In Many Ways, DC Was Our Own Fault

Someone asked me to write about what happened this past week with the Capitol. “I’d be really curious to see what you think, even if I don’t agree with it.” I declined because I can see so many sides to this situation, I said I’d end up alienating everyone. But, after thinking for a day or two, I decided to go ahead and hit the keyboard.

People hear what they want to hear. Context matters. You might only see a phrase that offends you, read too much into what I’m saying, then take my words and twist them. I’d hope you don’t, but I can’t control that if you do…it’s your decision.

And as much as people claim they don’t like labels, they fucking LOOOVE labels. They want to fly labels out to Vegas and marry them. They want to have 8 babies with their labels. We’ve gotten to where labels are our personal identity. If you insult a political party, you’ve now just personally insulted a person. This person will knee-jerk react as if you’ve slapped their baby. To me, this makes no goddamn sense. Just like you are not what you do to put food on your table, you also are not who you vote for. Those in power have zero fucks to give about you. Why do you have so many to give to them?

We’re so desperate for affirmation that “we’re right” that we only watch and read the news outlets that align with our own views.

Following is easy. Thinking is hard. That’s why so few do it.

I’m of no political party. I don’t even register as an Independent, as that’s now a party. I’m a fiscal conservative/social liberal and there’s no party for us. When I vote, I sit in front of a laptop for hours with my ballot and I’m all over the place. Republican, Democrat, Independent, Green, Libertarian. I research each candidate’s HISTORY…what their actions have been. Not what they promise. Normally, I feel the president is a figurehead and it’s everyone underneath in our Legislative, Executive, and Judicial branches that matter the most.

Our last presidential election has proved me wrong.

I’m going to chunk random thoughts on current events and regarding storming the Capitol, which was indeed a historic day in America:

-Many have said they never thought they’d see what happened in DC happen in our country. I did. I’ve been waiting for YEARS and I’m shocked it hasn’t happened sooner. I now realize the only reason it hasn’t is that we’re worked to death and too tired and distracted to pay attention to the many ways we’ve been getting fucked over, no matter what administration is in office. Unfortunately, most still think this is all a current issue. It’s not. They don’t realize that the history of actions (or NON-actions) has led us to this point. We can be very short-sighted and happy to blame others rather than looking to ourselves as the problem.

We are as responsible for what happened as anyone. Patriot Act. Getting rid of Net Neutrality. Blue gold. Eco issues. Piggyback laws. Sockpuppet accounts. I could go on. But very few pay attention outside of their little bubble. It’s only now that people are home, able to learn a bit and see how other countries treat their citizens, that they are upset.

Well…it took you long enough. I’ve been waiting for the goddamn revolution since the first Bush era. You’re not “Woke.” It’s just a tee shirt in your wardrobe.

But I do wish this happened under different circumstances.

-I don’t condone the violence. Let me repeat that: I do not condone the violence. However, lawmakers – without term limits – make laws for us, the common people, regarding healthcare, public schools, unions…things they don’t even use. They aren’t us. They don’t understand how it works. They have no idea how it is to fight with your insurance company, the soul-sucking energy, how many calls we have to make to do so…because they don’t have to do it.

These lawmakers keep making shitty laws based on finances rather than morals because they can. They only see the bottom line, not the reality. They don’t care, because they don’t use the systems we use.

I think it’s not necessarily a bad thing that they’ve come face to face with armed, angry Americans and now realize how vulnerable they are. They should be afraid of us, we shouldn’t be afraid of them. It’s forgotten that we pay their salary, and they are public servants. We are not heard. That, I feel, is a huge mistake. I’m shocked it’s taken this long for an uprising. We are a massive country with a lot of guns. Not listening is something I would advise against.

-We pay billions of dollars in defense and yet, a group was able to storm the Capitol in a matter of hours. WTF?

-Some knew this would happen. The military had been deployed earlier to Washington. DC knew it was likely to happen, too.

-If this group were black, more than just a few people would have been killed during those hours. And speaking of, we’re so interested in learning WHY they stormed the Capitol…and this is good. But why are we not equally as interested in learning about why Black Lives Matter is a movement? Instead, we make up shitty memes and spread false lies about it. How hard is it to have a conversation and really listen? Colin Kaepernick risked his entire career to make a peaceful statement, which was his protected right…and that turned into “he hates the military, he’s disrespected them, he needs to be fired”.

My whole family is military, a couple S.O.’s have been military, I grew up on military bases. I fully supported his right to protest was absolutely slaughtered for writing about it.

This movement has been about one thing: police brutality – with a side dish of lack of equality. In a nutshell: Human Rights.

For those who don’t understand the term “white privilege” (and I *really* hate this term)…here you go: It’s the fact that you (and your children) can storm the capital and know you will not get killed. It’s not about the fact that you came from nothing, had an absentee parent, went to public school, got your ass (or more) beaten on a regular basis, and worked hard for everything you have. That’s me. That’s many of you as well. Our backgrounds are not unlike many blacks who had it rough growing up. That’s undeniable. But our color is. We can get pulled over or go jogging at night through a nice neighborhood wearing a hoody and we won’t get killed.

“But they did this and they did that…” No. Stop.

Here’s the root of the problem: Too many people said how terrible it was that cities and businesses were getting destroyed because an unarmed man was shot. What we need to say: It’s terrible that an unarmed man was shot, so therefore cities and businesses got destroyed. Action…reaction.

We value life, right?

The problem is, people don’t care until their own shit gets fucked up. Then…they’re all ears.

It wasn’t MLK who got people to listen. It was Malcolm X. Is it not ridiculous that decades later, it still goes on?

BLM isn’t something you paste to your FB page like a trending fashion statement. And trust me…your friends of color see who does and doesn’t truly understand that.

-I don’t think a few extremists who stormed the Capitol represent an entire party, and I think it’s wrong to take this out on every Republican. I don’t think either side is the stereotype portrayed by the media, which serves to divide. Divided, we fall.

-We value free speech so much, it’s the very first amendment in our Constitution. Yet, the censoring has been going on for a while and sets a dangerous precedent. We’ve seen plenty of it on Facebook, where the term “Facebook Jail” has been coined. Who decides what can be said or posted? Who suspends accounts? They hide behind the “privatized company” and “TOS” to justify doing whatever they please, but they’re still founded on the principles of free speech and are opting to shit all over that. EVERYTHING in America is privatized and corporate-owned. If this is the way it’s going, free speech will cease to exist except on street corners and in public squares.

Frankly, I find it un-American and the equivalent to digital book burning, except in 3 situations:

1. Spreading fake news. Napoleon was of average height for his era, but he was so good at what he did, the British decided to attack his character instead, saying he was short. It’s stuck…even now. That’s how dangerous fake news is.

2. Inciting violence and terrorism…which is what our president has done. You can be a Republican and not approve of the way Trump has handled things.

3. Porn. And by porn, I mean the true XXX definition: anything that shows insertion and/or the exchange of bodily fluids. All else is Erotica. What’s titillating to one may not be to another. It’s very subjective. There are people who get excited over feet and armpits. Are we going to rip down all barefoot photos and anything baring pits next? When does it stop?

The world was built on nude statues, naked art, and expression. This is both healthy and natural.

“We live in a world where we have to hide love, while violence is practiced in broad daylight.”

Porn should be behind a paywall so those who are earning a living can actually EARN. No one grows up thinking, “I know…I’ll be a porn star!” For fucks sake, let them earn their dollars.

-I feel banning President Trump was the right thing to do. When free speech crosses over into inciting violence and hurting others, that’s an issue, especially from someone in a position of power like he is. With great power comes great responsibility. Yes, that’s a Spiderman quote, but that doesn’t make it any less true. Trump has had makings of a dictator, and there’s a core group of people who devotedly follow him like an enslaved cult, drinking all the Fresca they can. It’s more than a little scary.

I don’t understand that love, or what he’s done to earn it. I can’t list 4 things in the years since he’s been our leader to make me feel devoted. Feel free to point out the accomplishments. I honestly mean this because I’m curious and open-minded. I love that he passed The Farm Bill. At times, I feel he was unnecessarily crucified because of severe dislike and I think his sarcasm was twisted. There are times he’s said things that were good advice but crapped on…because it came from him.

I don’t have any emotional stake in politics. Neither should you. Events happen. It’s up to us to allow them to affect us personally. We cannot separate our personal feelings from events or advice and that’s a detriment. It’s also an ego issue.

-I don’t think there’s time to invoke the 25th Amendment, and it could be a waste of taxpayer money. Hopefully, more damage isn’t done in the days leading up to Biden’s inauguration. I feel for Pence, he’s got a lot on his shoulders. Except overturning an election. He never had that kind of power and it was unfair to throw him under a bus and state that.

-I feel our lack of education has led us to believe way too much. We should have more common sense, rationality, and stoicism. But believing ridiculousness has led to anger, frustration, and depression. For those who can think, see the bigger picture, the moderates…we really want to punch the rest of you in the face. Hard.

(Except for those of you who actually take the time to listen and think. You peeps are cool – and rare breeds.)

For us, politics don’t bring us down. YOU do. Your never-ending hostile assaults and weird energy force us off social media, make us avoid emails…we just want to retreat for preservation. It costs us work, bookings, and business opportunities. Thanks for that. Life isn’t difficult enough or anything.

-Dear Conspiracy Theorists…please stop. You’re ruining it for those of us who are actual conspiracy theorists. The ones who do real investigative research with credible sources, speak to people in the field, study history. We don’t just watch a few YouTube videos done by some ranting idiot and call ourselves “an expert”. I understand the lack of trust in the government. I really do. Not being a lemming is healthy. But not EVERYTHING is a conspiracy. Sometimes Occam’s Razor really is the correct theory.

“Are you (we, the country) better off now than you were four years ago?” – Ronald Reagan. This is the question Reagan asked that won him the election. I believe that answer is a resounding no. I don’t feel Biden won…I just think Trump lost. Wouldn’t it be great to vote for someone instead of against the other guy?

But that’s OUR fault. We set our standards for leaders so unrealistically high, it’s beyond stupid. We would never elect anyone who is fallible like us. You smoked pot? We’ll splash that all over 679 news cycles. You were divorced? Oh my fucking god. You were never married? What’s wrong with you??? You sent nudes to your partner? What a whore. Did you use to be an alcoholic? He/she must be weak. You’re under a certain age? Inexperienced. Over a certain age? One foot in the grave. You’re a smaller man? Bitch. You’re a stronger woman? Bitch. You can’t spell Aleppo? Unforgivable! Meanwhile, 90% of Americans not only can’t spell it, but they cannot locate it on the map. (They also don’t know the difference between you’re/your, to/too, then/than. Fucking hypocrites.) Your kid is a fuck-up? OMG, so is mine…but somehow it’s only you who is the loser here.

What we put these prospective candidates and their families through is shameful. No SANE person in their right mind would take this job. And it is OUR FAULT. We have to stop being moronic dicks so we can get someone to lead who isn’t.

-I don’t understand the fear of Biden. The man was already at the helm for 8 very tumultuous years and we ended up fine.

-We need to stop the divide and stop being manipulated and used by the media. Stop insulting everyone who isn’t what we are: our voting party, our religion, our race. It’s beyond elitist – and it’s the behavior of a shitty human being. It’s not Christian. It’s not Humanist. It’s just shittarded.

-Why do we still have limited sick days and very little vacation time? Why aren’t we pushing to change that? We now know that you cannot limit sick days. Study after study proves we’re more productive with more time off.

-Workplaces are tiny kingdoms and dictatorships. Bosses have way too much power, and if you’re in a Right to Work State, you can be fired for no reason at all. Then you lose your healthcare. This is COMPLETE FUCKING BULLSHIT. How can people not SEE this? NO OTHER COUNTRY DOES IT THIS WAY – for a reason. It’s quite literally inhumane.

So, why are we allowing workplaces to have so much power? Then, we’re angry and feel powerless, so we take it out on those around us or assume everything else runs the same way. We need to UNITE to fix things. We spent so much time at work…most of our lives. Get that shit fixed.

If you want to revolt, I’ve given you multiple ideas that are worthwhile. Work. Vacation time. Equality. Net Neutrality. Repealing the Patriot Act. Unaddressed eco issues.

Fight for things that REALLY MATTER and affect all of us, our quality of life, and our privacy.

If you can handle a few more harsh truths about our society:

-A lot of people *think* they want more friends or a significant other, but they don’t. They aren’t willing to do the work that’s involved in cultivating real relationships. Social media relations are easier: they’re on YOUR time. Convenient. One-sided. Real relationships take time, effort, compromise, trust, commitment, and energy. Most people like the idea, not the reality. So, they would rather play on their phones.

-If you take the easy choices, you’ll lead a hard life. If you make the hard choices, you’ll lead an easy life.

-Intimacy isn’t sex. It has nothing to do with sex. It’s being vulnerable, letting your guard down. Into Me, See. It’s letting someone see *the real you.* Any animal can fuck. It’s really not that special. But it’s hard to let people in and be emotionally open, to bare your soul, to risk being rejected or judged…hurt. Everyone wants to be seen as so strong. No one is that strong. We love characters in films because of their flaws. That’s what makes them relatable. But you must hone your intuition and judgment skills *first* in order to choose those around you wisely. You can only do that by opting for silence, quieting your mind. Stay distracted and you won’t see.

Most people give up trying because they’re scared. Fear is the killer of all dreams, including love.

-People who are easily offended have low self-esteem.

-Much of what I admonish on here I’ve done. To be older and wiser is to first be young and stupid.

-I’m tired of the dumb. I’m tired of the misinformation. I’m tired of the hypocrites. I’m tired of the anger and violence. And I’m tired of people not taking responsibility for their own actions or lack of.

We’re humans. Not the party we vote for. Not what we do for a living. Not the color of our skin.

Stripped down, we’re all pretty much the same. You are not special. Neither am I. It’s time we realize this.

Those who do not learn history are condemned to repeat it.

Empires fall. If we don’t change our behavior immediately, we are next.

THAT is what I think.

-April Hunter

Christ Was Never In Christmas. For Real.

Before people start getting all “Put Christ back in Christmas” like they do every year around this time (with monotonous regularity), maybe we should first understand that Christmas *is* for everyone. YAY!

And that’s because our most beloved holiday traditions originate from pagan religions and *have nothing to do with Christianity.* The winter solstice or Yule (December 21st or 22nd) existed long before Christianity…and so did wreaths. Mistletoe. Holly. Odin/All-Father. Romans giving gifts during the Festival of Saturnia. Wassailing. Green Leaves and Red Berries. Group Singing. The Yule Log. Candles. Flying Reindeer.

That’s right…presents, a Christmas tree, decorating, caroling, and Father Christmas are all pagan in origin. Those naughty pagans had some stellar ideas! Yule was (re)branded Christmas (“mass on Christ’s day”) by the Catholics, but there’s actually *nothing* in the bible that states Dec 25th as Jesus’ birthday — nor has there ever been any evidence of this date being his day of birth. (Most historians feel it was sometime in the Spring due to the sheep tending schedule.) It’s really just a random day that was chosen to celebrate the birth. Church officials likely settled on the 25th to coincide with existing pagan festivals honoring Saturn and Mithra. That way, it became easier to convince pagan subjects to accept Christianity as the empire’s official religion. The first three centuries of Christianity didn’t celebrate Christmas at all, opting for Epiphany (January 6th) instead.

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When Catholics aggressively started their conversion campaign, pagans declined…to put it politely. So, an agreement to blend time-honored pagan traditions with the Catholic version of Christmas was approved. This “convert or kill the infidel” process was actually quite horrible and referred to as “The Dark Ages” – for a reason. Forced conversion, seizure of property or assets, destruction of property and revered grounds, brutal killings, destruction of historical sites and statues, burning sacred texts, and much worse occurred.

Christianity has a long, violent, and bloody history that rivals terrorism. Anything that wasn’t Christian — including science, medicine, and free thought — was deemed heretical and violently suppressed. (Hence why we still don’t know much about religious history.) Goddesses were banned and women were no longer seen as (near) equals in regions where they had been.

The Norse (Vikings) were the last to hold out against conversion and fought mightily. Many are still multi-theistic or Deist pagans and religions such as Asatro, Wicca, and a Druid/Christianity hybrid are still going strong today.

Pagan beliefs tend to align with nature and being a humanitarian rather than prioritizing capitalism or turning to humans instead of Spirit for a connection.

Additional Odd Religious Fact Most May Not Know: In medieval times, priests were able to marry and have children. One day in the year 1139, after the Catholic Church had grown weary of people leaving property and fortunes to the collared ones, marriage was outlawed, current marriages were annulled, and effective immediately, all children were declared bastards. The church became wealthy.

Let’s recap, shall we?

Since there was no Christ in Yule to begin with, and Christmas is just Yule with a different name — nor does this time-frame accurately reflect Jesus’ birthday (according to biblical fact) — this holiday is not just for Christians.

And we should probably stop with the “putting Christ back into it” thing. That just makes people sound ignorant.

But Christ (without the long mass, please…) is most welcome to the party now!

I wrote about this because so many of us believe the history of Christmas IS Christmas…that it’s always been this way. The origin of Christmas/Yule has a rich history with fun, colorful traditions, and many lives were destroyed and lost in order to keep those beliefs going.

We carry on these pagan traditions but aren’t aware of the origins.It’s been buried and hardly spoken of, to the point where people get belligerent when mentioned (NO! YOU ARE WRONG!), truly believing that you’re lying, trying to ruin their faith, or disrespect Jesus. This is not the case at all. This history exists and I think we should learn it, just like we learn about the Holocaust. Tribes and tribes of people were slaughtered because of their religion if they didn’t convert. If that’s not lesson-worthy, I don’t know what is. These are our ancestors.

Oddly enough, the only people I’ve met who aren’t pagan and are aware of the history are Catholics. They must teach it in schools or churches. If so, well done. “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

Lost history is tragic. It could be us next time.

*Mistletoe kiss.*
Have a cool Yule!

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Photography: Steven Griffey. Models: April Hunter & Michael Middel

April K. Hunter is a television writer, short story author, copywriter, blogger, and primarily writes thrillers and memoirs. She has her B.F.A. in Creative Writing for Entertainment and her work appears in a variety of publications, including RxMusclePage & SpineMedium, 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.

Insta: @realAprilHunter

www.Patreon.com/aprilhunter

Blog: AprilHunterBlog.com

Why Does Everything Devolve into Politics in America?

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.

Carry on.

-Written by April Hunter

A Fairy Tale

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.”

The End.

Written (and poorly illustrated) by April Hunter

How Dangerous is Bipolar Disorder?

Originally published on Quora: https://www.quora.com/How-dangerous-is-Bipolar-Disorder/answer/April-Hunter-17

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 RxMusclePage & SpineMedium, 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.

Insta: @realAprilHunter

www.Patreon.com/aprilhunter

After Life on Netflix

Review by April Hunter

After Life is a comedy about depression and suicide that’s surprisingly relatable. Comedians have always tried to push the “how deep can I go into rabbit hole and still be funny” bar. Ricky Gervais, who wrote, directed and stars in the show, pulls it off brilliantly as he gives us the darkest of British black comedies about Plan B. One can almost envision Gervais sitting across from a Netflix executive with a toothy grin and a dare in his voice. “I’ll bet you six exclusive episodes that I can make suicide funny, mate.” 

What’s Plan B, you ask? Well, let’s rewind. 

Tony, a local journalist in a small town, is an angry, sad widower because the wonderful life he’d had with his wife of twenty-five years, Lisa, was completely shattered when she died from cancer. 

Each episode starts off with Tony viewing one of Lisa’s video messages recorded from her hospital room advising him how to live after her death. “You’re useless,” she says. “Don’t forget to program the alarm so the dog won’t set it off and do the washing up.” Tony plods into the kitchen where he ignores a heaping stack of food-encrusted dishes to search a near-empty cupboard for something to feed the dog. A tin of beans suffices.

After Life is brutally candid, but not offensive. His unending portrayal of pain and misery might be depressing if his irritation were not so funny. Tony says and does all the things we want to but can’t. His excuse: “Well, there’s always Plan B. I do and say whatever the f*ck I want and if it doesn’t work out, I’ll just kill myself.” And we believe it. He shops for one can of dog food at a time. There are multiple botched attempts. At no point do you ever feel he’s not morbidly serious about taking his own life. “Oh, no, what will he do now?” is the pervasive mood. 

Tony leaves his house and refuses to take mail handed to him by the Pat the postman, insisting the worker walk the last few steps to his door and deliver it properly. When two kids with a weapon attempt a mugging, he doesn’t hesitate to punch one of them in the mouth, because who cares if they stab him? Yet, despite Tony being a jerk, he’s not unlikeable. He speaks harsh truths, which are in fact, truths. He loyally visits his father with advanced Alzheimer’s in the nursing home even though “Where’s Lisa?” is repeatedly (and painfully) enquired. No matter how down and out he is, Tony puts the needs of his dog above himself. He meets a prostitute on the streets (“Sex worker!”) who offers to do anything he wants for fifty quid. He agrees…and has her clean his house. Then, he offers her tea.

The local newspaper Tony works for covers a new feature story in each episode that borders on the ridiculous and lends endless humor to the series along with an appreciation for the banal in life. Tony’s coworkers debate deep subjects not usually touched on in comedies such as religion, life and love.

While visiting his wife’s plot, he befriends a cheerful widow (played by Penelope Wilton, best known as Isobel Crawley in Downton Abbey) who becomes a mentor, full of wise advice on how to keep going and not squander life away. 

We see valid consequences for Tony’s harsh actions several times, including his brother-in-law threatening to never let him see his nephew again. After Life can also be lesson in loyalty and friendship when dealing with a depressed loved one, as Tony’s friends patiently tolerate his moods and lashing out, never turning their backs on him. However, after a particularly harrowing event, Tony realizes he’s gone too far and might lose them too, which is his turning point.

Among other topics, the short series explores heroin use and assisted suicide, but underneath the gloom and doom is a steady current of sweetness and charm. Our anti-hero learns how to cope and makes a comeback with more than a little help from his friends and Plan B never comes to fruition. Yes, Tony – hope really is everything.

Fans of other Gervais’ other works will enjoy seeing quite a few familiar faces. Ashley Jensen (Maggie on Extras) was a stellar addition to the show. Unlike films, which he’s come under fire for in recent years, Gervais is at his best at the helm of a TV series, which gives him the time to expand character development, and this is quite possibly his best show to date. 

From desolate to revived, we’re given an authentic portrayal of the struggle to recover after devastating loss. After Life confidently walks the fine line of pushing new boundaries and dark comedy like no one has successfully done before. 

Thank you, Ricky Gervais, for giving us something real we can relate to.

Watch After Life exclusively on Netflix.

**Right after I posted, Ricky Gervais responded. I won’t lie………SO COOL.

Why The Wall Isn’t The Real Issue

Art by FMH

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 RxMusclePage & SpineMedium, 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.

Insta: @realAprilHunter

www.Patreon.com/aprilhunter

Twitter: @aprilhunter

Random Nuggets of Wisdom I’ve Learned Along the Way

Recently, I wrote a letter to my younger self in one of my blogs. Now, here’s one for you.

I’ve lived many lifetimes and screwed up a lot. Oh…a whole lot. This is just a tiny bit of what I’ve learned. Hopefully, some of this resonates with you – or perhaps can even help in some way.

1. With so much to do, read, watch, learn and create, it is literally impossible to get bored. Only boring people get bored. 

2. If someone is stupid & ignorant, it’s because they choose to be. 

3. Time is worth more than money. 

4. Being a good person won’t protect you from bad people. 

5. Talk is so cheap, it’s free. Only effort & results matter. Effort is HOT.  

6. Jalapeno salt improves almost everything. 

7. Mediocre people tend to get deeply offended at advice from more successful people. 

8. Barring race and some politics, the reason people who react (flip out) on social media (instead of responding) is because some of what’s said is truthful. 

9. There are a lot of undiagnosed mental disorders and mental illness out there.  (Game recognizes game.) I give a ton of credit to the people who get treated. Those who are working on themselves and fighting the good fight should be highly commended. I’m not just saying that because I’m one of them. It’s a struggle and it affects everyone around you. Refusing to accept there’s something wrong or to be treated is selfish. If there’s a common pattern in all your relationship/work issues, it’s probably not them. It’s you.

10. Doing > complaining. Hashtag campaigns < doing. DOING MATTERS.

11. People over politics. If someone cares about us, who gives a fuck how they vote? Seriously. Having a variety of friends with different opinions makes life richer. 

12. If politics are your whole life…you have no life. Unless you’re an elected official. Then, carry on, mate. Make the world a better place. 

13. “Running for a cure” won’t do shit. Run/walk to stay HEALTHY. Illnesses make America way too much profit to cure them. 

14. Here’s one no one talks about – you know how they tell you to put money away for retirement? Guess what? You need another savings account to save in order to not LOOK and FEEL like you’re headed towards retirement. With us a.) living longer and b.) on photos and videos all the time, looks and having energy does matter.  Fighting it is gonna cost you. A fucking lot, too. From botox, filler, peels, medication, T therapy (for men & menopause), laser for face (and weird hair…this is aimed at the guys), more (gray) hair coloring, fighting hair loss, growth hormone, eyelid drooping surgery (I know several who have had to have them pulled back due to losing some vision in one or both eyes), CBD oil for all the aches and pains, random injuries that need rehab and cost us work, vision or dental issues…all of it. Unless you plan to just surrender…look like shit, feel like shit…or you have stellar genetics and incredible luck…it will cost you. Save NOW. Insurance doesn’t cover most of that. I’m sure I’m forgetting stuff, too.

15. Life isn’t fair. Deal with it. It’s up to us to make it a better place for everyone.

16. Helping people/a cause/animals and not talking about it makes you even more of a hero, albeit a karmic hero. 🙂

17. Young women; develop a healthy attitude about your body while simultaneously developing your wit, manners, and brain. You cannot get by on your looks alone (nor should you), especially with more and more females running the world.  Additionally, if you have any doubts, I can assure you that you probably look much better than you think. You’re young. Enjoy it. Because you’re gonna get tired and fat one day. So fat. 

18. Time destroys everything. Nothing stays the same. Know this, accept it. Savor the moments. Learn to adapt and change with the times. The waves will come. As some smart person stated long before I wrote this: You can either drown when the waves come crashing in – or you can learn to surf.

19. True intimacy comes from vulnerability; Letting your guard down, dropping your defenses and sharing what makes you, YOU. Whether it’s a deeper friendship or real romantic love, you can’t get there without it. Sex isn’t intimacy. Animals fuck. There’s no real challenge to it. Knowing someone isn’t having rolled around with them.

20. People can be fucked up. There’s nothing you can do about it, some just are. While you can’t control certain situations, you CAN control how you choose to react/respond.

21. Apologizing (heartfelt) and/or saying thank you can fix a world of hurt and some major issues. Never be too proud or too ignorant to do either. And know this…do you want to be right or be happy? Sometimes you have to suck it up and say thank you or I’m sorry when it’s not really your place to do so. However, there are two types of people in the world: Peacemakers and Peacekeepers. Peacekeepers go with the flow and avoid confrontation, which causes more issues in the long run. They allow a splinter to turn into septicemia. Peacemakers do what it takes to settle problems. They have boundaries, give, call bullshit, compromise, set people straight, and fight for what’s right. Be a Peacemaker.

22. “Your ego is not your amigo.” When you start to react instead of respond, step back and think for a minute first: “Is this my ego?  Is this going to hurt someone for no reason? Is this necessary? In the big picture, will this help or hurt things?” Sit for 24 hours before you send that angry email or text. Wait. Trust Auntie April on this. I’ve had to repair a lot of flaming bridges in my lifetime over stupid stuff like…an email.

23. Your gut feeling is always right. ALWAYS.

24. Overthinking leads to anxiety and misery. Keep it simple. This takes willful practice. 

25. We are all equal in that we each get 24 hours a day. How we choose to spend that time is what sets us ahead, apart or behind.

26. Happiness is not a right. It’s a point of view. It’s the way we chose to see things. Example: an NFL game. After the game, half the stadium leaves happy, half leaves upset. The game was just a game. Such is life. “There are always flowers for those who want to see them.” – Henri Matisse

27 Books are sexy – and they don’t get destroyed when you drop them or some brat cannonballs at the pool.

28. Honesty is brave and requires huge cojones. While others may not like what you have to say, you’ll usually earn respect for saying it (if you say it the right way.) Use a velvet gloved fist. Say it without doing more damage.

29. Don’t send that email until you’ve looked it over twice and made sure it’s ready to send. Ditto for texts. 90% of court cases are won solely on emails and texts. 

30. Speaking of email, texts and emails are easily misconstrued due to lack of tone. Key & Peele moments happen. If you are confused, simply call the person. Yes. Dial your phone. It can save relationships and friendships. Phone calls are like vintage Snapchat!

31. It doesn’t cost anything to be nice. 

32.  Put your fucking phone down. Wait – finish reading this, of course, but for real…put it down, walk away and leave it alone. Get an alarm clock and keep your phone in another room at night. Addiction of any kind is unattractive and you’re missing out on real life. Being owned by an electronic device is so lame. It’s a dog’s leash, a baby’s pacifier.  #LOOKUP  
*There’s no long-term testing for smartphone damage. We are the guinea pigs. Doctors once prescribed cigarettes for digestion, claiming they were healthy. 

33. The only two things guaranteed in life are death and taxes. Your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles…they’re only here for a certain amount of time. Be good to them.  Once they’re gone, they’re gone. I say this as an orphan who wishes I could have my parents and grandparents back for just one more dinner together. I pissed that time away all too often instead of being completely present, sitting with my Gram in the evening, calling my dad or spending time with my Poppy when he was confined to bed. When I was 16, my social life mattered more than my grandparents. This is something I deeply regret, because my Poppy died likely thinking I was a self-absorbed asshole, and my Gram (who was my everything) lost her husband without me there to lean on. What was I doing? Trying to find the next party, chatting with my boyfriend and keeping up with the school gossip. Such important stuff that matters not one single bit now. If I could go back in time, I would fix that.

Call your mom, dad or grandparents. For me.

34. It’s never okay to crap on someone’s beliefs or lack of. What works for one person might not for another.  If we were all the same, conversations would get stale in record time.

35. Having an open mind doesn’t mean you’re simply willing to hear another person’s point of view. It means you’re open to changing your mind based on the facts/story/evidence given. But being willing to listen to all points of view is a great start.

36. The word “thank you” changes your negative energy into positive. If you’re fed up or stressed, just say “thank you” over and over again until you get rid of that yuck.

37.  People who aren’t outgoing or don’t socialize aren’t usually being antisocial. They just don’t have the energy or tolerance to deal with drama, fake people, traffic, and/or crowds. They’re introverts.

38. Choose your friends like you do your lovers. Stay away from the needy, the vampires, and the desperate.

39. Floss. Listerine for 2 minutes twice a day. Take care of your teeth.

40. Live below your means. Debt will make you miserable. If you’re in debt, make it a priority to pay it down. Work to live, don’t live to work. #moderndayslavery #fuckthatshit

41. Pro wrestling is more real than you could ever imagine. Yes, many of the endings are scripted for storyline continuation purposes, but the training, the injuries, the chops, the accidents, the mental bullshit, and the politics are PAINFUL, take a toll on you in every way and are valuable learning experiences that can leave you broke and broken if you’re not vigilant and careful. Every hard chop to the chest shocks the heart. Every time you’re slammed to the mat, it’s the equivalent of a fender bender. Throw your body into a turnbuckle slightly off, and you’ll have bruises and whiplash. There are the misses and accidents, working sick and jet lag. The flights alone can beat you up, as the majority of wrestlers fly coach until they acquire a name or miles. Name any other sport that goes year round without an off-season. Name anything else that’s drug tested like a sport, called entertainment, yet doesn’t get acknowledged by or receive any benefits from the Screen Actors Guild, such as like union & minimum pay requirements. Wrestlers are drug tested on Olympic standards. We can’t even take cold or allergy medication. I’m pretty certain NFL players can. Name any other sport where they have to pay their own travel – and get themselves there after a long day, working and fighting their way out of a crowded arena. No team bus in wrestling. There’s no team anything in wrestling. The cherry on the sundae: Wrestlers are terribly exposed through the internet. Anyone can find, harass, and stalk them since everyone knows their schedules. If they’re good at playing the bad guy, the chances of that happening increase exponentially. Some wrestlers have been stabbed by “fans.” Others have been in a bar having a few drinks and accosted by idiots challenging them. Even their children have been contacted, called names, harassed and abused. To defend oneself is tricky these days with an ethics code and expectations. We can grow to distrust and hate the very people who support us, as a few can ruin it for all.

Unlike other sports, if you’re injured and take time off, you can endanger your position. The show must go on. If you’re a champion or in a major storyline and something is torn/broken, you’re in that ring the next night and it’s written into the storyline. There’s always someone right behind you waiting for the opportunity to shine. “If you can walk, you can wrestle!” – Killer Kowalski. That’s why we work hurt and end up damaged long term. It’s why so many become addicted to pain pills. It’s also why there are so many early deaths in wrestling. It’s not the illegal drugs killing us, it’s the legal ones. You can only handle so many pain pills, sleep meds, and running yourself into the ground on a 4-5 day a week in a different city each night travel schedule before something shuts down. Steroids and growth hormone were created to enhance, speed up recovery, strengthen, mimic youth and turn humans into superhumans. That’s not the stuff that’s going to kill you…which why all the Mr. and Ms. Olympias are still alive and kicking. WWE has been working diligently to fix this, and they’re making great strides, but we still have a ways to go on this journey.

42. Sometimes the wrong choices bring us to the right places.

43. No matter how big & badass you are, when a toddler hands you a toy phone, you answer it.  

Live long and prosper. – Mr. Spock

Thanks for reading. Visit me on www.Patreon.com/aprilhunter 

*Got anything good to add? Let’s hear it.*

If you feel the sudden urge to to spoil me, here is a link to my Amazon Wishlist. Xo! #SpoilYourGinger!

http://www.amazon.com/registry/wishlist/258GQWZANXBQ3/ref=cm_sw_r_tw … … via @amazon

Free Sniffs!

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.

NOVEMBER: 

17th: Shopapalooza, St. Pete. 

23rd: Ella’s Black Friday Pop Up Market on Nebraska Ave, Tampa.

24th: Art Walk, Pinellas Park, Small Business Saturday.

27th: Cheval’s Holiday Gift & Craft Market, Lutz.


DECEMBER:

1st: Holizaar, St. Pete.

7th: PAW/Pinellas Ale Works, St. Pete.

13th: Eco Fest Market, Lutz.

21st: Third Friday, Safety Harbor.

Instagram: @AprilsScentSations

Facebook: AprilsScentSations

Patreon: AprilHunter

Growing Up Broke

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.” 

READ: http://www.comfortmatehvac.com/resources/candle-soot-and-air-quality/

Read about the toxins in paraffin candles here: http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/08/21/candles.air.pollution/

Bumper Cars

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!

Xo!

April

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. 🙂

Pet shampoo bars

A Letter to My Younger Self…Or, to You.

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. “You complete me” is the 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. Not moving your body is not treating it well. Atrophy = early aging, injuries, wasting away, bone loss.

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 (literally and figuratively) 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.  It’s very, very dangerous to force people to pass on the right. 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. It’s for you, not for them. Fuck them. Karma will sort that out.

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. Some solid advice I 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 cock-block. 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. Who someone is matters. It’s what they do, not what they say.

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. Hurt people hurt people.

38. It’s not your job to fix people. Plus, they’ll never learn or grow if you do. For this, the Serenity Pray will keep you sane. “Not my monkeys, not my circus.”

39. Men are like shoes. Shoes are not going to change to fit your feet. Some are very pretty but really fucking hurt after a couple hours. Some are comfortable, but not very flashy. Some just don’t go with anything but one outfit. Boots will keep you warm, but they’re seasonal. Sneakers belong in the gym unless you’re a rap star or Euro pop wannabe. And then there are crocs. Just…no.

Life goal: Find the coolest shoes on Earth in your exact size that can be paired with most of what you own. In these, you can walk in all day long, blister-free.

40. We learn something new every day.  

Got advice? Let’s hear it.

Xo. 

-Me

“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!

http://www.amazon.com/registry/wishlist/258GQWZANXBQ3/ref=cm_sw_r_tw … … via @amazon

rumi

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