• Heart candle
    Poetry

    what do i want? what do i want? what do i want?

    i try to listen to my heart,

    but the clamor

    the CLAMOR

    the ClAMOR

    of a million tiny hammers

    rings in my ears

    as they bang against my skull

    causing my eyes to water

    and drown out my heartbeat

    beat

    beat

    you can’t do it, you can’t do anything

    you won’t get what you want

    i close my eyes and beg the tiny hammers to stop

    take an inhale,

    slow exhale.

    another inhale…

    the hammers pause.

    slow exhale.

    and then i can hear it

    i can hear my heart

     

    © 2018 Vic Romero

     

     

     

  • Speaking My Mind

    Doing My Dharma (Rat-Race Chronicles)

    I’m taking the train instead of driving today, which is pretty nice because I can relax and write a little bit about what’s been on my mind lately.

    The yoga training program has been exhausting me, thus I missed writing this week. I also have been really missing my girlfriend. We have conflicting schedules at the moment so we only get to see each other for about three hours once or twice a week. I realize this is more contact than some relationships get but regardless, it’s still difficult.

    In addition to these emotional and physical stressors, I’ve been thinking about what I want to do after this training more because the graduation date is near. I’ve also been thinking about what I need to do to support myself. I want to apply to part-time positions and to teach yoga on the side while I apply to graduate schools.

    I’ve really been procrastinating the graduate program part, not because I don’t want to go to grad school but because I wish I didn’t want to go to grad school. I know it’s going to be a lot of hard work, regardless of the field I pursue. It’s also going to take a lot of work to get into a program. My girlfriend believes I’m afraid, which I definitely am…so this is where the “capital-Y, Yoga,” as my instructor calls it, comes in. I need to start taking the lessons I’ve been learning through Yoga philosophy and my asana practice into my everyday life, particularly into my dharma.

    Dharma is a Sanskrit word that means something along the lines of purpose or duty. Right now, my short-term dharma is to do the work to figure out what my next move is. Additionally, from my perspective right now, I believe my over-arching dharma is to teach.

    Next week I only have two days of yoga training so I will have an ample amount of time to study for my exam as well as to apply for job opportunities and take my higher education more seriously. Next Sunday is my deadline for graduate program research. I want to find three programs I am interested in.

    Is there anything you’ve been procrastinating that you want to work on too? Let me know in the comments below!

    xx Vic

  • Woman kissing the cheek of another woman with trees and grass in the background.
    Yoga

    Yogi-In-Training: Trust

    My second week of yoga has come and gone, and now I only have three weeks left! The fourth week consists of only two days of training and the final week is testing. So technically, tomorrow begins the last full week of training!

    I’ve made improvements in my confidence since last week! For example, I haven’t cried this past week and I have changed my perspective in my class by honoring where my body is at rather than criticizing myself. I have also come out of my comfort zone a bit by talking more with my peers and now I eat lunch and talk with some of them.

    Last Wednesday we went into the city and we did acro-yoga which is acrobatics combined with yoga. It requires serious trust in your partners in order to execute the poses safely. I challenged myself by trying things I otherwise would have never done, but I like that about this experience because I’ve been challenging myself constantly. By doing so, I surprise myself with what I am capable of. It’s quite satisfying.

    My latest surprise was when I did a forearm stand. So far, I’ve only been able to do it with an assist and I haven’t been able to hold it, but I hope to be able to improve next week. I’ve realized that not only do these challenging poses require confidence, but they also require trust, whether that be in yourself or whoever/whatever is supporting you.

    Evidently, this training has allowed me to learn more than just yoga, and it’s fantastic. I’m excited to graduate and to see where my new certificate will take me. Where will I teach what I’ve learned? What will I do to continue to learn?

    If I could do anything with my life…I would want to teach and write, whether that be for my own business, for research, or for a book. I would like to travel internationally and domestically to teach and to learn from other people and cultures too.

    I can do anything with my life though so it’s just a matter of how I want to make this happen and what opportunities will arise that will shape my life. I often feel a little skeptical of how the universe unfolds but I know I have to trust that I will be where I need to be.

    How was this past week for you? What are you looking forward to this week? What are your intentions for this week?

    xx Vic

  • Speaking My Mind

    Bullet Journaling My Finances

    Last year when I went on a 5-month hiatus from my blog because I was struggling with grief and depression, one of my best friends from my hometown recommended I Bullet Journal to help me deal with my emotions.

    For those of you who don’t know what a Bullet Journal is, it’s a method of organization for a ton of different things such as daily to-do lists, mood tracking, gratitude lists, etc. There is an official journal you can buy, or you can use whatever journal you have, you can even create your own with scrap paper!

    I personally used a random notebook for my BuJo, and I used it quite a bit for several months until I finally returned to my online blog. It never became the cutesie journals that you will find online if you search “Bullet Journal ideas” in Google Images because I just used different colored pencils and pens to create lists. Regardless, it helped me get through a difficult time, thus I am picking it up again! This time, I’m going to use it to help me keep track of my finances. (I’m also not using it in lieu of blogging.)

    As I’ve mentioned previously, I have been a bit stressed out about money. Although I am making a small income, I somehow spend outrageously every month. The months leading up to graduation were particularly expensive due to many nights spent celebrating and…honestly I don’t know what else.

    Anyway…I was inspired to pick up my BuJo again because in my email inbox recently, there was a message about Bullet Journaling and Finances. Intrigued, I clicked on it and read a helpful article about how someone used the Bullet Journal to get out of a $240K debt! Thankfully, I don’t have such a large task to tackle; I want to save more money, spend less, and budget.

    After reading the article, I adopted two of the prompts that the writer of the article, Seth, used! Below is my version of what he had done.

    IMG_7339
    What I buy

    The prompt above is to track my everyday purchases and my income. This will help me determine what I need to scale back on so I can save more money. Off the top of my head, I suspect that I spend a lot of money eating out and on alcohol. I also spend quite a bit doing spontaneous shopping on Amazon (books are my greatest weakness!!) and at the mall for yoga items (speaking of which, there will be another yoga haul soon!).

    IMG_9337
    Habit tracker

    This second prompt I copied is a habit tracker for the month of June. All the days of June (except the 29th and 30th…I ran out of room) are included as well as the day of the week. The vertical column consists of habits that I want to break and make. For example, I want to read at least 20 pages of either one or of multiple books per day because I have a bunch of reading to do for the yoga training as well as a huge pile of half-read books I’m dying to finish. For some reason though, I always get caught up on YouTube or reading different lifestyle blogs, which is better than YouTube I suppose but I would prefer to finish a book.

    Other habits I want to create that would help me achieve my long-term goals include researching PhD programs, applying to at least two jobs/day, meditating with my mala, writing, studying (for yoga/GRE), doing yoga, 10 minute cardio, save $20, clean/organize 5 items in my room, not spend money, and research a car to get. Some habits I would like to break include not buying coffee, not buying alcohol, and not buying food (unless it’s from a grocery store).

    When I do a habit I want to create, I will put a smiley face on the date. When I don’t do a habit I want to create, or when I do a habit I want to break, I will put a frowny face.

    I have many habits in the vertical column, so I don’t expect them to do them daily; however, I hope this tracker will encourage me to practice these habits more frequently than I have been. Currently, I’ve been avoiding many of these tasks and I expect this tracker will help hold me accountable. This will ultimately help me achieve my long-term goals!

    At the end of June I will update y’all on my progress with this.

    Do any of y’all Bullet Journal? What prompts do you like to use for finances or in general?

    xx Vic

  • Speaking My Mind

    Post-Graduation Blues (Fake Happy)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    xx Vic

  • Poetry

    The Dangers of Looking Backward While Walking Forward

    It’s easy to miss what lies ahead

    If you’re always looking behind you instead

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

    All of the potential you have and how you can grow

    It’s important to take risks once in a while

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

    Because you’re getting closer to your destination

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

    Besides, not looking where you’re going is unsafe

    You may trip and fall into your own grave

    © 2014, 2018 Vic Romero

    All Rights Reserved.

    Happy graduation day! 

  • Speaking My Mind

    I Am A Badass

    I’m feeling…a little gloomy I guess. For the most part, I’m feeling positive but…there’s a twinge of sadness mixed in there too.

    I had an intense and difficult conversation with my girlfriend last night and now I’m thinking about how to…improve some things in my life. Right now, it’s not at the forefront of my mind because there are some awesome things that are happening before I would have to address the things that I spoke about with my girlfriend. For example, tomorrow I’m presenting my thesis at a state conference for Women’s and Gender Studies! So I’m more focused on that right now, but once that and a few other things are over, I’ll have to resume determining how to make things better.

    The things I’d like to improve are in regards to the relationship between my girlfriend and my family, which I’ve mentioned several times before. The relationship between them is not hostile, but it’s not exactly warm either…and we’ll be dating for a year in 11 days. Plus I’m moving home in about 30 days so things can’t stay as they are right now because if they do, my mental health will suffer. This is why I’m going to develop a plan with my therapist in about two weeks to help me navigate the tension in a manner that will ultimately serve my well-being.

  • Speaking My Mind

    What is Success?

    How do you define success? I’m currently unsure how I define it. What I do know, though, is that the past couple of days I’ve been a little envious of people who I feel are more successful than I am. Granted, they are older than I am, but only by a year. That means I only have a year to achieve what they have achieved, and at the rate I am going, I doubt I will be able to compare to them.

    One of my friends is finishing up her Master’s now and she’s hoping to get into a Ph.D. program. She’s also living with her boyfriend.

    My other friend is working and recently moved a second time, to a different state. She lives on her own and she just bought a new car.

    Right now, I feel skeptical about my ability to experience either of these desirable things: I want to continue my education and I also want to work, live with my girlfriend, and be independent. I’m not really pursuing these desires though. I didn’t take the GRE (I may not need to take it for some programs though), I’ve stopped applying for jobs, and I haven’t done any research (yet) on Ph.D. programs that I may be interested in.

    I was telling these two friends that I feel like whatever I will do next will be based on something I have yet to learn about but…after the fourth time I said it, I thought that perhaps it’s a lame excuse to just sit around and wait for a sign.

    I mean– I don’t feel like I’m waiting for a sign but maybe I’m not taking enough action. I feel like the main reason I’ve been resisting action though is because I don’t know what action to do.

    Although I’ve been relatively more peaceful this semester, I started worrying, after talking to my successful friends, that I’m going to end up being sad and bored come May. Once I graduate, it seems like I’m going to have a bit of a gap year where I enjoy my random hobbies and apply for jobs. In fact, one of my friends that graduated a semester early is currently in that position, and she affirms that it is super difficult.

    You know…it seems that I’m defining success as people that are pursuing cool goals. So what cool goals will I be pursuing after I graduate?

    Well, I do have some answers for that: I am interested in a research-based job. I would like to become a certified yoga teacher and I would also like to research PhD programs that would either allow me to research yoga and/or gender-related topics. Honestly, I would love to do a PhD in a gender studies department somewhere, but I’d have to research the benefits of that more as well as what the programs require. I would like to do a combination of quantitative and qualitative analysis so perhaps sociology would be better, but I could ensure that I have a gender focus? Oh, I’d also like to get published! I’d like to get published for either something creative I do or for academic work…or both! But I’d like to get published at some point, for something.

    My first year after college may be difficult but these are some goals that I need to invest time into, so it will be a productive year for sure.

    In the meantime, I will do some basic research and definitely apply for some jobs. My thesis is due at the end of March though so it’s hard to want to spend time on anything other than that right now. But it’ll probably make me feel better if I take some action to reach some of these goals I have.

    So, I want to know what you think! How do you define success?

    xx Vic

  • Speaking My Mind

    Domino Effect

    I stopped crying daily. I didn’t realize I had stopped crying daily until my girlfriend was talking about the “getting-an-internship” struggle. I empathized with her and said, “Yeah, that process sucks. It used to make me sad, but not nearly as sad as how I’ve been feeling now that I’m graduating and in need of a job.”

    Then I stopped for a moment because I realized that I hadn’t cried about graduating and needing a job in quite some time. I haven’t been excessively stressed to the point where I make myself physically sick, nor have I been excessively distracting myself from reality. I’ve been productive and calm.

    She asked me how and why I’ve been so much calmer lately and I surmised that it was influenced by my daily yoga practice.

    She agreed and pointed out how before when I wasn’t doing it every day, I would regret not doing it that day.

    I added that I feel a little more…confident in myself. By that I mean, I know I’ll be okay after graduation. I’m unsure what I’ll be doing yet but…I think when I invested in myself by upgrading my blog, I’ve begun to see more of my value. Although I’m still working out the goals for this blog as well as what I want to do to achieve them, I feel more confident than ever that I will get to where I want to be. This feeling has manifested in other areas of my life, including my thesis. I’m more confident than ever in regards to me being able to complete an excellent thesis.

    It’s awesome seeing how one small decision to practice yoga daily has affected so many areas of my life. The online yoga community I’m part of has helped inspire me to start taking action, also fueled by the fact that the ending of my undergraduate career is the perfect time to take some risks! I am not tied down to anything, I don’t have a ton of responsibilities yet, and I’m young. Now is the time to take my passions further!

    I’ve been considering to invest more into my yoga practice and I am also considering higher education again. I haven’t thought about it since September but doing my thesis (and killing it!) has reinspired me that maybe conducting research is one of my callings. I’m unsure still, but I’m open to the journey!

    xx Vic

     

     

  • Speaking My Mind,  unzipped lips

    Investing in Myself

    Welcome to the first official blog post on my new domain! Wow!

    I never expected to take my passion for blogging further by purchasing my own domain, but I did it! My supportive and loving girlfriend was part of the process toward believing in myself and taking that leap of faith…the Truth + Dare Podcasts have also been instrumental in me reaching this point.

    All of my posts were uploaded from my free WordPress blog yesterday, and then I played with the design, edited my “about” page, and created an email and wham! here I am! I was super excited yesterday to see it all come to fruition…to be honest though, now I’m a little nervous.

    Although I’ve mapped out some goals I have for this blog as well as some unique blog post ideas, I have no idea how to create an online presence. Yes, I’ve blogged on different platforms before but they had a social component where almost everyone else that viewed the site was also a blogger…so it was a supportive community. Now I feel like I’m on some island by myself, trying to figure out how I can get back the mainland when I have to create my own boat and/or bridge. I will probably have to get wet. By that I mean…I won’t succeed right away. I may have to do things that make me uncomfortable/nervous to reach my goals. I may even have to reevaluate my goals.

    It feels cumbersome researching methods for marketing your blog to gain an audience, considering how I’m now doubting any previous success I’ve had with blogging before. I suppose I just need to refocus the intention of this upgrade.

    Unzip These Lips’ Purpose

    I blog to express myself; to put language to my feelings and experiences and to help me take action. I want to connect with people that can relate to this struggle as well as to my experiences and feelings. I would like to create a dialogue about issues and challenges we face. A successful blog would consist of several followers that communicate with each other and with me to share ideas related to the topics I write. A successful blog would develop a community. My blog is like a personal lifestyle blog but an intimate one…which makes me unique to other blogs. So I would connect with people through the intimacy I share to help them and to help me.

    This is a very long purpose but for now, it is sufficient.

    xx Vic

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