After spotting author April’s inspiring poetry on Jenna Dewan’s Instagram, we knew we had to learn more.
Growing up, April embodied different characters - she was an introvert and a dreamer and, a rebel too. And she loved writing - it was a way of freeing herself. “I think writing drew itself to me as a way of teaching me to stop bottling everything up. It’s a way of transforming pain into something very beautiful.”
Following on from this love of writing, April started her career in Marketing and PR but was soon faced with a diagnosis that changed her life… and set her on the path she finds herself now; one of self- discovery, self-acceptance and self-love. Here’s her incredible story:
Newnham: Can you tell us about your childhood? What were you like growing up/how would your friends and family have described you?
Green: I was raised on the East Coast of England, by the sea. I remember a very real feeling of something I can only describe as wild freedom. There was a lot of adventure; really happy summer days walking to a beautiful, secluded beach beneath a long stretch of cliffs and woodland. A lot of my work references the incredible pull of the ocean; I don’t think the scent of it ever leaves your skin.
Growing up, I had a very strong spirit of independence. I felt quite different to everyone else; I was a quiet daydreamer, an introvert. But I also had a very rebellious side and was often in a lot of trouble. In my late teens, I decided to stop rebelling and start to try and fit it, so I left home to study Marketing at University. But then, I developed this horrible feeling of unbelonging; as though I was living someone else’s’ life. It’s what I write about – don’t change who you are, don’t become a version of the person you think other people want you to be.
It has taken quite a few, painful years to reconnect to who I am: an artist. More often than not, we are standing in the answer.
Newnham: What drew you to writing?
Green: Being an introvert, I often felt unable to speak, and sometimes, that’s down to a fear of not being heard. I think writing drew itself to me as a way of teaching me to stop bottling everything up. It’s a way of transforming pain into something very beautiful.
I really believe that we are all given something as our creative outlet. If we don’t recognise what we have been given, what our souls are drawing us towards, then we unconsciously invite destruction into our lives. I’m an advocate for teaching people to find a way of expressing themselves in order to avoid the pain of having to untangle themselves from unhealthy behaviours.
I believe we are all artists: we were created to create. And it doesn’t matter who else sees your work or likes your work – the beauty lies in how you feel when you’re producing that work. And, for me, it feels natural: almost divine. It’s who I am.
Newnham: What has your career been to date?
Green: I have always written, privately and professionally, working in Marketing and PR. But my indie writing career really took off when I joined Instagram four years ago. Quite suddenly, I had this very successful, second career and I realised how much time we have outside of a normal working day, how much more we can achieve and become.
I think it’s really important for people to recognise how multifaceted we all are. So, rather than define yourself by what you do for a living, how you look, what you own, it’s important to embrace the fluidity of what life can offer you, and what you can choose to nurture. You are allowed to become the person you design yourself to be.
Newnham: You have experienced personal challenges such as being diagnosed with breast cancer. How did writing help get you through those times?
Green: Breast cancer helped me prioritise what was important to me. The recovery time after surgery and during chemotherapy gave me the space to rest and learn about alternative therapies. The path I chose to take was a spiritual one, and I studied Reiki and crystal healing. I read a lot on metaphysics, the relationship between mind and matter, and the power of thought. It became really cathartic for me to write little fragments of thoughts in order to remind myself to stay positive. I think that’s an act of poetry in itself.
Breast cancer hasn’t defined me, but recovering from it, learning how to change the way I think about myself, gave me a completely new perspective. It felt like I’d been given the chance to remove the surface and write from a deeper place. The irony is that it took losing a part of me to become whole again, and to see that the idea of a perfect woman is just a social construct. We are unique and perfect when we accept ourselves as we are.
Newnham: Your wonderful work is shared widely. What do you hope the reader gets from reading your words?
Green: I hope my readers get the wisdom I wished I’d had when I was growing up. I didn’t realise that the pain and torment I was feeling in my late teens was due to the fact I had wandered too far from who I was. I was trying to fit in, conform, run from the person who was rebellious and different. I didn’t understand that when I embraced that person, (every part of her), I would find happiness. Because, that person is the gift, and the answer.
One of my most shared pieces is called ‘The art of honesty’ and it says: ‘I think that when you’re entirely honest with yourself, a door opens within, and the light unfolds, and everything painful flies away.’ This is about delving into the parts of yourself that you don’t want to face. But these parts bring you back to yourself through the act of accepting them, or letting them go.
Another piece that is shared widely is a piece that Jenna Dewan (who has 5.6 million followers) posted from her copy of Bloom for yourself: ‘Something wild and beautiful happens when you start to love yourself and embrace every single piece of who you are. I think it’s something like freedom.’
Newnham: You believe you are what you think. How do you think women who are experiencing hard times can encourage a positive mindset?
Green: A positive mindset is everything. A positive mindset is about relinquishing a thought system based on fear and training yourself to accept a thought system based on love. In the book, A Course in Miracles a miracle is simply a shift in perspective, a change in how you look at things. And, I know, from my own experience, that when I let go of fear and instead, look for gold in the little things, life works beautifully. A negative mindset keeps your life exactly where it is: things stay stuck.
One of my favourite, most used words is ‘surrender.’ Which is to say: ‘let go and just love’ because, love should be our priority in any situation. And, the power we have is in the choice we have of turning towards love, always.
Newnham: What inspires your writing?
Green: The act of healing inspires my writing: I write from this beautiful, healing space which in turn, reaches others in need of healing—it’s like a sacred series of events. A poem can be like an answered prayer to someone, a sign they have been waiting for. That’s what makes poetry so beautiful: it reaches into my heart, then the hearts of others and connects us through the same experiences. So many of my readers write to me and say: ‘Thank you, I needed to hear that at this very moment.’ Many have reached out to me and told me that my words have pulled them out of a very dark place. I know exactly where they’ve been because I’ve been there too; and I’m desperate to let them know they are not alone. So, it’s not just the words, it’s the heart and the person behind the words that fulfils a purpose.
Newnham: You have a great following on social media yet you remain fairly anonymous – was that a conscious decision? What would you like your readers/followers to know about you?
Green: The anonymity wasn’t that conscious to start with: it was simply an introvert writing as a way of letting go of an old life; and healing and growing in the process. As time went on and my following started growing, I came to realise that it really is about the soul behind the words. And if that soul is able to touch people from all over the word, and transcend the physical, conditioned standard, then it becomes a spiritual connection that validates everything I write about: it’s the inside that counts, it’s the relationship you have with yourself that matters.
I’d like my readers to know that they are a huge part of my journey; their love, and support means more to me than they will ever know.
I would also like them to know that it was only when I started to face my truth, that I was able to face my true reflection.
Newnham: What is next for you?
Green: I’m currently writing a new book of 100 or so pieces of poetry and prose, focusing on courage, which is called ‘Becoming a Wildflower’ and should be released in a few months. Something really amazing for me as a writer, is going to be happening towards the end of the year, but I can’t say any more than that. And in 2020, I’m putting together a colour edition of Bloom for Yourself volumes I and II, which will include my own photographs.
Newnham: Finally, if you could go back in time, what advice would you offer a younger April?
Green: I think my advice would be one of my most popular poems:
‘do not chase love
do not chase any of these things.
chase the call of the wild
the song in your heart
the ocean in your bones.
chase the freedom
in time with the setting sun.’