The Next Chapter

writingAs I literally write my the next chapter of my novel, I am thinking about the next chapters in my life. My first school year is coming to a close here at Barnard and I have set certain goals for myself that will be set in motion before school starts back up in the fall.

I have the prefect opportunity to start school again and I would like to take full advantage of taking course at Columbia University. The process may be slow since classes are not free and I do work full time but I owe it to myself to get my Master’s Degree. I frequently tell people that I ultimately didn’t want to get my Master ‘s at Syracuse because I was tired of the SU point of view of the world. The other reason is that I would still be there right now if I went all in on that program.

Now that I have an idea of what my work schedule is like, I can plan to take classes accordingly. This will effectively change my life to be able to attend an Ivy League Institution. I had already investigated the possibility of this happening last summer when I was getting ready to be interviewed for my current position so I know what CU has to offer. I think going down this road will allow me to turn the page to the next level of my career.

Speaking of turning the page, I feel the need to say that I have resigned from the Latinegr@’s Project. I know this will come to shock to some because everyone knows how passionate I am about Afro Latinos. I am not going to get into the how’s and the why’s. They are a great group of people that are doing some amazing things. As proof from when I left SU last year, there are times when you just need to move on. I did wish them luck with pushing their agenda and ideas forward into the future. When I think about it, they really don’t need luck, they will be successful with anything they do, I can feel it.

I have also been thinking about the Syracuse University Commencement that just happened last weekend. I truly had mixed emotions about this day. I felt bad that I could not see the students that I’ve been in the trenches with for years. They made it very hard for me to leave and I wanted to show my appreciation. However, this Mother’s Day was the first time I have been with family in a very long time. Graduation weekend has pretty much always fallen on Mother’s Day so I spent 11 years in Syracuse on that weekend.

So it was VERY hard for me to look at all the ceremonious pictures on Instagram and Twitter because there was a part of me that wanted to be a part of that celebration. It reminds me of the discussion and arguments with the knuckleheads. I do miss them. Of course, since most of them live in NYC, I am sure it is only a matter of time until I see them.

I wont even mention that I am turning 39 in less than a month. The big Four-Oh is right around the corner which means all types of cancer tests that I am so not ready for.

The reality of it all is that writing this novel had been a another journey for me. The funny thing about turning the page on an old chapter is that is hard to go back. The story that I am creating draws from so much experience from me as well as the vivid imagination that I was born with. It has opened up some old wounds but also spawned some great ideas for future text. Writing this has been a mixed bag of feelings that has allowed me to think about everything in my life.

One thing is for certain, all this writing has given be a new appreciation for people who do this for a living. I am not even sure what I am going to do about it when I am done, but I suppose I will figure all that out in the next chapter.

Looking back at MY 2012

“Neo, sooner or later you’re going to realize, just as I did, that there’s a difference between knowing the path, and walking the path” – Morpheus

I always try to take one look back before I proceed into the future. 2012 has finally come to an end and I cannot help but be amazed of how I ended up exactly where I wanted to be. I will say that as much as I wanted this to be a good year, I wasn’t so confident that it would end that way.

The first thing I decided to so was to take more risks. The truth of the matter was that at this time last year, I knew I needed to change my life before I went spiraling down in a flame of debt and foreclosure. What I learned from my woman was that taking risks shouldn’t always be that scary. After a afternoon of learning how to ice skate –without falling once, I realized that I needed to invest in myself and take those risks that may turn my life around.
At the same time I realized that this blog was becoming a venue for me to complain and talk about things I would love to do but never follow up on. I was done with that. I need to stop talking and just do. The result ultimately ended up with me having less blogs than I anticipated but, the major goals I set were completed. Yet, as a writer, I did get more exposure than I ever thought I would with being selected as blogger for the Huffington Post. Yes, I feel like I keep saying this but I still find this to be amazing.  I wrote 4 articles and acquired a great deal of fans on that site.

Although, there were some bumps along the way, my second blog for the Huffington Post received some comments that I was not excited about. Looking back at it, it wasn’t that big of a deal but, I did feel a certain way about it. I craft my words carefully (which is why I was called a Word Ninja) so that people can understand where I’m coming from. Usually, there are people who take my words to mean something entirely different (I’m still getting used to that). There was also the time in which the Huff denied a post from me. That was particularly hard to swallow, but I got over it.

I still believe that this was a banner year for racism. Despite the fact that Barack Obama won a second term, I believe we have seen so many signs of racism in the country that it is almost laughable if it wasn’t so tragic. The death of Travyon Martin really took its toll on me when it happened. I think there is a lot to be said about the gun laws in this country and while I wrote nothing about Aurora and Sandy Hook shootings…I think eyes need to opened when comes to which populations are being effected by certain laws. I think more importantly it is the perception that people have that really shows how “tolerant” we are of other people. This does not mean I have strong words for just white people….my own people can be ridiculous too.

Of course with the things that I say or do, come people who have either a difference of opinion (which is fine) or people who downright cannot deal with me. This year, I have learned to take the good with the bad. Let those fester in there thoughts while I continue to move forward. I can spend a whole blog post on the telling of stories about people and incidents that happen earlier in the year that will be completely hilarious. However, in doing so, that will make them look bad. I am determined to be the better person always. I think I have succeed in that one thing before I left Syracuse.

There were several proud moments for me this year, but nothing did it more than me getting an A in my graduate course in the spring semester. Another reason for the lack of blog posts was the simple fact that I was taking a class. The reason why this was big for me is because I never got an A in any class in my college career. I think I did pretty good on this.

My, departure from Central New York involved risks has I mention above. I was lucky enough to sell my house and get an apartment for a short amount of time. There was also so much risk in just keeping the faith and hoping that my job search would find me something. I’ll be honest, there was one point where I gave up. With my last job application submitted, I told myself that it was either now or never. If I do not get a job in NYC, I would have looked into Grad School in California. I had schools already picked out when Barnard called for the interview.

I will never forget that afternoon when I was told that I was hired. With my return imminent, I thought about all the things I would do when I got back home. But, I had to ultimately say goodbye to good friend. Yes, it was hard to say my goodbyes to colleagues, friends, and students but it was the hardest to say good bye to Rocky. I still love and miss that dog. He has remained in Syracuse with the x-wife. I still think about him everyday. Sad to say that all good things come to an end…SU will always be in my  heart.

However, I did learn that everything is truly connected. In the wake of my decision to move, my mother suffered a heart attack. This required her to have a quintuple by-pass surgery that we all were very nervous about. Of course, Columbia Presbyterian is one of the best places she could have very gone to, there is was always that horrifyingly small chance that something may go wrong. The good thing is she fully recovered which made my return even more glorious.

The rest of the year was filled with apartment hunting while being broke, Obama was re-elected, Sandy damn near destroyed lower Manhattan, my Macbook broke, and I am near obesity.

I think this was a good year. Very successful. Next year will be better. I will share a toast tonight for my friends, family, and to all of you who continue to follow me. Happy New Year! 

Tony FAQ

I wanted to compile a small list of questions that people have been asking me since I moved back to NYC:

The number one question that I have been hearing lately is “how is the new job?” It can often times be more specific like “How is Barnard?” This is a fair question and I feel as if I need to come up with a universal answer since I have often been repeating myself. That is not to say that I do not like answering the question because anyone who switches jobs will tell you that the question of how your new job is will happen well past the first two months from the start date.

Barnard College is great. I cannot be happier right now. The job I have right now is very similar to what I had at Syracuse University with some differences. The campus is smaller but the fact that it is so neatly tucked into Morningside Heights makes it really special. There is hardly any sense of apathy which is a real change from Syracuse. These young women are very attuned to what is happening in the world and it really impresses me. I suppose being at an Ivy League institution will do that. (Which freaks me out — Ivy League??)

Here is another question I get, “How’s the transition?” The funny thing is, I never considered moving to NYC to be a transition. It was very easy to go back to the public transportation mode. My work hours are relatively the same and I am treating my living situation similarly to what I had before I left Central New York. The only things that took a while to get used to was not having Rocky in my life and the constant Parking Wars that go on in the streets of NYC everyday.

There is not a day that goes by in which I see a dog that reminds me of Rocky. There is always someone walking their small dog that bears that resemblance. There is a dog park over by Riverside Drive that is called Rocky Run. I took him there once and I am the mayor of that place on Foursquare. Perhaps it sounds silly, but I think about him every time I check in. Of course, I am over that way because I have to park the car, which is also about 15 blocks from where I reside. These are the parking wars that I am getting used to and can probably dedicate an entire blog post on this subject.

“Where are you living now?” I am still in Washington Heights. It is interesting to not live in the Bronx or in Mount Vernon. The parking wars are serious in this section of Manhattan this for sure. I do feel very comfortable living here, more than I thought I would. Perhaps because I was so used to everything being slower and quieter. When I was in Syracuse, I felt like I was moving faster than everyone else or that perhaps I was just a little bit louder. I feel like I fit right into a busy neighborhood that plays so much Musica Latina.

I think there is a lot to be said with me coming back to a place that has had the culture that I have missed so much. Before you assume that I am making this all about Spanish food and Latin Music, there is a definite culture in being a New Yorker. It is the feel of the city, the thrill of the sports, and oddly enough the subway train rides. It is these things that have made my return easier for me on all fronts.

Finally, “How is your mother doing?” She is doing remarkably well. I often say that you would never know that she had a quintuple bypass surgery. I believe there is a part of her that feels she now has a second chance at life. I have often wondered what it is like to get older and face death, but I think that because she was a nurse in The Bronx, she has seen her fair share of death.

She is walking around more than she did in the past. While she may not be as strong as before she will get to where she needs to be with PT. Her body is not just recovering from the surgery, as I mentioned before that she does have Diabetes. Taking that into account will all the other ailment, like Arthritis, and you get a picture of how she should look and feel. But, she doesn’t look like one of those old ladies. As long as she continues to pay attention to diet and maintain her exercise, I think she will be fine for years to come.

If you have any more questions feel free to send me a message on here or through Facebook!

I am near Obese! (26.4% Body Fat)

Yesterday was the day I decided to get my ass kicked. I will admit that I didn’t join a gym to get a personal trainer. But when a free session was offered to me, something inside me told me that I should at least try it.

What I’ve come to find out is that running can only get me so far. Sure, I can build stamina all day but if I cant lift a simple box around the office than what was the point? I started doing light arm and chest work outs with weights in addition to my ab workouts. the problem is never knowing when you are doing something wrong. Twice last week I ended up tweaking something and I knew that if I am not careful, I could be in some real pain.

So the whole personal trainer idea was not sounding so bad. I made sure to run hard last week (3 days = 7.5 miles) and get four days rest leading to this fateful day. I was not going to disillusion myself, I knew what I was in for and I expected the worse. The fact that she was a short woman who seemed nice made it worse. I wasn’t falling for a sweet face of a person that could quite possibly know how to do a helicopter kick (i.e. Street Fighter).

Without going into the gratuitous and sweaty details of the slaughter that took place to my physical being, the work out was good. I had two goals in mind, the first was not to scream like a baby when I couldn’t do it anymore and the second was not to beg her to stop. I accomplished both, but I was pushed to my physical limit. I felt the muscle soreness right away. Thank God she was not berating. I had images of Jillian Michaels (The Biggest Loser) yelling at me to get my fat ass in gear. But I survived it and only had one thing to do after getting stretched, and that was to discuss future appointments.

This is the part I hate the most. The debate on whether I should pay to have my own personal trainer. There is no question that this woman would help me get to a certain weight and body type. But the price was too much for me. It was something like $380-400 and that was payment #1.  She questioned my motivation and my immediate response was that money is my motivating factor for not continuing considering that she wanted me to make a payment right away. That wasn’t happening

She measured my body fat and I knew it wasn’t going to be good. This is an area about my health that I know the least about. A man my age should have an ideal body fat percentage of about 13% – 20%. The average percentage is 20.2% to about 25.6%. Anything above these can be considered obese. Of course mine is 26.4%. She tells me how bad this is for me and that she can teach me the proper form in exercise, which is true. I learned new ways to work out that I am still feeling. The body fat percentage is a big thing to me. I joke about how fat I am (even though I really don’t think I am) because I know my family history.

However, I think my motivation is in the right place. I pay for a membership to a gym where I go 3 times a week. Paying an additional amount of dollars when I still have bills to pay and an apartment to hunt for is not the best way to go. Even when I mentioned that I was on a budget, I got this look like I will never train with her again. Which I did say that I still could, just not right now (it’s not you, it’s me). Very simply, the budget that I share with the girlfriend will be compromised by a decision to pay for something thing without consultation. While that may have come across as me being whipped, I would challenge any man who shares expenses with their partner to make a big payment without checking and see what occurs.

Of course I won this argument, but I lost the war. I am obese by all indicators and yet I don’t feel that way. I know we live in a country that subscribes to an anorexic style of beauty but I also have to consider science. My mother’s heart attack was very much about her diabetes. My Father’s cancer may not have been avoidable but I know that taking of myself now can help me in the future. Does this mean I need a personal trainer? I am not sure. Maybe I do. But, I do have additional motivation and that is to be as healthy as I can.

P.S. My BMI is 27.7. You can calculate yours here.

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.

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.

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.  

Child Discipline or Abuse

This was my picture on Facebook to support child abuse.

Before I even begin I want to give a shout out to Brooke, who started this thought process for me on this topic. She wrote a very good blog post earlier today that made me think about a few things.

I really didn’t talk much about Thanksgiving this year. I did not talk about that week at all outside of Sarah Lawrence. I was in my own world doing my own thing and I know that it appears to some that I may have blown people off, but it is simply not that simple. But, if I can cut a small piece of that week out for all to view, it will be spending the holiday with my mother and that side of the family.

It is always interesting times to go over there. My aunt lives in Riverdale, which is a very upscale part of the Bronx. This was one of the few places in the Bronx where I spent some time living because Riverdale was spot number 2 that we moved to once my mom left my dad. It is really not a bad area, however, this was the first place I was called a nigger by a white kid and I have been thinking about my identity ever since (a story for another time).

The issue for that day was who was I going to go with. Was I going to go with mom or my brother? I ended up driving myself because at the end of the day, I would rather have the option of leaving when I wanted. Plus, I had another stop to make (benefits of having a big family…options and other places for food!). There is always a bit of trepidation when I am going to family gatherings because you never know. My history with that side of the family is an extension of my relationship with my mother. So, I had to be cautiously optimistic.

Dinner started as soon as I got there because I was the last one. It was not my fault it took me almost an hour to find parking in Riverdale. The food was good. We laughed and ate, things were merry. In fact, I ate so much that I was about to pass out. I wanted to sleep so bad! I decided to walk around and play with my smaller cousins and nephew.

Then desert came and we started this discussion. The kids were a little rowdy, but I know I have seen worse. One of older my cousins, who has no children, starts talking about how people need to discipline their children more otherwise these kids will run rampant. I knew what she was saying. The adults want to be adults and the kids need to be curbed. Somehow we got on this conversation about some kids need to get a beat down but the laws are so strict that kids these days like to threaten their own parents with calling child services. The running joke was of course, the kid would be like “I am going to call the police” and the parent would respond something like “Go Ahead…they can keep you” or “You wont make it to the phone” (all of this was me)

Let me just say that I know I wasn’t the best kid in the world. I used to get hit to and for the most part I deserved it. My grades sucked, I broke stuff, I would not listen, and I just could not get my shit together. So there was no surprise to me that my mother chimes in at some point and talks about how she used to beat me. We laughed as she told the story about how she chased me around the house and finally caught me in my bedroom. I started screaming for my dog, Bosco (which was this big wolf like dog). He comes running in and jumps on my mother! Then he realizes who it was he just tackles and runs out the room in a hurry. I remember this and it was very hysterical.

Then there were more stories and I started thinking… I can remember getting hit more by her than her hugging me. Now, I am not saying I was abused. I would argue that I was not. But, it forces me to think about all my relationships with women. One of my aunts told me that my mother had no patience with me many times and her anger would come out easily. I realize that I strive so hard for the approval of women and I take a lot of “abuse” when I don’t have to.

I bring this up because over the past week there have been many people changing their Facebook profile pictures to cartoon characters of their youth to promote child abuse awareness. The premise is to relive happy memories of our younger days. While some people have said that this is silly because it wont stop the abuse of children, I am for it because child abuse is wrong. Giving money wont stop child abuse either, but at least more people will be aware that some kids are born to some really bad parents.

Back to me. I am not saying that my mother was this abusive woman, but I was once for hitting kids when they were unruly. I am not so sure anymore. People do not seem to realize how fragile a relationship with a child is. The foundation of all relationships are laid when are children. If there are issues with this foundation, it will be something that kids will be dealing with for the rest of their lives.

The Precipice of Solitude

I have been thinking about ways to write this blog all weekend. I found a need to say so many things and I am not sure how they will come out but I am just going to let it all come out today. What really has me going is something that I have said for a few weeks now, everyone I know seems to be going through something. I realize that we all deal with adversity in our own ways. But, for the most part, it is hard to deal with pain and broken dreams.

I have dealt with my own issues the best way I can, which is looking inwardly for all the answers in my life. There has been a time where I have actually prayed for guidance and strength because sometimes my thoughts betray me. I am not going to say that how I am going through things is the way everyone should, but one thing I will say is that no one should let their pain rule them. I seen too many instances where people have let their pain beat them. I am one of those people who refuse to let that happen to me…but I admit, it is a struggle.

Pain can make our thoughts go sour…and depending on the person, they want nothing more than to share their misery with the person who created that pain. I completely understand this reaction but it isn’t the right one. I have witnessed instances where someone can become very vindictive because of another person’s deceit. The problem is that you cannot battle deceit with vindictiveness because no one wins. Karma dictates that what comes around goes around. We can never force this. If anyone of us were to be vindictive to another person we may find ourselves at the end of karma.

Which brings me to my example. Many people want to know why my mother and I have not had the best relationship. As I once again stand at the precipice of solitude, I look at my past in order to see where my future may lead. One of the things that I did not want was for my marriage to lead to divorce because I lived through the very painful and damaging divorce of my parents. My mother left my father when I was in grammar school and the divorce was not finalized until college. Here is where I realized being vindictive does not work.

My mother was not happy with my father and wanted to make sure he paid for their failed 14 year marriage. When she moved out she took me with her. The nomadic period of my life began here, where we moved 3 times in 5 years. When I was 16 I had to make a difficult choice of which parent to live with. I chose my dad, not because I didn’t love my mother, but because I wanted to become a man. My social awkwardness up to that point in my life was not working for me. I didn’t know how to speak to a girl much less have the chance to hang out and meet one.

Clearly this upset her and a messy divorce ensued. As a result of my decision to choose my father, my mom disowned me. She took me out for dinner one night at Willie’s Steakhouse and told me that I am no longer her son. Thus my first break up from a woman, the one that seems to haunt all of my relationships. This is where I link my issues abandonment. This is where I feel that every woman I fall in love with will eventually leave me because if my mother can do it, what is going to stop anyone else? Trust me, it has happened 4 times so far…

Her vindictiveness also lead her down the path of making my father pay. As you know, women are entitled to half of a man’s assets, so she wanted half the house, which forced my father to take a loan for 90k. When the time came, he asked her to pay half tuition. She said no..and he took her to court and made her pay half of all my tuition. At one point we talked and she cried to me saying that my father was being unfair and taking all her money…but I was reminded of the Lexus that she drives (and still does…it is a pretty hot car too).

My relationship with my mother has been very shaky for years. We have made attempts to repair this relationship on many occasions. Every time I experience a break up, I am forced to think about her. I wonder if I had a healthy relationship with her if I would be where I am now. Maybe there is a part of me that inherently does not trust a woman for some reason because I know I will give them a reason to leave.

My point is being vindictive solves nothing. You end up hurting yourself more. The best way to “get back” someone is to be the best person you can be. I know that sounds kind of spiritual but it is what it is. For anyone who is done wrong, eventually things will look brighter. Turning the other cheek against those who have wrong you will be the best thing you can do. It will be easier to move on and live your life.

Why I Read Comic Books

“The healthy man does not torture others – generally it is the tortured who turn into torturers.” – Carl Jung

I need to change the mood of this blog. There has been too much talk about death and sadness. So, now it is time to show my nerdy side. I have been collecting comic books all my life. It has always been an escape for me. I have noticed over the last several months to maybe about a year, I have not been reading my comics at all. Don’t get me wrong, I would still buy them and add them to the rest of the pile, but I just didn’t read them. I know myself. I knew that I will eventually get to them.

Then 2 weeks ago a I had a dream. I was in bathroom. I was either shaving or brushing my teeth, but when I opened up the medicine cabinet, falling out were comic books wrapped individually in plastic. The covers were so vivid that I could read the title of the different books, most of which did I did not collect. I had found this very strange because I have never dreamt about comic books before.

It turns out that I was having several weird dreams that week. This was just one that stood out to me. I have always believed that dreams are a way of our subconscious letting us know of issues that need to addressed by our conscious mind (I studied Carl Jung in college). Usually, if you do not try to figure out what your dream is about, you end up repeating them. So, I ended up going to this website and looked up the meaning of this dream. I will say that there were other occurrences in the dream that I am neglecting to divulge…but this part of that dream effected me greatly.

So I look up comic books and it states: To see comic books in a dream signifies that you are taking life too seriously. My jaw dropped. Have I been taking my life too seriously? Have I been this nut job that stressed myself our to no end? Is that why I stopped reading comic books (and regular books) because life is just too damn hard? This was a startling revelation to me. If you know me well enough, then you know that I am reading my comic books as soon as I buy them. I just haven’t been doing that.

I know that some women think that reading comics at my age is immature, but I don’t really give a shit. Let me just day that it was my mother who got me into reading comic books. She would buy them for me when I was very young. I would read them and enjoy the writing and the art. She knew what I collected and made sure I kept up with it. I may not have a great relationship with her, but by fondest memory of my mother was when I was sick with a fever in bed and I was just so miserable. She walked in with 10 new comic books for me to read. That made me feel better than anything else. It made me love to read and it made me want to write!

I have always wanted to be a writer when I was a kid. I actually wrote different adventures and at one point created my own superheroes with their own unique set of characteristics. In fact, I created a whole world of my own. I even shared my adventures with friends (I still have the book around here somewhere…). I also know how to draw, I just don’t think I am that great at it. As, I grew older my skills in writing became better than my skills at being an artist. Besides, it seemed that with every issue of Spiderman or the Justice League of America, my vocabulary improved. You would be surprised how much a 10 year old can comprehend when reading about a character named Firestorm when it come to Nuclear Mechanics and Atomic Restructuring.

My point is, this was escape for me. I lived in the Bronx and I would much rather run to the comic book store than play craps on the corner. Sure, I was made fun of and talked about by the “cool” kids, but I don’t see any of them with a blog 20 years later. So the principle remains the same. Comic books are an escape for me. The best part about them now is that they are now being written by writers who are my age and see the world almost the same way I do.

I finally starting reading them again this past weekend. I was very fulfilling. I didn’t think about any of my problems in the hours it took me to catch up. Well, there was book in particular in which Red Arrow got advice about love from Green Lantern…

Ok, I need to stop, but I will not stop reading…