Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Movin' Out (Anthony's Song)

One of my favorite Billy Joel songs...
"And it seems such a waste of time If that's what it's all about Mama, If that's movin' up then I'm movin' out. Mmm, I'm movin' out…"

I have been holding this in since January. There is one thing that needed to happen this year that will change the course of my life. For far too long I have spoken about leaving Syracuse but in the back of mind, I was always wondering what I was going to do with the house. Even if I left by way of job or school, I would have to worry about paying for the mortgage. The house was the only anchor I have in this city that would prevent me from following my path. I have now removed that anchor from my path.

I wrote about risks and how I needed to take a huge risk to get a huge reward. Well the house was the risk. I knew back in December that my financial situation was bleak. Before the christmas break I made an assessment of my life and where I wanted to be a year from that point. All answered pointed to me not being in the house.  At the time, I didn't know what I was going to do because I was beginning to feel the weight, of what seemed like, the world on my back.

No one really talks about how hard it is to survive a divorce a year after the fact. People just assume that once everything is said and done, your life goes back to normal. The problem is win or lose, no matter what side you are on or how happy you are, you will always have to pick up the pieces. More often than not, those pieces are financial in nature. Creditors do not care about divorce, they want their money and if you go into debt together, they will hunt one or both of you down.

So with that being said, I decided that I had to go on the offensive. I was tired of earning money just to pay off people for things I do not own anymore from a relationship I am no longer in. Without getting too much into my own personal financial detail, I think that had the laws not changed for bankruptcy, I would have been eligible. But since I was not, I had to make the decision to stop paying my mortgage and go for a short sale of the property.

Even with my roommates paying me, I was not in a great place. I was barely making it and I was tired of living on scraps. By doing this very risky thing, I started having more money to live and pay off other bills that I was having issues with. Yes, my credit was being effected, but not by much because my credit was already shot. So, the only thing left was to find a buyer…which I already had one in mind.

A took a page from my dad's playbook. When I came back to NYC in 1998, I discovered that I didn't have much time before I had to start looking for my own apt. My dad had sold the house to a buddy of his who had a family. He knew that this guy would be able to carry the mortgage and fix up the place to how he saw fit. I knew that this is what I needed to do. I made a deal with a very close friend of mine whom I knew would be interested. His wife and 2 kids would use this house in better ways than I ever could. Since I have been in this place for about 9 years, I wanted to at least make sure that the next person who owns this place would treat it with respect.

Over the last 5 months, we worked on a deal. A contract was drawn up in which both parties had agreed to. We agreed on having one lawyer look at it to make sure all arrangement we binding and legal. As of a week ago, I made my final payment on the mortgage before they take it over. I am all caught up and free to leave. I still cant believe I did it.

I found a nice place to live in close to the University. It is not the best spot, but it will due because I am not looking to be too comfortable. I know that being comfortable leads to complacency and I have had a little bit too much of that. The best part about this entire thing is that this sets me up for my exit. I know that I have been planning this for so long, but I think that what I was missing in all my talk was that I was not being strategic enough.

I truly meant what I said earlier in the year. I'm done talking, I'm about doing. Now I need to plan my next move.

No More Excuses.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


About a month ago, I wrote a blog about my troubles with my undergraduate life. I named it 2.1 because that was the GPA I graduated college with. Nothing to be proud of. I got lucky to even graduate and in many ways I felt like I wasted my undergrad years. Fast forward to present day and I have a new number to smile at: 3.5

I have been very much on the fence with graduate school, there is no question about that. It is not because I do not want to do it because I do. It has a lot to do with where I do it. I've made it no secret of my desires to leave Syracuse to go back home, but I figured while I'm still here I might as well continue my education. Like most things in my life, I figured that I will just take that leap of faith and figure out later how I'm going to land.

This semester was no different. I took the History of Urban Education as a last minute decision. You may recall that I decided that this year was all about "no more excuses," so this was one of those things I had to stop procrastinating about. This was class number 4 and at this point, I had two A- and a B- ( Economics…blah). For those counting…that left me with about a 3.3 and change. Up to this point, I had never gotten an A in a 3 credit class. Sure, an A- is great but it is frustrating when you are shooting for the highest marks.  Not to mention that the only As that I have ever gotten was in one credit it means next to nothing.

So, I took this class not knowing how hard it would be. It turns out that when you take classes that you are actually interested in, they are not that hard, its just a matter of how much work you are willing to put in. I think about all the long nights. Coming home from work at 9pm then reading until about 2am. I am not sure about anyone else, but doing that week in and week out tends to make you read slower because of fatigue. But, I continued down this path because I wanted to get my first A ever. The two A- before it were just about heartbreaking enough.

I did all my work and what was required of me. I met with the professor a few times about the topic of my 20 page paper. Just when I thought I found the topic I wanted…I changed it at the last minute. It was just not flowing. It got so bad that I had to ask for an extension at the last minute. I realize now that the title of my paper is a tad redundant: Latinos in Urban Education: The Struggle for Inclusion in Public Education. Some people had asked if they can read it, but I was holding off until I got the verdict on the class.

I wish I was lying when I say that it felt like blood, sweat, and tears went into this paper. But when I think about the struggles in my life, this was the one thing that I can control. I know that if I can get this work done, I can be more than what I was in my undergraduate stint. I need to prove to myself that I am indeed an A student.

I did it. Today I checked my status online. I got an A. One of the few things that I did not screw up. One of the few things I can say I did right…and I did it for me. I cannot tell you how many times I felt worthless, but today…I feel that I can do anything. I have a 3.5 as a grad student…3.7 in my area of concentration.

All my frustrations have been worth it. I am an A student. Turns out that I always was.

Monday, May 14, 2012


This may be my new license plate

I guess I didn' t think it was possible for me to have haters. Why would someone hate on me? I don't make much money, I have way too much on my plate, I am way too much debt, and I barely write on this blog as much as I want. Yet, I have some people that insist on drinking some haterorade and I makes me wonder why…

Perhaps it is because I'm good at what I do. I am able to juggle my job, my classes, and my volunteering well. I'm an advisor to a numerous amount of student organizations and I am trying to have my hands into many things that are student centered. I wont list every group, but I added two more this year because I come highly recommended from other administrators and alumni. The effort and heart I put into this has lead me to being awarded The University Advisor of the Year. An honor I am so very humbled by.

Perhaps it is the fact that my writing has gotten better. The honor of becoming a writer for the Huffington Post has not worn off for me. I feel that I am out there to the point that people who don't ordinarily know me have now heard of me. My passion is out there for everyone to see and I have risen past my own expectations. I feel more accomplished in what I do in the world of writing, even though I have barely scratched the surface.

Perhaps it is because I have a beautiful girlfriend. I am with a woman that understands and accepts me for who I am. Long distance has made things interesting, but I am committed. She has shown me how to enjoy life for what it is and I appreciate her for that. I'm at the point that I truly feel that I can accomplish my dreams with her in my corner. Not to mention the fact that despite it all, I have no issues with showing how I feel to everyone.

Perhaps it is because I am HAPPY. For the first time in a long time, I am happy with my life. Sure, I am struggling and dealing with things I rather not deal with, but I am so very content with my life. I have come to the realization that I spent many months in some sort of depression. I am not talking about something serious, but definitely in a mental and emotional rut that had effected everything that I did in life.

Let's be real here, being happy is the one thing that a few people do not want me to be. I have been through the fire and have come out unscathed. I will always be the bigger person and I will always look for opportunities to make myself better. I do not care for negativity in my life and I will always ask for the respect that I deserve. I will always rise above pettiness.

So if you are a hater, there is always the unfollow or ignore button. Perhaps you can just unfriend me on Facebook (as some of you already have), in either case, I will always maintain my professional character and willingness to better myself. Saludos.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

A Mile

People think I lead an easy life. They think that because I am positive most times about the here and now as well as the future, that I am living this care free life. People think because I do not call or visit them that I do not care anymore. I get tired of these assumptions because life is hard like it is supposed to be. I don't ask for credit or reward, I just ask for understanding.

I make tough decisions everyday about my personal life. In order to survive and live life with rewards, one needs to take risks. One would also need to make sacrifices, which is a word that I know all too well. As I get older, I now understand that sometimes things need to be sacrificed in order for progress to happen.

People love to judge and assume as if I care about their judgements and superficial concerns. I have yet met anyone who can walk a mile in my shoes. I am not discounting that other people have it worse than I do because I know for a fact that I have a certain amount of privilege. Yet, I find myself being the bigger person in most situations because I do not have the time to be petty nor do I care to rationalize what other people may think. I simply have too much on my plate.

I wouldn't expect most people to understand because all they see is my persona. They see the calm, cool, and collected person that never panics. However, I think about everything. I see the world as a chess board. Each move I make has to set up the next one because losing is not an option. I don't have the luxury to make bad decisions, in fact, I don't have the luxury to make good decisions…all my decisions have to be GREAT. That means they have to be high risk.

I worry about many things. I am great at my job and I love to help people, but I find it so hard to ask others for help. Perhaps I feel that I can either get out of my own messes. Perhaps I feel that I don't deserve the charity of others. I know my dad would just simply say that I am stubborn and perhaps I am. In either case, I push on because bad decisions of the past have to be rectified.

Yet, no matter how many good things I do, I cannot escape my own fear. I consider myself to be a great problem solver and this is one thing I can't seem to solve…my fear. Not just the fear of not making my goals, or not doing the things that I say I would do, it is the fear of failure. It is kind of funny when you really think about — I have failed so many times in the past, one would think I should be quite used to it. However, I'm never used to it. Sure, I move on quicker, but I never get used to failing because I am not a failure at life.

I know that failure breeds success. An inventor never invents ANYTHING on the first try.  That person fails and tries again…over and over until success is reached. This is my life in a nutshell. I am trying to get things right despite the glances I may get and the comments I receive. I would never expect them to know my milage because they do not know what is like to walk in my shoes.


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