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 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
My sister and my girlfriend are going back to school this week, and for the first time in about seventeen years, I am not doing the same.
Since I am no longer a formal student at an American institution, I’ve been reflecting a lot on who I am.
Who am I without school?
I’m still determining how to answer this question, but I started by creating a more detailed “about me” page. It was fun to do and while it’s not comprehensive by any means, I think it was a good place to start.
Additionally, in the last week or so, I’ve been doing some things that I’ve put off because I was busy in school. For example, I’ve finished two books recently. I’m working on finishing two more before reading or buying a new one.
The biggest way I’ve attempted to answer my question is by deciding not to rush grad school. It was a little scary to come to this decision because I find school comforting in the sense that I know what goal I have to achieve: to graduate. The means are provided as well such as you have to take classes and study. Without school, my goal is more focused on becoming self-sufficient… I need a job to do that but the types of jobs I can have are innumerable! To me, this goal is quite a bit more overwhelming.
I want to tackle this goal, thus, I won’t be applying for grad school until next fall at the earliest.
Delaying grad school would also allow my work experiences and whatever else I experience to influence which grad program I will eventually pursue. I still plan to take the GREs this year but instead of taking them in November, I will take them in December or January.
In regards to jobs…I’ve had a ton of first interviews but it’s been slow to hear back about second interviews. I’m going to follow up with some places this week to see where I am at as a prospective employee. I will also begin to apply for part-time jobs so I don’t deplete my savings waiting for a full-time job.
Some part-time job opportunities include teaching yoga. I’ve been postponing looking for yoga jobs in person lately but I’ll have to resume it. I just created a class about creativity because it’s something I’ve been struggling with lately, and I’m super excited to teach it! I have to fine-tune some things still, but it feels good on my body and I think it’d feel good to others too.
I’ve been struggling with my creativity because I haven’t been using it to its full-extent these days. This is definitely partially attributed to school, which is one reason not being a student will be good for me because unless you allot time for creativity, school really hinders it. I was fortunate to have time to take two creative writing courses last year, but it has been difficult to maintain the drive to be creative because I was thrust from the cocoon of being a student to suddenly being a graduate who needs a job and wants to go to grad school and needs to study and…I was putting way too much on my plate.
Once I decided to postpone grad school another year, I allowed myself the time to breathe and to allow my creative mind to flow. In fact, I’ve been dreaming a lot at night these days, which I think is a good sign. One thing I need to work on though is disconnecting from the internet before and after bed, because that definitely stifles creativity. Instead I want to reintegrate meditation for at least 10 minutes everyday. My goal is to then create something every three days.
There are some other things I want to talk about and share, but perhaps that’ll be for a different time.
I wrapped up my first week of yoga teacher training on Friday, and tomorrow I am beginning week two. Thus far, the training has been an emotional experience because I keep having to confront my low-confidence. The areas where my confidence has been challenged the most are 1) inversions, or poses where your head is below your heart, and 2) teaching.
I’ve noticed just in my first week of training how most of the time, whether it be in asanas (poses) or in teaching, confidence is essential to success. While physical ability and knowledge are important too, confidence is mandatory. I think this holds true in most areas of life.
This theme of “confidence” became apparent on the second day of training when I was trying to do an L-handstand. First of all, I did not expect myself to do any types of handstands throughout this training, but I surprised myself by trying it and successfully doing it on the first day with the guidance of the instructor. On Thursday, I attempted to get into the inversion on my own, considering that I’ve been executing it everyday with the help of someone. Unfortunately, when everyone was doing inversions easily, I became nervous and afraid to do it on my own. It wasn’t that I didn’t think I was strong enough, I just didn’t feel confident. Eventually, the instructor helped me but I spent the remainder of the class silently crying. I was upset that I was too afraid to do something I know how to do on my own. On the last day of training that week, during the inversion portion, I had the instructor help me the first time and the second time I got into the inversion on my own!
The doubt I have in my abilities is probably a combination of the unfamiliarity I have with the poses as well as the intimidation I feel toward the challenging postures. A majority of the class consists of dance students, so they are probably more comfortable with contorting their bodies into different shapes and they are also more comfortable with physical challenges. Although I’ve been practicing yoga daily, I haven’t even been doing it for a year yet and aside from yoga, I have not had to be this in-tune with my body. I spent most of college not doing any physical activity. Before college, I played and taught tennis, but that type of physical exertion is so different from dance and yoga.
The second time my confidence was challenged was when I taught my first mini class on sun salutations. Once I thought I messed up in my instruction, my lack of confidence consumed me, causing the rest of my instruction to be quiet and full of uncertainty. I know from my experience with my thesis, job, and public speaking courses that I gain confidence from being an expert and with tons of practice. By the end of the training, I expect to be a confident and loud-spoken teacher.
For my first week of training, I recognize how everything I’m doing is out of my comfort zone, but I am doing it anyway. That in itself is admirable, and I need to give myself more credit. In fact, on the first day of training, one of the dancers found out I wasn’t a dancer so she asked me why I was doing the yoga training. I don’t know if she was asking from a place of cruelty like…why bother doing yoga if you aren’t a dancer? Or if she was asking simply because she just wanted to know how I found out about it and what drew me in but…it’s cool that I don’t have a dance background because I bring something unique to the group as well as to future classes I teach.
I am proud of myself for continuing to try things I’m scared of and for having an adventurous spirit. I’ve never followed an expected path such as being a dancer with a side gig as a yoga instructor or studying economics with a math/finance/stat/accounting/business minor. I studied economics and women’s and gender studies, and I’ve never met anyone else with that combination before. I’m also a “normal” person (a non-dancer) that is aspiring to be a yoga instructor because I wanted to learn more and deepen my own practice that has transformed my life and continues to transform my life. That’s amazing.
Anyway…I want to write a blog at the end of every week to reflect and to set an intention for the upcoming week. I’m doing this specifically for the yoga training to ensure that I gain the most from my experience, but perhaps I’ll continue to do it afterward too.
My intention for the second week is to practice confidence and to meditate on the confidence I want to cultivate. I also want to practice teaching sun salutations and study the asanas so I feel more comfortable with them from a teacher’s perspective.
Do you have any reflections for this past week? What are your intentions for this week?
It’s been quite awhile since I lied in bed, unable to quiet my mind, and just write. I find it unusual that I’m not alone in my bed as I’m writing, unlike years past. Tonight my girlfriend is sleeping beside me, blissfully unaware of my mental torment.
I’m not feeling quite as angsty as Victoria at 16 when she stayed up until 3am just writing, but I’m angstier than usual. Perhaps it’s due to the new moon or the hormonal week I had last week, or perhaps it’s because of my deceased cousin’s birthday, which just passed. I’m also not feeling great due to the sudden onslaught of allergies that now keeps me up at night because I can’t breathe too well.
(Super cute side-note, I coughed, which surprisingly woke up my girlfriend, who then sat up right, asked me if I was okay, kissed my cheek and then rested her head on my chest and fell back asleep. So…she may not be as blissfully unaware as I had assumed).
Anyway…I just want to check in and chat. Release some of my angsty feelings!
I’ve been quite concerned about money lately. I’ve been spending more of it than I care to admit, while not making nearly enough to support my lavish lifestyle. Right now, I’m at least working a little bit, but in two weeks or so, I will not have a job anymore. Obviously, a solution to my anxiety is to get a job so I can make money and actually live within my means, but the truth of the matter is that I’ve been…avoiding looking for a job.
I’ve been doing the work to develop a good mindset and to understand the “game” that is job hunting. My aunt got me a book called What Color is Your Parachute?, which is a great book for job hunters. It’s been more insightful than all of my career preparation, which is pretty extensive, although still insufficient. I’ve also revamped my resume and I’ve been working on my confidence and my mental well-being. Now, I just have to apply all the work I’ve been doing by taking action and actually job-hunt.
One of my old study buddies emphasized my need to take action. We met up last week to catch up for the first time all semester. We used to struggle together for our classes, but she didn’t seem to be struggling anymore because she had it all figured out since she got a job recently. I felt pretty lame in comparison with my elusive plans and my carefree attitude, to which she responded that I should look for a job because it won’t fall into my lap.
I’m not going to delve into the frustration, self-pity, and self-doubt I experienced due to this interaction, but she did have a point. I need to start looking for a job. That in itself is like a full-time job though, which I find to be unpleasant, although necessary.
I want to get a job so I can be independent, have somewhere to be every day, and to gain some work experience that may inspire my decision about doctorate programs. I have to remember this when I resume looking rather than focusing on my fears and hesitations about the job hunt. I have goals, thus I need to take action.
Do y’all ever struggle with the job-hunt? What do you do to motivate yourself?
I wrote this back when I was still in school, and the job-struggle is stronger now that I’ve graduated. My parents and girlfriend have been helping me as much as they can, which has been wonderful. Hopefully I get some interviews soon.
It’s ironic how happy I look in this photo considering that graduation has not been an entirely happy time. Granted, I took this photo a day or two before the graduation ceremonies and the drama occurred.
During the first of the three commencements I attended, I was just trying not to cry the entire time. The second two ceremonies were less emotionally intense, despite the pouring rain, but afterward, my sister went to the ER during dinner due to a potential concussion (which thankfully, she didn’t have). This caused my mom to stress out excessively. Then I moved home, which was exhausting although my grandparents helped out tremendously. The next day, I went to a family dinner with my parents and my sister, which ended in tears on my part and my mom stormed out of the restaurant. She ignored me and my sister until the following evening. Lastly, my girlfriend got an internship, which is incredibly exciting but I’ve cried a ton because of it. The last part of these dramatic days is what I really want to talk about now because the other stuff has been resolved.
I am afraid of being alone this summer, which seems like it’s going to happen anyway. This has caused me to spiral into sadness when the people around me are successful. Pretty much all my friends have jobs and/or are moving out of state/out of the country. No one is going to be local to me except for my sister, but even she has a job. I mean, yeah, I have a part-time job until mid-August that allows me to work remotely, which would allow me the time and flexibility to
- Research PhD programs
- Apply for jobs
- Study for the GREs
- Organize my life both physically (my room is a mess) and mentally (I’m a mess)
- Do my month-long, intensive yoga teacher training
So yeah…I need to be alone to do most of these, if not all, of these activities. Therefore, I will have plenty of time to accomplish these goals because I have a part-time job during these critical summer months. On the other hand, though, I wanted to do fun activities and trips and because not even my girlfriend will be local to me now…I feel like I can’t do them unless I want to go on my own.
My girlfriend said she is going to see me weekly, and I believe her but when she’s not seeing me, she’s going to be working and having fun where she’s at. Everyone is going to be having fun where they’re at. Meanwhile, I feel worried that I’m just going to be at my parents’ home, alone studying or something…which isn’t bad…I have different goals than her and everyone else for this summer but…I don’t know what my problem is. I’m jealous of everyone else, I’m comparing everyone else to myself, and so I feel bad about myself for no reason.
She said I need to change my perspective, which I agree. I definitely need to do that.
Maybe the interests and goals I have for my life will cause me to feel a little isolated from everyone, even if my friends and girlfriend were around. If I am going to be doing a PhD program, these feelings will probably continue because I’ll be spending a lot of time studying and working on the weekends, whereas my friends who get jobs with their Bachelor’s may be able to go to brunch on Sundays and mingle more.
Regardless, this gap year or two or three that I am taking sucks. I feel stagnant and alone in that. I want to find a job but I haven’t been looking even though my girlfriend and mom send me job listings once in a while…I want to figure out a PhD program I’m interested in but I haven’t been looking at that either, although I’ve talked to my thesis advisors about it. My girlfriend said I’m avoiding things and so…yeah, I am. I’m unsure why though.
I know in the past, avoidance is a method I practice when I’m either depressed or anxious. Perhaps I’m feeling a little bit of both right now. Possibly due to my graduation blues.
Do people talk about how awful graduation is? Aside from the overwhelming emotions that arise during the ceremonies, afterward is so much worse. Suddenly, you go from having tons of friends within walking-distance to having no friends nearby. All your friends become busy with their adult lives and you’re stuck living at home with your parents, who ask you daily about getting a job (if you don’t already have one, like me). The possibility of getting a job, being able to move out, and make friends/have friends feels impossible. Not only does that feel impossible, but so does working toward a doctorate because there are 100,000 steps I have to take before even applying for a program.
Maybe I’m a little depressed and anxious and I didn’t realize the depth of it until now. Regardless, it’s manageable and I’ll overcome it. Right now, I’m unsure how and I’m unsure when this will happen. I may end up having to take two years off, which is okay although undesirable. But worrying about how long things will take is not what I need to be doing right now. So first thing’s first…
- Focus on myself!!! I have a part time job for a couple of more months and I’ll be busy doing the YTT. In the evenings, I’ll need to study for it in addition to doing the work required for the other goals I have listed below.
- My path is not anyone’s path. I will find a job if I actually look for one and apply. I will figure out what doctorate program to do if I actually look at them. I will be prepared for the GREs if I actually open the book and study for them.
- I will do fun things this summer with my girlfriend and my sister. Maybe I can challenge myself a bit too by doing fun things by myself. I can’t rely on anyone but myself. I must be there for myself and not allow people’s inability to hang out with me deter me from having a good time.
- Be at peace with myself.
I may need to repeat these things like a mantra until I relax. I was able to do this two summers ago. During that summer, I was lonesome but at peace with it. I didn’t write much during that time so I don’t remember what I was doing exactly…I was taking a summer class and working part-time but that was it. I probably read a lot and watched TV. I don’t know how I achieved that state of mind but I will figure out how to get back there.
Anyway, tomorrow I’m leaving for Disney so I’ll try my best to enjoy myself and maybe I’ll plan a little bit about how I’m going to manage my days when I return so that I am busy daily. I’ll let y’all know how that goes.
My thesis advisor emphasized that I should savor these moments because they end quickly. Right now, my graduation days seem weeks away but it’s only a matter of days before I walk. Once it’s over, I can’t get it back. So that’s what I’ve been doing these last couple of weeks and that’s what I’ll do until my last commencement.
I’m experiencing all of the feelings lately. I’m simultaneously nostalgic, suffering from senioritis (although I think I’m done with exams unless I have to retake one…), nervous, excited, eager, worried, and sad about the impending end of my undergraduate career. On Mother’s Day, this Sunday, I will officially be done. I have some immediate plans for “what’s next?” but I still have to figure things out for after July. Hopefully, my yoga teaching program along with doing my own research for ideas will be helpful.
It’s surreal how four years have come and gone and I’m leaving with my Bachelor’s. It’s also surprising and impressive how much I’ve accomplished in those four years…I have three cords to wear at graduation and I wasn’t expecting to wear any. It’s amazing to reflect and see the growth that I’ve had as well as the impact I’ve made at my University and in my own life.
I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to go to college and I’m grateful to myself for making my four years productive. Four years ago, I went through a horrible breakup but in hindsight, that breakup further propelled me to get involved on campus to help me cope…which allowed me to be open toward meeting new people and making friends. There are tons of different instances throughout my four years at college where the ending of something became a new door to go through and explore what was beyond it. I know graduation is just me going through a new door but it’s uncomfortable to leave familiar spaces behind.
I don’t feel ready to work full-time and I don’t feel ready for graduate school. I have to get ready for something though because I need to continue to grow, and those are the two most viable avenues right now. Perhaps I can travel too but I would only want to travel domestically.
Anyway…I’m proud of myself. I’m proud of my accomplishments as well as my failures because those failures meant that I tried and “trying” is how I’ve been able to have had all of my experiences. I already know I’m going to continue trying new things because I’m doing the YTT and I also have this blog! I’m eager to see what else I will be trying too.
PS! Once these moments are over, I will resume posting twice a week with some awesome content. I feel kinda bad about not meeting the deadlines I’ve made for myself for this blog, but I want to change my perspective because I didn’t create this blog to stress myself out. I created it to express myself, to connect with others, and to have fun! Right now, I’m having fun with my friends and my girlfriend before everyone moves away after graduation. I’ll write about it for next Wednesday as I reflect on it all! By then, I will have graduated three times, I will have moved back home, and I will be…on a plane!
I’m going on a quick family vacation/graduation celebration for a couple of days! More on that later, stay tuned…
My girlfriend got me the beautiful flowers above and wrote me a sweet letter to celebrate all of my hard work! <3
Graduation is in less than two weeks, and my life has been a little hectic in an exciting way. This past weekend I spent my days drinking and snacking at alumni events and other University gatherings with my friends and my girlfriend, hence why I did not get to make a Sunday post this Sunday. I was recovering from all the fun.
I’ve been enjoying my last days as an undergraduate though because I’ve been celebrating with people that I care about and I also have more exciting activities planned up until graduation (I have three commencements to attend), and even after. Thus, my regular blogging schedule may continue to be a little erratic until late May or the beginning of June.
Since I didn’t get to post on Sunday because of the senioritis excitement, I will at least detail the festivities I participated in.
My girlfriend and I went on a spontaneous date! We greatly enjoy BYOB sushi places, which is what we did at a local place. The drug store near us surprisingly had alcohol (this is a novelty experience in NJ where only liquor stores carry alcohol), and we got a wine that was less than $5! Neither of us had ever found and purchased a wine that cheap (except maybe when I was in Europe) it wasn’t bad wine at all. It easily could have been at least a $10 wine.
Anyway, it was great because we at sushi and got drunk on cheap wine. Then when we were leaving, we heard live music at a bar and so we popped in. It was a male guitarist who had a great voice. We got Moscow mules, which is my favorite mixed drink at the moment, and had a great time listening to the musician at a pretty hipster place.
We’ve been to that bar before because it’s also a liquor store, and last time we did BYOB sushi locally, we got a $25 bottle of wine there. That was the most I’ve spent on wine, but it was well worth it. That bottle was from Spain and it was simply divine.
I’m feeling…a little gloomy I guess. For the most part, I’m feeling positive but…there’s a twinge of sadness mixed in there too.
I had an intense and difficult conversation with my girlfriend last night and now I’m thinking about how to…improve some things in my life. Right now, it’s not at the forefront of my mind because there are some awesome things that are happening before I would have to address the things that I spoke about with my girlfriend. For example, tomorrow I’m presenting my thesis at a state conference for Women’s and Gender Studies! So I’m more focused on that right now, but once that and a few other things are over, I’ll have to resume determining how to make things better.
The things I’d like to improve are in regards to the relationship between my girlfriend and my family, which I’ve mentioned several times before. The relationship between them is not hostile, but it’s not exactly warm either…and we’ll be dating for a year in 11 days. Plus I’m moving home in about 30 days so things can’t stay as they are right now because if they do, my mental health will suffer. This is why I’m going to develop a plan with my therapist in about two weeks to help me navigate the tension in a manner that will ultimately serve my well-being.
i relinquished my power to you and my better judgement at my expense because your so-called love and cheap affection caused my heart to pound against the bones in my chest and you felt my heart jumping when you caressed my breast but you chalked it up to being in the moment although my feelings for you ran and still run much deeper and i ignored the warning signs and continued running as the descent got steeper and it all caught up to me when i tripped and fell and tumbled to my doom maybe we just met too soon otherwise you may have been feeling the same way too…but you don’t. you never did. why did i think that you did? did you change your mind? it feels like you have just been manipulating me all this time…and it’s not okay. it’s not okay how you kept asking when i said “no” because i wasn’t going to change my mind at least not that night and it’s not okay how you reduced me to my body and it’s not okay for stringing me along leading me on convincing me that we’re something we’re not when you knew all along and you watched me comprised my wants and needs for this bullshit “friendship” like hell we were never friends and i’m still…unsure if i can keep trying to tie these loose ends don’t you see that you’re only hurting me why do i keep doing what you want you’re not the boss of me i want my fucking agency back because i’m tired of feeling mad and sad and anxious and scared this shouldn’t feel so hard and it shouldn’t hurt so much to cut you out you’re a parasite so get out of my sight get out get out get out
© 2016 Vic Romero
First- an update! I just registered my blog with Bloglovin, so you can follow my blog and other awesome blogs there! You can make an account for free with Facebook or you can create your own account. You can also search for blogs by topic or by name! Follow my blog with Bloglovin 😀
Now, let the post as scheduled commence!
I’m feeling good today! This is the best I’ve felt in awhile, actually.
Part of my joy is because I submitted my thesis yesterday, which initially, wasn’t as satisfying as I was expecting it to be. When I submitted it, I mostly felt nervous and stressed because I’ve been working on it for a year and then suddenly, I was done working on it. I feel like my feelings are somewhat similar to a pregnant mother finally giving birth…just that idea of creating something and then one day, it is done growing. I definitely don’t regard my thesis as fondly as I would a child, however, this is the biggest project I’ve worked on thus far. It’s uncomfortable finally being done.
Those weird feelings were yesterday though. Today I feel relieved and excited because I’m most likely going to be presenting at a state-wide Women’s and Gender Studies conference! (My thesis was in the Women’s and Gender Studies Department). It’ll be a great experience, especially considering that I’m interested in pursuing a doctorate degree.
I’m unsure what field I would want to do but when I was talking to my aunt today about it (she has her PhD), she told me that I’ll figure out the field I am interested in at the right time. A couple of months ago, I would’ve scoffed at her genuine response, but this time, I agreed with her. I have more trust in the universe than I did before, and I’m excited about the journey I will be taking.
Another thing I’m excited about is that because I’m done with my thesis, I can spend more time on my blog now! I have a bunch of ideas in a little notebook, so I’m looking forward to executing them. I’m also excited to use the camera my girlfriend bought too. I’m trying to have one of my friends teach me some cool, photographic techniques.
The last thing I’m enthusiastic about is yoga! I can’t wait for the yoga teacher training to begin, although it’s not starting until June. It’s an intensive, month-long program, and it’s going to be great! I feel like it’s going to be a summer yoga camp because it is in the summer and it’s an all-day program too. It’s going to be transformative, and I’m so ready for it!
Anyway…those are all of the updates I have for now. I’m feeling good, both physically and mentally. Although I have some tweaking I want to do with my diet to help me feel even better physically…more on that later though. I’m still figuring out what I want to do exactly.
How are y’all? Are you ready for April?