• Speaking My Mind

    Releasing the Bumper

    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?

    xx Vic

  • Speaking My Mind

    Pride

    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.

    Happy Pride.

    xx Vic

  • Poetry

    Flowers 💐

    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

  • Mysticism

    Realigning with My True Self – An Oracle Card Reading

    September has been emotionally difficult because every day feels like a futile fight to stay positive and to cultivate a future. It seems like a futile fight because most days I wake up already in a bad mood, and on the few days when I actually wake up excited and I work toward my goals, I end up feeling defeated and depressed by the end of the night.

    I try not to casually throw around the word, “depressed,” because I don’t want to misuse it…but I feel like after weeks of crying daily, instigating tons unnecessary fights with my mom and with my girlfriend, emotionally beating myself up, reducing myself to nothing, and wishing I could escape from reality warrants the use of the term, “depressed.”

    I have only wished I could disappear when I am struggling to cope with change, struggling to stay afloat, and struggling to thrive. Right now I’m struggling with all three, so it’s overwhelming.

    I’m not sharing this to worry anyone…I don’t want to hurt myself, I just don’t always want to deal with my life. Not because my life is bad or anything, because my life isn’t bad at all. I have food, a home, a caring family, health insurance, and I’m finally working part-time. My life is good and comfortable, which I’m grateful for and I try to remind myself of this all of the time.

    Despite acknowledging my blessings, I get caught up in my stagnancy. When I focus my energy on taking steps toward my goals so I can move forward, I doubt myself and I doubt my ability to move forward at all. It’s a toxic cycle that unfortunately has poisoned my emotional well-being as well as my relationships. I don’t want to be around anyone because I feel like poison. Isolation exacerbates my depression too.

    So…I pulled my Ganesha cards on Monday to get some insight and guidance that I can reflect upon. I’m not going to share a picture of my cards this time because most of them I have already shared on my blog.

    My Reading

    1. The first card, which represents where I am now, I pulled Positive Outlook. I was bewildered when I saw this card because as noted previously, I wouldn’t consider myself having a positive outlook at the moment. Well, the card is about how all circumstances are neutral, and it is one’s mental attitude that influences how it is perceived. It reminds me of what I have read in The Untethered Soul as well as something I had painted on a flowerpot after my grief group concluded two years ago: Your perception is your reality. I suppose I need to take a step back from judging my experiences as negative and to at least view things as neutral.
    2. Sustenance is the card that represents my next steps. The painting on the card is of Ganesha enjoying a buffet, but the card isn’t about food. It’s about how I need to acknowledge my blessings as well as acknowledge the abundance of ways to support my desires. I need to understand my needs and satiate them, even if it’s scary or unconventional.
    3. My obstacle is Cultivation, which is strongly linked to music. Music creates communities and it soothes the soul, causing music to be a method for connecting to spirits. I haven’t been listening to music too much…I either listen to podcasts or watch something on Netflix. When I’m not listening to these things, I spend my time in silence…but I suppose it’s a little too isolating right now. Perhaps replacing the silence with my yoga playlists would facilitate some more positive thinking, creativity, and a sense of belonging.
    4. My resource for overcoming my inability to cultivate is Reflection. When I saw this card, I was like “duh, I’m great at reflecting! I reflect and write weekly!” When I read the description of this card though, I was speechless. I’ll just share what it all says.

    “You have reached the point in your life’s journey where self-judgment and criticism no longer serve you. It is imperative that you understand and appreciate the distinctive persona that you bring into all situations. Each of us has our own unique path….Through reflection and visualization, get in touch with the wise person within you.” – Whispers of Lord Ganesha Oracle Cards by Angela Hartfield

    While this card is titled “Reflection,” I feel like it is about more than that…and it really resonated with me.

    5. My new outcome is “Acceptance,” which I’ve pulled multiple times because I’m always fighting with my true self. This relates back to alignment as well. Life will become easier when I accept my true self and when I accept that I don’t have to know everything. The reality that I don’t know anything about my future has been weighing on me because it’s an uncomfortable feeling. I haven’t been enjoying living in the unknown and not having all of the answers right now. My life will improve though when I look at my experiences and the world from a more spiritual perspective as well as by not placing so much value on my thoughts.

    All of these cards address connecting with who I really am…thus, that may be the key to transforming my perspective and my life. It will take some time and patience to realign with my true self via these suggestions from my Ganesha cards. My meditation practice, although not daily (yet), will help me get there too.

    Also…while I feel like I have been stagnant, that isn’t necessarily true. As I’ve mentioned previously, I am now working a part-time job. I am also almost done with the hiring process to teach a regular yoga class in my town. I doubted I was going to be able to teach yoga this year and if I hadn’t nailed the audition, I was going to postpone my teaching dreams…but the universe surprised me. Lastly, after avoiding and debating with myself for several months, I finally booked a GRE test date!

    So…things are moving. I’m progressing, contrary to what I believe.

    If you would like an oracle card reading, please comment below or email me at hello@unziptheselips.com.

    xx Vic

  • Speaking My Mind

    Virgo Full Moon Ritual – March 2018

    I tried my adaptation of the Virgo Full Moon Ritual in the morning after I did my daily yoga session. I decided to do a Full Moon Yoga flow, followed by stretching because last time I did it, my hamstrings were killing me for several days afterward. Then I did the ritual.

    Part of the ritual was to feel and think about what makes you feel like you are on task. I interpreted that as…what makes you feel fulfilled? What goals do you want to achieve, and what can you do more of to help you get there?

    The three things that came to my mind were my girlfriend, my blog, and school.

  • Speaking My Mind

    Positive Energy Is Coursing Through My Veins

    I have one more week of winter break and then I’m back to school, and I honestly can’t wait. I’m excited to start the spring semester and experience all that college has to offer both academically and socially for me. I feel so different already after one semester, some people that I haven’t seen since I went to college noted how I’ve changed a bit and I can’t wait to change even more. I’ve been feeling so positive and upbeat lately, it’s so refreshing after having been bogged down by a ton of bullshit during my first semester. Lately, through the advice of my best friend, I’ve just been letting bad thoughts go rather than dwelling on them…and doing that was much easier than I thought.

    This semester is going to be a little harder than last semester but I know I’m going to get through it because I’ve proven to myself time and time again that I can do anything. I just need to try.

    Anyway, I plan on going back to writing more once my break ends but for now I just want to relax. I hope everything is going well for everyone!

    -Vic

  • Short Stories,  Speaking My Mind

    On The Brink

    The wind whips my hair back as I gaze at everything below me.  From my nearly aerial view, I can observe all my accomplishments, my struggles, and my failures.  In the past, some of those struggles and failures seemed daunting, but I’ve somehow found the strength within me to overcome them and to get where I am now.

    I stand on the brink of what was and what will be…I’m able to see my past clearly now but the road ahead remains foggy.  I only took one bag from my past with me, and it’s relatively heavy since some of my previous struggles continue to burden me…but maybe once I continue my climb, up high into the future, I’ll be able to get rid of them.  My bag is not just heavy with burdensome things, it’s also brimming with relationships and memories that I grip onto in order to remember my roots and keep me grounded as I conquer my future.

    The brink is a scary place to be…it’s so easy to just fall off of the rocky cliff and back into familiarity…but familiarity can’t ever be the same because naturally everything changes.  Conversely to falling, climbing is difficult because it’s physically and mentally exhausting…your footing may slip on the crumbling rocks as you scale the unpaved path in order to find your destiny…but when you make it to the top, or to the next brink, it’s quite rewarding.

    I pick up a pebble that’s by my foot and toss it into my past below me…I can’t see or hear it land because I’m too high up, and I’m determined to climb higher.

    Maybe I’ll visit soon…use my parachute and float back to familiarity…but it’ll only be a short visit.  I have goals to accomplish.

    © 2014 Vic Romero

    **image from Google

  • Speaking My Mind

    Friday At The Fair

    On Friday I stopped by my job, where my girlfriend was, to hang out with her during her break.  She had said she got something for me a few days before, and we barely saw each other last week so when we were actually together she said she wanted to give it to me.

    I became incredibly nervous because not only does receiving gifts make me uncomfortable sometimes, my best friend had said that Janice* had texted her a pic of what the gift was and that she told Janice that she should wait until at least our three months to give it to me because she thought it would make me uncomfortable.

    So she sat in my car with the gift and I paced around the car, freaking out because of what my best friend said.  My girlfriend was also a bit nervous because of what my best friend had said haha

    Well eventually she gave it to me…here’s what she gave me…

  • Poetry

    it comes in waves

    the quietness envelops me as i’m sitting here alone strewn out to sea

    i go back and forth with the waves up and down as my mind craves

    unstable and emotionally dependent god i’m disgusting i’ve had enough i’m fed up

    i want to end this attempt at psychological suicide that bears a heavy burden on my mind

    i’m happy yeah i’m fine

    but then the waves come crashing down i hear the roars in my ears

    i cannot deal i cannot heal

    with these thoughts swirling and

    how can i make lasting relationships if i’m so pessimistic if i’m so hateful so self-loathing

    so i turn to something like myself i turn to something distasteful

    scrolling through the mounds of flesh they all look the same and ultimately i’m no better than before

    i want i need i’m desperate for something more

    i can’t remember why i loved her why i liked her why i loved him

    heck i cannot even remember what it was like to feel something so overpowering that i could lose all rationality and only feel

    so numb so dumb no fun is how i live how i try to live how i can only deal

    and it’s so surreal it hurts although i claim to be healed

    when it comes to stumbling across old messages to stumbling across old messes to stumbling across her

    when i’m walking with my head facing the ground facing the floor

    but tripping is to be expected when i’m not paying attention

    because i’m always distracted by my thoughts of wanting more

    ©VicRomero

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