• Speaking My Mind

    Decisions, Decisions

    I’m now a certified vinyasa yoga instructor! I’m so proud of myself and so grateful to have been able to earn this certification. It has been life-changing and eye-opening.

    I’ve been wanting to write about my experience for forever, but the last two weeks have been unusually busy. Two weeks ago it was July 4th weekend and I was studying for my yoga final and spending some much-needed quality time with my girlfriend. Last week was the final week of my training and then we had a party to celebrate on Friday. Saturday I attended my step-grandma’s nephew’s wedding (weird? I know, but it was fun!) and then my parents left for a 10-day vacation. My weeks aren’t usually this eventful.

    Now that I’ve graduated both from college and this training program, my days have slowed down a bit, thus I’ve resumed the arduous and depressing task of applying for jobs! Also, yesterday I spontaneously purchased a new member pass to a local yoga studio to become more acquainted with the yoga community. I also am hoping to teach at this yoga studio. I have some other studios in mind too though in case it doesn’t pan out.

    Something needs to pan out though because I desperately need to work. The stress that comes with job applications has unfortunately returned, despite it being managed better due to Yoga as well as my wonderful girlfriend’s insight. I’m so pleased I got a month pass to attend an unlimited amount of yoga classes though because it will provide some much-needed structure until I figure out the job stuff. Plus I love yoga and I am trying different styles of yoga through this studio! It’s awesome.

    Some things I’ve been thinking about lately, other than jobs, have been doctorate programs and whether to create a website just for yoga stuff.

    In regards to the first thing…I still have to look at program curriculums but right now, I am interested in pursuing a doctorate in Women’s and Gender Studies. I feel nervous for being interested in that type of program though because it’s a relatively new field and aside from academia, I imagine job prospects to be bleak. That may not be the case but considering I have been having a difficult time getting a job with a degree in economics as well as WGS, I expect to deal with similar or worse challenges if I specialize in WGS only. On the other hand, because it’s a new field, I could be part of groundbreaking work such as helping to establish it as a notable field as well as being one of the first teachers in WGS to have studied WGS (currently, most WGS professors have diverse backgrounds of study ranging from Africana studies to economics to sociology).

    The other thing I’ve been pondering about is the development of a professional website. This website that I’ve been using for four or five years now is quite personal, so I feel uncomfortable sharing it with people that I know and using it to advertise my business…it’s not a business website anyway, it’s my personal website. I should probably make a professional yoga website but websites are not cheap and as I’ve mentioned before, I need a job.

    The lack of a job is making me nervous for next month because I don’t know what I will do. Will I be working a 9-5 an hour away from home? When will I have time to do yoga then? Will I get a job that will force me to relocate? How can I advertise for my yoga services if I can’t afford to make the website and if I have a job and can afford to make the website, how will I provide services if I’m working full-time?

    I’m uncertain when I should invest money to make money and when I should save it I guess. I mean..I invested money to get the training so maybe I should save it now and make a free yoga website until I am able to upgrade? Any thoughts?

    I keep revisiting my dream life scenario where I have my PhD so I am able to conduct research and teach, and then also teach yoga. To achieve this dream life though, I’ll definitely have to undergo some uncomfortable shifts of time-management and I’ll also have to do things I don’t enjoy. Or…as what Yoga philosophy argues…I may not expect to enjoy it but I should find contentment in what I’m doing regardless.

    I really want to write posts about yoga, which may be more suitable for a yoga-focused website. One cool thing though is that I will be able to write for a yoga teacher’s website! I was introduced to her through the famous yoga Facebook group I always mention and she was looking for guest writers! Whenever my article is posted on her site, I’ll let y’all know!

    xx Vic

  • Picture of a rearview mirror reflecting the road behind the car
    Short Stories

    Demanding Visibility

    The door slammed behind me, muffling his roar.  Maybe I could no longer hear him at that moment, but I would probably hear him later because it was certainly not the last time we were going to have this conversation, if you could even call it that.  Most conversations I have do not include faces red with fury, the slamming of hands on the walls and tables, spit from angrily enunciating words while shouting, and only one person vocalizing their thoughts while the other shrinks into their seat. Most conversations do not look like this, except for the conversations I have been having with him lately.

    “Where are you going?” my sister asked from the stairwell as I powered down the hall.

    “Out,” I replied tersely, grabbing my car keys and slamming the front door behind me.

    No amount of doors slammed could quell the rage that I had to suppress while he had verbally torn me apart.

    Tobacco and spearmint lingered on my tongue, and I touched my lips, smiling as I remembered why.  With my other hand, I twisted the key in the lock and opened the front door. I froze in fear when I saw a figure standing in the stairwell, but then I realized who it was and relaxed, although annoyance quickly replaced that feeling.

    “It’s past 11.  Where have you been?”

    “Out,” I stated.

    “An eleven PM curfew means you have to be here at eleven, not leave where you are at eleven,” she explained, irritated.

    “I lost track of time.”

    “Who were you with?”

    “My friends.”

    “Which friends?”

    Exasperated, I threw my hands up in the air.  “I already told you!”

    “Don’t raise your voice at me. Remind me.”

    “Marisa…the usual,” I explained, struggling to level my voice.

    “Where did you go?” she inquired.

    “Out.”

    “Out where?”

    “Dunkin, Starbucks, whatever was open.”

    “Those places close at ten.  What did you do for an hour?”

    I narrowed my eyes at her.  “I’m going to my room,” I replied, shrugging past her and heading up the stairs.

    “Answer my question!” she yelled after me.

    “We were outside.  I’ll make you an itinerary next time,” I said, slamming my bedroom door behind me.

    My bedroom door burst open and she stormed in, leering down at me as I lay in bed.

    “Good morning,” I sarcastically greeted her, sitting up.

    “What does this mean?!” she asked, desperation evident in her voice as she threw papers onto my lap.

    I briskly shuffled through them and then calmly met her watery stare.  “Where did you find these?”

    “Online.”

    “Well, I don’t know what they mean,” I replied, handing them back to her.

    “Is this who you are?” she asked shrilly.

    “No.  I don’t know.”

    “What do you mean you ‘don’t know?’” she shrieked.

    “I don’t know!” I yelled, tossing off my blanket and standing up.  “I told you everything I know!”

    She challenged me with her eyes for a few beats before turning and storming out of my room, slamming the bedroom door shut behind her.

    I slowly opened my bedroom door, and we tentatively emerged from behind it.  My heart pounded as she looked down at us from the stairs that led to her master bedroom.  She spoke sternly and carefully.  After a brief interrogation, she dismissed us with a threat to call the police if I bring the woman beside me home again, and she informed me that we were going to discuss this later.  As per usual, there probably wouldn’t be too much discussion.  Numbly, I nodded, and then we raced down the stairs, seeking out safety in my car.

    She leaned over the middle barrier in the car and tilted her head up toward me, smiling.  “Alright, well I have to head home, but text me when you get home.”

    I nodded and leaned the rest of the way to kiss her awaiting lips.  When she pulled away, she smiled at me, causing my heart to flutter.  She looked out the windshield and started talking animatedly about our weekend plans, but then she paused.

    “Hold on,” she said, her eyebrows furrowing as she focused on the rearview mirror.  “What’s that?”

    I looked at where she was pointing.  Behind the rearview mirror was a small, black microphone.  My heart raced as realization struck.

    “Can I pull it down?” she asked.  I silently nodded in acquiesce.

    She turned the microphone over in her hands, raising it closer to her eyes.  “I don’t know if this is a recording device, or if it’s just part of your car.”

    “I don’t know.  My dad regularly works on the car, so I don’t know.”

    She put it back behind the rearview mirror and looked at me.  “I’ll take a look at it more closely tomorrow when I see you.  Try to relax for now.”

    I tersely nodded.  She lifted her hand to my cheek, cupped it and pulled me toward her for a last goodbye kiss.  I didn’t enjoy this one as much as the one before.  “It’ll be okay,” she murmured.  “Text me.”

    Then she opened the door and climbed out of my car.

    I reluctantly got into the passenger side of my car.  He wanted to take a drive with me to get gas, which was thoughtful but I knew he had an ulterior motive.

    We rode in silence for ten minutes, and after he told the gas attendant to fill it up, he began his speech.

    “I don’t understand you anymore,” he confessed, looking over at me sadly.

    I met his eyes and replied, “I’m just not hiding anymore, but I’m the same.”

    He shook his head.  “No, you hid from us for years.”

    “There was never a reason to bring it up.”

    “You could’ve brought up that you were struggling.”

    “I needed to figure things out for myself.”

    The attendant returned to the driver’s side mirror, and my dad handed him cash.  We sat in silence while the worker counted the change and handed it to back to my dad.  My dad restarted the ignition and pulled out of the station, heading home.

    © 2016, 2018 Vic Romero

    In honor of Pride Month, which has passed but…I thought I’d share regardless. 

  • Speaking My Mind

    I Am A Badass

    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.

  • Speaking My Mind

    Creativity & Balance

    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?

    xx Vic

  • Speaking My Mind

    What is Success?

    How do you define success? I’m currently unsure how I define it. What I do know, though, is that the past couple of days I’ve been a little envious of people who I feel are more successful than I am. Granted, they are older than I am, but only by a year. That means I only have a year to achieve what they have achieved, and at the rate I am going, I doubt I will be able to compare to them.

    One of my friends is finishing up her Master’s now and she’s hoping to get into a Ph.D. program. She’s also living with her boyfriend.

    My other friend is working and recently moved a second time, to a different state. She lives on her own and she just bought a new car.

    Right now, I feel skeptical about my ability to experience either of these desirable things: I want to continue my education and I also want to work, live with my girlfriend, and be independent. I’m not really pursuing these desires though. I didn’t take the GRE (I may not need to take it for some programs though), I’ve stopped applying for jobs, and I haven’t done any research (yet) on Ph.D. programs that I may be interested in.

    I was telling these two friends that I feel like whatever I will do next will be based on something I have yet to learn about but…after the fourth time I said it, I thought that perhaps it’s a lame excuse to just sit around and wait for a sign.

    I mean– I don’t feel like I’m waiting for a sign but maybe I’m not taking enough action. I feel like the main reason I’ve been resisting action though is because I don’t know what action to do.

    Although I’ve been relatively more peaceful this semester, I started worrying, after talking to my successful friends, that I’m going to end up being sad and bored come May. Once I graduate, it seems like I’m going to have a bit of a gap year where I enjoy my random hobbies and apply for jobs. In fact, one of my friends that graduated a semester early is currently in that position, and she affirms that it is super difficult.

    You know…it seems that I’m defining success as people that are pursuing cool goals. So what cool goals will I be pursuing after I graduate?

    Well, I do have some answers for that: I am interested in a research-based job. I would like to become a certified yoga teacher and I would also like to research PhD programs that would either allow me to research yoga and/or gender-related topics. Honestly, I would love to do a PhD in a gender studies department somewhere, but I’d have to research the benefits of that more as well as what the programs require. I would like to do a combination of quantitative and qualitative analysis so perhaps sociology would be better, but I could ensure that I have a gender focus? Oh, I’d also like to get published! I’d like to get published for either something creative I do or for academic work…or both! But I’d like to get published at some point, for something.

    My first year after college may be difficult but these are some goals that I need to invest time into, so it will be a productive year for sure.

    In the meantime, I will do some basic research and definitely apply for some jobs. My thesis is due at the end of March though so it’s hard to want to spend time on anything other than that right now. But it’ll probably make me feel better if I take some action to reach some of these goals I have.

    So, I want to know what you think! How do you define success?

    xx Vic

  • Speaking My Mind,  unzipped lips

    Getting What You Want

    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)

     

    1. Describe the situation.

    2. Express your feelings about the situation.

    3. Ask for what you want.

    4. 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.

    xx Vic

  • Speaking My Mind

    Discerning What Feels Right to Me

    My favorite professor in my department was talking about discernment yesterday during class.  She said that crying is part of that process because crying is literally washing the eyes so you can see clearer.  It’s also a bridge to your subconscious, which enables you to discern “what feels right to you,” as Audre Lorde says.

    I’ve been crying a lot but I’ve been primarily dismissive of myself when I do cry by thinking that I need to get over it and that I need to get it together…I want to discern what feels right to me without doing the work for it.

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