• 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

     

  • Speaking My Mind

    Top 10 Holiday Favorites 2018!

    This is a list of my favorite items from Christmas. Not all of them are gifts, but most of them are. The gifts I received this year were particularly thoughtful and I love them.

    1. The toasted tartelette eyeshadow palette by tarte

    I used to rock all sorts of colorful eyeshadow looks, some of which you can find on my website by searching “Lookbook.” After my cousin passed away, however, I veered away from eyeshadow in favor of just eyeliner because I was depressed and I also didn’t want to spend the time doing my makeup anymore.

    When I went to Ulta with my mom for the annual holiday sale, I picked up this sophisticated palette because I wanted to explore my makeup creativity again. This palette has more sophisticated shades than my older ones, making this palette more versatile for all occasions. I’ve greatly enjoyed creating dramatic looks and neutral looks with these warm shades!

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    2. Yoga Bolster

    I asked my mom for a bolster for yoga for Christmas, and she delivered! She got it at Walmart so I assume that the price was reasonable, although I know they have reasonable ones on Amazon too. I love having a bolster for my home practice. It totally elevates my yoga experience. Plus, it matches my yoga mat so nicely!

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    3. Gluten-Free Holiday Doughnuts

    My parents met someone that owns a gluten-free bakery, and they only make doughnuts on the weekend. My dad got twelve of them because they looked so pretty! They were tasty too, but I barely ate one because they’re very sweet and I try not to consume sugar.

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    4. BBC Radio Production of Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

    My favorite type of podcasts are ones that are basically old-school radio shows: there are actors, sound effects, and lots of suspense/drama.

    I wanted to read some Agatha Christie novels and when I saw that there are radio adaptations of her books available through my local library, I was so excited! This was incredibly entertaining to listen to, and I want to listen to the others!

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    5. Lush’s Mask of Magnaminty

    This is an old favorite that I reintroduced to my daily routine. I mean, I don’t use it daily, but I use it several times a week (which may still be overkill). When I used it in college, I was always complimented on the pepperminty smell of it. It’s such a nice treat to start my morning with it because it’s invigorating and leaves my skin feeling luscious. They did increase the price a bit since I last bought it about three years ago, but I think it’s still worth it.

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    6. Lands’ End Holiday Slippers

    My mom got me these for Christmas, aren’t they fun? Slippers are so useful and cozy, and I love the holiday cow on this pair!

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    7. Prep Naturals Mandoline Slicer

    My dad surprised me this year by getting me this super thoughtful gift because he knows I like to cook and that I spend an exorbitant amount of time cutting produce. (In the past, he’s gotten me useful, albeit not for everyday-use items, such as a flashlight for your head). I love this gadget so far, but it can’t be used for all vegetables. For example, I tried cutting a pepper with it, but the pepper was too soft.

    For veggies such as cucumbers, carrots, celery, and probably onions too, this is great! You can adjust how thick you want your produce sliced and it comes with a safety shield and glove! It also came with a spiralizer, which I’m dying to try.

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    8. Tea Strainer

    I found this individual tea strainer on Amazon, and my lovely girlfriend got it for me for Christmas! It’s wonderful because it comes with a small dish to set the strainer in when you don’t need it anymore. There is also a nice long chain with a hook that you can use to hold the tea strainer in place.

    My tea tastes so much better now that I’m not cooking it in the pot of hot water.

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    9. Immersion Blender

    For some reason I didn’t take a picture of the box or of the item, so here is a picture of a sacral chakra soup I made with it! My girlfriend got me this too for Christmas. The blender has several speed settings and it also included a whisk that you can attach to the blender, it’s super nice! I’m eager to make other soups with this blender!

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    10. Puzzle

    My sister got me this puzzle for Christmas because she saw a puzzle I had completed with my girlfriend so she assumed I enjoyed puzzles. I do enjoy puzzles, but I have never completed one of this magnitude before!

    It’s fun to do the puzzle together though. We stay up late working on it and we listen to old classics like the Cheetah Girls and One Direction. It’s been a nice bonding activity. Hopefully, we will complete it before she returns to school!

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    What have been your favorites from the holidays?

    xx Vic

  • Poetry

    Surviving December

    Eventually, friction invites a flicker

    A flicker of light and warmth

    Warmth to suffocate the interminable cold, dry evenings

    Evenings that are otherwise desolate of life

     

    Life is reborn from the lonesome spark

    Sparks burst into bright, hot flames

    Flames crackle as they dance together

    Together they crawl upward to kiss the luminescent moon

     

    © 2018 Vic Romero

  • Speaking My Mind

    Time to Try

    For the first time in four years, I had an anxiety attack.

    It completely caught me off-guard, despite the fact that I had been nervously calling my girlfriend, my sister, and my mom on the phone for an hour before it had happened. Also despite the fact that I’ve been practicing some negative daily habits for weeks as a result of a Vata-imbalance.

    For me, that entails following my whims: I fall asleep whenever I want to (AKA never a reasonable hour), I sleep in late, I create ideas but I don’t bring them into reality, I stress-eat, I distract myself with interminable episodes New Girl (which is a great show), and I lack a routine for diet or otherwise.

    Anyway, right before the anxiety attack, I was driving during one of the phone calls with my girlfriend, and my answers to her questions quickly became hysterical to the point where I couldn’t breathe and I had to pull over. It was horrible.

    The last time this happened to me, I was preparing for midterms as a first semester, first-year student at a large University. I was also recuperating from an awful breakup, I was homesick, and I was just…learning how to flourish when everything was incredibly new and overwhelming.

    I was afraid of failing my classes, nervous that I wouldn’t be able to make friends, and worried that I wouldn’t be able to succeed in college.

    While my circumstances are completely different now– I’m a graduate of that University, I overcame homesickness, and I have an amazing relationship that is so much better than I could have imagined– I am now learning how to flourish as an adult. It’s incredibly new to me and it’s overwhelming.

    I published a post recently about my fears, but they’re rather surface-level. My more deep-seated fears include being afraid of making a “wrong” decision, nervous to embark on something “too risky,” and worried that I can’t succeed in the real world.

    All of these fears have ultimately culminated in the stunting of my growth. My fears have become my reality because I haven’t been challenging them…instead, I’ve been holding myself back to prevent myself from my perception of disaster. Then I’ve been blaming everyone else for holding me back.

    After my anxiety attack, my sister pointed out that I have a difficult time making a decision because I have all these “ideas” but I hardly execute them. She also informed me that I doubt and second-guess myself consistently. How can I expect to move forward if my energy is so self-destructive?

    Prior to the post about my fears, I wrote about manifesting and persistence. While they are extremely vital methods toward success, they are insufficient if the way I treat myself is negative. So, more importantly, how can I channel positive, confident, loving energy toward myself to raise my vibration and ultimately attract other high-vibe opportunities that would enable me to achieve my goals?

    Well, this anxiety attack was a wake-up call that I’m not okay with holding myself back any longer. Now is the time to break this cycle and challenge my fears. Now is the time to take risks that may not always be successful, but that’s part of learning! Now is the time to try.

    xx Vic

  • Speaking My Mind

    My Birthday Week Recap!

    My 23rd birthday was definitely one of the more epic ones!

    6 November – Election Day

    First of all, our campaign was victorious! It was such a great feeling, especially since it was the last day of the job. All of those long hours really paid off. We won by 53%, which makes it even crazier because if we hadn’t been campaigning, the Referendum that we were advocating for definitely wouldn’t have passed.

    We all celebrated at a local bar, and my boss and my family friend kept buying everyone rounds of drinks to celebrate. Since my birthday was only a few hours away (it was the day after Election Day), my family friend kept insisting we do toasts, not only for our success, but also for my birthday. Then my boss, his girlfriend, and I went to another local bar and had a drink there. We waited until it was midnight, AKA officially my birthday, and then he got me an Uber home.

    7 November – My Birthday!

    The next day I was quite hungover, which was a little annoying but thankfully I wasn’t nauseous. I just had a headache from dehydration from all of the cheap glasses of wine I had consumed.

    My girlfriend came by early in the day to take me to my car, which I had left at the first bar. Then I dropped the car off and we went to my favorite Thai place for lunch! Afterwards, we went to my alma mater to hang out until I went to dinner with my family.

    My second favorite place to eat is a Spanish restaurant which is located where I went to school, and that is where I ate with my family! This was the third year in a row that I’ve eaten there for my birthday because the food is absolutely divine and the atmosphere is wonderful as well. My last two birthdays have been on a Monday and a Tuesday though, so they weren’t particularly lively when we went out to eat at the restaurant. This year, however, my birthday was on a Wednesday and they had live music! I love live music, so I was living it up. It was some groovy salsa band and they were fantastic!

    Here are some pictures of what we ate!

    Homemade guacamole with a variety of homemade plantain, sweet potato, radish, and potato chips
    Homemade guacamole with a variety of homemade plantain, sweet potato, radish, and potato chips
    Vaca frita con maduros y arroz con abichuelas and a white sangria
    Vaca frita con maduros y arroz con abichuelas and a white sangria
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    Yucca fries

    8 November

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    The day after my birthday I bought these beautiful boots that I’m obsessed with, thanks to my grandparents! They’re by Marc Fisher, whom I’m only familiar with because I had purchased a pair of boots by him two years ago! Those boots are only booties though, whereas these are killer tall boots! The story behind them is pretty amusing too…

    I went to DSW to search for booties without a heel because I only have one pair without a heel. I tried on about twenty pairs of booties, but I didn’t love any of them and the ones that I did like didn’t fit my feet right. They were either oddly too loose or too tight. Even my mom tried some of the booties on and noticed that they weren’t fitting properly.

    After being disappointed with the booties, I decided to try on tall boots. I have two pairs of tall boots but only one of them is more “professional,” so I thought another nicer pair would be great. My mom found these and I tried them on, and it was like a Cinderella moment! The shoes fit like a glove! When I was walking around to see how they felt, a shopper stopped and stared at me and said, “Wow, those are nice boots.” Then I turned around to show her the back of the boots where the studs were, and she was pretty stunned. I then decided that those boots were mine, and I’m so glad because I love them so much!

    9 November

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    My mom is having the bathroom redone so they turned off the water for a few hours. Thus, I took advantage of the community center yoga class and shower that day! I took a great class and then I took a nice hot shower and got super fancy for the day, including my beautiful new boots!

    Then I went to lunch with a friend from high school who I hadn’t seen in over a year. We caught up at Panera, then migrated to Starbucks. My girlfriend had a job interview in the area so she came by to join us. Then we got two bottles of wine from the liquor store and took the party back to my parents’ house, where they were having their own little gathering. We all drank wine and ate my mom’s burgers and chatted, it was so much fun! Then we watched the first episode of the new Sabrina series on Netflix. Unfortunately, I don’t have a photo with my friend, but I will see her one more time before she goes back to New Hampshire!

    10 November

    On Saturday, my girlfriend and I went into the city! We were going to go to a museum but by the time we arrived, neither of us wanted to go. We ended up walking around to see the local sites instead.

    Macy’s had already decorated the store inside and Bryant Park was bustling with shoppers at the boutiques, people dining, and ice skaters. My girlfriend wanted to ice skate but I don’t enjoy ice skating so we ate poutine with duck bacon instead. It was fun to be in such a busy and festive environment!

    Then we went to the Amazon bookstore! I had been meaning to go there for a few months but I never had the chance. The Amazon bookstore is different than other bookstores because they include the star rating of the book as well as a quote from a reviewer. They also do what Amazon is famous for doing, which is suggesting books you may like based on a book you have read. For example, they had a shelf saying if you read Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur, you may like other poetry books. Amazon’s bookstore also included some Amazon technology. It was a cool environment. I don’t believe they included book prices though…

    After the bookstore, we walked to Rockefeller to check out the tree! It was also a bustling environment but it wasn’t as fun as Bryant Park was.

    11 November

    On Sunday, I spent my day crocheting myself a new hat! The last time I made a hat for myself was four or five years ago, but I had loomed it. You can see it in the photos of me in NYC, but below is a better picture of the type of yarn. It’s a beautiful yarn but it’s not very warm and it’s just time I made myself a new one! So I followed a tutorial on YouTube, which was surprisingly super easy, and now I have a nice new hat! I’d like to get a pompom for the top of it.

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    My old loomed hat

    That sums up my birthday week! It was such a fun time and I’m grateful to have concluded my 23rd year on Earth, in this lifetime, with people I care about.

    Now I’m back to reality, which includes finding a new job and resuming studying for the GRE. I have a new strategy for getting a job this time…I’ll talk about it more if it works out.

    xx Vic

  • Holding hands on the train
    Poetry

    When You Meet Your Soulmate

    She pursued me with

    An intensity I had never experienced before.

    It was electrifying, yet terrifying

    I was afraid to get too close

    Afraid to touch

    I didn’t want to be shocked

    By the electricity that coursed between us

    Gosh, this type of love is dangerous

    It’s passionate yet soft

    Curious yet hesitant…

    I wasn’t ready for this

    Was I?

    I wasn’t expecting this

    Why not?

    I didn’t have all the answers

    I just didn’t want her to stop

    Wanting me

     

    © 2018 Vic Romero 

    ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

  • Speaking My Mind

    13 Days

    Finally, a moment to sit and write.

    This past week has been hectic because of my temporary full-time job, so I apologize for my absence. Whenever I return home from work, I want to numb my mind by watching TV, but I’ve been too tired to even do that.

    Anyway…I wanted to chat about my personal life because it has undergone a serious transformation. Namely, my relationship with my family has changed. This has been an ongoing transformation since I moved back home, I just hadn’t thought about writing about it because…I’ve had so many other things I wanted to say I suppose. Plus, sometimes I focus on negative things when I write rather than positive things, and what I want to talk about is extremely positive. It’s still a little surreal to me because I would have never thought, four years ago, that I’d be where I am now.

    One of the first great things that have been going on with me is that I haven’t been fighting with my mom at all. Both she and I have grown so much and we handle our volatile emotions so much better. We both utilize different methods to control our emotions such as a spiritual practice, writing, and Yoga. My mom and I actually share Yoga together now because she attends the class I teach on Friday mornings. It’s a really nice way to spend a little time together because, during the week, both her and I work a lot, so we don’t get to talk much. Yoga on Friday mornings is a beautiful way to check in with each other as well as start our day on the right foot. It’s really sweet we practice together too because she was the first one to suggest I do yoga teacher training, and here I am, now certified and teaching a class that she can attend. It’s so lovely.

    My girlfriend has been coming by the house weekly since September or so, which has been great. Aside from being able to see my girlfriend, my parents are able to see her and get to know her, which is helpful to make them feel more comfortable with my sexuality. My mom really likes her (she told me!) and we all chitchat and drink wine together. It’s so much fun! I never thought that’d happen!

    My aunt invited my girlfriend to Thanksgiving, so my girlfriend is coming. My aunt most likely knows my girlfriend is my girlfriend due to my social media, but the rest of my family probably doesn’t. My girlfriend will be introduced as my friend just to avoid drama at my aunt’s house. My relatives that know me will know though, which is all that matters to me.

    I’ll have to update y’all after Thanksgiving to share how it all went down. In the meantime, I will be trying to enjoy any bits of Halloween that I can! I haven’t watched any Halloween movies yet, which is tragic because there are only 13 days left. I probably will be watching Halloween movies until after Thanksgiving.

    xx Vic

  • Mysticism

    Realigning with My True Self – An Oracle Card Reading

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

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

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

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

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

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

    My Reading

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    xx Vic

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