• Speaking My Mind

    Post-Graduation Blues (Fake Happy)

    It’s ironic how happy I look in this photo considering that graduation has not been an entirely happy time. Granted, I took this photo a day or two before the graduation ceremonies and the drama occurred.

    During the first of the three commencements I attended, I was just trying not to cry the entire time. The second two ceremonies were less emotionally intense, despite the pouring rain, but afterward, my sister went to the ER during dinner due to a potential concussion (which thankfully, she didn’t have). This caused my mom to stress out excessively. Then I moved home, which was exhausting although my grandparents helped out tremendously. The next day, I went to a family dinner with my parents and my sister, which ended in tears on my part and my mom stormed out of the restaurant. She ignored me and my sister until the following evening. Lastly, my girlfriend got an internship, which is incredibly exciting but I’ve cried a ton because of it. The last part of these dramatic days is what I really want to talk about now because the other stuff has been resolved.

    I am afraid of being alone this summer, which seems like it’s going to happen anyway. This has caused me to spiral into sadness when the people around me are successful. Pretty much all my friends have jobs and/or are moving out of state/out of the country. No one is going to be local to me except for my sister, but even she has a job. I mean, yeah, I have a part-time job until mid-August that allows me to work remotely, which would allow me the time and flexibility to

    1. Research PhD programs
    2. Apply for jobs
    3. Study for the GREs
    4. Organize my life both physically (my room is a mess) and mentally (I’m a mess)
    5. Do my month-long, intensive yoga teacher training

    So yeah…I need to be alone to do most of these, if not all, of these activities. Therefore, I will have plenty of time to accomplish these goals because I have a part-time job during these critical summer months. On the other hand, though, I wanted to do fun activities and trips and because not even my girlfriend will be local to me now…I feel like I can’t do them unless I want to go on my own.

    My girlfriend said she is going to see me weekly, and I believe her but when she’s not seeing me, she’s going to be working and having fun where she’s at. Everyone is going to be having fun where they’re at. Meanwhile, I feel worried that I’m just going to be at my parents’ home, alone studying or something…which isn’t bad…I have different goals than her and everyone else for this summer but…I don’t know what my problem is. I’m jealous of everyone else, I’m comparing everyone else to myself, and so I feel bad about myself for no reason.

    She said I need to change my perspective, which I agree. I definitely need to do that.

    Maybe the interests and goals I have for my life will cause me to feel a little isolated from everyone, even if my friends and girlfriend were around. If I am going to be doing a PhD program, these feelings will probably continue because I’ll be spending a lot of time studying and working on the weekends, whereas my friends who get jobs with their Bachelor’s may be able to go to brunch on Sundays and mingle more.

    Regardless, this gap year or two or three that I am taking sucks. I feel stagnant and alone in that. I want to find a job but I haven’t been looking even though my girlfriend and mom send me job listings once in a while…I want to figure out a PhD program I’m interested in but I haven’t been looking at that either, although I’ve talked to my thesis advisors about it. My girlfriend said I’m avoiding things and so…yeah, I am. I’m unsure why though.

    I know in the past, avoidance is a method I practice when I’m either depressed or anxious. Perhaps I’m feeling a little bit of both right now. Possibly due to my graduation blues.

    Do people talk about how awful graduation is? Aside from the overwhelming emotions that arise during the ceremonies, afterward is so much worse. Suddenly, you go from having tons of friends within walking-distance to having no friends nearby. All your friends become busy with their adult lives and you’re stuck living at home with your parents, who ask you daily about getting a job (if you don’t already have one, like me). The possibility of getting a job, being able to move out, and make friends/have friends feels impossible. Not only does that feel impossible, but so does working toward a doctorate because there are 100,000 steps I have to take before even applying for a program.

    Maybe I’m a little depressed and anxious and I didn’t realize the depth of it until now. Regardless, it’s manageable and I’ll overcome it. Right now, I’m unsure how and I’m unsure when this will happen. I may end up having to take two years off, which is okay although undesirable. But worrying about how long things will take is not what I need to be doing right now. So first thing’s first…

    1. Focus on myself!!! I have a part time job for a couple of more months and I’ll be busy doing the YTT. In the evenings, I’ll need to study for it in addition to doing the work required for the other goals I have listed below.
    2. My path is not anyone’s path. I will find a job if I actually look for one and apply. I will figure out what doctorate program to do if I actually look at them. I will be prepared for the GREs if I actually open the book and study for them.
    3. I will do fun things this summer with my girlfriend and my sister. Maybe I can challenge myself a bit too by doing fun things by myself. I can’t rely on anyone but myself. I must be there for myself and not allow people’s inability to hang out with me deter me from having a good time.
    4. Be at peace with myself.

    I may need to repeat these things like a mantra until I relax. I was able to do this two summers ago. During that summer, I was lonesome but at peace with it. I didn’t write much during that time so I don’t remember what I was doing exactly…I was taking a summer class and working part-time but that was it. I probably read a lot and watched TV. I don’t know how I achieved that state of mind but I will figure out how to get back there.

    Anyway, tomorrow I’m leaving for Disney so I’ll try my best to enjoy myself and maybe I’ll plan a little bit about how I’m going to manage my days when I return so that I am busy daily. I’ll let y’all know how that goes.

    xx Vic

  • Poetry

    The Dangers of Looking Backward While Walking Forward

    It’s easy to miss what lies ahead

    If you’re always looking behind you instead

    Yeah, you may be walking forward but by looking backward you’ll never know

    All of the potential you have and how you can grow

    It’s important to take risks once in a while

    Even if you fail miserably, taking those risks are still worthwhile

    Because you’re getting closer to your destination

    And by standing back up, you’re building a strong reputation

    Besides, not looking where you’re going is unsafe

    You may trip and fall into your own grave

    © 2014, 2018 Vic Romero

    All Rights Reserved.

    Happy graduation day! 

  • Speaking My Mind

    Savoring the Moment

    My thesis advisor emphasized that I should savor these moments because they end quickly. Right now, my graduation days seem weeks away but it’s only a matter of days before I walk. Once it’s over, I can’t get it back. So that’s what I’ve been doing these last couple of weeks and that’s what I’ll do until my last commencement.

    I’m experiencing all of the feelings lately. I’m simultaneously nostalgic, suffering from senioritis (although I think I’m done with exams unless I have to retake one…), nervous, excited, eager, worried, and sad about the impending end of my undergraduate career. On Mother’s Day, this Sunday, I will officially be done. I have some immediate plans for “what’s next?” but I still have to figure things out for after July. Hopefully, my yoga teaching program along with doing my own research for ideas will be helpful.

    It’s surreal how four years have come and gone and I’m leaving with my Bachelor’s. It’s also surprising and impressive how much I’ve accomplished in those four years…I have three cords to wear at graduation and I wasn’t expecting to wear any. It’s amazing to reflect and see the growth that I’ve had as well as the impact I’ve made at my University and in my own life.

    I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to go to college and I’m grateful to myself for making my four years productive. Four years ago, I went through a horrible breakup but in hindsight, that breakup further propelled me to get involved on campus to help me cope…which allowed me to be open toward meeting new people and making friends. There are tons of different instances throughout my four years at college where the ending of something became a new door to go through and explore what was beyond it. I know graduation is just me going through a new door but it’s uncomfortable to leave familiar spaces behind.

    I don’t feel ready to work full-time and I don’t feel ready for graduate school. I have to get ready for something though because I need to continue to grow, and those are the two most viable avenues right now. Perhaps I can travel too but I would only want to travel domestically.

    Anyway…I’m proud of myself. I’m proud of my accomplishments as well as my failures because those failures meant that I tried and “trying” is how I’ve been able to have had all of my experiences. I already know I’m going to continue trying new things because I’m doing the YTT and I also have this blog! I’m eager to see what else I will be trying too.

    xx Vic

    PS! Once these moments are over, I will resume posting twice a week with some awesome content. I feel kinda bad about not meeting the deadlines I’ve made for myself for this blog, but I want to change my perspective because I didn’t create this blog to stress myself out. I created it to express myself, to connect with others, and to have fun! Right now, I’m having fun with my friends and my girlfriend before everyone moves away after graduation. I’ll write about it for next Wednesday as I reflect on it all! By then, I will have graduated three times, I will have moved back home, and I will be…on a plane!

    I’m going on a quick family vacation/graduation celebration for a couple of days! More on that later, stay tuned…

    My girlfriend got me the beautiful flowers above and wrote me a sweet letter to celebrate all of my hard work! <3

  • Speaking My Mind

    -Weekend Blog!

    Graduation is in less than two weeks, and my life has been a little hectic in an exciting way. This past weekend I spent my days drinking and snacking at alumni events and other University gatherings with my friends and my girlfriend, hence why I did not get to make a Sunday post this Sunday. I was recovering from all the fun.

    I’ve been enjoying my last days as an undergraduate though because I’ve been celebrating with people that I care about and I also have more exciting activities planned up until graduation (I have three commencements to attend), and even after. Thus, my regular blogging schedule may continue to be a little erratic until late May or the beginning of June.

    Since I didn’t get to post on Sunday because of the senioritis excitement, I will at least detail the festivities I participated in.

    Thursday:

    My girlfriend and I went on a spontaneous date! We greatly enjoy BYOB sushi places, which is what we did at a local place. The drug store near us surprisingly had alcohol (this is a novelty experience in NJ where only liquor stores carry alcohol), and we got a wine that was less than $5! Neither of us had ever found and purchased a wine that cheap (except maybe when I was in Europe) it wasn’t bad wine at all. It easily could have been at least a $10 wine.

    Anyway, it was great because we at sushi and got drunk on cheap wine. Then when we were leaving, we heard live music at a bar and so we popped in. It was a male guitarist who had a great voice. We got Moscow mules, which is my favorite mixed drink at the moment, and had a great time listening to the musician at a pretty hipster place.

    We’ve been to that bar before because it’s also a liquor store, and last time we did BYOB sushi locally, we got a $25 bottle of wine there. That was the most I’ve spent on wine, but it was well worth it. That bottle was from Spain and it was simply divine.

  • Yummy Recipes

    Chickpea Sandwhich – Healthy Lunch On-The-Go

    This sandwich makes an excellent and satisfying vegan lunch! Plus, it takes only 20-30 min to prepare, and there is no cooking involved! I actually made it for the first time when I was on a time-crunch in the morning, and it was so easy to make. It’s essentially a vegan alternative to tuna sandwiches, which I love deeply but I don’t eat them anymore since my mom told me tuna has high mercury levels so I should refrain from eating it.

    IMG_8841

    Aside from this being delicious and akin to a tuna sandwich, I also love it because there is no meat involved yet it is packed with protein! I haven’t been cooking meat lately because the last couple of times I did, most of it ended up in the trash. The meat was not as fresh as it was supposed to be. I have also been finding the preparation of meat severely unpleasant. I’ve since decided that I will primarily eat vegetarian when I am home and when I go out, I will consume meat if I want to. This has been a great solution thus far, but when I move back with my parents in a couple of weeks, I may consume more meat because my mom may prepare it for me. Otherwise, though, I’d like to eat more of a vegetarian diet when I’m responsible for my food.

    Chickpea Sunflower Sandwich Recipe – How I made it:

    I never follow recipes exactly, which may be why I have some mishaps sometimes. For the chickpea mixture though, I followed the recipe to a T except I used regular mayo instead of vegan mayo. This wasn’t due to anything other than being unsure where vegan mayo is in the grocery store and also pretty certain that it would be more expensive than if I just got a giant jar of regular mayo.

    Oh, I also squeezed some lemon and added garlic powder and basil to the mixture because it sounded like a good idea, and it was! So I guess I didn’t follow the recipe exactly…

    The second time I made the mixture is what is pictured above and I didn’t use lettuce because I didn’t have any at the time, but the first time I had kale so I used that in addition to tomatoes. I also didn’t add onions the second time I made it…if you like onions, add them! Otherwise, it’s not necessary. It’s delicious regardless!

    I’ve never made the garlic herb sauce they recommend to try, but I’d like to try it! There wasn’t any dill at the grocery store when I went though, hence why I added lemon and garlic to the mixture instead.

    Please let me know if you decide to try it let me know how it is!

    xx Vic

  • Speaking My Mind

    Dear Me,

    Please be kind to yourself.

    You are thriving and you are right where you belong at this moment. You did not make any poor decisions. Your path is winding and while it may seem you take five steps back for every step forward, that is not necessarily a bad thing. You were able to reflect, learn, and address issues that you otherwise would’ve overlooked or never experienced if you did not take those steps backward. You wouldn’t be as well-rounded as you are now.

    Please honor where you are at right now.

    There is no need to criticize and to “other” yourself. You are who you are, and you should honor that. You have amazing qualities and you should not look at your qualities solely as weaknesses, because they are not. There are surprising strengths in what you regard as your weaknesses.

    Please trust yourself.

    You’ve overcome adversity and excelled in many areas of your life. You are constantly surprised by the success you earn, but you shouldn’t be because you work hard. You’re capable of greatness and you are working toward that daily. Be proud of what you’ve accomplished, because you’ve earned it.

    Please listen to your heart.

    People will say and think what they want of you, but only your opinions matter. Allow their negativity to fall away and listen to what your heart says. Regard yourself highly because you’ve earned it and you deserve it. You are worthy.

    Lastly, please love yourself.

    Yours truly,

    Victoria

     

  • Yoga

    My 30-Day Mantra Meditation Experience

    Meditation is a buzzword right now, and understandably so because it is a great practice for a variety of reasons. I’m not going to go into depth about the benefits of meditation because, as evident in the title of this post, I’ve only been meditating for more or less, 30 days. Instead of me discussing meditation at length, I’ll just link y’all with some great posts to check out if you want to learn more about it at the end of this post.

    I was inspired to meditate because I’ve been deepening my yoga practice and I am going to train to become a teacher in about three months, and meditation is critical to the yoga practice, especially if I anticipate teaching at some point. So I decided to attempt a 40-day mantra meditation challenge, hosted by the Journey Junkie.

    You are supposed to do 40 consecutive days of meditation to ensure you build a habit of meditation, and for mantra meditation, you have to say the mantra 108 times. People hypothesize that 108 is significant because 1= God or a Higher Power, 0= Emptiness or Completeness, 8= Infinity. 108 is significant for other reasons, but you can read more about that on the Journey Junkie’s post that I linked above.

    In order to ensure that you are repeating your mantra 108 times, it is helpful to have a mala necklace. Mala necklaces have 108 beads, plus the guru bead (which you don’t use for the meditation) and tassel (not all malas have tassels though). When you use the mala to do a mantra meditation, it is called japa mala meditation, because japa means repetition.

  • Short Stories

    There She Goes

    Fall 2016

    The glossiness of the dark wooden casket reflected my teary-eyed face. I have never cried so much in my life, and I’ve never been so devasted by a death before. Your death was unexpected, not that death is ever really expected…it was an accident.

    My mom squeezed my shoulder when she touched the smooth surface of the box in which your body lied. Your sister, your parents, and the rest of your family were all there, desperately trying to connect with you through this touch. Most of us didn’t get to see you one last time before we buried you…because it was an accident. It was probably better that the only memories I have of you are from when you were alive anyway.

    My parents did see you in the critical condition you were in though: they were the first ones at the hospital. You wouldn’t have known that though because according to the doctors, you were brain-dead upon impact. My mom said she had clutched your feet when you were lying there, in the hospital bed. Now, we all touch the wooden casket, seeking some form of relief from it. Trying to connect with you.

    Winter 2017

    As my family drove through mountainous farmland on the winding roads to where your body lies, I reflected on how you would have felt about the location. You hated the suburbs, let alone the rural atmosphere of Virginia. You had made it clear that you aspired to be in the city since your decision to attend Pittsburg University, and then later by moving to Jersey City and then to Newark. You were getting closer and closer to Manhattan, but you never had the chance move across the Hudson River.

    When my dad parked the car and we ambled out, the entire family encircled your gravestone. It was beautifully engraved, and your mom ensured that you had fresh flowers daily. We prayed, and then we cried, and then we laughed…reminiscing about our lives with you. Honored to have gotten to know you. By connecting with each other about the past, we reconnected with you.

    I walked around to the back of the gravestone and noticed the depiction of the city skyline. I remember that I thought…that it looked like the city crossed the Hudson River to come to you.

    Happy 27th birthday. 

    © 2018 Vic Romero

    All Rights Reserved.

     

     

     

     

  • Yoga

    Yoga Gear Haul!

    My girlfriend wanted to go to TJ Maxx to get new slippers, but we ended up buying a bunch of items, except for slippers. (She didn’t get slippers because they didn’t have what she wanted).

    I wasn’t even going to buy anything, but then I went to the yoga section and I helplessly got sucked in because they had several items that I had been wanting to purchase for a while.

    In March, I became interested in Mysore rugs because I was trying to figure out a way to prevent slippage while practicing. Slippage can happen in poses like downward facing dog or in lunges. Mysore rugs are common in Ashtanga yoga, which is one of the branches of Hatha yoga, and they were used before yoga mats were developed in the 1960s. People still use them today, particularly in India. Some use them either on top of a yoga mat or on its own, and you can get some reasonably priced ones on Amazon.

    A popular western alternative is yoga towels, which is what I bought for less than $15 at TJ Maxx. They are not eco-friendly, unlike Mysore rugs. I feel conflicted about my purchase because of this, but I also loved the texture of it and I wanted to try it. I still would like to invest in a Mysore rug though, but perhaps another time.