• Speaking My Mind

    How to Bounce Back from a Breakup

    When I was eighteen, everything familiar and comforting in my life had been blown away by the winds of change. I had gone away to college and thus suffered from homesickness, had to create a new life in a strange place, lost touch with many of my hometown friends, and I went through a difficult breakup. I wrote all about these things using a free version of this blog.

    Five years later, with a college degree and more life experience under my belt, I have found myself in a similar predicament, yet simultaneously different. I am back under my parents’ roof and thus desiring more independence, I have to create a new life in a familiar place, my friends are either working full-time or are no longer nearby, and I am going through a difficult breakup. Oh, and I seem to forever be in need of a permanent full-time job. I write about all of these things using this blog, which I now own.

    How has everything in my life changed while all remaining the same?

    All the heartbreaks I endured in high school led me to the discovery of an effective method to instigate change and growth to support the flourishing of myself as an individual. The method is to create a to-do list, and then tackle it! It’s simple, yet super effective and rewarding. You can see my previous breakup-recovery to-do lists here, here, and here.

    How to Bounce Back from a Breakup

    1. Keep applying for jobs. I know, this is probably the most eye-roll-inducing item on the list considering “applying to jobs” is all that I’ve done since May. I will land a job soon though, I’m positive of it.
    2. Clean my room and the spare room, which is essentially a disastrous extension of my room because it’s filled primarily with my own belongings. I don’t need that much shit! If most of it was thrown out, I wouldn’t even notice. Plus, by organizing my space, I am more prepared to move out.
    3. Get a haircut and paint my nails. Sure, they’re not necessarily transformative tasks, but I am well overdue for a haircut and painting my nails would make me feel fancy, which is important. I want to feel good about myself.
    4. Plan a weekend trip, then actually follow-through on it. It’ll be something to look forward to, which I definitely need.
    5. Lean on the friends that I have during this time of healing.
    6. When I get a job, fearlessly put myself out there, both professionally and casually. Perhaps I can make some new friends through work.
    7. Finish reading Don Quixote because I’ve been meaning to finish it for over a year, plus it’s hilarious, which I definitely need in my life right now.
    8. Resume reading my chakra book so I can begin to create chakra yoga classes. That will be a fulfilling project to work on and to share with my students.
    9. Do guided meditations for a few weeks to establish the habit of meditating. Meditation is medicine.
    10. Find something weekly to get excited about and to look forward to. This can be something as simple as treating myself to a nice meal or trying a new class at the gym.
    11. Free-write daily to alleviate my burdensome thoughts. Express myself and my creativity!
    12. Until I get a job, find ways to engage with people. This can be by making small talk with someone while I wait in line at the register or by offering someone I pass a compliment.

    This list was a little harder to make now that I’m no longer on a college campus where there are more opportunities for social interactions and activities. I did the best that I can though and these challenges will help me cope. I’ll update you all on this list in a few weeks.

    What is on your to-do list to enhance your life?

    xx Vic

  • Short Stories

    The Start of Something New

    Droplets of rain struck my coat and dripped away, joining the puddle at my feet. I hugged myself as I stood underneath the lampost on the corner of the quiet street, waiting. Sighing, I checked my watch again. She was ten minutes late, which wouldn’t have been an issue if the coffee shop wasn’t closed and if it wasn’t pouring.

    Eventually, the headlights of a car shone into my eyes as it parked across the street. Then I got a text.

    I’m here.

    I hurried toward the car, anxious and nervous to meet her. As I neared, she stepped out and took a long drag of her cigarette. Her hair was longer than it was in the pictures of her online profile, and the dark locks were draped loosely over her shoulders.

    “Hey, how are you,” she asked nonchalantly, ignoring the rain.

    “I’m okay. Wet.”

    “I’m sorry for making you wait,” she said.

    I shrugged, feigning indifference.

    After some deliberation between us, and despite my hesitation to get into strangers’ cars, I climbed into the passenger seat beside her. The stench of cigarettes and cologne consumed me. She took one last drag of her cigarette before flicking it out of the window and shifting the car into gear. We drove a couple of blocks to another shop, which was also closing.

    Desperate for a place to hang out, and despite my reluctance to invite strangers into my home, we were soon walking through the halls of my apartment building. She carried a case of beer and her backpack, and I fiddled with my keys in my pocket. I figured that my roommates would notice if something had happened to me in the living room.

    The second we entered my apartment, I went to my room to change. The layers underneath my raincoat had become soaked not from the rain, but from my nervous sweat. When I returned to the living area, I found her already at home, sprawled out on my couch. I took a seat across from her, perched on the edge of my seat.

    She passed me a bottle of liquid courage, which I graciously accepted. First dates are the worst. I didn’t even know if this constituted as a first date.

    Was she having fun? Did she like me? Did she want to just be friends? Did she want to see me again?

    My anxious thoughts were interrupted when she said she had just gotten out of a nearly two-year relationship.

    I supposed dating was no longer on the table.

    © 2019 Vic Romero

    ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

  • Poetry

    Five Years Later

    I’ve reluctantly returned to this shabby town:
    A graveyard of my former friends-turned-foes
    Five years ago, the demons had burned this shithole down
    It has since become silent here, lone for the anguished, laughing echoes

    Only my ghosts thrive here now
    Incapacitated since the demolition
    When I pass them, their white lips are pressed into frowns
    Their eyes are haunted by regretful recognition

    © 2019 Vic Romero

    All Rights Reserved

  • Speaking My Mind

    Twenty-Three

    I can’t believe my birthday is tomorrow because October seems to have come and gone so quickly. I did my best to enjoy October, although I didn’t get to watch all the Halloween movies I wanted to because my work schedule is so hectic. I also wasn’t able to go apple picking or carve a pumpkin, but I’ll try to do those things next year!

    Anyway…aside from a family birthday dinner, I don’t have anything special planned this year. I’d like to go to the city this weekend but we’ll see how it goes. In the meantime, I thought it’d be fun to revisit my birthday posts on my blog since I’ve written birthday posts since 2013! Time really does fly…

    Eighteen

    Nineteen

    Twenty

    Twenty-one

    Twenty-two

    I hope y’all had a wonderful Halloween and I hope November is going well so far for you! Today is my last day of work and I’m working like 12 hours, so my birthday tomorrow will be extra sweet since it’ll be a well-deserved break. After today I should have more time to write so there will be more blog posts coming soon!

    xx Vic

  • Poetry

    the moments that still haunt me

    aggressive/passionate kisses

    from thin/full, confident lips,

    while curious hands find the hem

    of my pleather/tennis skirt

     

    warm but forceful hands

    directing/coaxing my body,

    my hands,

    my head.

     

    pushing/guiding me onto the bed

    rolling in bed

    with sheets that aren’t mine/

    sheets that aren’t even his

     

    a body that doesn’t move

    at the same rhythm as mine.

    a body that doesn’t even tune into

    my frequency.

     

    sleeping on the edge of the bed,

    his body turned away/

    his body clinging onto mine,

    his erection pressing into me

     

    leaving before dawn

    and walking home alone, unseen/

    waking up in the afternoon

    in his embrace/beside him

     

    waking up in an unfamiliar room/

    in a room i’ve become too familiar with

    feeling loved/

    feeling empty.

     

    ©️ 2018 Vic Romero

  • Speaking My Mind

    Who Am I?

    My sister and my girlfriend are going back to school this week, and for the first time in about seventeen years, I am not doing the same.

    Since I am no longer a formal student at an American institution, I’ve been reflecting a lot on who I am.

    Who am I without school?

    I’m still determining how to answer this question, but I started by creating a more detailed “about me” page. It was fun to do and while it’s not comprehensive by any means, I think it was a good place to start.

    Additionally, in the last week or so, I’ve been doing some things that I’ve put off because I was busy in school. For example, I’ve finished two books recently. I’m working on finishing two more before reading or buying a new one.

    The biggest way I’ve attempted to answer my question is by deciding not to rush grad school. It was a little scary to come to this decision because I find school comforting in the sense that I know what goal I have to achieve: to graduate. The means are provided as well such as you have to take classes and study. Without school, my goal is more focused on becoming self-sufficient… I need a job to do that but the types of jobs I can have are innumerable! To me, this goal is quite a bit more overwhelming.

    I want to tackle this goal, thus, I won’t be applying for grad school until next fall at the earliest.

    Delaying grad school would also allow my work experiences and whatever else I experience to influence which grad program I will eventually pursue. I still plan to take the GREs this year but instead of taking them in November, I will take them in December or January.

    In regards to jobs…I’ve had a ton of first interviews but it’s been slow to hear back about second interviews. I’m going to follow up with some places this week to see where I am at as a prospective employee. I will also begin to apply for part-time jobs so I don’t deplete my savings waiting for a full-time job.

    Some part-time job opportunities include teaching yoga. I’ve been postponing looking for yoga jobs in person lately but I’ll have to resume it. I just created a class about creativity because it’s something I’ve been struggling with lately, and I’m super excited to teach it! I have to fine-tune some things still, but it feels good on my body and I think it’d feel good to others too.

    I’ve been struggling with my creativity because I haven’t been using it to its full-extent these days. This is definitely partially attributed to school, which is one reason not being a student will be good for me because unless you allot time for creativity, school really hinders it. I was fortunate to have time to take two creative writing courses last year, but it has been difficult to maintain the drive to be creative because I was thrust from the cocoon of being a student to suddenly being a graduate who needs a job and wants to go to grad school and needs to study and…I was putting way too much on my plate.

    Once I decided to postpone grad school another year, I allowed myself the time to breathe and to allow my creative mind to flow. In fact, I’ve been dreaming a lot at night these days, which I think is a good sign. One thing I need to work on though is disconnecting from the internet before and after bed, because that definitely stifles creativity. Instead I want to reintegrate meditation for at least 10 minutes everyday. My goal is to then create something every three days.

    There are some other things I want to talk about and share, but perhaps that’ll be for a different time.

    xx Vic

  • me sitting on a tree stump
    Speaking My Mind

    Life Update: Jobs, Doctoral Programs, and Teaching Yoga!

    I wanted to take some time to update y’all on my life because although this whole website is about my life, I don’t really post details of my everyday life anymore. Some interesting and cool things that I’ve been writing about since my senior year of college as well as in my oracle reading posts have been happening though!

    As of this week, I have two job interviews. One of them is today, and I have another one next week. The cool thing is that I’m actually interested in these jobs! It’s so exciting to have some potential opportunities in jobs that I actually want to do. I spent so much time my junior and senior year trying to put myself into a box of what I thought I was supposed to do and want, but it didn’t fit at all and it also didn’t feel good. While I am still on my dharma journey, or I’m still figuring out my purpose in life, I feel more excited about the jobs I’ve been applying to, and perhaps that’s translating into getting some interviews! I’m interested in research jobs because I’m a naturally curious and studious person, and I believe I’d have the most content life doing research. This brings me to my next update…

    …I am officially preparing to attend a doctoral program next fall! I am aiming to finish my GRE books by the beginning of September to provide ample time to practice until I take the test sometime in November. I reached out to my mentor from my first gender studies class, and she was super helpful! She’s doing an art history PhD program now and she knows someone who’s doing a gender studies PhD program that she’s going to put me in contact with. I’m eager to converse with the other woman about her experiences in the field thus far! I am still a little wary that I won’t be prepared in time for the applications, but I’m going to do my best by making some deadlines and goals for myself.

    The last update is that I have an audition for a yoga job at a studio near me! I’m excited and nervous, but hopefully, it’ll go really well. The MindBody App is an app that most yoga studios use for scheduling, and I’m listed as a teacher for the class I’m teaching, aka my audition. It was surprising and awesome to see my name there! Then, next week, I have the community class I’m teaching in NY, which will be good practice for me.

    The discipline and structure I’ve incorporated into my life, as well as the insight provided by my oracle cards, have been really helpful toward having these opportunities. The oracle cards have encouraged me to look at my life in a more positive light, and because they are so useful for reflection, I feel like they’ve facilitated the growth and positivity that I’ve harnessed. Daily yoga classes at a studio have also been helpful because it forces me to get up and start my day. I’m also forced to be around other people, which is super important for me to stay in a more positive headspace. Then, I added the library and Starbucks to my routine to do my GRE studying, PhD program research, and job applications. This forced me to get out of the house and encouraged me to focus, which has allowed me to make some progress towards my goals, which makes me feel better overall!

    So, that’s what has been going on with me these days. It’s nothing too crazy, nevertheless, it’s exciting and rewarding. Hopefully, some of these interview opportunities will become job opportunities, but if they don’t, that’s okay! I’ll have other interview opportunities coming my way. In the meantime, I want to be patient, be grateful for where I am now, and accept what is. I want to practice santosha, which is the Sanskrit word for contentment. It’s so hard to be content when things are going awry, but that’s when it’s most important to be content. Find contentment in discontent.

    So, I want to know…how can you practice more santosha in your life? I feel like this is a hard question, but it’s important to ponder it.

    xx Vic

  • Mysticism

    No Matter What, Stay Open – An Oracle Card Reading

    I’m excited to share a second oracle spread reading with you all! If you’re interested in your own card reading, please email me at hello@unziptheselips.com or comment below!

    Anyway…I’ve been feeling a little more confident in myself and more positive this week. Despite my more optimistic attitude, I value the insight that my Ganesha cards provide. Regardless of whether you believe in their mystical properties or not, I feel like these cards require me to be introspective, which is always important. So, let’s commence with the reading!

    Whispers of Ganesha Oracle Cards - A Spread
    Whispers of Ganesha Oracle Cards – A Spread

    The first card, Achievement, represents where I am in my life right now. I was a little surprised by this card because I tend to dismiss or undermine my achievements, which include graduating from college as well as graduating from yoga teacher training. This card reminded me that I have achieved many things in my short life thus far, and it reminded me that I will continue to achieve.

    The second card, Surrender, represents my next task. I smiled when I saw this card because I’ve been devoting many of my yoga classes to this theme since it comes up in my life frequently:

    I want to want a conventional 9-5 job in business, but deep down, I want to earn a PhD. I want to pursue a PhD in economics because it seems practical and “safer,” but in reality, I want to earn a PhD in gender studies.

    So, I’ve already been practicing surrendering to who I am. I’ve also been practicing surrendering to where I am in my life. Instead of being miserable about not working and being home all of the time, I’ve changed my perspective and I’ve taken advantage of this free time, which honestly, I may not have again until I retire. I’ve opted to go to the library or to Starbucks to devote my time to job applications, studying for the GRE, and looking up doctoral programs. Whenever I start working, I’ll have less time to focus on future academic plans, thus, I might as well do as much as I can now. While I feel like I’ve made significant progress in regards to surrendering, this card is indicating that I can surrender in other aspects of my life as well.

    Ganesha is pictured relaxing on this card, which I may need to do a little bit more of. I have been stressing myself out a teeny bit because I’m balancing these tasks that would enable me to reach my future goals, so this card is a reminder that while it’s important to do the work, I should also allow myself the opportunity to surrender by relaxing. This can include spending time with friends and family as well as spending some time on myself.

    The third card represents an obstacle I have to overcome, which for me is Openness. I agree that this is an obstacle I need to overcome because at the yoga studio that I’ve currently been going to, I have not talked to anyone. When I initially took classes there, I told myself I was going to talk to instructors after the classes I took with them. Well, three weeks later and I have not talked to any of them. I’m not mad at myself about it, but I suppose this card is a reminder that without being open to people, my opportunities are limited. The card description in the manual for this deck was about the importance of human relationships and how being open with others is valuable. I do understand its value but I don’t know…I feel like I don’t know what to say or ask and a lot of times the instructors are talking to regulars after class. I feel intimidated. So…since I only have about a week and a half left of attending this studio before my membership expires, I might as well try to interact with the instructors a bit more. Even if it’s just me introducing myself to them and thanking them personally for leading the class.

    The fourth card, Steadfastness, is my strength and resource for overcoming my Openness obstacle. By persisting, by striving toward my goals, I will need to open up because networking is one of the most powerful tools for achievement. I find it interesting that this card is now not something I need to work on, but it’s a resource I have. I suppose it’s because I’ve devoted most of the summer toward unwavering. Even when I want to give up, I persist. It still is a lot of work to do this but some days it’s easier, especially when I surrender.

    I initially thought it’d be easier to be steadfast when you resist forces, but similarly to how I approach meditation, it’s easier to be steadfast when you surrender to what is and to who you are.

    It’s very interesting how these two themes work together. I find it so interesting that I developed a yoga class to these themes! It’s a community class at the yoga school I graduated from, and I’m really excited about it. I want to continue to create yoga classes as if I have a teaching gig, and I also want to teach them, even if only to myself, to my mom, or to stuffed animals. Perhaps I will film some classes to share on YouTube. Ideally though, I’d rather teach people in person because that is what I find to be the most powerful.

    The final card represents my new goal or outcome, which is Embrace. This can take several different interpretations including, by overcoming my Openness obstacle, I will be able to embrace others. This doesn’t mean to embrace them physically necessarily, but to embrace them into my life. Perhaps I will make a mentor or a friend by being open. It is important to embrace the people around me.

    Another interpretation could be that openess is indicative of fully embracing myself. By connecting with others, it means I am more confident in the future I want for myself…which means I am being more true to who I am. I am surrendering to who I am.

    I will definitely be taking the insight from these cards into my life over the next couple of weeks. These cards have facilitated changes in my life and they have provided interesting journal prompts. In addition to using these cards as a method for introspection, I also love using them as themes for yoga classes I make.

    Do any of the cards that I pulled this week resonate with you? What is an obstacle you want to overcome this week?

    Comment below and let’s chat!

    xx Vic

    I realized today that this post, which was supposed to post this weekend, was never posted. I believe it’s a WordPress scheduling error, which is surprising because I’ve been using WordPress for five years and I’ve never had an issue before…anyway, my apologies. I will be posting three posts this week to compensate!

  • A woman doing camel pose on a yoga mat in an apartment.
    Yoga

    Yogi-in-Training: Cultivating Confidence

    I wrapped up my first week of yoga teacher training on Friday, and tomorrow I am beginning week two. Thus far, the training has been an emotional experience because I keep having to confront my low-confidence. The areas where my confidence has been challenged the most are 1) inversions, or poses where your head is below your heart, and 2) teaching.

    I’ve noticed just in my first week of training how most of the time, whether it be in asanas (poses) or in teaching, confidence is essential to success. While physical ability and knowledge are important too, confidence is mandatory. I think this holds true in most areas of life.

    This theme of “confidence” became apparent on the second day of training when I was trying to do an L-handstand. First of all, I did not expect myself to do any types of handstands throughout this training, but I surprised myself by trying it and successfully doing it on the first day with the guidance of the instructor. On Thursday, I attempted to get into the inversion on my own, considering that I’ve been executing it everyday with the help of someone. Unfortunately, when everyone was doing inversions easily, I became nervous and afraid to do it on my own. It wasn’t that I didn’t think I was strong enough, I just didn’t feel confident. Eventually, the instructor helped me but I spent the remainder of the class silently crying. I was upset that I was too afraid to do something I know how to do on my own. On the last day of training that week, during the inversion portion, I had the instructor help me the first time and the second time I got into the inversion on my own!

    The doubt I have in my abilities is probably a combination of the unfamiliarity I have with the poses as well as the intimidation I feel toward the challenging postures. A majority of the class consists of dance students, so they are probably more comfortable with contorting their bodies into different shapes and they are also more comfortable with physical challenges. Although I’ve been practicing yoga daily, I haven’t even been doing it for a year yet and aside from yoga, I have not had to be this in-tune with my body. I spent most of college not doing any physical activity. Before college, I played and taught tennis, but that type of physical exertion is so different from dance and yoga.

    The second time my confidence was challenged was when I taught my first mini class on sun salutations. Once I thought I messed up in my instruction, my lack of confidence consumed me, causing the rest of my instruction to be quiet and full of uncertainty. I know from my experience with my thesis, job, and public speaking courses that I gain confidence from being an expert and with tons of practice. By the end of the training, I expect to be a confident and loud-spoken teacher.

    For my first week of training, I recognize how everything I’m doing is out of my comfort zone, but I am doing it anyway. That in itself is admirable, and I need to give myself more credit. In fact, on the first day of training, one of the dancers found out I wasn’t a dancer so she asked me why I was doing the yoga training. I don’t know if she was asking from a place of cruelty like…why bother doing yoga if you aren’t a dancer? Or if she was asking simply because she just wanted to know how I found out about it and what drew me in but…it’s cool that I don’t have a dance background because I bring something unique to the group as well as to future classes I teach.

    I am proud of myself for continuing to try things I’m scared of and for having an adventurous spirit. I’ve never followed an expected path such as being a dancer with a side gig as a yoga instructor or studying economics with a math/finance/stat/accounting/business minor. I studied economics and women’s and gender studies, and I’ve never met anyone else with that combination before. I’m also a “normal” person (a non-dancer) that is aspiring to be a yoga instructor because I wanted to learn more and deepen my own practice that has transformed my life and continues to transform my life. That’s amazing.

    Anyway…I want to write a blog at the end of every week to reflect and to set an intention for the upcoming week. I’m doing this specifically for the yoga training to ensure that I gain the most from my experience, but perhaps I’ll continue to do it afterward too.

    My intention for the second week is to practice confidence and to meditate on the confidence I want to cultivate. I also want to practice teaching sun salutations and study the asanas so I feel more comfortable with them from a teacher’s perspective.

    Do you have any reflections for this past week? What are your intentions for this week?

    xx Vic

  • Speaking My Mind

    Nightdwelling: Job-Hunting

    It’s been quite awhile since I lied in bed, unable to quiet my mind, and just write. I find it unusual that I’m not alone in my bed as I’m writing, unlike years past. Tonight my girlfriend is sleeping beside me, blissfully unaware of my mental torment.

    I’m not feeling quite as angsty as Victoria at 16 when she stayed up until 3am just writing, but I’m angstier than usual. Perhaps it’s due to the new moon or the hormonal week I had last week, or perhaps it’s because of my deceased cousin’s birthday, which just passed. I’m also not feeling great due to the sudden onslaught of allergies that now keeps me up at night because I can’t breathe too well.

    (Super cute side-note, I coughed, which surprisingly woke up my girlfriend, who then sat up right, asked me if I was okay, kissed my cheek and then rested her head on my chest and fell back asleep. So…she may not be as blissfully unaware as I had assumed).

    Anyway…I just want to check in and chat. Release some of my angsty feelings!

    I’ve been quite concerned about money lately. I’ve been spending more of it than I care to admit, while not making nearly enough to support my lavish lifestyle. Right now, I’m at least working a little bit, but in two weeks or so, I will not have a job anymore. Obviously, a solution to my anxiety is to get a job so I can make money and actually live within my means, but the truth of the matter is that I’ve been…avoiding looking for a job.

    I’ve been doing the work to develop a good mindset and to understand the “game” that is job hunting. My aunt got me a book called What Color is Your Parachute?, which is a great book for job hunters. It’s been more insightful than all of my career preparation, which is pretty extensive, although still insufficient. I’ve also revamped my resume and I’ve been working on my confidence and my mental well-being. Now, I just have to apply all the work I’ve been doing by taking action and actually job-hunt.

    One of my old study buddies emphasized my need to take action. We met up last week to catch up for the first time all semester. We used to struggle together for our classes, but she didn’t seem to be struggling anymore because she had it all figured out since she got a job recently. I felt pretty lame in comparison with my elusive plans and my carefree attitude, to which she responded that I should look for a job because it won’t fall into my lap.

    I’m not going to delve into the frustration, self-pity, and self-doubt I experienced due to this interaction, but she did have a point. I need to start looking for a job. That in itself is like a full-time job though, which I find to be unpleasant, although necessary.

    I want to get a job so I can be independent, have somewhere to be every day, and to gain some work experience that may inspire my decision about doctorate programs. I have to remember this when I resume looking rather than focusing on my fears and hesitations about the job hunt. I have goals, thus I need to take action.

    Do y’all ever struggle with the job-hunt? What do you do to motivate yourself?

    xx Vic

    I wrote this back when I was still in school, and the job-struggle is stronger now that I’ve graduated. My parents and girlfriend have been helping me as much as they can, which has been wonderful. Hopefully I get some interviews soon.

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