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A Tale of Two Aprils
04/05/2017
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By Matt M. (April's cousin/roommate)
Edited (lightly and sarcastically) – April Hunter

What is April Hunter really like?  

The Character of April Hunter.

During October I had the privilege of staying with my friend and cousin, April. I was not going to visit "the amazing, always stunningly gorgeous, virtually invulnerable April Hunter'" that the public may see. I wanted to catch up with my highly intelligent, big-hearted friend. If you've read her blogs, you know she's been going through some rough stuff this past year. With her having no family in Florida and me needing a breather from home, I started my drive south. I arrived around 9 pm on a Saturday night and I unloaded far too much stuff for a short visit. Must run in the family.

The real April.

April-the-person is vastly different from her April Hunter character. Our conversations are without pretense; they are honest, direct, vulnerable, and raw. She is well-read and has a great sense of humor, which are things you can't tell from looking at photos. We discussed some of the sentimental books that were passed down to her from her mother's side of the family, including an original copy of Sherlock Holmes and her eclectic book collection.  Dostoyevsky, Henry Rollins, Hunter S. Thompson, Osho, Steven King, Roald Dahl, Ernest Cline…and Sh*t My Dad Says. April also has some incredible stories about her global travels and diverse choices in wall art. An artistic Batman and Catwoman print, a nudes-in-Paris postcard display in the guest bathroom, her mother's pen and ink artwork, an array of metal art and vintage signs. (Her mom had briefly been a commercial artist.)

My trip had several purposes. Selfishly, I was dealing with some stuff and needed to get away; to have someone to talk to, clear my head and get a change of scenery.  As crazy as April claims to be on her blogs, it must seem like I'm pretty desperate if that's where I go for help!  Perhaps, our own degrees of crazy are in line and that's why our friendship works. April is smart, introspective and as much as she talks about being one of the guys, she's still very much a girl.
Usually, when you go to people with a problem, there are four common responses: 1.) They try to solve the problem or offer advice 2.) let you vent and offer the supporting "yeah" or "uh-huh" in the appropriate spots, 3.) distance themselves, or  4.) ask questions and make you solve your own shit. Males generally just do #1, unless they're a really good friend or trying to get laid.  April excels at #4, with the right mix of #1 and #2, which is why I drove for two days to commandeer her time to help me sort out my own drama.

April's former roommate Dustin, her, Amy and me.

We had a lazy start on Sunday, sitting on the lanai (porch) catching up while watching Bella-the-Corgi and the chickens. Another reason for my visit was to help with her To-Do list during April's school break. The back story: Over the summer, she went through a rough time. A split from her fiancé, almost losing her home, unnecessary legal issues, lost work and financial loss. When that happened, the strain brought on illness and she basically fell apart. Her psychiatrist wrote a note explaining she was dealing with serious traumatic stress and withdrew her from school for a month to recover. The 32 days she'd been evicted from her home (Expensive Lessons:https://aprilhunterblog.com/2016/09/21/expensive-lessons-part-1/ ) left April overwhelmed. There were things her ex dealt with which she needed to learn how to do.

She was unhappily looking for a roommate. Evaluating each other was another consideration. My rent had been raised and I was ready for a change (possible 1/3 life crisis). When April bought her ex out of the home, she depleted her reserves in the process and was stuck with higher monthly expenses than originally budgeted for. In order to remain in school as a full-time student, she had to cut back on work, so this seemed like a potential win-win.

The trip wasn't a vacation. Having said that, we did make it to the beach one night, strolled around Safety Harbor for an afternoon and hung out at MegaCon. Well, she was working. I was enjoying the views.

Mostly we stayed close to Casa de April. She had deadlines with ads and blogs to write, business to take care of, and that ever-growing To-Do list. I work remotely, so I had day job hours to keep. When we were able to do scrape up free time to do things, we focused on what was needed, not wanted.  We also logged in daily four-mile walks along a trail and getting in an episode or two of Game of Thrones or Animal Kingdom each day.

I did experience that April before coffee and April after coffee are two different people. Among other things, we got some work done in the yard, reinforced the chicken coop to block thieving food rodents, revived her candle business stuff, and got some of her own food planted. My two weeks with her confirmed what I already knew – she's a great person. She's not as crazy as she lets on, but the ADHD is her biggest issue – SQUIRREL!

Humanizing April:

  • Once she's up and had her morning coffee, she eats every 2-3 hours, if she remembers to eat. She mostly just drinks protein.
  • She says fuck a fucking lot. I once heard her string an entire sentence together with almost nothing but the word "fuck", and it made sense.
  • April Hunter gets her picture taken a lot. Real April generally hides from cameras and avoids selfies.
  • Make-up is part of the April Hunter uniform. On off days, there is no makeup, or it's very minimal especially when staying home for the day.
  • Florida people think below 80 is cold. Below 70 is "freezing".
  • April cooks very well, with lots of spice and flavor. And cheese. Ridiculous amounts of cheese…may-you-never-poop-again quantities.  (Editors Note: There's NO SUCH THING AS TOO MUCH CHEESE.)
  • Workouts happen when time allows. 20 minutes for weights here, a walk there, "I've got time for the gym if I leave now", etc. By default, I figured I'd draft off her fitness thing and get in better shape myself.
  • When she writes about being OCD and ADHD she isn't exaggerating. She might actually be under-emphasizing it, especially the ADHD. She isn't a fan of clutter, either.
  • When she blogs about her degree of crazy, there's significant embellishment. Her meds keep her more stable than almost any woman I've ever dealt with. (Editor's note: Um…I have good days – and the occasional not-so-good days.)
  • She is open-minded and doesn't judge. She has friends of all types, from everywhere. People trust and confide in her. She knows a lot of secrets and doesn't repeat or write about them. 
  • She has the seemingly rare ability to set her phone down and ignore it for hours. It's a super power.
  • Her phone even sleeps in a different room than she does.
  • Sometimes her phone rings and she simply doesn't answer it, claiming she doesn't feel like talking to anyone.
  • April Hunter is an extrovert. Real April is an introvert.
  • April avoids talking on the phone unless it's absolutely necessary. She prefers to communicate in person, by email or texting. Reason: she is mostly deaf in one ear and partly hearing-impaired in the other due to standing too close to a stage during a pyrotechnics explosion. She's decent at lip reading and can hear certain tones if there's no background noise. However, working around her lack of hearing can be both a challenge and hilarious.   — Me: "Did you get butter at the store?"  –The Deaf One: "Wait, what? Who butt banged a whore? " Note to self: Learn ASL. (American Sign Language) She also has to watch everything with subtitles on.
  • Her Pandora stations have the potential to give you pause — or drive you crazy. 100 stations shuffle through everything. And I mean EVERYTHING. 80's Alternative, Glen Miller, Classical, Public Enemy/N.W.A., Megadeth, Enya, Brazilian Chill, French Café, 90's Grunge, Robbie Williams, Coldplay, Rush, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Flamenco Guitar, Linsey Stirling, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Gary Hoey & Yngwie Malmsteen, Contemporary Bollywood, Kid Rock, Billy Joel, German Metal, House of Pain, Artic Monkeys, Type O Negative, Cubanismo, Hank Williams Jr, Fatboy Slim, Eminem, Tool, Rihanna, John Coltrane, Korn…get it? Hell, she even has a Taylor Swift song in there. You never know what's coming up next. Drinking game: Guess The Next Genre. (Latin is usually a sure thing.)  —"Why don't you listen to one station?" –Her: "Because. When you listen to one thing too long, you stop hearing it. You tune it out. This makes you notice every song, live in the moment. Plus, I like too many to pick just one."
  • There really is a menagerie. One dog, a cat, 4 chickens, plus assorted Florida wildlife passing through which includes but isn't limited to: armadillos, turkeys, ravens, frogs, lizards, sea birds, deer, snakes, gators, and turtles.
  • If you're conversing, you have her entire attention unless there's a wasp or a squirrel. One can kill her; the other steals the chicken feed.
  • Make the decisions; she'll let you know if she objects.
  • Motivation, like time, is fleeting. Her energy levels can be limited. She hasn't fully recovered from being ill.
  • Plans change often. Sometimes it's her, sometimes it's other people. She is very adaptable.
  • She moves slowly in the morning and tends to be apologetically late or behind. She often runs on "April Time", which is similar to "Island Time", but much later.

Editor's Note:

  • She has the frustrating ability patience to watch one or two episodes of a show, and then walk away until the next time, instead of binge watching an entire season in one sitting.
  • When she is "on", you cannot tell if she's got a headache, sore feet, hangry issues or if she hurts. She is a true professional.
  • She is injured and beat up from wrestling. Torn knee, torn ankle, bulging/herniated discs, broken back, separated shoulder, broken fingers and toes, dislocated wrist…the list goes on. She hurts all the time. You'd never know. She doesn't complain. "What's the point? Bitching doesn't change anything. It just makes you boring."
  • Know when to be a gentleman and when not to. ("I didn't get enough boobs in the picture" was a real complaint.)
  • A walk is a brisk pace, designed to raise the heart rate. Not a leisurely stroll
  • Do not travel in the passing lane or refuse to move over and let someone pass you. She will lose her shit.
  • She's a fan of many shows/movies and still marks out. She is also a nerd. A real one.

Aaaaaaaaaayyyy!

  • If she's up before 8 AM for you and you aren't paying her – appreciate it, because it means you matter to her.
  • A lot of people are trying to get her attention. If you have it, you matter to her.
  • She doesn't expect anything from people, and when she gets something, her appreciation is authentic.
  • She says what she means and means what she says.
  • She is real and positive. She'll tell those she likes and loves how she feels and expects nothing back.
  • Her dating life is as entertaining as she blogs about. Maybe more so.
  • She constantly feels overwhelmed and guilty about not ever getting enough done. She struggles to find balance between school, work, home, gym, downtime and having a social life. She usually doesn't succeed. Something always gives.
  • She's a real person, with feelings – so be nice if you interact with her.
April has a beautiful smile (especially if you earn a genuine one) and a great laugh. Her sense of humor is as varied as her taste in music.  She makes a lot of things funny. I'm fortunate to call her a friend.
Disclaimer: as we were both potentially going to be roommates, we were both on good behavior.

Editor's Note: Matt is being very nice, but he is a genuine person as a whole. He's also bitingly sarcastic in real life. Since right out of high school, I've always preferred male roommates and have nearly always lived this way when forced to cohabit with strangers. Aside from the mess (they are usually slobs…sorry), males are easier to share a roof with. No drama, stolen clothes, they pay what they owe and since my house is a split floorplan, we each have our own side.  They DO eat your food sometimes, but I'm always trying to lean down, so…Some judge and think a male/female home sharing dynamic isn't possible without complications, but I haven't experienced it to be an issue. 

Update:  I did move down in December. Now that I've been here for a while I can confirm that most of what I wrote in October is absolutely true. But there are some days when that bitch is cray.
 
Editor's Note: (Eat dicks.)


I’ve spent most of my adult life in a relationship. I’ve always put someone first, even at the cost of myself, my career or both. This is the very first time I don’t have to answer to anyone. I’ll admit, I kinda enjoy it.

There was an adjustment period after a tragic breakup with someone who had undiagnosed Borderline Personality Disorder. He was also bipolar.


Well, shit. If anyone could help him, it would be me, right? As a card-carrying member of Club Van Gogh, I understand crazy. I know what to expect. 

What in the muther-of-fuck was I thinking?

The difficult part for me to swallow is that before I saw all the mental issues, I actually *thought* I was in my first healthy relationship. Yeah. Then I stuck around out of hope and loyalty. That really fucked my head up.

It didn’t help that of the two of us, I was the calm, nonviolent one (yeah…me!) and with his disorder, he had the ability to twist things around, convince me I was the problem and everything was my fault. 

I spent a lot of time on therapist’s couches and having coffee with friends working on rewiring myself since. Luckily, these are also the same couches he sat on and friends who knew him, so these people had insight as to what was really going on.


My own bipolar medication doses have been spot-on the past few years. I get regular blood tests and the aforementioned therapy. I’d been better than ever. And yet, that happened. The lack of judgment and constant second-guessing made me unable to figure out what was up from down. Now that I’m dating again, I’m very cautious and wish I could rely on my instinct and judgment. You know, like normal people don’t. I over-think and get confused at times. Living alone has been challenging, too. There’s no one to reign me in when I go a little too far outside the lines. I think that’s one of the things you need to find in both your closest friend(s) and a partner when you’re bipolar, or it won’t work.

My Fucktarded Brain: 

Is this what’s going on in reality, or is it just my mind seeing things in theworst possible light?

Wait.

What if I’m simply being paranoid that it’s my bipolar mind, but itISreally going on and I’m talking myself into staying calm and letting things go while I’mactuallygetting completely fucked over?”

That’s what it’s like to be crazy. Even on stabilizing medication, it never completely goes away. I’m just able to keep it hidden better. 

Steven Griffey Photography


It’s like a little MMA/Lucha Libre match going on in my head:

“In this corner, Irrational Thoughts! Coming in from Parts Unknown at 6’5” and 385 pounds! 
His opponent, the high-flying Lucha Libre sensation known simply as SANITY! Sanity hails from Doctor’s Orders and weighs in at a sleek but deceptively quick 135 pounds!


Ring the bell!

Oh, wow. WOW! Sanity is just taking a BEATING from Irrational Thoughts! It’s going exactly as we’d thought. Irrationality is all over, just cleaning freakin’ house. It got real ugly, real RAPIDO, folks. He’s got Sanity locked in the WTF-Are-You-Thinking submission and is not letting go…oh, ouch!…but Sanity refuses to tap! He goes for the pin! 1…2…no! Shoulder raised!

Irrational has just put Sanity on top of the cage…he’s backing up…he charges at him… OH MY GOD…Sanity has KICKED Irrational Thoughts IN THE FACE! IN.THE.FACE! And here comes Sanity OFF THE CAGE with a flying triple Functionally Balanced! HO-LY SHIT! Sure didn’t see that coming! Ay, Dios mio! 1… 2…3! Sanity! Sanity! Sanity WINS!”


But Sanity doesn’t always prevail, does he? Sometimes Irrational Thoughts hits the ring and it’s a travesty of a squash match. There have been several times where I have connected the dots to something and let someone have it. Friends, lovers. Over something that wasn’t there. This, while stabilized. Meanwhile, those dots connected clear as anything to me. For me, it was a calm, rational connecting of dots. THE FUCKING DOTS CONNECTED. Not only did they connect, but they fit together like Legos.

But, the other person couldn’t have been more shocked at how in the blue hell I came with my dots OR connections. Oh, and my Legos? They can just piss the fuck off, mate. After that, my dot connecting ability was severely questioned. I lost a lot of my dot connecting credit. I was put on dot connection suspension.

Now, what kind of defense does one have in this case? “Well…you knew I was bipolar!”

Sure. OK. They can say, “I know. You were straight up about it.” (Or in my case, “I read your blogs.” Nothing like having it all out there.)

But does that actuallyworkwith someone who really has no clue what it’s like to be something they cannot possibly imagine? Maybe they can look past it, but are fissures not created, tiny hairline cracks?

Meanwhile, they’ve put you in dot connection Time Out.

(Note: There have been a few times where I thought I was crazy because I was told I was wrong – but I found out later I wasn’t. This has happened when I’ve been seeing someone and they simply weren’t comfortable with me calling something so accurately or being brutally truthful. I’m not one for games or bullshit.)

It makes me crawl inside myself. I apologize, back away. Far away. It makes me not want to interact with anyone. Because, clearly, I can’t. I can’t sustain a normal fucking…whatever you call it. Just when I think maybe I’m OK – surprise, mutherfucker! -Nope.

And this, on medication.

Previously, I hurt everyone around me and walked away unfazed. Now, I just hurt myself trying to make sure others are okay. I suppose it’s an improvement.

Let’s skip the n-word (normal), in lieu of aiming for “functionally balanced”. One day. Not just out of debt, paying my bills, healthy and responsible. I’m already there. But I’d like to be completely balanced. I’d like my mind to quit fucking with me – and I’d like to retain the quick wit and creativity bonuses that come with being crazy, por favor. 

I want it all.

Functionally balanced. So much prettier of a phrase than the n-word.

Photo: Modern Myth Photography

April Hunter is a writer, professional wrestler, full-time student at Full Sail University, professional cosplayer and pin-up, Playboy and fetish model.

She’s also a fitness competitor, former Met-RX & Extreme Nutrition spokes-model, the subject of several comic book characters, an admitted coffee snob, road rage enthusiast, Mother of Chickens and world renowned potty mouth. She uses the C-word as liberally as you use butter on your biscuits. Which you shouldn’t be eating, since you know…carbs and gluten. She struggles with bipolar disorder and Lupus and chooses to view challenges as opportunities.

See more of April on Instagram @realAprilHunter,  www.AprilHunter.com and Twitter @AprilHunter. She’s also on Facebook.com/AprilHunterOfficial and owns AprilsScentSations Soy Candles.