Status: Engaged with two cats Daneyko and Chico (both named after hockey players).
Occupation: Patient Centered Medical Home Facilitator
Hello warriors! The humidity may be dropping slightly but “The Latin Heat” is the Warrior of the Week!! That’s right kids, things is gonna get “múy calíente” up in here or atleast lukewarm at best
It has been such a pleasure getting to know a bit more about all of you, your personal journeys and seeing how you have all overcome so many obstacles and prevailed. I am honored to be a part of such a fantastic group and thank you Lou LaFleur for giving me a chance to share my story.
I was born during a torrential rainstorm about a month ahead of schedule. Dad rushed from work to be with mom during the long 20+ hour ordeal. She was hell bent on pushing me out the good ‘ol fashioned way so dad supported her while eating cheeseburgers in the hospital cafeteria; this is mom’s side of the story and she still sticks to this story. I was a wee 5lbs with feet as big as I was long… Nothing has changed.
I am the baby of two kids. I have an older brother John (41) who I am very close with. We look alike, act alike but I was always the one pushing the envelope and getting into trouble. He’s a music teacher/musician extraordinaire. We work together on occasion musically but he’s more Michael and I’m Jermaine or Tito.
My father Ismael was born in Puerto Rico and moved here with his family at the age of 6. My grandfather worked in the salt mines and eventually got to New York waiting for his family to help build a better life. Grandma Luisa came by boat with all five kids. They didn’t speak English but as determined as he was, dad learned and I have never met a man as headstrong as he was. He fought in Korea (Marines) and retired as a prison warden working almost 30 years in New York State Corrections. Such a serious job but the man had such wit and a heart of gold.
My mother Isdelia was also born in Puerto Rico and moved here in her early 20’s. Mama Negron is the jack of all trades and one hell of a character, the Latina Sophia Petrillo, a real spitfire. She will be 79 in September and works part-time as a CNA, babysits, cuts down bushes and can run circles around anyone. She also has her beauticians’ license, owned a florist and was a finalist in the “Miss Subway” contest in the 60’s. Mama Negron was seriously one hotsy totsy and clearly, I inherited her stubborn nature and my brother inherited her beauty.
I was a shy child but always very curious. I excelled in school graduating in the top 5% of my class and was the poster child of what you didn’t want to be in high school: Chubby, nerdy, acne, braces and band geek. I mean you can’t have it all right?
Underneath it all was a girl who loved music and loved LOVED LOVED, Heavy Metal . At 14 I started playing the drums and had some gigs during my junior and senior year of high school. It’s like I lived a double life. My dad thought I was a bit wacky but as long as I had good grades, he was my roadie.
I earned a scholarship to the Art Institute in Seattle Washington in Journalism and couldn’t wait to embark on my next chapter and become the next writer for Rolling Stone, interviewing people on MTV but my folks were like “Oh, HELL NO!” so that went down the toilet.
My parents were very over protective and I was forced to decide on a school that was local. I wasn’t thrilled but earned my Bachelors in Business from Five Towns College. I interned for some local papers (Island Ear, Good Times) but I was lucky to receive a lead from my girl Shelly RB who at that time worked for Westbury Music Fair. After graduating, I landed a job working for Clear Channel Entertainment and for three years got to spend my summers at Jones Beach working concerts as a Sponsorship Sales Assistant. It was a great opportunity and I got to experience so much but I still felt so out of place and unfulfilled.
So I went back into medical office work (having done this in college) and worked as an office manager for a neurology practice. I volunteered for an HIV/AIDS organization and eventually worked for them as a quality coordinator and then grants management. I then went int the health insurance industry (Quality Management). After almost two years I realized that I am all about the patient, went out on a limb and interviewed for a job I thought wouldn’t happen now here I am.
I started running in 2007 (more on this later in the week). I hated it at first I admit but eventually it became the only way that I could really shake things off, think and run off the crazy . Now my body has the hate relationship with it lately, during MCM training no less so it has been a very challenging road since last summer.
I got married in 2009 and divorced almost two years later. This was a pivotal point in my life because it showed me how strong I am mentally.
It wasn’t immediate, very subtle but in time he became controlling and was abusive both mentally and emotionally, a perfect story for that show “Who the F*ck Did I Marry?!”
I put on a brave face to not let anyone know what was going on but inside I was eroding, thinking he was right; the problem was ME. Dealing with this on a daily basis and trying to act like everything is okay to the outside world was just downright exhausting. I was in such a dark, low place fighting to not let it show and one night it hit me how empty and alone that I felt. I had friends and family but the mindfuck that I was going through, it pushed me to the point of feeling like there was only one way out and I tried.
I honestly believe that my guardian angel watched over me that night because somehow I woke up the next morning with the clarity and strength to just walk away.
I never saw rage or felt fear like I did the night that I calmly tried to end the marriage. I left all that I worked my ass off for years behind on a January night wearing nothing but pajamas and flip flops. I ran like hell and never looked back.
As crazy as it sounds, I forgive. Why hold onto the anger and let it stifle me, I forgive and realize that those were actions coming from someone who was insecure with themselves. I admit I still have nightmares and I went to therapy to help get through it all after the fact, it did one hell of a number on me.
From the ashes I built a life for me and my homeboys (the cats) working two jobs to make ends meet but it was on my terms. I’m working on my master’s degree, meeting new people, establishing friendships and I owe a lot to the running community for this. It helped build confidence in many aspects of my life.
The only way to describe it is like having lived in a black hole and seeing in color for the first time, everything was a new experience. Although he tried, he never completely crushed my spirit if anything it fueled me to LIVE rather than spectate.
Three years after all of this, I’d once again get reintroduced to the guy I met at a party 15 years ago but dismissed because he looked like “trouble”. We are now engaged and I was right but the good kind of trouble.
Hills! Holy hell these hills that make my hips ache every time I think of them. I owe it all to Shelly RB for bringing me down to run the course! I will never forget the feeling of my lungs wanting to explode and seeing both she and Michael Oliveri breezing through, running backwards, show offs. I have to limit my hill action thanks to my hip bursitis (thank you Hamptons Marathon Training 2015 for making me realize I’m no longer 18) If you hear loud expletives in Spanish coming from Berkshire, it just me talking to the hill.
Thank you for letting me share my story, see you all at the pole!