• 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

  • Speaking My Mind

    Dating Again?

    I’ve begun watching Sex and the City, and it is an addictive show. First of all, I love 90s/early 2000s shows, and I also love shows that center around a group of friends that I can connect with. Lately, I’ve been connecting with Miranda in Season 2, who so far is bitter in regards to dating. She is closed off to getting serious with someone because every person she dates proves to be scum.

    While I am not dating casually and thus I am not meeting scumbags, I think I’ve become bitter and closed off to dating. One of my hometown friends pointed it out to me on the phone recently. She affirmed my suspicion that I need more time alone to heal, but she also warned not to be closed off to dating in the future. Unfortunately, I currently don’t envision myself being open-hearted anytime soon, especially considering how I’ve sabotaged my breakup healing process time and time again. It’s as if I keep picking at the scab, which causes it to hurt and bleed, yet I wonder why the scab is taking so long to heal…

    Let me provide an example.

    A few days before my sister graduated from college, I found out my ex was in a new relationship. While it has been about four months since our breakup, up until the week prior to her committing to someone new, we had been talking nearly daily.

    Yes, I know that this was not the best way to handle a non-mutual breakup. 

    Unsurprisingly, we weren’t talking amicably as friends. She would confess that she missed me, that she still wanted to be with me, etc. I would reciprocate the feelings of missing her and still loving her, but I repeated that I stood by my decision to end things.

    Anyway, finding out that she was with someone new caused me to completely lose all control over my emotions. Hysteria transformed to despair, and then to possessive jealousy that inspired me to hook up with my ex in her car after a night of bar-hopping together.

    No, I don’t know what I was thinking because I wasn’t thinking.

    I gradually came to accept the situation, albeit with some bumps that still need to be smoothed out. Those bumps are called nostalgia with a few dashes of illusion: I miss who I was when we were together, I miss how we were together, and most confusing of all, I miss who I thought she was and/or who I wanted her to be.

    Clearly, I am not emotionally capable to casually date, let alone get seriously involved with someone. Instead, I want to spend time with my friends and family and mingle with new people. I want to focus on my full-time job, on teaching and studying yoga, on reading, and on creating. I think I’ve been pretty successful in doing these things, although it takes a lot more energy to do them rather than mindlessly watching TV, which was what I was doing previously.

    When my energy feels low or when I get trapped in the nostalgia/illusion bumps, it’s helpful to reflect on why I ended things with her. There are a few reasons: I didn’t feel like I was being treated the way I deserved, no matter how many times we talked about our issues, and I didn’t want to be held back anymore. I didn’t want to spend so much time and energy on our relationship, partially attributed to the fact that it had become taxing and toxic. Most importantly though, I broke things off because I wanted to focus completely on myself. I wanted to be selfish and I didn’t want to feel bad about it.

    I do believe that I’ve attracted more positivity into my life since releasing the heavy, negative energy of my last relationship. However, waves of loneliness crash on me sometimes, especially when my friends share stories about or pictures of their serious relationships. It causes me to crave the rush of falling in love, of being in love, and feeling at home with someone. It simultaneously causes me to desire more single friends I can commiserate with about dating, like in Sex and the City.

    Anyway, I will have to manage with the occasional loneliness because I don’t want to put myself out there yet. I wouldn’t be offering my best self because I don’t feel like my best self even to myself. I want to finally allow the scab to heal and I want to smooth out all the bumps around it. Hopefully, it won’t take as long as it did when my first ex and I split, but even if it does, I want to have my own fun in the meantime.

    xx Vic

  • Poetry

    Tell Me How

    So…tell me how it all happened.

    Did it begin when you sent her a flirty text?
    Did you send that text between professing your love for me
    And conveying how much you missed me?

    Did you ask her out on a date
    Between wrongfully accusing me of dating my friend,
    and expressing how upset you’d be if that were true?

    Did you hold her hand after texting me
    To ask if you can still see me this summer
    Because you couldn’t imagine your life without me?

    Did you kiss her between writing about me
    And confessing that you’re still grieving the relationship?

    When did you begin to fall for her?
    Around the time you blew up my phone
    To call me a coward
    For not responding to your texts
    About hopefully getting back together again in the future?

    I don’t know when you finally found the closure
    I tried to give you at the end of our relationship,
    And I don’t know when you found someone else to love,
    But these endings and beginnings seem to blur

    I think you only began to respect my desire for space
    Because you became distracted by her.

    © 2019 Vic Romero

    ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

  • Poetry

    surpassing

    back then
    each passing day
    was one day toward a milestone-

    one week
    one month
    one year together

    we celebrated with fresh flowers,
    thoughtful love letters,
    and dinner while holding hands across the table

    now
    each passing day
    is one more day that we’ve been apart

    one week
    one month
    eventually one year

    i acknowledge those days now
    but I probably will forget about them later

    eventually the days apart will surpass the days spent together

    © 2019 Vic Romero

    ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

  • 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

    Whack-A-Mole

    One day I will have it all: A bountiful, dynamic, creative career, and a satisfying, secure, love life. That day is not today though. 

    Today, I feel like I’m playing whack-a-mole. For months I was stressed about my professional life and not worried about my romantic life at all. Now, my professional life is flowing, and my romantic life has been torched to the ground and then pulverized for good measure.

    I’ve become a little numb to the devastation of my relationship. This is both good and bad…good because I’m able to function relatively normally at work, with my family, and with friends. It’s bad because my feelings aren’t really being addressed since I opt to distract myself, thus this numbness has been hampering my creativity.

    So…below is a little check-in with myself based on my breakup-recovery checklist from a few weeks ago.

    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. I did land a job! It’s fantastic!
    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. I did organize a little bit…but this is still a huge “to do.”
    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. I did get a haircut, but I never painted my nails. 
    4. Plan a weekend trip, then actually follow-through on it. It’ll be something to look forward to, which I definitely need. I’ve been doing my best to plan small outings with friends on the weekend. It’s definitely been helpful.
    5. Lean on the friends that I have during this time of healing. Yes, but more importantly, I need to allow myself to grieve.
    6. When I get a job, fearlessly put myself out there, both professionally and casually. Perhaps I can make some new friends through work. I get along with my coworkers really well! We plan to go to a Thai meditation center together next week.
    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. I haven’t finished this book, but I’ve finished about three or four other books. This is still a work in progress.
    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. I haven’t done this. 
    9. Do guided meditations for a few weeks to establish the habit of meditating. Meditation is medicine. I did it for a bit but my meditation habit continues to be inconsistent. 
    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. Yes…I’ve accomplished this. 
    11. Free-write daily to alleviate my burdensome thoughts. Express myself and my creativity! I have been journaling…it helps.
    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. Lately, I’ve been engaging with people primarily at work. 

    One thing I’d like to add to my list is below:

    13. Allot time to grieve weekly.

    Do you have any breakup recovery tips? Let me know in the comments below!

    Have a splendid weekend 🙂

    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

  • Short Stories

    In A Single Moment

    The silver ring glistened beneath the clear water in the harsh fluorescent light. Stunned at my mishap, I gazed at the ring, which now rested at the bottom of the porcelain bowl. Thank god I hadn’t used the toilet yet.

    Still, I wasn’t eager to stick my hand into the toilet bowl, considering it was a public one. I pursed my lips, also reluctant to flush the ring with all of its significance down the drain.

    The truth was that that whole relationship had gone down the drain, so maybe the ring didn’t matter anymore. It had been two months since we stopped seeing each other, yet I still wore the ring religiously.

    I brought my hand that usually donned the ring to my face, and frowned at its nakedness. My hand had gone from glamorous to dull in a moment of negligence. My hand used to wear a ring that symbolized love, but then the ring became a reminder of what I lacked.

    I had gone from strolling beside her while holding her soft warm hand, to trudging along, empty-handed. My hand used to caress her smooth skin as she slept curled into my side, but now my hand only caresses the folds in between my thighs when I’m vying for a single moment of joy and bliss in my otherwise depressive existence.

    Then my biggest fear struck me: Will someone be able to love me again? Do I deserve love?

    I lowered my hand and stared helplessly into the toilet. I sighed deeply, and then flushed the ring down the drain.

     

    © 2019 Vic Romero

    ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

     

%d bloggers like this: