An open letter to my boyfriend on our 4 year anniversary


(because he deserves a little bit of public praise once in a while)

William,

Four years ago today, we went on our first date. At 38 and 33, We didn’t know a lot back then, but we knew one thing for certain: we belonged together. And now, half a decade later, I can say with absolute certainty that the past four years have been the best of my entire life. I’m only 37 so maybe that’s not saying very much, but I mean it all the same.

I don’t tell you this as often as I should, but I love being your girlfriend. In fact, I’m proud to be your girlfriend. You continue to amaze me year after year with your ability to selflessly love me. Like just a few weeks ago when we had a strong heart to heart talk and you reassured me you weren’t going anywhere. You left for work without breakfast so I could still enjoy mine. Or like the times you make sure I am getting proper rest. Or like just yesterday when we made our funday Sunday football bets.

You would do anything for me. You put up with me and my shenanigans, day in and day out. You even put up with me during Hallmark Christmas months, and for that, you deserve more than a blog post, you deserve a trophy.

You have supported me for four years through three jobs, and were always the first person to tell me to quit when I wasn’t happy. You were the one telling me “you can” when I didn’t think I could, the one telling me “you will” when I didn’t think I would. You have supported my writing, my photography, and every other tiny venture I’ve taken on, all without blinking an eye or making me feel guilty once. I would not be where I am today, doing what I’m doing, chasing dreams, without you. That is a fact. You have been my rock, my coach in the corner, and my daily encouragement for four whole years. Thank you for believing in me, and for helping me believe in myself.

We’re on a new adventure now, you and I, and there’s nobody I’d rather be learning with than you. I love watching you with our girls, how attentive you are with them, and always being worried about every little thing.

You’re an amazing father figure, and an even better boyfriend, which is saying a lot. Our relationship is far from perfect, but I honestly believe it’s getting better and better with each passing day. Thank you for loving me the way that you do. Cheers to the second half of this decade, and many many more to come. I love you, William Kowalewski. Always have, always will.

XOXO

April McManus

We met on match.com 😙 I fall in love with you more everyday. #Williamkowalewski

I love my Marine

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Our Anniversary NFL Game

The lights, the canons, the enthusiasm, everything.

The perfect four-year anniversary present! Knowing we are both sports fanatics so he bought us tickets to my favorite team. New England Patriots tickets.

Since we live in Tampa, the commute isn’t bad at all this was perfect (although the tickets were crazy expensive due to it being an insane game) I knew we were both going to have the time of our lives. William officially bought us two tickets for section 242 row k seat 16 & 17 🏈🙌😙

This is our view for NE Patriots vs. Tampa Bucaneers October 5th 2017 

When the teams ran out, the crowd was going crazy and the canons that shot out from the sides was an amazing sight. He looked over at me and the happiness on my face ensured him that he got the right gift. I was going crazy and cheering like there’s no tomorrow.

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Pats vs Bucs #williamkowalewski #aprilmcmanus

I was happy the game he bought tickets for, my team won. If you are a sports fanatic and haven’t experienced a game, I promise the experience is so so so worth it. 

I love this man so much! Happy anniversary @WilliamKowalewski 😗

XOXO April McManus 

 

#anniversary #family #love #thisisus #mymarine #lifestyle #vacation #tampabay #williamkowalewski #aprilmcmanus #bestfriend #patriots #football #nfl #celebrating #nextstopcasino

Chivalrous Acts

Congrats!

I’m a modern girl. I’m independent and I’m single. I have built a career from the ground up, read everyone from C.S. Lewis to Suzanne Collins, can navigate social media with relative ease, and watch New Girl every week like it’s my job.

And? I know I can take care of myself. But hey, call me old-fashioned, too. It’s fine. I can appreciate aspects of feminism, but I prefer gender roles. I like when a guy volunteers to kill a massive spider without complaint, or lift a heavy box in my stead.

I find chivalry to be a gorgeous thing. 

Most women I know are a little like that. We love our modern independence in life and in love, but deep down, we want guys to treat us like ladies. As most women will attest, it’s become increasingly rare. Gentlemanly behavior sets our hearts aflutter. We want to see it, and many of us are waiting on it.

Some men make us question why chivalrous acts have died out. However, other men prove that sweetness still exists. I want a guy to court me a bit. In fact, I’m sort of holding out for that. Someone to sweep me off my feet? No, gosh no. Grand gestures are wholly unnecessary. I just want someone I can count on. I just want him to do little things to make me sure he’s the real deal.

Dating today is tough, and we women always seem to have doubts about the guys that roll into our lives. Does he like me? Are his motives genuine? Can I trust him completely? Guessing means you usually can’t, and confusion isn’t a good thing.

Most women would like to erase that. So if he puts in the time and does the little things, it’s like a screening process for us. He’s more likely to be into us as human beings, not hookups. He’s more likely to be Mr. Right when we’re over dealing with all those Mr. Wrongs. That’s why chivalry is as important now as it ever was.

Here’s to all the women who are looking for that chivalrous, good-hearted guy. He’s out there. These are the things he does to make us swoon. (And to all those chivalrous, good-hearted guys, keep doing what you’re doing. We love you for it.)

Here are a few of the cutest ones that would make any girl swoon:

1. Call. It would be nice to receive a phone call instead of text messages. While a text shows you were on his mind, a phone call is more personal. Call, don’t text a date invitation. Just the fact that you would take the time to actually call a woman to ask her out on a date will put you light years ahead of your competition (of which there is a lot).

2. Offer you his jacket. When the weather turns colder, and you have on light clothing, it’s cute when he offers you his jacket. It’s a sweet gesture.

3. Put your hand on the small of her back when introducing her to someone. This is something I read a long time ago and it stuck with me for some reason. This is a passive sign of affection and isn’t inappropriate in a public setting, but it bonds the two of you together and helps her feel more comfortable.

4. Open the door for her. The door to the restaurant, the car door, the door to the car picking you up. Whatever door is relevant to you both walking through, please do not lose sight of this simple but often overlooked act of kindness.

5. Suffering through a girly movie. When a man volunteers to endure a girly show or movie because he knows you’ll enjoy it, he earns major bonus points. (Even more if he does so without complaining or expecting something in return.)

Women in turn should respect the act of chivalry. I know many women out there who do not want the door opened for them because it makes them feel like their power or independence is somehow being taken away from them. They are aggressive and headstrong in society. It may not be because they want to be, but because to make it in the world, they have to be. This is true. However, can you imagine a world where chivalry didn’t exist at all? Would you want your daughter marrying a man that didn’t show her this appreciation for being the amazing, strong, supporting, dynamic woman that she is?

In short, that’s what chivalry is — a choice. The choice to do the right things, for the right reasons, at the right times.

XOXO
April McManus

50 THINGS THAT MAKE ME HAPPY

I know that being happy can sometimes feel quite temporary and the little joys can easily get lost when you’ve had a bad day at work or been sat in traffic for two hours, so it’s great to remind ourselves of those little quirks that make us happy every now and again.

Without further ado, here are fifty of the things that make me happy (in no particular order).

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XOXO –

April

WISE TALK

I’ve been told, ‘Don’t burn your bridges you many have to cross later.’ I say ‘I don’t mind swimming if the bridges were messed up to begin with!’Light The Way

That is a statement of fear and insecurity of your actions, fear of both future events and the need to rely on others in the future, particularly others in powerful positions.  Those in powerful positions are more often that not weak.  I say, the weak always crumble in the presence of the strong of head and heart.  I say, walk with fire at your heels and only the wooden bridges will burn.  The stone will stand.  If I am not afraid to blaze my path with fire, the fire of strength, the oaks and mountains will be left standing, the weeds and shrubs ashed.  Strength is painful, and the weak run from it or try to put it to death, such that the strong woman soon knows her friends, for only they are left standing when she has passed.  And her friends will also be fiery of heart, for like attracts like, and therefore the path they burn together will only be stronger.

In the past and into the present, I have often felt like a flame in a weed patch, and all have tried to put me out.  At more tender ages, my core was nearly cooled so that I might have joined the weed patch, but it was not to be.  Now I feel the flame rising up within me, still tender and fearful of water but growing stronger daily, weekly, monthly.  I hope one day to become the forest fire that levels dying forests and resets the clock to allow for fertile regrowth, that jumps mighty streams and rivers, that knows few boundaries, that rushes madly forward, unchecked, and dies in the process.

I know that if I am to survive and thrive that I will have to look deep inside myself and know who I am, what I stand for, and where I am going.  And so I write, channeling the truth that was pouring out of me.  This gem, as I see it in hindsight, is one of my first clear expressions of that.  Give me the strength.

XOXO,
April

Goodbye 2013 – Hello 2014

I got ice in my veins, blood in my eyes
Hate in my heart, love in my mind
I seen nights full of pain, days of the same
You keep the sunshine, save me the rain
I search but never find, hurt but never cry
I work and forever try, but I’m cursed so never mind
And it’s worse but better times seem further and beyond
The top gets higher, the more that I climb
The spot gets smaller and I get bigger
Tryna get into where I fit in, no room for I
‘Cause all this bullshit, it made me strong

So I pick the world up and imma drop it on your damn head, yeah!

Uhhhh!
I know what they don’t wanna tell you
Just hope you’re heaven sent, and you’re hell proof
I walk up in the world and cut the lights off
And confidence is a stain they can’t wipe off
Uhhh, my word is my pride
But wisdom is bleak and that’s a word from the wise
Served to survive, murdered and bribed
And when it got too heavy I put my burdens aside

So I could pick the world up and imma drop it on your damn’ head, ha ha yeah!

It hurts but I never show, this pain you’ll never know
If only you could see just how lonely and how cold
And frostbit I’ve become, my back’s against the wall
When push comes to shove I just stand up and scream ‘Fuck ’em all! ‘
Man it feels like these walls are closin’ in
This roof is cavin’ in, but it’s time to raise it then
Your days are numbered like pages
And my book of rhymes got them crookin’ boy
This crooked mind of mine got them all shook
And scared to look in my eyes
I stole that damn clock, I took the time
And I came up from behind and pretty much snuck up
Better be careful when you bring my name up
But I swear one way or another I’m a make these damn haters believe it

I’m a woman of my word, so your damn heads better nod

My head is swole, my confidence is up
This stage is my pedestal, I’m unstoppable
I could run circles around you so fast your fuckin head’ll spin

I’m Gone!

Happy New Year 2014

XOXO  April

THE REWARDS OF VULNERABILITY ARE IMMEASURABLE

To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable. – C.S Lewis 

I have always struggled with vulnerability. I like being strong; I’ve always had to be strong, and I have associated vulnerability with weakness for as long as I can remember. Of course in everyday life, it would be difficult for people to know this. I am seen as someone who is quite open and outgoing, at least to the extent that my demeanor is not mistaken for being a cold, unapproachable bitch. After all, I’m also seen as someone who is known for being blunt; the quintessential, “what you see is what you get” person.

Perhaps it’s through writing, perhaps it’s through getting older, but ultimately I’ve realized that I’m a really hard person to get to know. And very few people know even the half of it. I’m guarded and I don’t break easily; no matter how close I am to people, I know that most of them are still kept at a distance that is comfortable, a distance that won’t leave me exposed. I do not like to be vulnerable.

If we reveal our authentic selves, there is the great possibility that we will be misunderstood, labeled, or worst of all, rejected. The fear of rejection can be so powerful that some wear it like armor. I like to feel in control of situations, I like to feel that I am always secure and vulnerability gets in the way of that. When you’re vulnerable, your heart is wide open, you put your trust in somebody in the form of giving them the most precious thing you have – your heart.  When you’re vulnerable you leave yourself available to be hurt and people hurt people. So I guess somewhere along the way, whether I realized it or not, I made the decision that vulnerability was not for me. I told myself that to be vulnerable would mean to give up my strength and I did not want to give it up. My construction of strength almost defined me. But the truth is I don’t like to be alone. I don’t want to choose it if I don’t have to.

Recently, I’ve been seeing the error in my thinking. I thought that vulnerability was the weaker position when it comes to love. But I’m realizing that the irony of vulnerability in love and in the pursuit of love is that you actually take the stronger position. When you put your heart on the line, when you give it to somebody and you tell them that it’s theirs to keep or break, when you expose who you are and all you are to somebody – that is one of the truest and best strength that there is. Vulnerability won’t be easy, it might be one of the hardest that I’m ever going to attempt. And it might go horribly wrong – I might get broken or damaged like so many others. But I’m not sure this unspoiled heart of mine is any better off. Loving anything and anyone ultimately comes with hurt and my attempt to not let people get close enough to hurt me has left me with a different kind of pain, a different kind of weakness – the weakness of regret and wonder. I think if I am to be truly strong, I think if any of us are, we have to be willing to expose ourselves and put ourselves through the greatest risk of all – which is love.

And in the words of C.S. Lewis, to love is to be vulnerable

P.S.    A couple of nights ago I opened up & he did not judge me. I will work on showing the rest of the world too a little more of the complexity that is me.

April Lynn McManus