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

Stifling Heat

I stared up at the ceiling fan as it whirled overhead. It was attempting to provide a breeze in the sweltering evening heat but to little avail. My oversized t-shirt clung to my back, sticky with perspiration. I raised my feet into the air, feeling the slight breeze tickle my soles. Then I rolled onto my right side and stared directly into the electric fan. The wind it created was aggressive and loud. My hair blew off of my face and I sighed blissfully.

Then my phone pinged.

I glanced at it, unamused, and snatched it off of the chipping, white side table. It was Ashley.

I heard what happened to you and Tom. I’m so sorry.

I frowned and turned off my phone. She’s not sorry, she is probably thrilled that he’s now available. She always liked him. I could tell by the way she looked at him and how she talked to him.

I rolled back onto my back and resumed staring into the ceiling fan, hoping to be hypnotized into a deep sleep.

Sleep. What a foreign concept to me at this point. I haven’t slept since we broke up a week ago. It’s been even longer since I’ve slept alone. Two years. It’s been two years…I don’t know how to sleep alone anymore.

I closed my eyes, hoping that if I pretended to be asleep, I’d eventually trick myself into falling asleep this time. Instead of looking at the back of my eyelids though, I was confronted by Tom’s face hovering over me, illuminated by the moon through the window. He was smiling mischievously, some locks of his golden hair falling into his eyes. Then I felt his warm, calloused fingers draw circles on my right arm. His breath was warm when he leaned in and whispered in my ear, “Tell me what you want.”

I smiled, relieved that he was back. He tenderly kissed my face, but when I tried to kiss him, he shook his head, his grin widening.

“Tell me first,” he said, kissing my neck. The sensation sent chills down my body, and simultaneously ignited my skin. “Tell me what you want.”

I slid my hand across my hot stomach and brushed the top of my pubic bone.

“I want you,” I gasped as my fingers dipped lower, probingly.

“What do you want me to do?” he asked, kissing his way down my chest.

My touch sent a wave of warmth over my body. “I want you to…” I panted.

“What do you want me to do?” he asked, looking into my eyes.

“I want you to—”

Then my body shook, and everything felt like it was on fire.

When my breathing slowed and I relaxed, I whispered, “I want you to be here.” I opened my eyes expectedly as if I had just performed a spell to summon him. All I saw though, was the whirling ceiling fan in my dark room. I was alone.

My face crumbled. The satisfaction that I created dissipated and tears streamed down my cheeks.

© 2018 Vic Romero – Performance Poetics Spring 2018

Quiting Smoking (Version 2)

We ignited quickly,

The sparks between us

Became consuming flames

We burned bright

On dark, cold nights.

It was refreshing

To inhale you

And to exhale loneliness

 

You may have been comforting,

But you weren’t good for me

You sucked out all my oxygen,

Filled my lungs with tar,

And singed my fingers.

I had held onto your fire

For far too long

 

So I let you go…

Dropped you to the ground

To find a way out

Of your ensnarement.

 

You were addictive, though.

 

A couple of days would pass,

But I could never last

For very long

Without your fire

 

© 2017 Vic Romero – Creative Writing Fall 2017

Read the original version of this piece here.

over time

first

you will be dumbfounded

your heart will plummet

into the depths of your stomach

as the whole world before you

tumbles

as if the entire universe

was shoved into a dryer

spinning

steady yourself

on someone’s shoulder

first

 

then

when strangers

you haven’t seen

since you were a newborn

all cluster together,

solemnly murmuring

donning dark colors

touching the glossy wood

of the coffin

the magnitude of death

will feel heavy

you will

need to sit

and your aunt

will comfort you

then

 

later

when you call her up

because you start to forget her voice-

but the line has been disconnected

when her seat at the table for the holidays

is vacant

year after year

when her sister

has become an only child

when you get older

and she doesn’t-

the passing of time just means

that she’s been gone longer

you will understand

the finality of death

later

© 2017 Vic Romero – Creative Writing Fall 2017

The Great Depression

I randomly decided to listen to a podcast I used to jam to quite a bit called, Truth + Dare. It’s hosted by two women and they talk about real stuff honestly. The one I started listening to yesterday was about how to overcome setbacks. One of the women talked about how they utilize Netflix as a means of distraction rather than actually dealing and working through the challenge.

And then it hit me: I’ve been distracting myself a lot lately. I’m not watching a ton of TV or crocheting just because it’s fun (although it is) but I’m avoiding stuff.

I spent today thinking about this more and I’m avoiding myself. My feelings. I’m trying different activities to temporarily placate my anguish, but I’m not working through it.

After I had a mediocre job interview the other day and was unnecessarily mean to my sweet parents, my sister confronted me and I had my first real talk toward self-improvement.

Continue reading “The Great Depression”

Angel

On December 22nd, my girlfriend unexpectedly had to put her dog, Angel, down.

I accompanied her to the vet, which was two hours away, and the doctor’s prognosis was that the dog had a large tumor across the front of her neck, and she recommended a veterinary hospital to visit.

The following day, we were able to take her dog to the hospital, which was earlier than the original appointment we had had. When my girlfriend put angel in the backseat beside me, she was in worse shape than the day prior. This time she was drooling a ton and wouldn’t even prop herself up; she just lied beside me. I petted her head for a bit while my girlfriend drove, but then after about fifteen minutes, Angel started coughing a lot and had a seizure. She was gagging on her saliva. The rest of the drive to the hospital was very stressful.

Continue reading “Angel”

Date on the Dock

It got quieter as we walked further down the uneven, dirt path and away from the party. The kids’ shrill screaming of “Happy Birthday” into a microphone diminished until it was entirely replaced with the squaw of birds and the rustling of leaves on the trees as the wind gently blew.  

We came upon the small, wooden dock hidden by the shroud of shrubs at the edge of the lake. She placed a thick, woolen blanked on it, which covered nearly the entire dock since the dock was small and the blanket was large. Then we lied down and basked in the warmth from the sun. She rested her torso on my legs, her weight pressing my legs into the solid dock beneath me. Her body heat kept me warm during cool breezes.

It felt romantic out here, being surrounded by nature and away from the disturbances of traffic and everyday life. The calm sloshing of water against the base of the dock relaxed us. The air was fresh and dry for once, unlike many of the stifling hot and humid summer days.

We overlooked the lake, admiring how the trees framed the dark blue body of water on one side. The leaves were a vibrant green from chlorophyll, and they crowded each other on the trees. The lake reflected some of the trees’ vibrancy in the dark waters.

The other side of the lake was lined with large houses. Backyards informed us that the houses may hold small children with an affinity for outdoor play, such as swing sets and forts.

My ears perked when I heard voices approach us. A family consisting of what appeared to include three generations of people, ranging from grandparents to children, rowed by us on the lake. The adults rowed unhurriedly and everyone laughed and talked animatedly. One of the adults caught my eyes for a brief moment as we watched them from the dock.  

© 2017 Vic Romero