• Speaking My Mind

    On This Episode of the Bachelorette…

    I will admit that I have developed an online dating addiction. I’ve been spending most of my free time “swiping” on my dating apps of choice, OkCupid and Bumble, and striking up conversations with various strangers in the hopes that one of them will have the potential to become a romantic partner.

    While I spend way too much time on dating apps, I’m not ready to stop using them just yet. There’s something enthralling about the mystery and ease of chatting with new people online. Of course, it’s not always a glamorous experience: last week I was feeling pretty desperate and depressed about dating, considering what happened with the Marine. 

    Long story short: I got totally swept up in superficial chemistry with the Marine and I was treated like a piece of meat. I behaved the way twenty-year-old Victoria did (chasing faux-passionate, horny guys with reckless abandon) and unsurprisingly, I got the same disappointing, hurtful, and depressing results.

    Thankfully, I’ve since been feeling more optimistic about dating after a week of introspection and self-care. So on this episode of the Bachelorette, I want to share with you the latest update on the contestants for my heart!

    Here is a recap from last week’s episode:

    1. The dark, sexual/pervy, introvert without a social life and little family has been eliminated. He resumed school a few weeks ago and neither of us has reached out to each other.
    2. The insecure, angsty/poser guy who is also an aspiring chef continues to slide into my inbox in an attempt to make plans with me. He moved to Brooklyn recently though so I’m not particularly keen on making plans to meet with him, considering there are other people in close proximity to me that I actually have chemistry with.
    3. The very thoughtful and positive 31-year-old with a BA in psychology who works at Whole Foods and lives nearby: We went on a casual lunch date on Labor Day and I had a ton of fun with him, however, I am not attracted to him in any capacity. He continues to reach out to me and he has asked me out for a drink, but it’s hard to make plans with him because we have completely opposite work schedules. If possible, I’d like to hang out with him again but I doubt any romance will be blooming between us.
    4. The casual, friendly, local-to-my-area mechanic that actually lives in my town and goes to the gym I work at: I tried to make plans with him last Saturday but he ghosted me and has since been MIA.
    5. The random older guy that works in supply chain and wants to smoke and hang out at his place AKA fuck: Why did I even list him in the first place? Eliminated.

    There are more, newer contestants now, but none of them are particularly noteworthy at the moment. Well, except for one person.

    I am currently pretty interested in a mechanic from Iran. We’ve been corresponding for about two weeks, and he’s the only person I’ve connected with through Bumble so far. (All of the other candidates have been through the courtesy of OkCupid).

    The mechanic has completely different vibes than the Marine did, largely because, unlike my experience with the Marine, I’ve had control over the relationship. Plus, he’s considerate and sweet. Here are some examples:

    • The mechanic never asked for my number; I voluntarily gave it to him after some pleasant conversation.
    • I initiated Facetiming with him
    • He consistently texts me “good morning” and “goodnight” daily, without prompting
    • He doesn’t try to talk to me 24/7 and he’s not particularly flirty. Once in a blue moon, he’ll call me “cutie” or something subtly flirty, but that’s it.
    • The first time I called him, I wanted to speak to him only so he could listen to a story I wanted to share with my yoga class the following morning. When I woke up at 5am to teach that class, I noticed that he had sent me a thoughtful text about how my story-telling was great and how I was going to do a great job sharing the story with my class.
    • He has one of the deepest, smoothest voices I’ve ever heard. It’s a radio-quality voice. Considering how incredible his voice is, I thought it was ridiculous that the first thing he said to me was that my voice would be great for NPR. From listening to cringe-y recordings of my own voice, I objectively know that that’s untrue. Yet he is very adamant about how nice my voice is. 

    While there could be potential with this guy, it’s too soon to tell because we haven’t even met in person yet. I’m hoping to meet up with him this weekend or sometime the following week to see if the slow-burning chemistry and attraction exists face-to-face.

    In the meantime, however, I am working on prioritizing myself. As much as I want to connect with someone, the experience I had with the Marine made it evident that I need to connect with myself first. The fact that even after everything transpired with him, I still wanted to reach out to him, is severely concerning. I kept wondering what he wanted, what he needed…and at some point, my subconscious snapped at myself and loudly said, “Victoria, what do want?”

    I had completely stumped myself.

    Yeah, I had some ideas of what I wanted, but I was having such a hard time specifying and vocalizing them. I’ve since been able to accomplish this after writing, meditating, taking meditative asana classes, reading, spending quality time with my family and friends, and listening to uplifting podcasts.

    This is where I’m at now with “what I want,” which I’m no longer afraid to demand:

    I want to find someone that I have a deep connection with intellectually, emotionally, and physically. I want to feel excited about that person and I want the chemistry to be really strong…kind of addictive. I want to be magnetically attracted to one another. I want to go on dates and spend quality time with someone. I want someone with emotional intelligence and I want someone who completely respects me. I want to feel safe with this person before I choose to be physically intimate with them. But physical intimacy is not important to me right now…I can find that with anyone. I can’t find a deeper connection as easily, but that’s what I want. I want more.

    In one podcast I listened to last week about the Law of Attraction, I was reminded that once I stop wanting something, then I will get what I want. I will get what I want when I stop wanting it because when I stop wanting it, my vibrational frequency will match the frequency of already having what I want. Which means that what I want will no longer matter.

    A simple example of my confusing explanation is how I flowed effortlessly into my current full-time job. I asked the Universe for a job, and then I knew I was going to get it. This “knowing” caused me to stop focusing my energy on wanting a job, thus, my frequency matched the frequency of already having the job. It was then that the job seemingly fell into my lap not through my parents’ connections, not through other professional connections, but through my part-time yoga job.

    I’m not quite at the phase of “knowing” that I will find a compatible partner yet. Since my breakup in February, I continue to doubt the Universe’s plans for me, although the doubt certainly has lessened.

    I will leave you all with one more quote from the podcast:

    The Universe is not withholding from you and giving to another. – Jess Lively, The Lively Show

    We will all get what we need in due time. In the meantime, I am going to do my best to enjoy the journey.

    xx Vic

     

     

  • Speaking My Mind

    Releasing the Bumper

    Hello, blog friends! I know it’s been too long since I’ve last written.

    I didn’t intend to take so much time off from writing. I’ve had the time to write, but I kept postponing sitting down and working on a piece. Before I knew it, weeks had slipped by and I had barely written a single word.

    The reason I continued to postpone this valuable “me time” activity is primarily because I’ve been avoiding introspection. I haven’t been ready to make changes in my life, thus, I’ve avoided reflecting on my life altogether.

    Over the last week, however, I’ve been suffering through the negative impact an absence of writing has on me. This manifests as excessively distracting myself with TV and irrational thinking. An example of that thinking is entertaining thoughts of getting back together with my ex.

    While I love my ex, I know we can’t get back together. My poem, Flowers, helps remind me why I ended things and why I want things to remain “over.” Although I don’t want to be with her, I haven’t been ready to let her go. Thus, we’ve been maintaining a strained friendship, which until recently, has been overall pleasant and has benefited both of us. Now, it’s not serving either of us well.

    It’s unsurprising that we can’t be friends because we haven’t taken sufficient time apart to be friends and we are still in love with each other. While I know this information, I find it to be incredibly difficult to do what is beneficial for the both of us, which is taking a lot of time away from each other.

    I talked to my cousin about my predicament, and she responded with an insightful metaphor.

    “It’s like you’re hanging onto the back of a car’s bumper, and your ex is driving. You can either let go now, which will hurt, but then it’ll be over. Or you can hold on for awhile and be dragged along, and let go later. Both options hurt, but one hurts less.” -my cousin, a writer

    Ugh writers. They understand life.

    I’ve definitely been holding on for a long time because I fear losing her. But creating space doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re never going to be able to be friends again. It also doesn’t guarantee that we will reconnect in the future.

    There is a lot of uncertainty that comes with space that frightens me. Uncertainty in general frightens me, especially since my cousin passed away. Accepting uncertainty is something I’m just always going to have to work on. Writing and meditation helps tremendously, I simply need to practice them.

    Other than this challenge, I’ve been enjoying my summer. Since the last time I’ve written, I partook in a wonderful yoga workshop, I’ve gone to the beach, attended an all-day concert, watched fireworks with my friends, and spent quality time with my sister. I’ve been enjoying the summer’s nice weather as much as I can before autumn’s briskness takes over.

    How was your July? What are you looking forward to in August?

    xx Vic

  • 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

    Fear of Loss and Change

    Although the relationship ended almost two weeks ago now, I haven’t processed it fully. That’s partly because my ex and I had been talking about the possibility of trying again, even though I’ve known all along that my heart doesn’t want to try anymore. On the other hand, I wanted to want to try to make things work between us. I had ended things, but I wasn’t ready to let go.

    In general, I have a difficult time making decisions because of the finality of them. Even when I make a decision, I’m afraid to stand by it.

    Since she knows my patterns, she suspected that I was unintentionally leading her on, so she told me about it. Then I did some meditating for a few days and reflected. I was reminded of one of the Yoga Kleshas called Abhinivesa. I tend to forget all of the other Kleshas, but this one has always resonated with me because it addresses the fear and worry of loss and change. In hindsight, the entirety of my post-grad life has been about releasing worry and fear. During my job search, I’ve been trying to secure a job offer, but after the interviews, I become mentally consumed with the fear of getting a job.

    If I get the job, will I still be able to teach yoga? Will the commute be too arduous? Will I have to move? Where will I move? How am I going to get a car? Will I have to work too many hours? Will I always get home when everyone is asleep? What if I become depressed from working? How will I be able to maintain my self-care practices while working full time? How will I find balance? 

    A month ago, I had told my yoga teacher about this problem, and she informed me that there was no possibility of me moving forward if I am caught up in anxiety and fear. In order to move forward, I have to channel all my energy forward without clutching onto my fears.

    Relationships are obviously different than personal goals, but I was trapped in the same cycle of trying to move forward while holding onto my fear of loss and change. When I realized this, my girlfriend and I talked on the phone about the finality of our breakup.

    So…now I’m spending time healing from that before my life becomes busy again. I’m grateful to have some time to rest, reflect, and heal. Part of my reflecting process includes reflecting on an oracle card reading I did last week, right after the breakup. The reading continues to be relevant, so I decided to share it below.

    Surrendering – An Oracle Card Reading

    1. The first card, which represents where I’m at now, is Divine Support. This card is associated with the sacred, cosmic sound of “Aum” that brought the world into existence. This card reveals that Ganesha wants to assist me in my divine path away from fear, distress, and anguish and towards light and love of myself. As I face all these obstacles and changes in my life, I struggle not to doubt or worry about my decisions. I’ve sought out more introspective self-care such as journaling, meditation, and yin yoga. I love chanting, particularly chanting “Aum,” which helps me feel connected to the Universe.
    2. The second card represents my next step, which is Acceptance. The card advises that I accept things as they are and that I release blame, anger, and sorrow so that I can continue on my spiritual adventure. When I overcome those obstacles, the ego can align with the soul. As I come to find acceptance, I must remember happiness, find contentment, recognize beauty within, and look at the world through a more spiritual perspective. Ganesha supposedly consumed the sadness of the Universe, which is comforting because I’ve been feeling lots of sadness in waves. When I worry, doubt, regret, or anguish creep up in my mind, I recall why I chose the path that I did. Then I accept it for what it is. I want to feel all the feelings so I can accept things as they are and move forward. Again, meditating and yoga play a huge roll in this process.
    3. My obstacle is Nurture. This card represents creating a calm and balanced life. To achieve this, I need to slow down and deal with issues as they arise. This card is associated with the heart chakra. This card advises finding female friends. I have been connecting with my friends more during this difficult time. I can’t help but wonder if sharing with my fam is the intention of the obstacle…but I’m not ready to do that yet. It took a lot to fight for the presence of this relationship and I’m reluctant to share its demise. I also don’t want to be vulnerable with them yet. I rather keep it to myself. Which may be why this is an obstacle.
    4. My resource to overcome my obstacle is my Inner Knowing. This means that it is a time for soul searching and to look for guidance within. This card states that I need to seek truth and to use meditation, consideration, and self-assessment to evaluate my direction. This card notes that my priorities may shift and to seek alone time. I think all my journaling has helped strengthen my inner knowing. I’m proud to have honed this and found more confidence in myself by exploring my inner knowing through writing. I plan to continue to grow because it will take me to the next experience.
    5. My final outcome is Surrender. Rest and recover from the challenges and lessons that I have experienced. Stabilize energy. To me, this is similar to acceptance but it’s more passive. It makes sense that this is what I need. As all these things conclude, it’s time to rest. Resting will refuel me for the next thing. Instead of regarding the break between jobs as a desperate time to obtain another job, use the time to surrender, rest, and refuel. Same thing for my relationship. It’s time to turn inward.

    xx Vic

  • Speaking My Mind

    Lessons from My Relationships

    I wasn’t expecting to ever be single again, but here I am. Single. It’s still surreal, but that’s probably because it’s a fresh wound. We called it quits only yesterday.

    So, how am I feeling? I’m both devastated and relieved, regretful yet confident, depressed but also accepting of it. Essentially, I’m feeling a mixed bag of emotions. My feelings are overwhelming and they ebb and flow, but it’s part of the breakup process, which I’ve become familiar with. I mean, it’s been a while since I’ve gone through this process, but it’s hard to forget something so emotionally messy.

    To help myself with my healing process, and perhaps to help anyone else that is going through a break-up, I would like to share some notable lessons I have learned from the three relationships that I’ve had. Well…one of them was a confusing friends-with-benefits situation, but it taught me a lot, so I included it.

    1. My First Love

    My first girlfriend introduced me to the world of dating and lesbian relationships. She was my first kiss and my first love. She supported me during my horrific experience coming out to my family. I enjoyed my time with her during my senior year of high school until we broke up during my first semester of college.

    Although she wasn’t a terrible girlfriend, she left much to be desired. We seldom hung out outside of work or her house. She never wanted to do any of the activities that I proposed to her, but she would feign interest and then flake last minute. So, she also had horrible communication skills, which I somehow overlooked until she broke up with me by completely ignoring me.

    From that relationship, I learned that I wanted a girlfriend that made an effort to spend time with me. I also learned that if someone hints that they aren’t interested in you anymore (AKA by completely ignoring you), take the hint. It’s not worth chasing people if their heart isn’t in it. Not everything is meant to last forever, and that’s okay.

    2. The Dick, AKA the Friends-With-Benefits Dick

    I hate talking about this guy, but he’s important for the purpose of these “relationship lessons.” To summarize our shitty interaction that lasted too many months: he never spent time with me outside of a bedroom, he didn’t respect me at all, and he was only my “friend” (with conditions) until he got what he wanted from me.

    I learned that I needed to follow my heart. I had wanted to end the relationship for weeks, but I was afraid to end it. Thus, we only stopped being FWB after he was “done” with me, and he made that clear when he never reached out to me again. Ultimately, I had chosen to protect my fears at the expense of myself, and it took a long time to forgive myself for that and to heal from the wounds he left.

    The main takeaway: DON’T TAKE SHIT!!!!!

    3. My Truest Love

    I was introduced to my most recent girlfriend during the darkest period of my life: I was depressed from the devastating and shocking loss of my cousin. She supported me, cared for me…she was so patient and kind to me. We became close friends. She chased me from the very beginning because she wanted me to be hers, and even when I was hers, she never stopped chasing me. By that, I mean that she continuously prioritized me and made me feel wanted. She valued me as a person. She initiated dates with me, and thus, we’ve gone on many adventures together. Being in love with her made me want to come out to my family for a second time, and she supported me through that. The relationship I had with her is the longest relationship I’ve been in, and she’s been part of significant accomplishments in my life. Our relationship was really beautiful, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

    Although there were so many amazing aspects of our relationship, eventually they weren’t enough to sustain a healthy relationship. In fact, things became very challenging between us as adulthood became more demanding. As young adults trying to navigate the most tumultuous time of our lives, we had been suffering as individuals and bringing that negativity into our relationship. It is impossible to sustain a healthy relationship when both people are suffering.

    When I realized that we were enduring a repetitive, toxic cycle, I began to reflect on the lessons from my previous relationships. For the first time in my life, I took my own advice.

    I’m proud to have been confident in myself to end things before it became more toxic or before we grew to hate each other. I followed my heart, and it was super hard…it still is hard, but I know I made the right choice. I’m also proud that I practiced bravery and patience with her so that we were able to break up in person, face-to-face. She was able to walk away feeling as respected as possible, which is really important to me. Thus, we ended things on a rather positive note for a breakup, so there’s potential for reconnecting if that’s in our future.

    I’m sure there are lessons from this most recent relationship, but it’s still too soon to know. The pain is too fresh to be objectively reflective. If/when that happens, I’ll be sure to share those lessons.

    Do you have any relationship lessons that you would like to share? Please tell me in the comments below!

    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

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