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.
When I finished the second season of the Podcast, “Homecoming,” I played the latest episode of my other favorite Podcast called “Truth + Dare.” The Journey Junkie, who is my favorite online yoga teacher, produces it with one of her best friends. They are both currently live on a boat with their husbands, and I find them to be super inspiring.
Anyway…it was so ironic that the first episode after their break was about Difficult Conversations because I’ve been avoiding a difficult conversation myself. The conversation I’m afraid to have is with my sister, who is a year and a half younger than me, but for some reason, I have a very small backbone when it comes to addressing issues with her. The issue I am having with her right now is how I feel like she completely ignores my girlfriend most of the time. I always give her the benefit of the doubt because 1. I don’t want to confront her and deal with whatever that entails and 2. sometimes it seems like she does acknowledge my girlfriend! But I shouldn’t be like “oh, she said hi to her this time so everything is fine” because she should be showing common courtesy every time, not just when she feels like it.
The negative impact of avoiding a difficult conversation has been manifesting in my relationship with my girlfriend as well as in my overall mental health. My girlfriend and I have been discussing the conversation that I need to have at length, I went to therapy recently to talk about it, and it consumes my mind. I’ve been worrying in the shower that I will never be able to be my authentic self unless I move out of state, away from my family, and rarely talk with them. It’s gotten pretty ridiculous, but it was perfect timing for this podcast to be released!
I didn’t even finish the podcast yet but one of the messages that really resonated with me was a quote that they shared from Elena Brower.
“What you are afraid to say is the doorway to your freedom.”
This isn’t new knowledge for me by any means, especially considering how one of my majors is Women’s and Gender Studies and this theme is critical in our discussions. Plus, this quote closely aligns with my favorite Audre Lorde essay, which is the premise of my blog!
I suppose that being confronted with this specific message again at this time was just because I needed to hear it again. In my WGS seminar yesterday, we talked about how the different contexts for when you’re reading something affects the significance of what you’re reading. For example, if I wasn’t afraid to say anything, then the quote probably wouldn’t have resonated with me as much.
Unfortunately, I am afraid to address my sister and therefore, I am suffering. I must talk to her though because it’s causing so much toxicity in my life that can be avoided. So I’m going to go through one of my DBT worksheets I got from a group therapy session in the summer to think this through. Perhaps this model will be helpful to y’all too.
How to Liberate Yourself By Asking for What You Want
(Based off of DBT handout 5)
Describe the situation.
Express your feelings about the situation.
Ask for what you want.
Explain positive effects of getting what you want and/or the consequences of not getting what you want.
1. So…I will describe to my sister how I feel like she is not particularly courteous with my girlfriend.
2. I will say that it makes me feel uncomfortable when we’re all together and by ignoring her, it hurts me because she is very important to me.
3. I will ask my sister to be more courteous toward my girlfriend because everyone deserves that, and if she had a partner or a friend around, I would be considerate of them.
4. Then I will explain that it would make me more comfortable hanging around with her and like I have a more cohesive identity because she takes an interested in the people that I am interested in.
Some arguments that my sister may have may include that she doesn’t like my girlfriend, that she didn’t realize she was being rude, and/or that she is jealous that I spend more time with my girlfriend than I do with her.
I can counter by saying that it’s okay if she doesn’t like my girlfriend (although perhaps she should consider getting to know her more before making that rash judgment), I just want her to be more respectful and courteous. If she says she didn’t realize, I will ask her to please be more conscious of it going forward, because it upsets me. If she says that she is jealous of my girlfriend and that she wants to spend more time with me, I will respond by saying that…I guess this one is the trickiest one. Perhaps I can suggest negotiating this with her more but reaffirming that it is critical that she be more courteous.
I found this exercise to be particularly helpful! I want to ponder the last counterargument a bit more but otherwise, I feel a little more prepared.
How do you navigate this? By this, I mean the title of this post. Specifically when your SO is the same gender as you are.
I worry that I’m not dealing with this appropriately…lemme explain.
My family knows about my girlfriend and they’ve met her. She’s come to the house several times. They don’t seem to have any objections (believe me, if they did, they would make it known) but they also don’t seem particularly excited about her. I can only assume it’s because she is a woman, but honestly, who knows. Reasons I have come to this conclusion though include:
- They never ask me about how she is.
- They never ask me about how we are.
- They don’t get excited when she is around, whereas I would expect them to get excited if she was a guy.
- My sister barely acknowledges her when she’s literally next to me. Perhaps she feels shy/uncomfortable though?
I constantly worry about how they perceive her, and why they perceive her a certain way. For this reason, I tend to be hesitant to share activities we do together and anything that kids may tell their immediate families about their significant other.
I’m stressed that either 1. they don’t take our relationship seriously and/or 2. they’re just tolerating her because they care about me, but they don’t really like her, or accept her, for whatever reason.
I’ve been considering to bring it up with them but then I don’t want to address it because I’m afraid of instigating a dispute or an intense conversation…I just want them to more openly welcome her and to care about her because I care about her.
Of course, I’ve discussed it with her at length because I don’t want her to feel uncomfortable or bad about anything. She says she fixated on it before but she doesn’t let it get to her anymore…unfortunately it continues to affect me because they are my family.
If anyone has any suggestions for me in regards to how to navigate this, please let me know. I would greatly appreciate it.
I just returned from my family vacation to Europe, and it was a wonderful time. We went to Barcelona, Paris, and London. It was for two weeks, so pretty much the entirety of August thus far. I was nervous about going on a vacation that was so long and being isolated to with my family the entire time, but it ended up going really well: I didn’t confront any conflict with my family and although traveling had its ups and downs, overall, it was a nice vacation and I got to explore and see different things.
I prepared a lot for any emotional challenges I might face during my travels. I brought lavender oil with me, my Kindle, my journal, different colored pens, PlayDough, chocolate, and all of the DBT packets from my therapy group this summer. I didn’t use all of these tools during my trip, but when I did need something, they were very helpful. I tended to use the lavender oil and my Kindle the most. I journaled twice with my colorful pens.
Anyway…so I’m back to working my super-flexible job and I’m starting to plan how to plan for the rest of the summer and for my second to last semester.
Second to last semester! It’s so incredibly crazy…I’m going to be graduating in May.
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.
“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.
This is the first self-care post!
If you’ve read any of the three posts I’ve written since I returned from my hiatus, you would understand that I’ve been overwhelmed by heavy emotions and that I’ve been taking measures to improve my mood and well-being. I’m currently on summer break and although I’m working two part-time jobs, they are jobs I can do from home and I have flexible hours so I have been able to ensure that I’m making self-care my priority!
Methods that I’ve taken to improve my well-being include working out, writing, and cooking.
I won’t be delving too much into my workout because I’m still trying to consistently go to the gym. For two weeks I went twice a week and last week I went three times, so now I’m trying to go three times this week too. I go for about 20-30 minutes…I want to eventually increase the sessions. Otherwise, there’s nothing noteworthy about my workout (yet).
I’m not going to explore the writing method because I share all my publishable writing on here; therefore, I will solely be exploring cooking in these posts! If I start getting into another type of self-care habit, I will definitely share it with y’all but in the meantime…I’ll only be talking about food.
A quick update on some recent events: My little sister had her first-year orientation for college. I went to see Taylor Swift (who was AMAZING live) with one of my friends, I saw Magic Mike XL, I reconnected with one of my friends who I hadn’t seen in over six months, I saw a great firework show in my town, I will finally be finishing my sexual violence crisis response advocacy training next week, and summer camp has begun!
I am working with kids that are at-risk for racism, drugs, and violence. The summer camp is about utilizing art as healthy outlets for them.
I was really nervous about being a counselor because some of these kids are living and coming from challenging backgrounds that I have never experienced and I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to connect with them. My fears have been overcome because so far, it’s been great. All my fellow counselors are super supportive and amazing and the kids are great. I’m having a lot of fun teaching them and learning from them as well.
Although I can talk about the camp forever, I want to talk about the quote that I included in the beginning…
This quote by Max Ehrmann has been on every page of my agenda pad since the end of my first romantic relationship. It helped me stay positive and focused on my goals rather than focused on how many people in my life have treated me poorly. I still write this quote on every page and I still think about it when I begin to doubt myself. It wasn’t until recently, however, that I have embraced it as truth.
I’ve been on summer break for three weeks now, and it’s been a hodgepodge of days.
The first couple of days, I went on a cleaning rampage. I’m still not done, but it’s coming along. I’m trying to finish this Friday so I can spend the rest of the summer doing other things.
Then I went to Florida to help pack up my grandparents’ house to be sold. It was a sad trip and it felt weird that none of them were there…but I found some cool photos and books that reflect my family history that I’ve kept. It was also nice to go down there to enjoy the house one last time and to support my dad. We took a couple trips to the beach too.
Time is running out
Grains of sand slip through my hands
I need time to pause
© 2014 Vic Romero
#college #jess #haiku