• 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

    Dear Me,

    Please be kind to yourself.

    You are thriving and you are right where you belong at this moment. You did not make any poor decisions. Your path is winding and while it may seem you take five steps back for every step forward, that is not necessarily a bad thing. You were able to reflect, learn, and address issues that you otherwise would’ve overlooked or never experienced if you did not take those steps backward. You wouldn’t be as well-rounded as you are now.

    Please honor where you are at right now.

    There is no need to criticize and to “other” yourself. You are who you are, and you should honor that. You have amazing qualities and you should not look at your qualities solely as weaknesses, because they are not. There are surprising strengths in what you regard as your weaknesses.

    Please trust yourself.

    You’ve overcome adversity and excelled in many areas of your life. You are constantly surprised by the success you earn, but you shouldn’t be because you work hard. You’re capable of greatness and you are working toward that daily. Be proud of what you’ve accomplished, because you’ve earned it.

    Please listen to your heart.

    People will say and think what they want of you, but only your opinions matter. Allow their negativity to fall away and listen to what your heart says. Regard yourself highly because you’ve earned it and you deserve it. You are worthy.

    Lastly, please love yourself.

    Yours truly,

    Victoria

     

  • Mysticism

    Trying Full Moon Rituals?

    As I get deeper into my yoga practice as well as learning about the intricacies of the history of yoga, I have taken a particular interest in spirituality, and what that means to me. One thing I plan to do tonight to explore myself a bit will be to do the Virgo Full Moon Ritual!

    I’ll give you some background on my previous experience with religion and mysticism since most of you don’t know me.

    I’m a queer, multiracial cisgender woman and feminist, and I have not been a religious or spiritual person in about six to eight years. I think the last time I wrote about my spirituality/religious ideals on my blog was in 2013/2014…so clearly it hasn’t been important to me. That started to change when my cousin passed in 2016, I became obsessed with death. I was reading about it and listening to Podcasts about it…and then at some point, I just stopped. I became fascinated with life again.

    This past fall semester in college, I have taken a Mysticism class in the Gender Studies Department, which has definitely played a key role in an interest in spirituality. One of my favorite books that we read from is called Jambalaya by Lusiah Teish. It has caused me to want to read more about Puerto Rican-African religion, Santeria, so I can get more in touch with my identity and my ancestors.

    In the meantime, however, I have been reading up on the religion that Yoga is based on, which is Hindu. I’ve become intrigued by chakras so I bought a book about that to read…I need to finish a book. I have all these partially read books but…I will finish them once I’m done with my thesis!

    Anyway…the point of me delving into a little bit of my personal background with religion, spirituality, and mysticism is basically my long-winded way to explain that this is the first time I will be doing a moon ritual. Unfortunately, I do not have the space nor the supplies to do the full ritual that was sent to me by a lovely woman who is part of the online yoga community that I belong to as well. It’s okay that I won’t be able to do the full ritual though because, for my first ritual, I just want to do the “basics,” which for me is to do the meditation and journaling.

    I will link you to the full ritual I will be following if you want to find out more and possibly try it yourself, though!

    Anyway…I will write another post about actually doing the ritual, which I plan to do later tonight. I hope that it will expose me to my more spiritual side, which I have yet to discover. I hope to gain some clarity about myself and to just…relax and to enjoy it. My professor that taught the Gender Studies Seminar always preached the importance of sitting in silence and lately, I haven’t been getting enough of that.

    Anyway, please let me know if you will try it or if you have done it already! Do you regularly do moon rituals?

    Please comment with suggestions/stories/advice below!

    xx Vic

  • Speaking My Mind

    My Experience with Mysticism

    My experience with mysticism began at an early age due to my parents’ influence.  My dad’s parents were immigrants during World War II and were deeply religious, presumably as a result of experiencing and witnessing such tragedy.  They raised my dad and his siblings as Baptist.  My mom, a Puerto Rican in Manhattan, grew up as Catholic.  When my parents had me and my sister, they raised us as Baptist.

    I was very involved in the Baptist church for a majority of my childhood.  I attended church regularly on Sunday, Vacation Bible School in the summer, and youth groups. Many of my friends at the time were Christian too, although different denominations, but I joined their youth groups in addition to my own.  Therefore, at one point in time, I was part of three youth groups.  The youth groups were my favorite form of involvement because they were smaller and therefore more personal.  We also did fun activities such as games and day trips, but there was always a spiritual element to it.

  • Speaking My Mind

    Young Yogin

    I’ve made it my goal to practice yoga daily, and so far, I’ve maintained it! It’s been…over thirty-one consecutive days. I’m not sure how many more days than thirty-one…perhaps it’s only been thirty-one days…but regardless, I’ve been practicing it daily for the entirety of January, and possibly in the tail-end of December.

    Right now, I’m practicing it when I wake up, which isn’t always early. I try my hardest to get up at 7am but I end up reading the news on my phone, snoozing for a little longer, or I don’t know what I do, but I end up practicing around 8am, and sometimes later like at 11am. I’m trying to practice in the early morning though because according to Light on Yoga, a great book I’ve been reading and using to foster my practice, yoga must be practiced either in the early morning or in the late evening.

    Light on Yoga has been a great, informative book because it provides a background to the practice as well as pictures and step by step instructions for pretty much every asana I’ve encountered since I began my practice in late August. Additionally, it includes yoga practices for various ailments one may have and it has courses to develop the skills necessary to improve, strengthen, and deepen your practice. It’s an excellent book. I’ve taken some notes on the book so I will publish what I’ve learned at some point because I think it’s important to know. Some yoga practices have completely appropriated it, and I think it’s important to know the roots of it.

    Also, I am looking for other books about yoga that provide insight into the culture and history of the practice. If anyone has suggestions, please let me know!

    Anyway…yes so my practice has been great in the month of January! I had my girlfriend take some photos of me to see my improvement. I’m not going to post them here right now, but I will. I want to incorporate more photos into my blog.

    The cool thing about photos and about having her take them is that I didn’t realize until she told me, and showed me, that I was doing the “down dog” pose wrong. My back was super arched and my knees were bent so…I worked on it a bit and now I can do it properly.

    Initially, my yoga goals were to achieve crow pose and wheel pose, but my right wrist is quite weak from playing tennis for several years prior to college, so I am going to work on doing a split and wheel pose. This week I’ve been working on stretching my hamstrings, and there has been a significant improvement, but there is still a long way to go. I have barely attempted back flexibility because I have several fears surrounding it…but I am working on it. Just more slowly.

    The last thing I want to share is that I am considering either attending a Yoga Teacher Training or a Yoga Retreat! Since I will be graduating in a couple of months, I would like to take that opportunity to expand my practice. I’ll update y’all if this idea comes to fruition!

     

    xx Vic

  • Speaking My Mind

    More Lavender and Tea Tree Oil, Please

    Happy September 1st!

    Jeez, I can’t believe it’s already September though.  My senior year officially begins on Tuesday, which has caused my anxiety to spike tremendously once again.  Unfortunately, my anxiety triggers cold sores on my lips at least once every season…they’re super painful and because tea tree oil is the only effective remedy to treat them, (tea tree oil, if used as frequently as possible throughout the day, tends to prevent cold sores from going through the whole two-week healing process and reduces it to a week or if you’re lucky to catch it early enough, a mere couple of days), my lips become super dry.  Every year, I feel like I get them more and more easily, which is frustrating.  I used to get them only if I didn’t sleep but now I get them whenever I go from calm to hella anxious and worried.  Anyway….

    Yes, I’m anxious because of school.  I’m also anxious because I just came back from the dermatologist…I got a biopsy and now I have to go back in three months.  My mom is currently at the doctor for her cancer…health issues are incredibly anxiety-inducing.

    Additionally, it’ll be one year since my cousin passed in two days.  I always think about her, but over the last couple of weeks, I have been thinking about her more frequently and I have been wanting to talk to her more than I usually do.  Her parents planted a tree for her in the city where she was killed yesterday…I wish they had told us about that because I would’ve liked to go.  It must’ve been a nice ceremony.

  • Short Stories,  Speaking My Mind

    Finally

    I was ready this time.

    I squatted with my back against the empty pickle barrels, tightly grasping the pistol, waiting. My hands were clammy and shaking, and I tried taking deep breaths to calm myself down. I didn’t want to miss again, not when I only had one bullet left.

    I heard some loud footsteps nearby, presumably the graceless footsteps of the enemy. I leaned out from behind the barrel to get a better look, and sure enough, there she was. She was looking around the dim basement, her expression was frustrated.

  • Speaking My Mind

    July…

    In this month, I’ve come out to my parents a second time, my parents met my girlfriend, and I also got into my first fight with my girlfriend.

    By “coming out” a second time, I just told my parents that I had a girlfriend.  My dad handled it better than my mom…not that my mom handled it terribly this time though.  My mom basically worried about my safety and my future, meanwhile my dad focused more on the fact that I can tell him anything and that he loves me.

  • Speaking My Mind,  Yummy Recipes

    Eat Your Heart Out

    Below are four recipes I made this summer as part of my self-care journey.  I enjoy trying new recipes because it’s such a therapeutic process and the results are delicious!

    All of my recipes have turned out well with the exception of the time I tried to cook with cauliflower.  I didn’t take a photo of the product; I ended up discarding it altogether.  I tried to make mashed cauliflower and the recipe had called for about a cup of chicken broth but instead, I had mistakenly added all of the chicken broth I had heated up.  The cauliflower became incredibly salty and super unpleasant to eat.  I was frustrated because I spent a long time making it, especially because I had never cooked or chopped cauliflower before.  It sucked to have the final product be so disastrous but…what matters is that I tried something new to begin with!

    Whenever I think about cauliflower now, I start tasting the salty-nastiness of my failed recipe.  I will have to try the recipe again though so I can master it!

    Anyway…the recipes below turned out really well.  I found them on either the Food Network’s In the Kitchen app, on Delish.com, or in People Magazine.

  • Speaking My Mind

    Practicing Mindfulness

    “I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.” -Mark Twain

    My therapist recommended I try a counseling group that focuses on behaviors and emotions, and I went to my first session last week.  It’s only been a week as I write this, but it’s been insightful thus far.  Our first assignment is to practice mindfulness because it is helpful when it comes to reducing suffering, increasing control of your mind, and experiencing reality as it is.

    Unfortunately, this assignment has gone to the wayside a bit since my dad had to go to the ER last week and spent three nights at the hospital.  That would’ve been a prime time to practice meditating because I was consumed with anxiety and the thoughts I used to have after my cousin passed resurfaced…I was experiencing very intense emotions.  I tried working out in the morning, which did help a little bit but…I didn’t deal with my emotions sufficiently I guess.  It all blew up in my face a couple of hours later when my mom was nagging me to text my aunt.  I erupted and we got into a dramatic fight…and she stormed out of the house.  Then I yelled at my sister until I finally broke down and cried uncontrollably.

    Anyway…I forgot about this assignment but I will work on it every day going forward because practicing mindfulness would help regulate my mood swings.

    I have practiced yoga twice in the last two weeks, which is a method for practicing mindfulness though.  I watched the Yoga with Adrienne videos that my good friend, Lana, recommended on her site.  I think I would rather learn the moves enough to do it on my own but for now, watching the videos and following along has been a little helpful.

    Thankfully, my dad is doing pretty well and he’s home from the hospital, so my anxiety surrounding medical issues and death has decreased.  Instead, I’ve been having a lot of anxiety about my future.  I think as far ahead as a year from now, which is ridiculous because then I miss out on enjoying the present moment.

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