Head vs Heart

I have been thinking about this topic all weekend. When making decisions we are always considering following our hearts. Then there is the thought about following our heads. I always find it amazing that there can be such a difference from following our hearts rather than following our heads. Some people may do this easier than most. They can balance the two factions within us. I am not sure that I have done a great job of this.

I am a person who just thinks way too much. Yet, I seem to follow my heart way too much when it comes to love and life. My head takes a back seat sometimes because many times I follow what feels right to me. The more I think about it, I seem to do that a lot. Especially, with my students. As hard as I can be with them, I seem to give them chances at redemption with either employment or grades. I like to think that I generally care and maybe I do, too much.

When I do not act with my heart, I will analyze my choices and decisions so much. I try to justify something I have done and thus overload my brain with thoughts. I have made many decisions based on the what I thought was right rather that what I felt was right. Of course when that happens I become OCD. I starting thinking about “what if” scenarios, which is never good.

To be honest, I would rather make a decision based on heart rather than head. I have always been that way. I tend to not have a headache when I make a wrong decision that was based on something I thought about, but when I make a wrong decision based on heart…then well I get into a whole world of heartache. However, despite the chance of heartache…the rewards for successfully following your heart tend to be greater.

Not to say that I don’t get a heartaches from making a mental mistake. It just easier to get over. When I talk about heartaches, I am talking about the feeling that we may all get, that is right in middle of our chest that no drug can take care of. To me, that is one of the worse pains I can go through. My estimation is a broken heart is worse than a migraine. At least with a migraine I can sleep it off, not so much with heartache. The pain from a broken heart seems to last for a very long time.

I bring all this up because it seems like death is all around us these days. We tend to forget the little things in life that bring us joy. We tend to take for granted the people in our lives because we simply believe they will always be there. Nothing hits more than reading Lisa Marie Presley’s blog about Michael Jackson. It is never too late to tell someone you care about them. While I personally believe life can be long…not everyone gets to live a long life. Steve McNair is a great example of that. He was a year older than me!

Lord knows that I have been trying to live my life for me over the last few months. There have been times that have been difficult and challenging. Opportunities will continue to appear at my feet, but sometimes I wonder if following my heart at this stage of my life is still the smart thing. I think that I have gone down paths that I have still not fully recovered from, so why follow my heart now? Right now my head is steering the ship in my life. My heart is taking the backseat, I just wonder if that changes the person I am.

MyMindIsRacing

It has been a very long month. I cannot seem to focus on anything. I have tried to come up with a decent blog today, but it is just not happening. I also did not want to skip today either. I need to write in order to express myself. I know I am at a crossroads in my life and I am finding it difficult to take that next step.

This goes beyond moving on and letting go. This has to do with stability, that is so hard to come by in this recession. I am really starting to see how all this stuff is starting to effect me. Gas is getting too expensive again and that is making it hard to just make trips to New York City. Of course, once I get there, it would be hard not to spend money. I find myself shopping at the dollar store (which, I should have been doing all along). Things are just so tight lately that I feel constricted.

Personally, I am dealing with so many things. The loss of a marriage. The loss of a good friend. The loss of Michael Jackson. It seems like this month has been a total loss for me. I wont mention becoming 35 and the fact that the New York Mets cant seem to get a win when I need it the most. This also seems like the month that everyone is dying in, so that is never good. I am trying to find the little the things that can keep me going.

There are things I am looking forward to. I am going to Florida in 2 weeks. This will be a treat for me and I hope to have fun with my parents. I will definitely blog about them and the heated pool (my father doesn’t like the water to be too cold…yet I sweat in the damn water). I have my grad school classes to look forward to. I will also say that I miss my students. They tend to give me more energy than I give them credit for.

The point is…I need June to be over..

Michael Jackson – In My Own Words

“Life aint so bad at all, If you live it off the wall” – Michael Jackson, Off The Wall

I am stunned. I am still in shock. I cannot believe this man is dead. My own reaction surprises me when it comes to the death of Michael Jackson. I guess I was one of the many people who took for granted that he would always be around to entertain us. Amazing how it is all about us. What about him?

I grew up in the 80’s and as I look back at that time, Hip Hop was just beginning and Disco was ending. Ronald Reagan was in office and the era of greed was being born. The Cold War was in effect and I remember having nightmares that we would have a Nuclear War with the Soviet Union. I was a skinny kid that felt he was ugly and struggled to find his place in a Catholic School he hated going to. There was one person that made that go away: Michael Jackson.

He was a larger than life icon that I identified with. He was cool and had such a swagger in his music videos. I wanted to be him, even if only for a few minutes. His music made everyone stop and dance. I remember my aunt having the Thriller Album. See with vinyl, the covers are huge! It was him laying down and when you folded out the cover would see him laying next to a Tiger! I was so amazed by that.

I connected with him because they would play the Jackson 5 cartoon in syndication. So, you could see adventures about them and listen to their old music. I was young enough to believe the music was all the same anyway. But, seeing him as a kid gave me a sense that I could be like him. I mean think about it…How many black cartoons were on TV besides Fat Albert?

Which beings me to my next point. He dominated POP music! He was a black man first and he dominated the industry. I remember staying up late to watch Friday Night Videos and New York Hot Tracks (I did not have cable at that time) to watch Beat it or Billy Jean. You have to imagine the impact of this black man on the black and latino youth. He was it. The problems in the Bronx would seem to fade when his music was on the radio.

I know…he had problems in the 90’s. I feel I need to say something about this. This man was the kindest man in the world in part because he never grew up. He never had a childhood and endured an abusive father. The pressure of being in the music industry is only enhanced because he lacked self esteem. He got lighter and lighter to gain acceptance that he felt he needed. He hated his nose because he felt he was ugly. We will never know what made him hate his image but I can say that he had a mind of a child and children is what he connected with the most.

Most people have passed judgement on a man we have no idea about. He was misunderstood. We do not know what happens behind closed doors. There was a trial and he was acquitted, but the court of public opinion will always rule. So, everyday he died a little inside. I am sure all he wanted was to have his childhood back. More people came forward with accusations and he paid them because he did not want deal with a trial. Why? Because trial or not. He was guilty in the eyes of the media.

I feel that he knew he was going to die soon. It just makes sense to me. He made music only for his children to hear (funny how no one mentions child molestation of his own kids right?) when he is dead. Who does that? He declined the Jackson’s Reunion Tour. Sure, he had a tour in the works, but I think he just knew…

It forces me to think about my own mortality. Yes, every death does. But this one hurt the most. Right now, it just makes me think about my entire life. When I hear his songs I tear up because some of it just hits home. Particularly his songs about love.

It is over now. He is dead…coincidentally, of a heart that could not take it anymore…a broken heart. He died a lonely man. That is punishment enough for anyone who thinks he committed a crime. It is over. Let the man rest in peace.

I will miss you Mike, your music will live in me forever.

Death & Religion

As I get older it seems that death is all around me. The other day my co-worker’s father passed. The week before that my Graduate Assistant’s grandfather passed. Then there was of course my wife’s aunt who passed in the beginning of the year. Over the 2-3 years I have known or heard of at least a dozen people who have died. This will include, my uncle, grandmother, 2 SU alums, an SU student, and my dear dog. Perhaps listing a dog may be weird to some, but when you love a pet so much then you will know it is just like losing a member of the family.It has made me think about my own mortality in ways I never thought I would.

I don’t consider myself a particular religious person. Sure, I did have 12 years of catholic school, but I just didn’t care of some of the things that are said by the Catholic Church. I will further this statement by saying that while I believe in Jesus, I not sure his teaching have been passed down correctly. Let me take a moment to explain this thought.

During the time of the Crusades, the armies of the Church would kill anyone who did not believe in the teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ. When coming across different civilizations that did not even believe in Jesus they would brand those people as savage and hethonistic. Fast forward to the time of Christopher Columbus and you will witness the same thing. Those prompting the near eradication of indigenous people in North, Central, and South Americas. Take that one step further to the slave trade. Africans were converted to Christianity when they got off the boat.

Where am I going with this? The gospel has had many revisions and has thus been used to persecute the weak. Back in old times people can use a passage as just cause to burn a witch. Other passages can be used to show that people of color are savages. We all know know how the church views homosexuality. So when we look at the scriptures now, are we really getting the word of God or we getting the word of God through eyes of the dominant culture? I am not saying I have the answer to this.

How does this make me think about death? Well if you read the bible, then you know that there is a lot of death in it. I consider myself a god fearing man so to me death and judgement go hand and hand. I have often joked about how there is a suite reserved for me in hell, but do I really believe that?

Well this is what I believe for sure. Both my grandmothers are watching over me. I can write stories about how religious mi abuelita (from my mother side) was. I would have brutal nightmare as kid. Very vivid and very often about evil spirits coming to get me and bringing me to the feet of Satan. Once she died, I have not had one dream like that since. I was 12 when she died. I think that we all have a place in life and in death. I feel blessed that some how I have been able to survive my near death experiences (9/11 and my car accidents).

One Month Down…

The last day of January and I feel that I need to reflect on how well this New Year is going for me. I gave myself a pretty lofty and broad resolution which was simply, “make myself better”. So, I think about how I spent the beginning of this year in New York City with family and friends. It was the end of a very good trip. We got back on the first Sunday of 2009, the ride was perfect, there were no issues. Then my wife gets a phone call that her aunt died. The same aunt she spent time with when we were in NYC. So began our new journey into 2009.

Of course, we had to make arrangements to go back to NYC on a very unhappy note. Which is stressful as it is, but I am the type of person who tries to plan the trip so that I know what to expect from the weather. When first went down, I planned it in such a way that coming and going, the weather was ideal. I could do that with this situation. So a trip that has taken me 4 hours, now took me 6 because of all the snow. The trip going wasn’t so bad, but there were times that it got a little scary with white out conditions. I usually take Interstate 17, which is a path of turns that goes through the wilderness of upstate New York.

We stayed in the Bronx, of course, with her grandmother who lives in the projects. This was something that was new for me because I didn’t grow up in the projects and always did my best to avoid them. While, I indeed grew up in the Bronx, I was fortunate enough to live in a house until my parents split. So the whole concept of taking a elevator that barely works while holding your breath because the urine smell can choke you is new to me. However, I am not saying my stay was bad. I believe that when you force people to live in cages, the conditions will not be favorable. I will say though, I was able to steal someone’s Internet and I was good…lol

There is something to be said about reflecting on death when the new year starts. I feel that life is put in perspective when you go to a funeral, particularly of someone that is truly loved by their family. I reflected on my grandparents and my uncle. I also thought about what I would do if someone I truly love were to pass away. It also made me realize that I am not done here on this planet. There are times when I am not sure where I am supposed to go, I do look for those paths to walk on and those bridges to cross.

A somber experience eventually changed to a excited one. We have a Black President. It will take me a while to really get used to saying that. I am still getting used to seeing Barack Obama in the White House. I have arguments with people who think that his agenda is too broad or too unrealistic and if he fails what does that mean. My point is that none of that matters to me. Why? Well because look what just his presence alone has done to us and to the rest of America. Now, when little black boys will be able to say that they can do anything and to me that is worth more than gold.

My work is my life. I love what i do. I love the students. What had been challenging is the thought of leaving where I am so that I can possibly make myself better. The job market isn’t the greatest so the possibility grows smaller by the hour. However, I have realized that when opportunity arises, one must take it. Which what makes me writing again so great. I cannot thank the people who have shown me love about this blog. I write from the heart because I am not sure of another way.

I am hoping that good things will come in the next month…

I am Just Venting (at 1:30am)

{Originally Posted on Myspace}

I don’t know what is wrong with me. I have sorta been in a bad mood for awhile. I haven’t been able to pin point it, but I know there are several reason that may be the cause:

I work too much. I know that, but I love my job and it is very demanding even though I feel myself growing out of my current position there is just nothing out there for me at the moment. Ever get the feeling you are like one step of everyone else, but people think they are two steps ahead of you. That is how I feel at this point. Not to mention I have a midterm I haven’t even begun to start. I will try not to mention how most of my co-workers seem to piss me off.

A colleague of mind died on Monday. 50 years old. Heart attack…I worked just as hard and just as much as he did. The man dies on his day off and the day before he is about to go on vacation to celebrate his wife’s birthday. That is so fucked up. I was just working with him on Saturday.

Then I am the chair person of a Latino community organization. Sometimes I wonder why I even took that fucking job. I never seen so many people used to mediocrity.

I am just venting…

R.I.P. Rusty


{Originally Posted on Myspace}

It is been awhile since I last wrote anything. It has been a busy summer for me. Went on a cruise (pictures will be posted soon), been to NYC a few times, took care of 2 little girls for about a month…just to name a few things. The one thing that happened that was so unexpected was the death of my youngest dog, Rusty.

Rusty was a little over 4 years old and died of cancer. I have never seen an animal deteriorate so fast. We noticed the problem when we sent him to get groomed and had noticed large lumps around his throat. That weekend we had a fourth of July party and he was not as lively as we have become so accustomed to. When we saw the Vet, she confirmed what we had feared and gave him 3 weeks to a year. After giving us some medicine that would make him feel good we had to consider his fate.

The vet had also told us that with treatment we could prolong his life for maybe another few months to a year, but was very adamant that Lymphoma (the type of cancer he had) in dogs was incurable. Sure we could treat it but, that was a lot of money. The medicine she gave us was steroids that would shrink the lumps for a time and make him return to his old jolly self. Return to himself, he did. It was almost like a miracle, and it was like what the Vet said was a lie. Why would Rusty die?

Weeks pass and we don’t notice anything. He is fine. Until, one night….he just stopped moving. He would move somewhat slowly, if we called. But I knew he would not make it passed the next day. That next day was a Friday (7/27) and we had to go to NYC to drop off the kids and to see my nephew Justin. I will never forget that morning. Rusty was delirious. He could barely walk. With tears in my eyes, I watch him collapse in the backyard as he struggled for air. I called the Vet, sure they can take him…for about $300 they will put him to sleep and bury him; oh yeah and for an extra charge they will us his ashes. One more thing…we can’t bring him in until noon (it was 10am when I called). I had a bad feeling he would not make it. Not to mention the fact I needed to be on the road. I did call the animal hospital and while it was cheaper…they would not take him until noon.

When I looked over, I noticed that he made his way to a bush by the patio. He picked his spot. I knew that this is where he wanted to die. We did go to NYC and Maria, (a good friend) called me later to confirmed that he passed. I took care of things when we got back the following Sunday.

I created a Photo Album in his memory. I will miss him very much.

{Editor’s Note: It is still very hard to read this story and I archived this one 2/5/09}