I have made the decision to defer from the SAHE program and return home. This was an extremely difficult decision to make and I want to thank the SAHE faculty and my colleagues in the Vice President’s office for their overwhelming support. My decision to leave reflects not on the SAHE program, CSU, or Ft. Collins, but rather it is based on the realization that there is both a right and wrong time to be in graduate school. And for me, right now is not the right time. I am burnt-out. I worried that my friends, family, and mentors would be disappointed in me and that leaving showed my lack of ability to succeed in graduate school. I realized that all the pressure I was feeling was self imposed. My family has been supportive of my decision and I look forward to moving home and spending time with them. I want everyone to know that I fully intend on returning to CSU to complete the SAHE program. I want to be able to fully embrace the program in preparation for an exciting and challenging career in student affairs. I would have preferred to announce this to everyone personally, but considering that my withdrawal was effective as of this past Friday, this was the easiest way to let everyone know. I am going to miss the amazing people I have met here, but am thankful in knowing that they will continue to be both my colleagues and friends for many years to come.
This year has provided me with such life changing events that I can’t imagine that copious amounts of reading, stress and lack of a social life will prove to be more difficult. I’d like to reflect on two significant events that I sincerely feel changed my life.
I remember the night Kristal S. called me informing me my selection to be interviewed. I had just finished getting ready for our final recruitment event where the chapter would vote on our fall pledge class. I called my mom and cried a bit, tears of joy. I wasn’t expecting that those tears of joy would be followed by the most painful experience of my life. With an excellent group of potential recruits I was excited to start voting. When one potential recruit was questioned for being bisexual, I interjected reassuring the chapter that sexuality was not an issue and should never be. They agreed and continued the process. Again another potential was questioned to be gay, only this time the conversation started differently. One member who was a close friend to me arrived late and provided the following statement, “Are you kidding me? We don’t need another fucking faggot in is fraternity.” I of course challenged him reminding him of my bisexual self identification. He then turned to me reminding the chapter that “Our quota had been met. There was no need for any more fucking faggots in this fraternity.” My instinct was to hit him, but I refrained. Considering there was no overwhelming effort from my brothers to help me, I stood there alone. I felt empty and weak. I stayed and continued voting knowing that it was probably my last day as an active member, making sure to not shed a single tear. I couldn’t believe that those people I dedicated my life to mostly stood there as I was publicly degraded. I left with no intentions of returning. The chapter took immediate action. I was consoled and later provided with opportunity to speak to the chapter regarding the future of this former brother of mine. For months I was angry, even after this was settled. I started to hate him. My anger was so vivid and alive that I became obsessed. I knew my only option was to forgive him, and so I did. Accepting his apology was the only way I would be able break free from the negative energy which began to consume me. It was probably one of the most difficult things I’ve done, yet I am thankful for it. For the first time I realized that I was secure with my identity.
Thankfully the remainder of the semester didn’t throw any curveballs of that magnitude. It wasn’t until the semester ended that I would be challenged again. Shortly after graduation it was brought to my attention that a childhood friend of mine had passed. Cruzita and I had been friends since kindergarten. We completed elementary, middle and high school together. At the time I didn’t know the cause of her death, but later discovered that she had taken her own life. I was devastated. Cruzita and I hadn’t been in contact for a couple of years. It was hard to imagine that one of the most peaceful and kind people I knew was gone, leaving behind her five month old daughter. I was well aware that depression had plagued this beautiful person and ultimately caused her passing. I attended her services, unsuccessfully holding back tears. I didn’t know how to feel after this. The reality of life’s transient nature was difficult to contemplate. The only conclusion I could draw is that because our lives our temporary we must live them according to will of God. I needed to be thankful for the many blessings in my life. The second half of the prayer of St. Francis was helpful in reminding me of these things.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
I know what an awesome opportunity I have being a part of this program. I understand that this short two year journey will be difficult for a variety of reasons. But rather than fear it, I can only welcome and embrace it. It is a blessing that I am here.
Recently I’ve had the opportunity to discuss the upcoming semester with a variety of people. Recent graduates, current students and faculty/staff have provided me with some of the colorful possibilities of what the next two years may look like. The commonality among these is that it is going to be difficult. And although I have been very critical of some of the things I’ve been told, I understand and appreciate the effort being made to prepare me for what may occur during the semester. I guess it was my expectation that this program, specifically this semester, would be described more positively. Never once did I perceive the next two years to be a walk in the park. It is my expectation that I will be challenged holistically. I am looking forward to this. I have to remind myself that it is through life’s challenges that we are strengthened.
I envy my brother. He is going to be a father. What a blessing! I hope that one day I will understand what it means to love your own child. I’m excited to be an uncle. I won’t be like my uncle though, always competitive and critical. If I’ve learned one thing is that my family supports each other. I am so proud of him, though. We weren’t always that close. We had few things in common. Soccer is where we bonded. I’ve learned a lot from my brother, his ability to love unconditionally is inspiring. He and his partner have been together for almost 10 years I think, still with the intentions of being married one day. I think they have been together longer than what most married couples accomplish. He is such a hard working man too. I wish I would have made a better effort to connect with him. I miss him.
I haven’t had a chance to reflect on this, but it is really important to me to talk about this amazing person. I went to a local Applebee’s a few days ago, alone. I have made an effort to try the local restaurants and have been unsuccessful in finding a decent place. Though often criticized, I like Applebee’s food and the restaurant itself reminds me of my friend Samantha. I sat there eating my meal, thinking about the years of friendship between myself and my sister. That’s what she is now. I started crying, missing her more than I ever have. Samantha, in all honesty, is the only person who accepted me from day one. We met at a local community center in the sixth grade and from there went on to create quite a history together. After we graduated Sam moved to ABQ before myself, started a Medical Asst. program and worked at a hotel cafe for a bit. She went on to work at Applebee’s where she still works to support herself now, practically doing every job except store manager, which they have offered her. She is one of the hardest working people I know and I wish I could maintain half of her work ethic. I admit to the fact that I neglected our friendship during my undergrad which I greatly regret. There was never a dull moment when we were together. We only fought once, literally. This is surprising considering the amount of drama I indirectly included her in. She has always been my best friend, though it took much too long for me to realize that. I love her. I can’t imagine my life without her. She may never read this, which is fine. I know she feels the same, because if anything Sam keeps it real. One day she will be in my wedding if I have one and the Godmother to one of my children. I feel that the world is lucky to have such an honest, loving and genuine person como mi hermana Samantha. I am thankful for her.
Therefore, we are not discouraged; rather, although our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this momentary light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to what is seen but to what is unseen; for what is seen is transitory, but what is unseen is eternal. ~2 Corinthians 4: 16-18
Tonight I miss my family. Fortunately I will be able to see most of them for a few hours tomorrow. I’ve never felt more distant. Unable to be present, helpful. In the past I had the ability to help and did when I could. I should have done more. There was no reason for me to be so selfish. My mom is ill. It breaks my heart sometimes, when we talk. She is stronger than ever though, so is my father. One day I hope to have half their strength. I have seen my parent’s ability to raise this family, and aid in the raising of other’s children through foster care. I won’t be able to compare. I do know this though, my son or daughter will be raised as I was. Some personal changes, but the same philosophy. They will be prepared and sincere. With honest Christian beliefs and strong values. They will never be afraid to express themselves and be hardworking, willing to take risks. They will learn from their mistakes rather than be punished, yet always be disciplined. I want them to understand love and feel it. That’s what my family will be about one day, I pray.
For quite some time I have refrained from creating a post here. I couldn’t decide on what topics to discuss, if I should use pictures or videos and whether or not my identity should be known. Today I decided none of that was important. Recently I have been quite emotional, mainly due to the fact that I recently moved from my NM home of 22 years. I knew that the relocation to CO would be difficult, but I never anticipated having to deal with so many emotions. In order to help deal with this I have decided to blog about it. My main focus will be centered on personal emotional ties. Discussing those people and things I miss most, what triggered the emotion and any connecting thoughts I hope to help myself aid with this transition.