• Speaking My Mind

    My Barista Got a New Job

    The title of this post feels like a throwback to my obscure blog post titles circa 2014. This title is actually not obscure though…my barista really did get a new job. He’s going to be working full-time doing something related to his field and it’s great! It’s also bittersweet because he’s been my barista for a few years, and I’m going to miss chatting with him.

    I’ve actually known him for over five years, before he even became a barista. We used to work together at a burger shack when I was in high school. (If you read my blog back in 2014, I’m referring to the infamous burger-shack-lesbian-romance-disaster that I wrote in great detail about during the beginnings of this blog. He’s from that era of my life).

    Before my senior year of high school began, he quit to become a barista at the coffee shop local to me. He was (maybe still is) friends with my first ex, so I used to still hang out with him when the lesbian squad and I visited him after his shifts.

    When my ex and I split during my first few months in college, I dreaded running into him when I was home from break and went to my local coffee shop. Obviously, as time passed, wounds healed, and dread turned into “nice.” It was nice to run into him every few months just because he was a familiar face and we would catch up a bit.

    After I graduated from college, I basically moved into the local coffee shop just so I could escape my parents’ interrogations about jobs. Our conversations at the coffee shop became longer since we had more time to chat and since we saw each other more frequently. We bonded over job-hunting since he was graduating soon and about to embark on the full-time job-hunt too.

    So…he’s heard bits from all different points in my life. He’s heard about college, my temporary jobs, my two full-time job offers, and my acceptance of a full-time job offer. I’ve heard about his college experience, job-hunting, and I coincidentally saw him on his last day at the shop, so he was able to tell me about his acceptance of a full-time offer.

    It’s come full circle! We’ve both moved on from that coffee shop and are now professional, working adults. What a life.

    I want to try to stay in touch with him, despite the fact that I won’t be seeing him somewhat regularly anymore. After I saw him on Friday, I messaged him to suggest getting drinks after work sometime. We’ve never hung out before aside from five years ago, but I think it’d be nice to try. Maybe we can become better acquaintances or even friends! I’ll be sure to keep you all updated.

    Have a great week everyone!

    xx Vic

  • Speaking My Mind

    April Showers Bring May Flowers

    Today would have been the second-year anniversary with my ex. Although we didn’t quite make it to two years as a couple, she was part of my life for more than two years and…I didn’t realize how much of an influence she had on me until she was gone. She has seemingly tainted everything.

    Parts of my wardrobe were either gifts from her or they are from activities that we did together. Places we went together, that I still frequent, remind me of her. Some items I use daily are gifts from her. She’s permeated most, if not all, aspects of my life.

    I also hadn’t realized until recently that it was never possible for things to end well between us because we hadn’t been on the same wavelength for a long time. So…processing that has been devastating.

    A few other things have been difficult to process as well lately.

    Tomorrow my cousin would have turned twenty-eight. I wish she was still here with us.

    I haven’t really talked about this much, if at all, but my mom is beginning treatment next week for her cancer. She was diagnosed the day after my cousin passed away, so it’s not exactly a new situation. She’s doing well, but what she is enduring is scary and exhausting. This will be her first time doing any type of treatment. Yoga has been helping her tremendously though. She goes to all of my yoga classes and has been practicing pranayama (breathing) and mindfulness in her everyday life, especially when she goes to the doctor. I’m really proud of her.

    Then things will become a little sunnier.

    A few weeks after she begins treatment, my sister will graduate from college. I’m so proud of my sister, but I can’t believe how fast time flies.

    The week after my mom is finished with treatment and after my sister graduates, my family and I are going on a much-needed and well-deserved vacation to Disney to celebrate all of the endings and to welcome the new beginnings.

    So…while April may be a difficult month, it’s watering the soil to support growth in May. Hopefully there will be many flowers.

    xx Vic

  • 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!

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