Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Worst is Over.

This past weekend was very long, but I am happy to say that my mother has survived a quintuple bypass surgery. For those who do not know what that means, it is the replacement of 5 arteries in which new ones are taken from different area of the body to bypass the old ones. This procedure is extremely difficult but routine in this day and age. So the worst is over and I am left wondering what is on the horizon as my family gets older.

I turn forty in less than two years and I am really trying not to think about getting older. Yet, with every ache and pain that I have I begin to wonder when my body will begin to fail me. While my health has been very good, I try not to over diagnose myself with any potential issues that I may have. It is very easy to go on WebMD and become a hypochondriac.

On the other hand, it is just as easy to be in denial of issues that your body may have. I think that most people (men in particular) think themselves to be generally healthy and will ignore common signs. Men seem to think that most pain or discomfort will just go away eventually when in reality they are just afraid to find out that something may be wrong with them. Perhaps deeper then that is the idea that perhaps most people do not want to admit that youth is slowly passing them by so excuses are made for mysterious pains.

I have fallen into this behavior a few times in which I either attribute my headaches to a possible brain tumor or not giving credence to a minor pain I may have else where. The other day I was nervous because I felt a soreness in the left side of my chest. I was fully prepared fight a panic attack because I had no idea where this could be coming from. Was I going to have some sort of heart condition? When I got to my car and put on my seat belt the pain returned and I realized why I was sore. I had stopped short while driving the other day and the pain aligned right where the belt was...

Now that my move is a few weeks away, I will begin the process of finding a new doctor and dentist. Despite my ongoing fear of the dental industry, I know that I will need to find a good one. Finding a PCP will be equally important because in two years I am looking at brand new tests that I am quite sure I am not ready for. I realize that it is my job as a child of my parents to not make the same mistakes that they have. That will require doing things that they have either waited to as they got older or just changing things now so I may not being laid up in a hospital later.

As I mentioned, the worst is over. My mother has brand new tubing in her heart. We are looking at her being released tomorrow or Saturday. This is her second chance and I am glad that my move to NYC is in line with her future rehab and recovery process.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Trying Times

I don't even know what to say. I have never been here before. During the most busiest time of the school year and I have to fight my way through this. My mother will be having triple bypass surgery and I am at a complete loss for words. I think at this point I am just operating on instinct.

From the moment that I heard about her heart attack this past weekend, I have tried to remain positive. Yet, each day has been a different set of news that seemed to be worse that the day before. It is hard to interpret the news when it is your own parent going through it. There is no choice in the matter but to either feel numb because it is all so sudden or feel pain because it is all so sudden.

It also gets to the point where I really do not want to listen to people tell me how routine this procedure is. Everything has risks. I have always been the type of man to manage my pain and my fear to manageable levels. I could always calculate what kind of emotion that I may have to deal with when a certain situation comes up. This situation has quickly become something that is off the chart.

My complicated relationship with her has made this more difficult. We are not exceptionally emotional with each other. We have just been getting used to the idea that we may have actually repaired something that has been damaged for a long time. Now that I am moving back in a few weeks, I knew that things would only further progress. But, now with all this news about the surgery it makes me think about the mortality of it all. I really have not been this terrified since I learned my dad had Cancer.

Yet, this feeling is so different. I am uncomfortable at the same time. I cannot even pinpoint it. Perhaps it is the little boy in me, that was so close to her, looking to cry out and run to her. I feel layers being stripped from me that I am trying to get back. The first thing to go was my humor and then my tact. While I try to pull myself together I try to maintain the idea that despite her age, my mother is a fighter. I have to believe that she will get through this.

I am making plans to go back to NYC for the weekend. I need to do this because today was hard to push all these feeling to the back as I went through student employee training. I am glad that I can remain professional during trying times, but there is always a personal cost.

Monday, August 20, 2012

New York State of Mind

I don't think it has really hit me yet. I know that I'm leaving but it just doesn't feel like I am leaving yet. I guess because my end date for my job at Syracuse University is more that 3 weeks away and it just seems so far away. The funny thing is I want to pack but I really can't yet. Instead I end up doing a mental tally of everything that I need to do to before hand.

My living situation has ben solved. I wont get into it much for the sake of a story I don'tt want to tell that involves family. Let's just say that I am glad that I am able to take just one train to work everyday. In NYC, that is important. I could really careless about long commutes to and from work. I have done it before and wish not to do that again. In any case, it is a very beneficial move for both me and my dog. Rocky is very important to me and his return to New York is as just as significant.

The benefits of selling the house means that I do not have much stuff to move. This is why I am really beginning to think that all this was meant to be because the transition from the house, to this apartment, to NYC is becoming a very smooth process. While, the act of moving is something I really don't care for, all of this will be worth it. I have decided to not take my bed or much of my furniture. I will return to New York with somewhat of a clean slate mentality. Sure, I will have my clothes, books, and electronics, but the things that might have some unpleasant memories will remain in Syracuse.

As I receive information from my new employer, I realize that I must change my mind set. Syracuse is such a laid back city in which you can become complacent because everything is so easy going. That will not be the case in New York City. Everything will be faster and more up tempo. There will always be something to do and I will have to re-acclimate myself to this life.

I do have an advantage that I may not have had before. I now have the advantage of experience. Coming back home with a career that has been well crafted gives me such confidence that I can achieve more of my goals. More importantly, I have the support of friends and family. I do not have to worry about fitting into the area or the city itself. I'm excited to really get to know my home in ways I didn't in the past.

I am putting myself in a New York state of mind. I will have to think about the train rides and the newspapers. I will finally have the coverage of the sports teams that I seemed to have missed so much. I am thinking about the unlimited places to eat no matter the time of day and endless amount of options when it comes to shopping. These are just some of the things I've come to miss about my home. I feel like I've done myself such a disservice by not blogging about any of this in my earlier years. I get to do write in a city with endless inspiration.

I also breathe a sigh of relief knowing that my mother is doing well. Her heart attack was minor and there was no damage to her heart. It gives me the belief that perhaps my time has truly arrived to begin a newer life which is really a continuation of my old life but in a different volume. Perhaps this will end a serious chapter of me or end a book in this journey.

Maybe it is time to really think about changing the game some much that I will need to start a new blog when I get to NYC and simply call it, "Volume. 2"

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Everything is Connected

will never get over saying that things happen for a reason. It has become so apparent in my life that everything is connected by something. While I refuse to think that everything in this life is predetermined by some force of fate, I do think that we are some how cosmically aligned with all the events that occur in our personal lives. I have often thought that I feel as if I am playing a form of chess with the universe.

Then there is that saying that “God gives us enough for us to handle.” This have become more of a powerful saying with every breath I take because the only thing I really do pray for is strength.  There is not merit in me asking God to solve my problems. I fully understand that anything that occurs in my world will work out the way it should.

I think about the events over the last 24 months. The job interviews, the rejections, the success at work, the rebuilding of my resume, the ending of  a marriage, the beginning of a new relationship, the drama, the house selling, the awards, the interviews, the acceptance of a major blog, the new apartment hunt, and the new job. All of the things I listed above have prepared me for my next major thing.

This morning, I found out that my mother has been admitted to the hospital.

This came as a major shock to me. I know that when I interviewed for jobs I talk about my desire to return to my family. I talked about the fact that my mother in not getting any younger. I knew that she had slight health issues due to diabetes but I was not ever expecting a phone call that my mother suffered from what may have been a mild heart attack.

Most of my adult life has consisted of trying to repair the relationship with my mom.  Our complicated relationship stems from a divorce long ago that was damaging. Between her anger at my father and my immaturity we found ourselves at an impasse very early in my adult life. As I have gotten older and wiser I do realize that not everything is black and white.  I have often equated my issues with women to the fact that my mother and I do not get along. I think after my divorce we finally talked through many things and started to heal. I never wanted to wait until it is too late.

Last night I had a very strange dream. I was with my cousins somewhere that was not New York State. I am not sure why we were there but something occurred that I had to deal with for the entire dream. We witnessed the start of the zombie apocalypse. Before you chuckle, understand that at no time did I think this was not real nor was I scared. Somehow the 3 of us escaped to a hotel that was about to board up its doors. We were able to survive for months while we watched the world slowly end.

What was interesting about this dream was that it seemed to last the entire length of my sleep. I was never stressed and we dealt with any issues that came up. What made it interesting is that the living world was fighting back. You could still watch the news as humans and zombies battled. Some of the zombies even talked on television before attacking the reporting crew. It was all very strange and then I woke up.

When I heard the news about my mother I automatically thought about this dream.  Was there significance behind it? I have dreamed about zombies before but this felt very different. I looked up the meaning (which I new before but just wanted to refresh myself) and it read: To dream that you are attacked by zombies indicate that you are feeling overwhelmed by forces beyond your control. Alternatively, the dream represents your fears of being helpless and overpowered. The end of the world could mean many things to people and to some, losing their parents can be exactly that.

Now as she lays in the hospital in stable condition it makes wonder about the events of the last 24 months (as well as that dream). Was this some sort of cosmic plan from the start? Was I meant to get this job at this time so I can be with family at a trying time? This is hard to dispute when I know deep inside that everything happens for a reason.

It turns out she went through a mild heart attack with no damage to the heart. While there will be more tests tomorrow, I will continue to pray that she will be more than ok.  

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Return

I was certain that once I  was offered the position at Barnard College that I would be blogging everyday about it. However, I pulled back because of the background check that was going on at the time. This is where my paranoia becomes paramount. Since this was the first time I've ever been subjected to one, I had no idea what to expect, but as a friend just reminded me, I really had nothing to worry about.

It is one of those things where the Human Resources person tells you that even though the position has been accepted, the job is contingent on passing the background check. I was too busy being happy that I am finally leaving SU to really understand the gravity of the situation. Of course, the actual gravity seemed to only be determined by my mind. Let's face the facts, I'm not a criminal and none of the information on my resume is falsified. So, why did I make such a big deal of this within my own space?

First, I originally thought that there was a credit check involved. According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, all my information can be released with my permission. When I saw this on the paperwork, I automatically panicked thinking that my credit information was now on the table and who know what was going to happen now. So, I put on my big boy pants and called HR to ask if indeed my credit was going to be looked at. Thank God this was not the case. Background checks like these may have a credit component in it depending on the type of job someone is going for, so I did not have to worry about that.

My credit is something that I have been trying to work on but it turns out that it is not very easy when you have other factors in your life. I am not talking about having a girlfriend either. Many of the reasons to get rid of the house were financial in nature. I was living from check to check despite receiving rent. The money that my tenants/roommates gave me barely covered the expenses of the house. Winters are brutal in Syracuse and so is Niagara Mohawk. While I was able to catch up on some things, I'm not where I need to be. I plan on fixing that very soon.

With the credit check off the table, I still ended up being nervous. Much of this is my fault. I was nervous that perhaps there was some false report that may come up or that one of my jobs misplaced some employment records. I didn't want to have to explain to anyone that I was ultimately not considered because of something unknown in my background. It was a very silly thought but we are in a age of identity fraud and stranger things have happened.

In the end, I am proud to say that I am all set! Background is clear (of course) and my start date with Barnard is September 24th. Many plans have been set in motion to assure my safe return to the city I grew up in. I cannot believe it has been 11 years since I last lived and worked in New York City. The list of things I intend on doing is so very long and trust me, there will be a blog about it.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

I'm Coming Home!

I’m coming home
I’m coming home
tell the World I’m coming home
Let the rain wash away all the pain of yesterday
I know my kingdom awaits and they’ve forgiven my mistakes

It has been 3 years in the making but my (almost) 11 year stint in Syracuse is over. I am taking my talents to Barnard College. I have been intentionally silent on this blog for a reason. I had mentioned at the start of 2012 that I am done with the talking. I just need to do. I am just so very happy that I have been able to accomplish this, but I am also growing in sadness about what I am actually leaving.

First, I want to talk about my journey. Last summer I went hard at a position from another school that interviewed me three times. I was so confident that I was going to get that job that I started packing my bags. Then after weeks of hearing nothing from them, I contacted them only to find out that they had offered the position to someone else. I was devastated. The bravado that I had meant nothing and while many people wanted to say that perhaps they did not want to hire a person of color, I shrugged that off and looked into the mirror knowing that I had to change something.

The first thing I did, I went to my supervisor and told her that I will not only be staying for another year but I will give this year everything I have. I blew up the resume and the cover letter and started from scratch. At this point I knew I was going to give up the job search for at least a year.  So I threw myself into the work and made sure that anything I did landed on my new resume. I also decided to take a class to prove to myself that I had still had the passion to learn while working.

But, in my heart I knew what it really was that I had to do. The one thing that was holding me back was the house. I just felt a connection somewhere that if I get rid of the weight of that house that I can be able to move on. So I set ambitious goals of taking a class, selling the house, and resolving debt all with 2012. I will admit that I didn't feel very confident that I could get this all done. However, I need to have faith that what is meant to happen will happen.

I gave this year my all and when it came time to start looking for jobs, I took full advantage of all my resources. At first, the search seemed like another failure and to be honest, I gave up on the search again in frustration. I was going to start looking at Grad School full time. Then I got a call… Many trips to NYC this summer has resulted in a job offer with Barnard College. An offer that I have accepted this evening.

It has been an amazing ride. I have been here just about 11 years! Think about the fact that I left a month after 9/11. Now I get to return to my home. I am so happy to have accomplished this. One again, it will be and my dog moving.

I will miss the students so much. I have already told many of those I advise about my departure. I cannot promise that I will not be emotional in the upcoming weeks because if you know me, then you know that very few people fight harder than me for these students. Much of it is tough love but I respect them and care for all of them deeply.

It is time for new beginings. I will finish out my time at SU on a high note and will be in Barnard soon…

I am coming home.



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