August…

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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Absolutely Wonderful

Have you ever learned something new about someone and then spend hours and hours reflecting on old memories and things they did or said that seemed weird to you just…make more sense?  Or now you have a greater understanding of who they truly are?

The other day, my girlfriend opened up to me more about her past and…I’ve been reflecting on memories I have with her.  My opinion about her hasn’t changed but…I feel closer to her because I feel like I know her a little better than before.  And before I felt like I knew her pretty well so…it’s intense I guess.  Intense in a good way.

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Anxious

June has been quite eventful thus far:  I saw The 1975 with my friend for the second time on the first.  Then that friend flew out to Illinois which is where she is moving for her first full-time job.  My girlfriend volunteered to pick me up from the train station two towns away from my hometown after the concert, we got pulled over by cops for a non-functioning taillight, and then…because it was so late in the evening and the drive back to her house was far, she crashed at my house.  This in itself isn’t significant…she practically lives with me when I’m in my apartment at school.  What made it significant to me though was that we were in my family’s house…and I lied to them.

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In Need of a Tow Truck

“I’m not just taking trips down memory lane; I’m broken down on it.”

-Pete Wentz, Gray

Ever since I posted my most recent blog, I’ve been reflecting a ton on my past.  I read through nearly every post on here, which is around 400 posts, and I’ve been going through old photos…I usually wouldn’t think too much of it but all this reflecting has been keeping me up at night.  So…I just wanted to comment on what I’ve been thinking about.

I’ve been thinking about coming out again which caused me to reflect on my journey that led up to it as well as what transpired after I came out the first time.  (Speaking of which, I wrote this interesting creative piece with an analysis about it for a class last fall.  I will share it here eventually).  I’ve been thinking about my previous relationship, friendships…and how my relationship with people that are still in my life, family included, have changed.  I’ve been thinking about my senior year in high school, how I want my senior year in undergrad to go, and about what I want to do after I graduate.

None of these things are bad thoughts…but it’s a lot of thinking and it’s impacting my focus on the responsibilities that I have now and how I feel throughout the day.  I’m worried, anxious, I brood…I’ve had enough.  Especially because these thoughts keep me up until 3am and I can’t continue to have these sleepless nights.

Anyway…I hope by tonight or tomorrow I will be able to resume my life in the present…no more trips down memory lane for me.

Also, a good update: my stitches are out and the lab results are fine!  I have another doctor’s appointment tomorrow at a new place because the current office I’ve been going to has an awful environment.  I’ve only spoken to the people at the new place on the phone but they’re already significantly more pleasant!

Which reminds me of a theme that is apparent in my writing that I’ve noticed since I’ve been rereading it all: don’t accept where you are if you are unhappy.  Right now, after this brutal semester, I feel pretty happy.  I’ve been productive, social, and working on myself.  I’m a little stressed about what’s to come, but I don’t want to focus too much on that anyway.  I want to focus more on the present…take it day by day.

-Vic