, FUCK THEM. Unfriended.”
Do me a favor and read this entire essay before dashing off a knee-jerk reaction email. A crazy thing to ask, I realize.
The holidays are a mixed bag for my friends and colleagues, which usually stems from emotional and financial burdens rather than religious reasons. The majority of my atheist friends love Christmas with no issues regarding festivities. They don’t give a rat’s fat ass if it makes people happy to have nativity scenes front and center. Some may snicker off to the side about The Extremists, but most just do their own thing. My “other” friends (Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, Dudeists…) may celebrate it for fun or enjoy the day off to check out the latest in theaters.
On the flip side, Jehovah’s Witnesses reject the holiday altogether because of its ties to Paganism and their sentiment that it fails to worship the son of God properly. They feel the holiday ritualizes sinful behavior (can’t argue that logic) and their belief is that Jesus wasn’t born in December.
“The best way to spread Christmas cheer is to sing loudly for all to hear.” -Elf
Not always. Some loathe the holiday. It can be a painful reminder of estranged relatives, lost loved ones, anxiety due to impending travel or family (we all love the terribly significant National Lampoons Christmas Vacation movie for a reason), or the heavy feeling of obligation regarding time, energy, and spending. Xanax-Prozac-vodka gingerbread martini, anyone?
There’s the opinion that Christmas has lost its meaning, or there’s too much forced/expected materialism. But mostly, it’s just not their gig. They haven’t declared War On Christmas. They just wish it over so they can move on.
Family lies within the spirit, not the blood. It’s whom we love, which isn’t always those who we’re related to.
I adore Christmas. (Admittedly, I don’t go near shopping centers. This is why Amazon exists. For those who say “there’s no such thing as a stupid question”, you’ve clearly never worked retail during the holidays.) I’m that merry asshole who Griswolds the ever-loving crap out of my yard the minute Thanksgiving is over. Black Friday? Nonsense. It’s red, white and green Friday!
I adore the symbolism of Christmas; peppermint everything, Santa, cookies, anticipation in children, ridiculous pet costumes, “Letters to Santa” mailboxes, cookies, neighbors lighting up their homes (C’mon, put something out, fuckers. They make solar Christmas lights now. No electric bills, no excuses!), sparkling trees in windows, cookies, babies in mangers, snow (if we should be so lucky), pumpkin pie, candlelight service, cookies, and the music, with or without “holy” in the lyrics. I need Elf, In Bruges, A Christmas Story, Love Actually, Joyeaux Noel, Rudolph and the Abominable in my house.
I’m not religious these days but grew up in a church. (Today, my stance is the only thing I know is that we don’t know. No one has come back and told us anything for sure, so I remain open-minded.) I was raised in a pretty narrow vortex; Reagan was god. Everyone reads. Hunting, crabbing and having a garden was the norm. The only language you needed to know was English; it’s universal. Dogs were never allowed inside the house. It was never acceptable to talk about politics, sex or religion. Whatever we are surrounded with is ‘normal’. If we grow up with Mom screaming at us all the time or our fathers eating their young, then we’ll probably scream at our partners and think eating children is customary unless exposed to another way. ***
“If you are the smartest person in a room, it’s time to change rooms.”
Thanks to modeling and professional wrestling, I was given more options. In Europe, I discovered you’re considered uninteresting if you don’t talk politics, sex or religion, and being dull is the surest way not to get invited back to a dinner party. I’ve since found Americans enjoy talking about these topics, but aren’t always good at it. The trick: be willing to (truly) listen without pushing your own agenda. For real. Shut the fuck up and listen. Don’t try to convert, conversate. If you can be respectful and open to other points of view, you can have meaningful banter instead of lame surface talk. You’ll also become a gold medal champ at navigating through hot-button issues at family dinners. People like to be heard and have their opinion valued. It’s an art. Know that most chats are NOTgoing to end with the person across from you sharing your beliefs, and that’s exactly what makes it interesting – to see why they feel the way they do. If you surround yourself with people who are just like you, you won’t grow.
If all else fails, these words, followed by a change of topic, save lives: “I can understand/appreciate where you’re coming from. It’s good to see it from your perspective. Hey, by the way, did you see that Spice Girl reunion thing on YouTube? They still look great!”
Once I started traveling, my eyes opened. Few in Germany spoke English, as I’d been assured. Mein Gott. Was für eine Scheiße ist das? Not everyone dreams of coming to America. Our healthcare mostly sucks and it’s devastatingly expensive, but if you need to be put back together quickly, this is where we medically excel. Pets are not only allowed in houses but they sleep on beds. Some people don’t hunt or eat meat, despite evolving with teeth to do so. My parents hadn’t exactly prepared me for doing global business in the world we live in.
With a world education at my fingertips, I began to Question Authority and Think for Myself. With the click of a mouse, any query I had could be researched. Traveling is also the greatest education one can get. I highly advise everyone to do so, and not the resort-type. Get out and see the world. It’s a solid investment in yourself.
I learned fascinating things regarding America, religion, and Christmas which I’ll share with you.
Fact: “In God We Trust” appeared on our money fairly recently and had everything to do with fighting a cold war against the Soviets (used as propaganda), not our collective American beliefs. Many of our forefathers were agnostic or Puritan, which is reflected in the way our Constitution was written. They understood that a country embedded in forced religion was not morally ideal, since they (and theirs) left a world rife with religion dissention, and felt Americans should have free choice in the matter. We’ve seen many ongoing religious massacres somehow perversely justified in the name of someone’s god in just the past few years: Ireland, Bosnia, Armenia, Rwanda, and Myanmar to name a few.
We should absolutely respect one another’s beliefs – or lack thereof – because we are incredibly fortunate to live in a country which vehemently protects this right by constitutional law.
Fact: The celebration of Christmas was adopted from Pagan traditions and has been around far longer than the manger birth. The Catholics, eager to convert as many as possible, compromised with Pagans and allowed them to keep some of their traditions. Easter is another one, from Eostre, the goddess of spring and fertility.
Yes. That makes two major Christian holidays named by Anglo Saxons after Pagan Deities.
Zealots have never let a few facts get in the way of preaching an agenda, but for those who like to be grounded in reality, here are some more interesting historical nuggets:
FACT: Our Christmas tree (call it a holiday tree and I’ll cut ya) originated from old Pagan ceremonies. The Vikings thought Evergreens were the special plant of the sun god, Balder. Some counties believed that hanging evergreens on doors (wreaths) kept evil spirits and illness at bay. Germany is credited with making the tree “a thing”. Queen Victoria, eager to please her German husband, Prince Albert, honored his traditions and the Royals were shown in newspapers posing next to their tree. Martin Luther (started the Protestant religion) was said to be awed by the beauty of a lighted tree and widely encouraged it. Pennsylvania, with its dense German population, brought the tree to America. (Another fun fact: The USA has no official language, but we were only a few short votes from making it German before they decide to nix the whole process.)
FACT: December 25th refers to the Winter Solstice dating back to Egyptian times. It’s to celebrate the birth of the sun, not the “son”. In ancient times, people lived and died by the sun, which brought the light, heat, and crops. The sun was regarded as a god and worshipped appropriately. Without being able to explain how this all worked, they created stories. Light battled Darkness and rose again to save the day – and alternately, mankind.
FACT: On the Julius calendar, if Christ was born, his birth would fall on January 6th, which is a date many Orthodox religions use.
So, why is the birth of Jesus celebrated on Christmas? Because it may have been. While our modern holiday traditions aren’t overly religious in actual origin, there IS this: The first recorded date of Christmas being celebrated on December 25th was in 336, during the time of Roman Emperor Constantine, the first Christian Emperor. A very early Christian tradition said the day Mary was told that she’d give birth to a very special infant (called the Annunciation) was March 25th. Nine months from that date is what we know as Christmas, so it was chosen as his birth date. A few years after Emperor Constantine started the tradition, Pope Julius I officially declared that the birth of Jesus would be celebrated on the 25th December, and history was made.
Many agnostics and atheists believe Jesus of Nazareth existed, but that he was a historical person, not a god.
FACT: A broad-sweeping comment like “We need Jesus to fix this country” can be wholly offensive. It insinuates that one needs a book to have morals, which couldn’t be further from the truth. Considering we are already a Christian nation (as over 75% of America profess to be affiliated), that solution does not seem be the answer to our problems.
Personally, I don’t need a book or the threat of a hell to not murder someone. There’s a substantial group of wonderful human beings who have never read the Bible, or did, but have zero fucks to give, and they generally do the right thing. Religion does not equal ethics, as we’ve seen with the thousands of scandals in the Catholic Church alone.
But, people are inherently good, with or without the guidance of the Bible, and despite what we are inundated with on the news (and then subjected to via regurgitation on social networks), we are safer today than we’ve ever been in United States history. We may not FEEL safe because we’re constantly barraged with negative shit, but remember: Unlike the not-so-distant past, our news is now 24-hours a day and they have to fill that time with something…anything. Preferably trainwrecks, because we can’t look away. Crying moms = ratings. Ratings = $$$$$$$$. The goal? Yeah. Feature crying moms, front and center.
Once again: Religion doesn’t equate to morals, morals don’t equate to religion. They can be synonymous, but not always.
FACT: For the past century, Christmas has been traditionally accepted as a celebration of the birth of Jesus or for the exchange ofgifts. This shouldn’t offend anyone. It’s kind of like the abortion argument: if you don’t agree with it, you certainly don’t have to get one should you find yourself up Shits Creek in the family way. But, you have absolutely no right telling others how to live their lives.
Any other reaction shows a blatant lack of respect and suggests you feel your beliefs are superior to others. Live and let live.
Christian scriptures tell us Jesus was at odds with the cultural and political powers in which he found himself. He was not born to be a son of the Emperor in the palaces of Rome. He was born to be the son of a carpenter in a small village called Bethlehem. He fled a war zone as a refugee to escape death and later returned to do his work, which was speaking candidly (and rather radically for those times) about God’s love for all of humanity, and especially for those the privileged had rejected. This was so threatening to those in power, they silenced him by killing him. Jesus, for all accounts, was a defiant rebel. I’m gonna go out on a limb here and reckon that He would be okay with us a.) saying whatever at Christmas and b.) celebrating however we want, as long as we’re treating others the way we want to be treated.
With so many ways to celebrate this spectacular holiday, Christmas is whatever we want it to be, just like a wedding. Perhaps you’ll opt for the giant white dress and a full Catholic mass? Or elope in a private ceremony at the courthouse? (Note: neither version will protect you from divorce statistics.)
As you’ve probably figured out, I take no stance because there’s no right or wrong way to celebrate what makes you happy, as long as you’re not murdering puppies.**** I have no political or religious affiliation, which benefits me in seeing all sides. Even if I did, I feel I’m mature enough to put my own personal feelings aside, not be selfish and understand what works for me might not work for others. My stance is strictly respecting people’s freedom of choice. I understand that science is a beautiful thing, but it’s not always a comfort.
Some will always prefer to be critical. Unfortunately, it’s illegal to shake ‘em like a baby.** Whether it’s those who refuse to accept historical facts – and aggressively yell “MERRY CHRISTMAS”, or the vocal minority who thrive on getting offended and just cannot seem to respect other’s beliefs, perhaps a little less judgment about “how Christmas is SUPPOSED to be” and more sharing of cookies is a nicer option. After all, if you can’t change your situation, change your perspective and reaction. (That’s how you Choose Happiness.) Like it or not, Winter Is Coming.
My real opinion is that there is no war on Christmas, and there never has been. It’s simply another attempt by ratings-driven media (anger porn) to keep the “divide and conquer” agenda in this country going. Don’t fall for the bullshit. My only war on Christmas is when they bring that stuff out in stores before we’ve even had a chance to get our Halloween candy. What. The. Fuck.
Whatever you celebrate, with or without the dear lord baby Jesus, I hope you have a very merry one.
Peace, love, and peppermint to you and yours. Happy HolliChristHanuKwanza.
Don’t shoot your eye out.
**I absolutely do not ever advise shaking babies. It’s pure sarcasm. Unless they’re really, really annoying. Then make your own adult decision.
***With the plethora of grocery stores widely available, I don’t advocate eating your children. While it may be cost-effective right now (toy shopping can really add up), think about the bigger picture. Eventually, you’ll get old and they might take care of your diapered ass if you raise them right.
****Like bacon, puppies prove there’s a God.
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April K. Hunteris a television writer, short story author, and blogger. She primarily writes thrillers and memoirs. April attends Full Sail University for her bachelor’s degree in creative writing for entertainment. Her work appears in a variety of publications, including RxMuscle, Page & Spine, Medium and European Journal FONT. She is a model and former pro wrestler.
During October I had the privilege of staying with my friend and cousin, April. I was not going to visit “the amazing, always stunningly gorgeous, virtually invulnerable April Hunter’” that the public may see.
I wanted to catch up with my highly intelligent, big-hearted friend. If you’ve read her blogs, you know she’s been going through some rough stuff this past year. With her having no family in Florida and me needing a breather from home, I started my drive south. I arrived around 9 pm on a Saturday night and I unloaded far too much stuff for a short visit. Must run in the family.
April-the-person is vastly different from her April Hunter character. Our conversations are without pretense; they are honest, direct, vulnerable, and raw. She is well-read and has a great sense of humor, which are things you can’t tell from looking at photos. We discussed some of the sentimental books that were passed down to her from her mother’s side of the family, including an original copy of Sherlock Holmes and her eclectic book collection. Dostoyevsky, Henry Rollins, Hunter S. Thompson, Osho, Steven King, Roald Dahl, Ernest Cline…and Sh*t My Dad Says. April also has some incredible stories about her global travelsand diverse choices in wall art. An artistic Batman and Catwoman print, a nudes-in-Paris postcard display in the guest bathroom, her mother’s pen and ink artwork, an array of metal art and vintage signs. (Her mom had briefly been a commercial artist.)
My trip had several purposes. Selfishly, I was dealing with some stuff and needed to get away; to have someone to talk to, clear my head and get a change of scenery. As crazy as April claims to be on her blogs, it must seem like I’m pretty desperate if that’s where I go for help! Perhaps, our own degrees of crazy are in line and that’s why our friendship works. April is smart, introspective and as much as she talks about being one of the guys, she’s still very much a girl.
Usually, when you go to people with a problem, there are four common responses: 1.) They try to solve the problem or offer advice 2.) let you vent and offer the supporting “yeah” or “uh-huh” in the appropriate spots, 3.) distance themselves, or 4.) ask questions and make you solve your own shit. Males generally just do #1, unless they’re a really good friend or trying to get laid. April excels at #4, with the right mix of #1 and #2, which is why I drove for two days to commandeer her time to help me sort out my own drama.
We had a lazy start on Sunday, sitting on the lanai (porch) catching up while watching Bella-the-Corgi and the chickens. Another reason for my visit was to help with her To-Do list during April’s school break. The back story: Over the summer, she went through a rough time. A split from her fiancé, almost losing her home, unnecessary legal issues, lost work and financial loss. When that happened, the strain brought on illness and she basically fell apart. Her psychiatrist wrote a note explaining she was dealing with serious traumatic stress and withdrew her from school for a month to recover. The 32 days she’d been evicted from her home (Expensive Lessons:https://aprilhunterblog.com/2016/09/21/expensive-lessons-part-1/ ) left April overwhelmed. There were things her ex dealt with which she needed to learn how to do.
She was unhappily looking for a roommate. Evaluating each other was another consideration. My rent had been raised and I was ready for a change (possible 1/3 life crisis). When April bought her ex out of the home, she depleted her reserves in the process and was stuck with higher monthly expenses than originally budgeted for. In order to remain in school as a full-time student, she had to cut back on work, so this seemed like a potential win-win.
The trip wasn’t a vacation. Having said that, we did make it to the beach one night, strolled around Safety Harbor for an afternoon and hung out at MegaCon. Well, she was working. I was enjoying the views.
(Photo: random hot cosplay girl.)
Mostly we stayed close to Casa de April. She had deadlines with ads and blogs to write, business to take care of, and that ever-growing To-Do list. I work remotely, so I had day job hours to keep. When we were able to do scrape up free time to do things, we focused on what was needed, not wanted. We also logged in daily four-mile walks along a trail and getting in an episode or two of Game of Thrones or Animal Kingdomeach day.
I did experience that April before coffee and April after coffee are two different people.
Among other things, we got some work done in the yard, reinforced the chicken coop to block thieving food rodents, revived her candle business stuff, and got some of her own food planted.
My two weeks with her confirmed what I already knew – she’s a great person. She’s not as crazy as she lets on, but the ADHD is her biggest issue – SQUIRREL!
Once she’s up and had her morning coffee, she eats every 2-3 hours, if she remembers to eat. She mostly just drinks protein.
She says fuck a fucking lot. I once heard her string an entire sentence together with almost nothing but the word “fuck”, and it made sense.
April Hunter gets her picture taken a lot. Real April generally hides from cameras and avoids selfies.
Make-up is part of the April Hunter uniform. On off days, there is no makeup, or it’s very minimal especially when staying home for the day.
Florida people think below 80 is cold. Below 70 is “freezing”.
April cooks very well, with lots of spice and flavor. And cheese. Ridiculous amounts of cheese…may-you-never-poop-again quantities.
(Editors Note:There’s NO SUCH THING AS TOO MUCH CHEESE.)Workouts happen when time allows. 20 minutes for weights here, a walk there, “I’ve got time for the gym if I leave now”, etc. By default, I figured I’d draft off her fitness thing and get in better shape myself.
When she writes about being OCD and ADHD she isn’t exaggerating. She might actually be under-emphasizing it, especially the ADHD. She isn’t a fan of clutter, either.
When she blogs about her degree of crazy, there’s significant embellishment. Her meds keep her more stable than almost any woman I’ve ever dealt with. (Editor’s note: Um…I have good days – and the occasional not-so-good days.)
She is open-minded and doesn’t judge. She has friends of all types, from everywhere. People trust and confide in her. She knows a lot of secrets and doesn’t repeat or write about them.
She has the seemingly rare ability to set her phone down and ignore it for hours. It’s a super power.
Her phone even sleeps in a different room than she does.
Sometimes her phone rings and she simply doesn’t answer it, claiming she doesn’t feel like talking to anyone.
April Hunter is an extrovert. Real April is an introvert.
April avoids talking on the phone unless it’s absolutely necessary. She prefers to communicate in person, by email or texting. Reason: she is mostly deaf in one ear and partly hearing-impaired in the other due to standing too close to a stage during a pyrotechnics explosion. She’s decent at lip reading and can hear certain tones if there’s no background noise. However, working around her lack of hearing can be both a challenge and hilarious. — Me: “Did you get butter at the store?” –The Deaf One: “Wait, what? Who butt banged a whore? ” Note to self: Learn ASL. (American Sign Language) She also has to watch everything with subtitles on.
Her Pandora stations have the potential to give you pause — or drive you crazy. 100 stations shuffle through everything. And I mean EVERYTHING. 80’s Alternative, Glen Miller, Classical, Public Enemy/N.W.A., Megadeth, Enya, Brazilian Chill, French Café, 90’s Grunge, Robbie Williams, Coldplay, Rush, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Flamenco Guitar, Linsey Stirling, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Gary Hoey & Yngwie Malmsteen, Contemporary Bollywood, Kid Rock, Billy Joel, German Metal, House of Pain, Artic Monkeys, Type O Negative, Cubanismo, Hank Williams Jr, Fatboy Slim, Eminem, Tool, Rihanna, John Coltrane, Korn…get it? Hell, she even has a Taylor Swift song in there. You never know what’s coming up next. Drinking game: Guess The Next Genre. (Latin is usually a sure thing.) —“Why don’t you listen to one station?” –Her: “Because. When you listen to one thing too long, you stop hearing it. You tune it out. This makes you notice every song, live in the moment. Plus, I like too many to pick just one.”
There really is a menagerie. One dog, a cat, 4 chickens, plus assorted Florida wildlife passing through which includes but isn’t limited to: armadillos, turkeys, ravens, frogs, lizards, sea birds, deer, snakes, gators, and turtles.
If you’re conversing, you have her entire attention unless there’s a wasp or a squirrel. One can kill her; the other steals the chicken feed.
Make the decisions; she’ll let you know if she objects.
Motivation, like time, is fleeting. Her energy levels can be limited. She hasn’t fully recovered from being ill.
Plans change often. Sometimes it’s her, sometimes it’s other people. She is very adaptable.
She moves slowly in the morning and tends to be apologetically late or behind. She often runs on “April Time”, which is similar to “Island Time”, but much later.
She has the frustrating ability patience to watch one or two episodes of a show, and then walk away until the next time, instead of binge watching an entire season in one sitting.
When she is “on”, you cannot tell if she’s got a headache, sore feet, hangry issues or if she hurts. She is a true professional.
She is injured and beat up from wrestling. Torn knee, torn ankle, bulging/herniated discs, broken back, separated shoulder, broken fingers and toes, dislocated wrist…the list goes on. She hurts all the time. You’d never know. She doesn’t complain. “What’s the point? Bitching doesn’t change anything. It just makes you boring.”
Know when to be a gentleman and when not to. (“I didn’t get enough boobs in the picture” was a real complaint.)
A walk is a brisk pace, designed to raise the heart rate. Not a leisurely stroll
Do not travel in the passing lane or refuse to move over and let someone pass you. She will lose her shit.
She’s a fan of many shows/movies and still marks out. She is also a nerd. A real one.
If she’s up before 8 AM for you and you aren’t paying her – appreciate it, because it means you matter to her.
A lot of people are trying to get her attention. If you have it, you matter to her.
She doesn’t expect anything from people, and when she gets something, her appreciation is authentic.
She says what she means and means what she says.
She is real and positive. She’ll tell those she likes and loves how she feels and expects nothing back.
Her dating life is as entertaining as she blogs about. Maybe more so.
She constantly feels overwhelmed and guilty about not ever getting enough done. She struggles to find balance between school, work, home, gym, downtime and having a social life. She usually doesn’t succeed. Something always gives.
She’s a real person, with feelings – so be nice if you interact with her.
April has a beautiful smile (especially if you earn a genuine one) and a great laugh. Her sense of humor is as varied as her taste in music. She makes a lot of things funny. I’m fortunate to call her a friend.
Disclaimer: as we were both potentially going to be roommates, we were both on good behavior.
Editor’s Note:Matt is being very nice, but he is a genuine person as a whole. He’s also bitingly sarcastic in real life. Since right out of high school, I’ve always preferred male roommates and have nearly always lived this way when forced to cohabit with strangers. Aside from the mess (they are usually slobs…sorry), males are easier to share a roof with. No drama, stolen clothes, they pay what they owe and since my house is a split floorplan, we each have our own side. They DO eat your food sometimes, but I’m always trying to lean down, so…
Some judge and think a male/female home sharing dynamic isn’t possible without complications, but I haven’t experienced it to be an issue.
Update: I did move down in December.
Now that I’ve been here for a while I can confirm that most of what I wrote in October is absolutely true.
April Hunter is a writer, professional wrestler, full-time student at Full Sail University, professional cosplayer and pin-up, Playboy and fetish model.
She’s also a fitness competitor, former Met-RX & Extreme Nutrition spokes-model, the subject of several comic book characters, an admitted coffee snob, road rage enthusiast, Mother of Chickens and world renowned potty mouth. She uses the C-word as liberally as you use butter on your biscuits. Which you shouldn’t be eating, since you know…carbs and gluten. She struggles with bipolar disorder and Lupus and chooses to view challenges as opportunities.
See more of April on Instagram @realAprilHunter, www.AprilHunter.com and Twitter @AprilHunter. She’s also on Facebook.com/AprilHunterOfficial and owns AprilsScentSations Soy Candles.
No part of this blog may be used without permission.
“So,” the server asked disinterestedly while smashing avocados. “How did you two meet?” We both laughed.
“Nope,” I shook my head. “You go right ahead.”
He summed it up nicely in about a minute. The kid hastily shoved the bowl of guacamole at us and backed up a step. “You’re a cop?”
I understood. That’s kind of how I met him, too.
If you’ve read my blogs, then you know about some unbelievably weird dating stuff that goes on in my world.
The time a deputy served me a (falsely filed) restraining order for domestic violence and asked me out in my driveway while I was holding my bags. Or, how my defense lawyer from that same injunction…nevermind. Yeah.
Well, I’ve got a new one that might top those. I could not make this shit up.
For the record, I originally wrote this on February 15th.
Valentine’s Day was just Taco Tuesday to me. I’d planned on a titillating evening full of blowschoolwork and sexy gym time. Being a student is hard. Being an adult student with a career, mortgage, traveling for shoots, a homestead and small soy candle business can really suck unwashed, hairy balls. Most weeks, I feel like I’m gasping for air, nearly drowning in deadlines, assignments, past due orders, owed work and lost emails. I haven’t had much of a life in the past year other than occasionally seeing my friends and some random dating.
Yesterday morning, the doorbell rang while I was still in my pajamas, drinking coffee. Usually, it’s mail delivery. But as I passed the window, I saw a city truck outside.
Shit, I thought. That’s never a good sign. I have an extreme dislike for people showing up on my doorstep. There’s a pleasant sign telling them to piss off unless they have an Amazon package or Girl Scout cookies. Clearly, this guy couldn’t read.
I yanked Bella back and opened the door. “Yes?”
A youngish-looking guy in an official shirt greeted me and said, “Do you have chickens?”
“Yes. Why?” I asked, as Bella practically went into convulsions trying to get the infidel to pet her.
“Well, we received a complaint from one of your neighbors about this property and another a few streets over.”
“Uh, OK. You’re welcome to look but I’ve already been through this last year with the other guy. We went all the way to mediation and won, plus everything is up to code. I don’t have a rooster. They go to bed at sunset. The coop is cleaned daily,” I wasn’t sure I did a good job containing my hostility, but I tried. “I’m not sure what the issue is?” I visualized hopping the fence and stabbing my whiny neighbor in the face with a metal spoon, simply because it would hurt more. This gave me enough momentary pleasure, I was able to calm down and hear him out.
“Look, I just took over for the last guy,” he said. He was cool and polite. “If there’s a complaint, I have to follow up. It’s my job.” Excessively polite. But he didn’t seem like he was playing around. If he could tell I was upset, there was no acknowledgment.
He later told me I should never have let him in. But if I hadn’t, the story would end right here.
I’d only been awake for an hour and was wearing a short, charcoal colored chemise slip with a clingy, light gray “Hollister” tee-shirt over it. My long, red hair was twisted up and clipped into an unflattering bun and my face was bare. So was my spirit, since I hadn’t yet caffeinated to completion.
I stepped aside and let him in, walking him through the main room. He paused and looked around.
“Wow, this is really nice. How long have you lived here?” Thank God I filed all my permits.
“Thanks. I bought it as a fixer-upper and did it about a year and a half ago. I don’t know anyone from the area yet. I work and go to school from home.”
The New Guy was a former deputy with a sturdy physique who looked like he’d been in more than a few brawls. He was a remarkable blend of badass and unwaveringly respectful.
I called, and the chickens came running, which amused him. He’d never pet a chicken before, so Ginger took one for the team. He determined that he probably wasn’t going to ask me to get rid of them. I waited to inform him that they’re registered ESAs (Emotional Support Animals) and he can’t. I politely let him know I’m versed in the laws of the county and city and would fight him on it. He politely acknowledged that I wasn’t incorrect. The conversation was done. Yet, he didn’t leave.
“Oh, a yoga trapeze,” he said as we slowly headed back inside the house. I just had it installed a few weeks earlier and love it.
“You know what that is? I’m impressed.”
“Yeah, I have one. I got a lot of injuries when I was on the force. You ever try the Smiling Mind meditation app?”
I’d been blinded by irritation, but at this point, I actually looked and saw him. Officer was a tallish, broad shouldered guy with dark hair, bright blue almond-shaped eyes, neatly trimmed facial hair and great teeth. He had a healthy build, a boxer’s flattened nose and looked like he could kick my ass with one arm tied behind his back. I don’t have a type, but if I did, he’d fall into one of my preferred categories. He seemed the kind of guy who would be content in a cabin in the woods with nothing but a fishing pole and a beer. Country boy-meets-Parrothead. (<–Jimmy Buffet reference for those of you who aren’t caught up on all things tropical.)
I became painfully aware I wasn’t wearing any makeup and was still in my pajamas. Shit, shit, shit. I self-consciously pulled the clip from my hair and let it tumble down around my shoulders and back. It was all I had to work with. Mid-sentence he trailed off and just stared.
“Great hair,” he said after a seconds’ pause.
“Thanks,” I said. We both stood there.
“So, uh…what are we listening to?” He asked.
“Never heard of him. Great song.”
“I lived in England for a while. He’s kind of big deal everywhere else but here.”
“I’m going to add him to my Pandora.”
He strode across the house and bid me and “my husband” a good day.
“Him?” I gestured to Matt in the kitchen with a wave of my hand as if to say that old thing? I was just about to toss it in the trash. “That’s my cousin and roommate.”
“Oh? Really?” He lingered at the door. “Would you maybe want to continue this conversation later?” When the officer grinned, his eyes smiled, too. Something about those devilishly bright eyes grabbed me. “I know its short notice, but do you want to go out for a drink tonight?”
Right. I can hear you thinking, “Oh, April…so soon? You just met him and went out that night? Have you no game?”
Here’s the thing: Some of us think people come into our lives for a reason. (Ahem.) It could rather simple. Maybe it’s a lesson or a blessing. I rarely meet anyone (ever) since I work and attend university from home. When the universe delivers a good-looking dude on your doorstep – on Valentine’s Day, no less – you should probably say yes.
“Pick you up at eight?” I hadn’t been picked up since high school. I meet people. It’s safer. At least until I know them. But it’s not like he didn’t know where I live.
“So, I guess you’re single?”
“Yeah. Guess you are, too?”
“Have been since summer. Wait. Um…are you crazy?” I asked.
He laughed. “No. But most crazy peopledon’t know they’re crazy.”
“Good answer. See you at eight.”
It dawned on me I haven’t met a person in real life in years. When I date, I meet people through OKCupid or Match. The great thing about online dating is that all the important information, like politics, height, age, religion, and kids, is out in the open.
The bad thing about online dating is all that information is out in the open. We filter and dismiss people quickly and harshly. Or, maybe that’s just me. No smokers, no one under five-foot-eleven, age range 35-45, middle of the road for politics, kids ok, social drinking only, prefer atheists. That last part is simply because atheists tend to be educated and/or foreign. I relate well to these types. Sexually, I’m equally (if not more) stimulated by the intellectual as well as the physical. Little is hotter to me than a deep, meaningful conversation. (Sometimes a good kisser can cut to the front of the line.) However, I’ve met people in real life, like my short ex-husband-turned-good-friend, whom I would never have given a chance had I seen his stats on a screen. With age comes wisdom, so my mind remains open.
I knew nothing about Officer. I didn’t even know how old he was. He looked young. What if he was too young? Granted, age is just a number, but with going on dates between the ages of 27 and 59 lately (don’t judge me), I was hoping to narrow it down to one generation instead of three. So, I Googled him. Nada. Cops and prosecutors are ghosts; they have to be for safety. However, university journalism class taught me how to stalk search for anything. In short time, I was able to ascertain he was younger, but only by three years. Also, a Trump voter. Oh, no. There are two types of Trump voters: the observable (douche types) and those who simply want change from a non-corporate president. I can deal with the latter group.
The post Officer vs. Chicken conversation with my roommate: “I dunno. I just don’t think we have much in common.”
Matt: “You both have the same amount of letters in your last names.”
“Spoken like a psycho.”
Matt continued as if I hadn’t said anything. “You both have two hands and ten toes. Injuries from fighting. You both like Robbie Williams. You both have good manners. See? There’s plenty if you look.”
“I’m not sure that’s the stuff you build on,” I said as I brushed my hair.
“I’m just saying you can find common ground if you really look.”
“Right. Like, oh hey – how are all ten of your toes doing today?” I rummaged through my closet looking for something to wear that wasn’t in the pajama category. “We are assuming he has all ten toes?”
“Exactly.” He poked his head through my bedroom doorway. “Don’t forget that he met you like you look right now. You don’t have to bother doing that much.”
Yet, I did. I spent an absurd amount of time doing my face and hair, as if I had something to prove. It dawned on me there could be a murky future. I thought forward: my hair in a bun, no makeup, ripped sweat pants. Upon failing to make him a sammich due to marathoning my favorite shitty reality show, he’d comment snidely over his eleventh beer: “Wow, April. You have really let yourself go.” Me, jabbing my finger in his face and screaming at the top of my lungs: “Fuck you! YOU MET ME THIS WAY!”
Such a fatalist. Let’s just erase that. I’m not the “fall to shit” type, anyway. We all know there’s no such thing as an ugly woman, just a lazy one.
The date commenced. It was a combination of interesting pierced with some truly awkwardmoments, as many first dates typically are. Occasional silences stretched for seconds while he gazed at me with his light eyes, like he was memorizing my face. It was unnerving. I felt like I was in an unwinnable staring contest with a cat. I am almost always the alpha at any given table, so it threw me out of my comfort zone.
The best part about going on date with someone not in the business is attempting to explain the business. Pure sarcasm. This is especially discomfiting when they are trained to fight.
Him: “So, uh…I googled you. And there was this arm wrestling video–“
Me: “Oh, God. Please don’t watch that. It was a custom match. There’s a bunch of bullshit on the internet fans put up from customs.”
Him: “From what? Customs?”
Me: “Yeah. Customers order them and book it, right down to the grip and what color nail polish we wear. They’re fetish videos.”
Him: “That’s someone’s fetish? Really? Well, I really didn’t want to be disrespectful, but you weren’t doing it right.”
Me: “I know. You are correct. We were just following the script.”
Him: “They write scripts? Are they there while you film?”
Me: “Yes to scripts. No on filming. We generally don’t know who orders them.”
Him: “So, how much does something like that pay?”
I told him.
Him: “Are you shittin’ me? I’m in the wrong business. I shoulda been a hot chick.”
I wish he hadn’t seen that as his first impression after telling him I was a pro wrestler. I scrambled to pull up some matches with credibility.
Him: “Holy shit, you’re a bad ass. I like it! Wanna spar?”
“No. Maybe.” I should have left it at that, but my dumb ass sparred with him and he took me down in .03 seconds. Maybe less.
I won’t lie – it hurt. And it was pretty cool.
However, he genuinely seemed to be a decent guy, and not in a ‘friend zone’ way. I’ve always been partial to the ‘nice guy’ and I think women who dismiss this type are missing out. True alpha males are quieter, confident, reluctant to fight unless they have to, and play well with others. The term ‘alpha male’ originates from wolves. If wolf alphas acted like our human version, their pack would die. What we mistakenly call ‘alpha males’ are usually just loud fucktards with big egos. Read more on that here: http://www.artofmanliness.com/2016/04/24/how-to-really-be-alpha-like-the-wolf/
As a rule, I’ll only date alphas now – the real version. I cannot do a weak personality. Nor can I deal with men who play a victim, complain, aren’t pro-active, take my shit, are indecisive or let me walk all over them. I lose respect. #Truth. I’ve learned how to discern this in order to not waste time.
Alphas: It’s how a man carries himself, with confidence. He’s comfortable in his own skin,(even if that skin has flaws.) He maintains eye contact, allows himself to be vulnerable enough to admit personal things without apology, and he owns his mistakes or has learned from them. Alphas don’t put other men down. They know they don’t know everything and constantly seek to educate themselves. They are accommodating and willing to compromise, but not willing to sacrifice who they are in the process. An alpha doesn’t seek compliments but appreciates being appreciated. He does his own thing and doesn’t follow trends. He respects others. He respects women and appreciates their beauty. He is supportive and views them as equals. He has both male and female friendships. He gets along with his exes. Others seek him out for advice. He is calm, thinks before speaking and generous in the right moments.
I wondered if Officer was a little too nice. I’m kind of an asshole. I don’t want to feel like a massive dickhead because the person across from me is a saint. I’ll own my heathen ways. I know I have to be with someone who thinks outside the box, is a little dirty, curious in life, not jealous, not the least bit politically correct, a nonconformist and who thinks nothing can’t be made into a joke. I’m just a “fuck the establishment” antihero to the core. Annnnnd, he was part of the establishment.
Speaking of being laissez-faire, despite the Trump thing (I’m non-party affiliated, but have shloads of Mexican, Muslim and foreign friends whom I adore), he was pretty damn religious…like very religious (“I believe Christ is my savior. What’s your stance on faith?”
“Oh, uh…I don’t believe in Jesus. I grew up in the church, but none of that ever made any sense to me.”
“Well, how do you think we got here? Evolution?”
I still planned on kissing him. Why not? Life is short and some of these Christian conservative types are total freaks! Kidding. Or, am I?
But for reals, I have no issue respecting someone’s beliefs, even if they’re vastly different from mine. Not only does it make for interesting conversations, but regarding spirituality, the only thing I know is that I don’t know. I don’t care what someone believes, as long as they’re a damn good person, and they like a finger up their–
Kidding! Or, am I?
If someone respects me in return, there’s no problem. My bigger issue would be if he wasn’t fluent in sarcasm and didn’t swear. Those are fucking deal breakers.
Despite the inauspicious beginning, we were on the same page with end-of-date opportunities. He walked me to my door and kissed me goodnight several times …and bit me once… (he isdefinitely a little freaky,I knew it.)
As he turned to leave, he pointed at me and said, “Thank you for having chickens.”
To recap the untied ends: I HAVE had conversations with him other than “How are all ten of your toes?” He did add Robbie Williams to his Pandora, was in the “drastic change” Trump voter category and we did have a second date. He has all his toes. I counted them.
He’s also not as nice as I originally thought.
NOTE:It’s been two years (today, actually). We are “labeled” LAT’s. That’s a new thing mostly known in Europe/Canada. It means Living Together Apart. We like our autonomy, but we also like coming and going from each others homes. For me, it works for now and I think it does for him, too. In my past, I’ve given up way too much for the relationships in my life, putting them ahead of myself, my goals – to the detriment of my career and more. He’s done the same. With with school and running a small business (www.etsy.com/shop/aprilsscentsations) I’d like to put myself first while also making him a priority.
There’s no sappy, romantic end to this story at this point in time. Nor would I share if there was because I tell more than enough. He’s been up front about not wanting anything serious, which works for me, too. He confessed he isn’t a fan of my career path, and that was one of the major hesitations I had with dating someone devout. Admittedly, it bothered me because what I do isn’t who I am, and I like him as a human being. (“Any man who cares about you would have a problem with what you do.” Me: “That hasn’t been my experience at all. They understand one side is a business and the other is me. I’ve never run into problems.” Him: “Well, I’ve tried to imagine introducing you to my parents and I’m not sure how I’d explain it.” Me *feeling slapped*: “So, don’t. To any of it. That’s obviously how you see me. It doesn’t mean others do. If you see me as what I do, that’s your issue.”) And this is one of the many reasons religion (its perceived ideals and dogma) can be harmful and keep people from living. If you’re not doing anything to hurt others, I’m guessing you’re probably still a good person. How ironic that religion can be what hurts people or holds them back the most.
In all fairness, he had no idea what I did until I told him. I was just “the hot chicken lady”. But the start of this story was too cute not to share.
I’ve met his kids, and his parents know about me. It turns out neither of us was like the other had harshly assumed. While no one is running to any altar, (Ha. I think it’s safe to assume practice doesn’t always make perfect?) I reluctantly gave up all the other dick I’d been getting. KIDDING! Well, about the reluctant part, not the all-the-dick part. 😉 He treats me very well, is ridiculously spontaneous and fun. Now that’s he’s been around my business more, he understands it. Oddly enough, being with someone so Christian (and forgiving) is exceptionally helpful with bipolar disorder.
That’ll learn ya.
If you get nothing else out of this story, bear in mind two small things: Often it takes more than 90 minutes and 2 drinks to decide if you like someone. Especially if they’re introverted.
And, don’t shun someone simply because they don’t see the world exactly as you do. If one is open-minded, it can lead to deep conversations.
My own two bucks (because two cents, really? At least you can buy a protein drink with a couple dollars):
Some women aren’t meant to be tamed. They just need an equal to keep up, laugh at life and experience this crazy world along with them.
After much introspection, writing, screwing up, therapy and learning, I’ve come to the conclusion that I fall into this category. Any other stab at normalcy will likely be met with the same previous (ill-fated) results. The definition of insanity is…right. That. Doing it over and over again and expecting a different result. I think it’s time to embrace my weird, colorful inner flamenco dancer. If someone can keep up, fine. If not, also fine. I’m not sure I go dates, per se – it’s more like holding auditions. Some get call backs. Most don’t. I’ve learned the hard way not to shove square pegs through round holes.
I’ve also learned to own it. Everything dire that’s happened to me in some way, shape or form, is my own responsibility. Therefore, it’s my duty to be alert and not let it happen again.
Perhaps more of us need to examine ourselves closely and see what works and what doesn’t. Societal opinion be damned. (This is called being Self Aware, which is so rare for most human beings it’s considered a super power.) If things are meant to be, they’ll flow. And it won’t cost a chunk of your heart and soul.
That said, on the topic of dating in general, I may not have a string of successful relationships behind me, but I am extraordinarily good at love. Love is when you want the best for someone, even if it’s not in your best interest. Love is when someone makes you want to be a better person. Love is autonomous; accepting and respecting that they are free to do as they please without restrictions. It’s wanting someone, not needing them.Love is when you never fail to appreciate that there are seven billion people on this Earth, and someone chooses to spend their time with you. Love is always learning, so you don’t sit across from each other at the table with nothing to talk about. Love is always compromising. Love is respecting boundaries. Love is choosing your battles and knowing when to sincerely apologize, even if you feel it’s not your fault. Love is communicating, waiting to respond instead of having a knee-jerk reaction and always remembering you are a team. Love gives, it doesn’t withhold. Lasting love is when you truly like someone as well as love them. Lasting love is WE, not I or me.
If you take a plate and throw it on the floor, it’ll shatter into little pieces. You can tell those pieces you’re sorry. You might feel better, but the plate is still broken. Even if you manage to glue it all back together, it cannot be unbroken; ever.
Well, that’s not one hundred percent true. The Japanese tradition of Kintsugi uses melted gold to repair broken pottery and dishes, which makes them even more beautiful than before. Maybe when it matters, we have to use precious metals instead of glue.
That’s all I know. The rest is a work in progress, an open experiment in life.
I’m simply sharing some insight with you from years of fuckups so perhaps you can avoid some of my costly mistakes or melt some gold for your own.
Free tip #56798:Don’t ever complain about your partner publicly on social media. Ever. Just don’t do it.
Same goes for publicly posting loveycrap. You have text. Use it. Nothing says “we have some serious issues” like endless status updates about how in love you guys are. No. We are all watching, knowing the other shoe is about to drop and betting cash on the date papers are gonna be filed. We love Schadenfreude. Makes us feel better about our own lives. So, stop that shit. You’re welcome.
April Hunter is a writer, professional wrestler, full-time student at Full Sail University, professional cosplayer and pin-up, Playboy and fetish model.
She’s also a fitness competitor, former Met-RX & Extreme Nutrition spokes-model, the subject of several comic book characters, an admitted coffee snob, road rage enthusiast, Mother of Chickens and world renowned potty mouth. She uses the C-word as liberally as you use butter on your biscuits. Which you shouldn’t be eating, since you know…carbs and gluten. She struggles with bipolar disorder and Lupus and chooses to view challenges as opportunities.
See more of April on Instagram @realAprilHunter, www.AprilHunter.com and Twitter @AprilHunter. She’s also on Facebook.com/AprilHunterOfficial and owns AprilsScentSations Soy Candles.
Special thanks to Hubert O’Hearn and Matt McDermott for editing! Time is valuable and I appreciate yours!