Caught in the inbetween:
The state of being a kid and an adult
Required to act mature,
But often regarded as a joke
The disagreeing expectations muddle,
Puddling at my feet
Is it acceptable to eagerly jump in?
Or should I worry?
If it’s a pool….perhaps it’s depth is too deep.
Unsure of what to do with myself,
As I’m caught in this “inbetween”
It’s an awkward state,
But it’s a result of being a teen.
© 2019 Vic Romero
All Rights Reserved.
I wrote this circa 2012/2013…I’ve been thinking about an “inbetween” state lately…particularly about early adulthood. More on this later though. For now, I will be leaving you all with this teen-angst selfie from 2013, featuring sunglasses that take up my entire face, a cut-up Never Shout Never shirt, and iconic red lipstick.
Hello, blog friends! I know it’s been too long since I’ve last written.
I didn’t intend to take so much time off from writing. I’ve had the time to write, but I kept postponing sitting down and working on a piece. Before I knew it, weeks had slipped by and I had barely written a single word.
The reason I continued to postpone this valuable “me time” activity is primarily because I’ve been avoiding introspection. I haven’t been ready to make changes in my life, thus, I’ve avoided reflecting on my life altogether.
Over the last week, however, I’ve been suffering through the negative impact an absence of writing has on me. This manifests as excessively distracting myself with TV and irrational thinking. An example of that thinking is entertaining thoughts of getting back together with my ex.
While I love my ex, I know we can’t get back together. My poem, Flowers, helps remind me why I ended things and why I want things to remain “over.” Although I don’t want to be with her, I haven’t been ready to let her go. Thus, we’ve been maintaining a strained friendship, which until recently, has been overall pleasant and has benefited both of us. Now, it’s not serving either of us well.
It’s unsurprising that we can’t be friends because we haven’t taken sufficient time apart to be friends and we are still in love with each other. While I know this information, I find it to be incredibly difficult to do what is beneficial for the both of us, which is taking a lot of time away from each other.
I talked to my cousin about my predicament, and she responded with an insightful metaphor.
“It’s like you’re hanging onto the back of a car’s bumper, and your ex is driving. You can either let go now, which will hurt, but then it’ll be over. Or you can hold on for awhile and be dragged along, and let go later. Both options hurt, but one hurts less.” -my cousin, a writer
Ugh writers. They understand life.
I’ve definitely been holding on for a long time because I fear losing her. But creating space doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re never going to be able to be friends again. It also doesn’t guarantee that we will reconnect in the future.
There is a lot of uncertainty that comes with space that frightens me. Uncertainty in general frightens me, especially since my cousin passed away. Accepting uncertainty is something I’m just always going to have to work on. Writing and meditation helps tremendously, I simply need to practice them.
Other than this challenge, I’ve been enjoying my summer. Since the last time I’ve written, I partook in a wonderful yoga workshop, I’ve gone to the beach, attended an all-day concert, watched fireworks with my friends, and spent quality time with my sister. I’ve been enjoying the summer’s nice weather as much as I can before autumn’s briskness takes over.
How was your July? What are you looking forward to in August?
Yesterday was World Pride Day–the conclusion to Pride Month–and thus it is apt to reflect on my experience with Pride over the last five years.
I have only been to a Pride event once, and that was during the summer of 2015, which was also the year I had come out to my family. The months preceding June 2015 were extremely difficult in my house…I had lied to my parents to even go to Pride. I had told them I was going to the city with friends, which was partially true. I was actually going to experience the parade in the city with my secret girlfriend.
I had packed a bag with the clothes I was going to change into on the train: rainbow pride earrings, a rainbow pride industrial bar, and a t-shirt I had customized with glitter glue and scissors. That plain t-shirt had transformed into a frilly crop-top with sparkly letters that read “I love [insert my ex-girlfriend’s name].” My ex had made a similar shirt, minus the glitter glue and fondness for scissors. We were very festive.
On the train, I rode a few stops alone before my ex and her friends boarded. When we got to the city, everyone and everything was rainbow. I had never experienced anything like it before. It was amazing to be around so many queer people, to feel validated, and to be supported.
My ex, her friends, and I watched the parade and I took lots of pictures, which I no longer have. I did, however, purchase a pride flag that I have to this day.
After the parade, I met up with a friend I had met at a summer pre-college camp. I remember that she had just gotten her nose ring. Anyway, we all went to multiple sex stores, and that is when I bought my first vibrator, which I also no longer have. (I have gone back to that specific sex store though and purchased a new one. In my opinion, that store has the best variety of non-penis-shaped goods in the entire city.)
Before boarding the train back home alone, I had removed my pride gear and tucked it back into my bag. My dad had picked me up at the train station and didn’t ask any questions, and so I had thought I was safe from interrogation. That was only true for a few hours.
The next morning, my mom had suddenly become skeptical of my whereabouts. She questioned what I had done in the city, who I had been with, and why I had been alone on the train. She blatantly asked me if I went to Pride, and I had responded with a resounding “no.”
And that was the end of that.
Fast forward to 2019… many of my friends went to Pride and invited me along, but I refrained. Part of my reluctance to attend any Pride event was a fear of large crowds, not wanting to cancel my Sunday Yin Yoga class (which I brought to my local community center and I’m super proud of it), and a fear of telling my parents that I was going.
Is that weird? I’m twenty-three and I’m afraid to tell my parents what I want to do, particularly if it involves my queerness. This is despite the fact that I had come out to them twice and integrated my recent ex into my familial life as much as possible.
I am unsure why I continue to have this fear that drives my preference to avoid queer topics. For years after I came out the first time, I blamed this tendency on them.
I had felt like they rejected me when I came out, which is why I had continuously lied to them. It had seemed like we were at war with each other for months, and I never forgave them. I didn’t feel like I could trust them.
It’s why even after my ex and I broke up, after years had passed, I still lied to them about where I was going and who I was hanging out with. I would answer questions they had about my personal life as vaguely as possible so they wouldn’t know that much about me. I would answer their questions snippily as well, which would cause conflicts about my bad attitude.
So much has changed between us though. Thus, my fear of talking about Pride and sexuality with them seems to stem primarily from residual pain. I have to constantly remind myself that they’re not going to yell at me or interrogate me about this stuff anymore. I’m no longer an eighteen-year-old in high school. I graduated from college, I work a full-time job and teach yoga on the side, and I’ve been a fucking adult for a few years now. I make my own choices. I don’t know why I don’t always find this rationale convincing.
Yesterday, however, my mom shared a sweet moment with me that reminded me of how things have improved between us.
I was sitting on my bed, wearing the Pride shirt my ex had gotten me, and planning my Yin Yoga class with the Pride Parade on in the background. My mom knocked on my door and asked to come in. Once inside my room, she asked me if I was watching the parade and I affirmed that I was. She asked if my friends were there and I replied, “Yes, they invited me and I wanted to go, but I love this yoga class I teach, so I decided to stay home.”
She nodded, understanding since she takes all my yoga classes and since she knows how important this class is to me. Then she invited me to watch the parade in her room. I declined the offer, and then she went back upstairs. A few minutes later, she returned to give me a hug and she told me that she loves me no matter what.
Twenty minutes later, before I ran out the door to take care of some errands, I went to her room and saw her watching the parade in the rocking chair she used to cradle my sister and I in when we were infants.
It was the sweetest and simplest moment, but it provided me with the validation and support that I had gotten from my experience at Pride five years ago. This time, however, it was from the person I needed the validation and support from the most.
Oatmeal has been a staple in my diet my entire life, yet it wasn’t until last week that I ventured into the world of “overnight oats.” I am aware that I am late to this fabulous trend, but I am here now and I’m also now on time for work because I’m not making oatmeal in the morning. I love meal prepping.
I also love bitter, dark chocolate and strawberries, which are the predominant flavors of this recipe that I’ve been making daily. It’s cheap and easy to make, delicious, and nutritious! Let’s get started.
Ingredients (serves 1):
- 1/2 cup of old fashioned oats
- 1 cup of water or nondairy milk
- Sea salt to taste
- Turmeric to taste
- Cinnamon to taste
- 1 tbs. cocoa powder
- 1 tbs. cocoa nibs
- 3 tbs. chia seeds
- 3-6 fresh strawberries, sliced
Combine all of the ingredients, except for the strawberries, into a bowl and stir. Refrigerate overnight. When you’re ready to eat, top it off with fresh strawberries and enjoy!
If you tried this recipe, let me know what you think! Also, if you have other suggestions for overnight oat recipes, please send them my way 🙂
She smiled shyly the first time she brought me flowers-
They were my favorite colors.
She wanted me to remember
That someone was thinking about me
And that I was not alone as I navigated my grief.
I later took pictures of the bouquet from all different angles
And sent the photos to all my friends
Who were so impressed by such thoughtfulness
She smiled proudly the next few times she gifted me a flower arrangement
Some were roses of different sizes,
Others were seasonal blooms
The flowers were to honor our anniversaries,
Or to celebrate my accomplishments
I took pictures of all those flowers
And I changed their water daily
To extend the time I could admire them before they wilted
At some point, her smiles weakened
Sometimes even tears stained her cheeks,
When she handed me beautiful flowers
In an attempt to seek forgiveness,
To seek reassurance of my love for her
I always accepted the flowers graciously
And put them in a vase
To be admired until they died, or until they stank too much
The last time she brought me a bouquet, she was crying hysterically
She had been waiting an hour for me
And I had been waiting for weeks for things to improve between us.
Her shoulders slumped as she offered me the flowers
This time…I told her to keep them
She put them in a vase,
Placed the vase on her nightstand
And sent me a picture.
© 2019 Vic Romero
I’ve begun watching Sex and the City, and it is an addictive show. First of all, I love 90s/early 2000s shows, and I also love shows that center around a group of friends that I can connect with. Lately, I’ve been connecting with Miranda in Season 2, who so far is bitter in regards to dating. She is closed off to getting serious with someone because every person she dates proves to be scum.
While I am not dating casually and thus I am not meeting scumbags, I think I’ve become bitter and closed off to dating. One of my hometown friends pointed it out to me on the phone recently. She affirmed my suspicion that I need more time alone to heal, but she also warned not to be closed off to dating in the future. Unfortunately, I currently don’t envision myself being open-hearted anytime soon, especially considering how I’ve sabotaged my breakup healing process time and time again. It’s as if I keep picking at the scab, which causes it to hurt and bleed, yet I wonder why the scab is taking so long to heal…
Let me provide an example.
A few days before my sister graduated from college, I found out my ex was in a new relationship. While it has been about four months since our breakup, up until the week prior to her committing to someone new, we had been talking nearly daily.
Yes, I know that this was not the best way to handle a non-mutual breakup.
Unsurprisingly, we weren’t talking amicably as friends. She would confess that she missed me, that she still wanted to be with me, etc. I would reciprocate the feelings of missing her and still loving her, but I repeated that I stood by my decision to end things.
Anyway, finding out that she was with someone new caused me to completely lose all control over my emotions. Hysteria transformed to despair, and then to possessive jealousy that inspired me to hook up with my ex in her car after a night of bar-hopping together.
No, I don’t know what I was thinking because I wasn’t thinking.
I gradually came to accept the situation, albeit with some bumps that still need to be smoothed out. Those bumps are called nostalgia with a few dashes of illusion: I miss who I was when we were together, I miss how we were together, and most confusing of all, I miss who I thought she was and/or who I wanted her to be.
Clearly, I am not emotionally capable to casually date, let alone get seriously involved with someone. Instead, I want to spend time with my friends and family and mingle with new people. I want to focus on my full-time job, on teaching and studying yoga, on reading, and on creating. I think I’ve been pretty successful in doing these things, although it takes a lot more energy to do them rather than mindlessly watching TV, which was what I was doing previously.
When my energy feels low or when I get trapped in the nostalgia/illusion bumps, it’s helpful to reflect on why I ended things with her. There are a few reasons: I didn’t feel like I was being treated the way I deserved, no matter how many times we talked about our issues, and I didn’t want to be held back anymore. I didn’t want to spend so much time and energy on our relationship, partially attributed to the fact that it had become taxing and toxic. Most importantly though, I broke things off because I wanted to focus completely on myself. I wanted to be selfish and I didn’t want to feel bad about it.
I do believe that I’ve attracted more positivity into my life since releasing the heavy, negative energy of my last relationship. However, waves of loneliness crash on me sometimes, especially when my friends share stories about or pictures of their serious relationships. It causes me to crave the rush of falling in love, of being in love, and feeling at home with someone. It simultaneously causes me to desire more single friends I can commiserate with about dating, like in Sex and the City.
Anyway, I will have to manage with the occasional loneliness because I don’t want to put myself out there yet. I wouldn’t be offering my best self because I don’t feel like my best self even to myself. I want to finally allow the scab to heal and I want to smooth out all the bumps around it. Hopefully, it won’t take as long as it did when my first ex and I split, but even if it does, I want to have my own fun in the meantime.
I’m finally continuing the long-awaited OOTD series! I’ve coordinated many outfits that I love since the last post I did, so I decided to organize them by color so I don’t overwhelm you all with my many looks.
I’m beginning with red, the first color of the rainbow and the first color of the chakras in Yoga philosophy. This post also includes two orange outfits, which are representative of the second chakra.
Side note- I finally began teaching the chakra yoga classes I’ve wanted to do since New Year’s on Friday!
Anyway, below are the looks. Enjoy!
1. Red Stripes and Bells
This was an early-spring/end-of-winter look, and I think it packs a ton of attitude. The shirt was my mom’s and the skirt is an oldie from Forever 21.
These are my favorite Marc Fisher boots!! It is also my favorite birthday purchase #23
The necklace is a hand-me-down from my mom, and the earrings are alien spaceships I got from Hot Topic.
I love this kimono I got from Target. It totally elevates any outfit I pair it with.
My comfy grey dress was my mom’s and it’s by a young Russian designer that I found through Teen Vogue when I was in middle school. I honestly don’t know if she still designs or if her store in Manhattan is still there.
I got my shoes on clearance! They are Franco Sarto and they’re very comfy. I love the silver heel and how unique the color is. It’s like an orange-y red.
I got my turquoise necklace from a Native American store in the Grand Canyon. It is my favorite purchase from traveling to Las Vegas a few years ago. My earrings were a gift from my mom.
My blue beaded bracelet is a gift from my mom when she visited my grandma in Puerto Rico. I always ask her to bring me back jewelry when she visits because I love funky jewelry, especially when it’s handmade by someone who shares my heritage.
3. Orange Orange
I was really vibing with the color orange the day I put this together lol
In the chakras, the color orange is related to sexuality and creativity. Perhaps these things were a little heightened for me.
Anyway, the sweater was my mom’s and it’s a perfect sweater for autumn because of its soft, warm browns. My shirt was probably less than $10 on clearance from Old Navy. My pants are from Kohl’s young professional collection.
Here’s my look without the sweater!
My shoes are Indigo Red and they’re so comfy and cute!
My necklace says “She Believed She Could” on one side, and the other side says “So She Did.” It was a graduation gift from my mom last May.
My earrings are a gift from my mom from her latest trip to Puerto Rico.
My eyeshadow look was created using Tarte’s Toasted palette I got for the holidays.
My bracelet was also from Puerto Rico.
4. Be Mine, Clementine
This shirt was a gift from my mom when she went to Anthropology with my sister for my sister’s 21st birthday. Considering how expensive that store is, the shirt isn’t great quality. I am pretty sure it shrunk after washing it once, and that’s without drying it. Thankfully I got it in a big enough size so that it still fits. Otherwise, I love the shirt. It’s very fun and summery.
My skirt was my mom’s and it’s a perfect casual skirt for work because it’s denim yet it’s about knee-length.
My earrings are the same as above. My necklace was a stone that my late-grandma had collected, which was then transformed into a necklace.
I love these shoes.
Both of my bracelets are handmade from Puerto Rico <3
What was your favorite look? Let me know in the comments below!
Also, stay tuned for the yellow and green looks!
So…tell me how it all happened.
Did it begin when you sent her a flirty text?
Did you send that text between professing your love for me
And conveying how much you missed me?
Did you ask her out on a date
Between wrongfully accusing me of dating my friend,
and expressing how upset you’d be if that were true?
Did you hold her hand after texting me
To ask if you can still see me this summer
Because you couldn’t imagine your life without me?
Did you kiss her between writing about me
And confessing that you’re still grieving the relationship?
When did you begin to fall for her?
Around the time you blew up my phone
To call me a coward
For not responding to your texts
About hopefully getting back together again in the future?
I don’t know when you finally found the closure
I tried to give you at the end of our relationship,
And I don’t know when you found someone else to love,
But these endings and beginnings seem to blur
I think you only began to respect my desire for space
Because you became distracted by her.
© 2019 Vic Romero
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
It’s been one year since I graduated from college, and what a ride this last year has been. At this point in my journey, I feel at ease and I’m enjoying the flow, but that wasn’t the case previously. A few months ago, I wasn’t feeling like myself at all. I was isolating myself, doubting myself, suffering from anxiety attacks, and dealing with other symptoms of depression.
If you don’t want to read those posts, or if you have already, I thought I’d share the highlights of what I’ve learned since graduating from college. These lessons are not a guide to land a job; they’re applicable to multiple chapters of life. If you are graduating from high school, college, or if you’re just moving on, I hope what I have learned will remind you to flow and to enjoy your own journey.
Five Lessons I’ve Learned Since Graduating from College
1. Honor where you are at.
I spent many hours scrolling through Instagram first thing when I awoke and then again before I went to bed. While social media is a great way to stay connected to people, which may be particularly desirable when you graduate from college and move away from your friends, I found myself stuck in the “comparison trap” based on other people’s photos. One person would post about getting a great job, another person would share that they are beginning graduate school, and someone else would divulge the glamorous details of their gorgeous vacation.
Although these were accomplishments to be celebrated, I often found myself feeling bad for not accomplishing or doing any of those things. Fortunately, I eventually realized how negative Instagram was for me at this transitionary point in my life, so I deactivated my account. It helped me to become present and thus, I focused on myself rather than what everyone else was doing. It was then that I paid attention to the things to be grateful for, which improved my perspective and my attitude.
Social media may not be a problem for you, but I encourage you to notice if you are honoring where you are at now and finding gratitude, or if you are more focused on everyone else and/or what you lack.
2. Be positive
One of my favorite quotes is “Your perspective is your reality,” and it is incredibly accurate. If your perspective is that your life isn’t going the way you want it to, you never get what you want while everyone else seems to, and that you are a loser, then yeah, that is your reality.
On the other hand, you can perceive your life as being full of obstacles that you are capable of overcoming because everything you’ve experienced in the past has prepared you for what is ahead. You can argue that you do get what you want because you work hard for your goals. Maybe you’re not getting what you want when you want it, but you will get what you need when you are ready for it. Lastly, you can practice compassion toward yourself.
The practice of positivity was very difficult for me initially, but over time it got easier as I began to feel lighter and happier.
Another favorite quote of mine is “Nevertheless, she persisted.” Your efforts are seen and they are not futile.
4. Be patient
I never had my post-grad life planned out, but I did expect to obtain a full-time job within a few months after college. Many people graduated with full-time offers, so this didn’t seem like an unreasonable goal to me.
As months passed without receiving a single offer, I felt like a failure and a loser. It seemed like everyone around me was moving forward while I was left behind, living with my parents and without a full-time job.
In retrospect, I am grateful that everything panned out the way that it did.
If I had gotten a full-time offer that began when I graduated, I wouldn’t have been able to do yoga teacher training. If I had gotten an offer right after YTT, I may not have gotten my yoga teaching job at the community center and I may not have been able to get as involved in the center because I wouldn’t have been able to sub as many classes. I also wouldn’t have built up as strong of a reputation at the community center.
If I had gotten a job right after YTT, I wouldn’t have accepted the campaign job, which introduced me to an unsuitable leadership style for my personality. If the promised job after the campaign had come to fruition, I wouldn’t have used a staffing agency. I also wouldn’t have had as much time to study and take the GRE. If I hadn’t had the campaign experience, I wouldn’t have had as much to talk about during interviews I got through the staffing agency. If I had gotten a full-time offer during this time, I wouldn’t have been able to accept a temporary position where I learned a lot about office culture and professionalism.
If I hadn’t attended my community center’s happy hour after work on a Friday, I wouldn’t have talked about my temporary job and what I was looking for next. If I hadn’t attended that happy hour and if I hadn’t been able to talk about my work experience, I wouldn’t have been noticed by a fellow staff member whose husband was looking for employees. If I hadn’t had a major shift in my perspective and if I hadn’t continued to persist, I wouldn’t have gotten an interview through the staff member or on my own job-search. If I hadn’t adopted a positive perspective and if I hadn’t found gratitude for my current situation, I wouldn’t have been an impressive candidate. My boss at the community center wouldn’t have vouched for me as being a valuable employee. Then I wouldn’t have had two job offers in the same weekend. Thus, I wouldn’t have accepted my current position, which I love.
This “logic” can go in so many more directions, but the point is that everything happened how it needed to.
“You are a child of the Universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the Universe is unfolding as it should.” -Max Ehrmann, “Desiderata: A Poem for a Way of Life”
Just because it didn’t happen when I wanted it to, it doesn’t mean that it wasn’t going to happen at all.
5. Experience joy.
Transitions are uncomfortable, scary, and stressful, but that doesn’t entail you should feel that way all of the time, or at all. When times are difficult, it’s all the more reason to experience joy. This can be as simple as reading a book, having coffee with a friend, or volunteering for a cause that is important to you. You deserve to experience joy daily.
Let me know your thoughts on these lessons, and please share anything you’ve learned along the way!
It’s been quite some time since I shared a recipe, but it’s not because I’m not cooking. I haven’t shared any recipes because I haven’t been doing my own spin on meals I prepare lately. This salad is the exception — I didn’t follow a recipe for this, I created it myself!
This Mediterranean salad is inspired by a salad my parents and I enjoyed at an Afghan restaurant we discovered last weekend. The waiter gave us each a big plate full of chopped tomatoes and cucumbers swimming in a pool of light, acidic, and tangy dressing. I’ve had a strong craving for Mediterranean food lately, so I thought it’d be fun to make it at home! Below is the recipe.
My Version of a Mediterranean-Inspired Salad (modify as desired!)
- 2 large cucumbers
- 4 small/medium-sized tomatoes
- A lot of fresh parsley
- Many mint leaves
- Several sprigs of fresh dill
- One lemon
- Apple cider vinegar (optional)
- Two garlic cloves
- Garlic powder (optional)
- 1/2 red onion
- Feta cheese
- Peel and julienne large cucumbers (the mandolin my dad got me for Christmas worked wonders for this) and put in a large bowl
- Dice the tomatoes and toss in the bowl. Try to keep the guts of the tomato intact so it can add to the dressing.
- Chop up more fresh parsley than you think you need, and add it
- Chop a ton of fresh mint
- I plucked the dill right off of the stem and threw them into the bowl…I don’t know if there’s an “official” way to prepare fresh dill.
- Squeeze one lemon over the mixture
- Option to add some apple cider vinegar as well. I would’ve added another lemon but I didn’t have any, so I used the vinegar to provide more acidity
- Mince the garlic and add
- If raw garlic is irritating to your digestive system, I recommend using garlic powder instead. I used both garlic powder and raw garlic
- Chop the red onion and add
- Season with salt and pepper to taste
- The night before you serve, or even right before you eat it, add as much feta as you would like. I added it as late as possible because I think it would dissolve into the dressing otherwise.
That’s it! It’s quite simple but so satisfying.
One more note- it’s best to prepare this at least the night before so everything can soak overnight.
If you make this at home, let me know what your take on the recipe is.