Chronicles of the Broke-Down Bronx

Husband and I have been in New York for about four weeks now. We’ve been staying in the Bronx with my grandma, and boy has it been a whirlwind already! It really doesn’t feel like it’s been JUST three weeks, and it feels more unreal that we’re actually here…

The Bronx really isn’t all that pretty, (our opinion) but our trips in and out of the city have definitely made this move FEEL all the more worth while! We have a little over an hour commute (1 bus, 1 train) to NYU, where I take two classes once a week. I arranged them both on Tuesday, so Husband and I get to walk around and discover the village in between them. While I’m in class, he spends his time wandering around just gazing at our new scenery! Just last week he told me he stumbled upon Georgetown Cupcakes SOHO! So far, he seems to be loving New York.

Vanilla & Chocolate. Red Velvet. The most amazing cupcakes we've ever had in our lives.

Vanilla & Chocolate. Red Velvet. The most amazing cupcakes we’ve ever had in our lives.

Central Park

Central Park

As for me, I’m loving NYU. I’ve got two really awesome professors. One who has the most amazing sense of humor and the other is a defense attorney, and is as sharp as a whistle. I was lucky enough to be transferred over in to the extended program, so even though I don’t get to spend much time on campus, it’s really worked out in my favor. For one, the Baby Brain myth is real! I can’t seem to focus outside of the classroom at all! I find myself struggling with the readings, and while I’m sure the fact that I’ve been out of school for so long doesn’t help, I’m pretty sure it’s the baby. Especially now that I can feel him kicking!

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HBSE-1. Social Policy. NY Times. Ugh.

HBSE-1. Social Policy. NY Times. Ugh.

Baby's 20 weeks!

Baby’s 20 weeks!

Everything is so different here; I think we’re (more Husband than I) experiencing quite the culture shock. Look, I was born in New York and both sides of my family have lived in the Bronx all of their lives… but we’re just not about this Bronx life. The poverty rates are astronomical. The crime, the deficiencies in education, and the quality of life here very different than what we’re used to. We are living right now in a fairly decent neighborhood, but I don’t want to raise our son here. We’re just not that interested. The Bronx is also very far removed from EVERYTHING. We have over an hour commute to NYU, and just the other day we went to a Housewarming party in Brooklyn, for a girlfriend of mine from Seattle to also moved here for grad school and lives in Windsor Terrace, and it took us almost 2 hours both ways to get there. There are no Trader Joe’s, no Whole Foods, no nice stores or boutiques, no quaint coffee shops or café’s here in the Bronx, and that’s what we’re looking for.

Look... Between the trash and the cigarette smoke... Not about it.

Look… Between the trash and the cigarette smoke… Not about it.

The only real positive we’re getting out of being here, is being around some of my family member that I haven’t seen in YEARS. My paternal grandparents live just a few blocks away from my maternal grandmother (who we live with currently) and it’s been wonderful to be able to finally spend some quality time with them. While it sucks that I can’t share my pregnancy with my parents, who I “left behind” in Georgia, I do get to share this experience with my grandparents. Oh, and boy do they LOVE Husband! Things are working out fairly well here. The weather is starting to change, which puts a little pressure on the apartment hunt. THAT in and of itself is a nightmare, but within the next few weeks, we’ll be starting that adventure. Ideally we want a place before the dead of winter hits and obviously before the baby comes. There’s just no space here at grandma’s house for an additional person, little as they may be. Husband is sleeping on a daybed, and I’m sleeping on an air mattress as it is!

Husband with my little cousin.

Husband with my little cousin.

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The End of a Nightmare, and the Start of Something Beautiful

Remember the last time I said I was back, and then actually disappeared again? Well, this time we’re back. FOR GOOD!!

Things have been insanely hectic from my last post up until now, and they aren’t looking to be any less crazy!

This summer things were looking pretty bleak for us, we were stuck bouncing back and forth between my mom’s house and Husband’s dad’s house with no real plan. Well that’s not true, we had several plans; they were just constantly flopping. I had this big financial hold on my account that was keeping me from registering for graduate classes back at NYU, which in essence was keeping us stuck in Atlanta. We kept losing our Peace Corps nominations, which was really hard for us because the process is so long as it is! Husband was working at this really whack start-up, and his paychecks were being BLOWN by the bills that were accumulating on my behalf. My surgeries last year resulted in over $2000 in medical bills that were all either in or headed for collections. We were really struggling to stay afloat, and then I somehow managed to get pregnant. A feat, we just KNEW would not be possible. I had been dealing with infertility long before my husband, but even after the surgeries last year to remove the Endo, we were still having trouble getting pregnant. We sort of just accepted the “sentence” and decided to focus our energy on other things like graduate school and the Peace Corps and put the baby making off for a while. This year has been a very testing time for Husband and I. We’ve been to the bottom of the barrel together and I’m just beyond blessed to know how far he’d go and how much he’d sacrifice for me.

Currently, our baskets are overflowing with blessings!

1. One of Husband’s cousins donated the rest of the money I needed to pay off my financial hold, so I was able to register for all the classes I needed WITH the specific professors I wanted! Even better, NYU really worked with me and transferred me into the Extended Program so that I could have lighter course load this semester with the pregnancy, and next semester when the baby comes! February really isn’t that far away!
2. Obviously that means we’ve moved to New York!! During the last week of August, we really decided to step out on faith. We packed Husband’s car with the essentials and made the 14 hour drive to NY. We currently staying with my cute ass grandma in the Bronx, which is super close to tons of my family members, until we are able to find our own place.
3. NYU gave me a nice big stipend, (ha, yea right, more like a refund check of student loans I’ll be paying back until I’m 104) which allowed me to pay off every bill but one from collections and get us all caught up financially. I’ve finally been able to afford maternity pants. (Thank the Baby Gods!!)
4. Oh man, we got a Peace Corps nomination!! The new quarter opened up in August, but when we didn’t hear from our recruited Jai, I sorted of just gave up hope. I was really procrastinating in telling her about the pregnancy, perhaps because I wasn’t really ready to accept that fact that I had to withdraw our applications. When I woke up to our nominations last week, I balled my eyes out. I really wanted to serve with the Peace Corps, since high school. But hey, perhaps we’ll reapply in 18-20 years when Baby Son is grown and on his own.
5. Our baby is super healthy and developing wonderfully. I can feel him kicking and I can even see my stomach bouncing around sometimes! It’s so cool! I even feel a million times better than the previous 20 weeks. I tire very easily, and I have a really hard time focusing in class, but hey if the baby is good, then so am I!

I just wanted to take this post, to thank you guys for sticking through the trenches with us during our really questionable times. Your support has meant everything to me! We are beyond blessed to finally have things working out and we look so forward to sharing our new New York City experiences with you!

The Silver Lining Myth

Up to this point, all I could do was sympathize with those who were struggling to pay medical bills, having to refrain from seeking quality treatment and healthcare, because the costs were just too great. Up to this point, all I could do was try to imagine what it would be like to be so financially overwhelmed with medical bills, that it makes doing virtually anything at all, that much more difficult.
Up until now, all I could do was imagine, hypothetically, what life would be like in that predicament….

Now, I get it.

Here’s the thing about my mother. It’s easier for her to treat me like a business associate, that an actual daughter, so she doesn’t really have to be a parent. Whenever she has something important to say, she sends me an email. She’s that passive-aggressive type of person, where she’ll say something, because it sounds good, but she doesn’t really mean it. She’s a total asshole.

Last year, I had two big surgeries. I had a laparoscopy that averaged about 44 thousand dollars, and a Laser LEEP procedure that average about 37 thousand dollars. I’m not sure if that includes the many biopsies, the lab tests, the blood work, etc. Both of my parents are still carrying me on their medical insurances because I’m still under 26 years old. Both of the insurances covered most of the costs, with a few thousand dollars left over.

For the past year since the surgery, I have been on a medical leave from school, unemployed because of pain and sickness, and my husband has just started working, since he JUST graduated in December….

According to my mother, any amount of money left over on the surgical bill is my responsibility. It COULD’VE been fine if this was expressed to us early on. She’s been telling us that she’s been paying monthly on the balances, so up until now I haven’t worried about it. We’ve got a mountain of other bills to pay ourselves. Credit card bills, utility bills, phone bills, a car bill, and this NYU bill. Each bill is around or over $1,000, and Husband isn’t making that much money.

Anyways, about 3 weeks ago, I get a letter in the mail informing me that one of my medical bills is about to be sent to collections with a balance of $300. Just
$300! In bright red it read, “This is the fourth notice, this bill will be sent to collections unless you pay this amount in full or arrange a payment plan.” Great. Another fucking bill. Meanwhile, my mother is sticking to her story that she is making payments. This collections notice though, is telling me otherwise.

Today she calls me downstairs to hand me a piece of mail and I open it in the staircase. It read, “You have recently been audited and although you have been making payments, the original payment agreement has expired and your balance is now $1500… Please increase you payment amount by 15%….”

She turns to me and says, “Welp, I guess you better go set up a payment plan.” Right. ME AND WHAT FUCKING INCOME?!

So now, a bill that she has allegedly been paying on, has become my responsibility. I promise I don’t mean to sound like a brat, because I’m not, but here’s why I’m upset. 1) Who the fuck makes their child pay for their own surgeries? It’s not like I have amazing health coverage from a job and my husband has great coverage from his job. We don’t!! I’m not even working!! And it’s not normal to hand over thousands of dollars in medical debt to the person who just had surgery and doesn’t even have a job. I still can’t get my body in order as it is. She never would have done this if it were my sister. The bills would’ve been paid ON TIME, in full, signed, sealed and stamped with love and affection! For me though, that’s just not the case. And 2) I’M NOT FUCKING WORKING!!! You can’t just make the payments until I can find an income? I’d gladly take the payments over then, but you just can’t wait huh? It’s that imperative to you, to just wipe your hands clean of any responsibilities as a parent… but then has the nerve to be in my face EVERY FUCKING DAY, encouraging me to have a baby because that’s what the doctor says to do. How the fuck does that work?

We just got a huge financial blessing from one of Husband’s cousins to help us to get to New York City, so that I can go to school… now this? I’m starting to feel like I should just give in to the universe. Things just aren’t supposed to be this difficult! All I want to do is go to school. Now I believe that’s the most irresponsible option out there. What I should do is withdraw and get a whack ass salary job because not only do these bills just keep accumulating; but Husband and I are sick and tired of living like this. His paychecks are accounted for days and weeks before they even hit his account.

I just can’t deal…. There’s just no silver lining in this.

Oh, and where the fuck is my period!!!

Our First Big Break

I don’t really want to get into the details of this situation right now, because I am terrified to jinx it….

…but…

If you’ve been following us, you know that we’ve been living in absolute limbo! The Peace Corps is taking for-fucking-ever to give us a nomination, I haven’t been able to register for classes at NYU because of this monstrous financial hold on my account, which was their fault anyways, and we’ve been bouncing back and forth between our parents home’s like two nomads!

Well, Husband worked a miracle last night, and got $1000 to pay towards my $1800 hold!!

Things may just be looking up for us!

We may just have a way out!!

AHHHH!!!!!!

In a Constant State of Wait

I don’t think I’ve felt this down in a while. Never felt this discouraged, this lost, this confused…. It’s miserable….

Husband and I spent the weekend with my dad and his family for Memorial Weekend. It was spent with a lot of questions like, “so what are you guys up to now” and “So are you gonna go back to school?” and “What’s up with the Peace Corps?” Answering those was a combination of misery and embarrassment!

I don’t have the answers.

Course registration opened up May 20 and I haven’t been able to register because of the financial hold on my account. WHERE the fuck am I supposed to come up with $2000? So, no, I don’t know if I’m going back to school. At this rate, NYU has made the decision for us. Husband and I are barely scraping by as it is, living paycheck to paycheck, with NO room for a $2000 bill. The worst part is, if I’m not registered by a certain date than my financial aid will fall through. We’ve tried everything at this point to get that bill paid, to no avail of course….

… And I’m so sick and tired of people addressing Husband and I as if we’re two bums just trying to live off of love, just mooching around at our parent’s homes. I had to take a medical leave dammit!! I didn’t have a choice! I am JUST now starting to feel good enough to attempt to work, and at this point, there’s still no way we can come up with $2000 by June. I really hate that NYU isn’t making more of an effort to work WITH me, considering my financial aid payout was about $12,000 for housing and expenses. You’d think they’d just let me register and just deduct the hold the financial aid package right? Nope. Fuckers.

And no, I still don’t know what’s happening with the Peace Corps, they haven’t nominated us yet. We can either go work full time on a farm somewhere or gain some health education experience, at a hospice for example. There is no way in hell, I am volunteering at a hospice. For 1) I can’t handle it. I’m too emotionally fragile with all my own personal shit and the thought of hospice makes me uncomfortable and 2) that’s not what I wanted to do in the Peace Corps anyways. I want to be an educator. That’s about it.

I am like a walking depression ad. One minute, I am an enraged lunatic and the next I am a sobbing, crying, puffy-eyed, why-is-this-happening-to-me pile of mess!

All I want to do… is make a difference…. Change the world… do some good…

…and the universe won’t stop shitting on me…

And I swear to god, the next person who says, “good things come to those who wait,” will probably get smacked, stabbed, or both.

The Wait is Over

We can finally breathe a little easier. We can breathe a lot easier actually, now that we have a direction. We don’t have to spend anymore time worrying and stressing about what is going to happen next for us, because now we know!!

I finally found out when registration starts for me back at NYU. I knew that general registration began April 22, so I assumed I was included because I am technically enrolled as a student. I have a $1,900 financial hold on my account and was told that if I could pay it within $1,000 then they’d work with me and let me register. I was able to go into the registration website and add my classes into a shopping cart until I was eligible to register officially. I was told last week MY registration date isn’t until May 20, which is awesome because that gives me a lot more time to pay on the amount. My OB/GYN is also still working on my letter to get me off the medical leave. Things are working out slowly in that department….

However,

Our Peace Corps interviews were yesterday.

photo-1

Our interviews were scheduled at 1:00, and we were there by 12:15!! From what we understood, we’d both have an individual interview, which lasts about 60-90 minutes, and then an interview together. Totaling 3 hours.

At one exactly, our advisor Jai walks over with a laptop in hand, and I go first. I am so nervous my stomach hurts! She asks me 18 questions, then we have a conversation about 8 topics, then the floor is open for questions. As soon as I begin answering her, she’s typing my every word, which makes me so nervous! I feel like a total idiot as I speak. An hour later, it’s Tommy’s turn. He’s not even a bit nervous. He’s as cool as ice.

As I sit in the lobby, surrounded by maps and volunteer photos, I’m watching the clock like a hawk. I hear so much laughing coming from the interview room. She didn’t laugh that much when I was in there. It’s past an hour now, and he’s still in there. Oh God, what is he saying to her! He must be stumbling. I bet she’s throwing trick questions as him….

75 minutes later, Husband comes to get me for the couple portion, and as I take a seat beside him I notice immediately that him and Jai are laughing and joking around. Wait… she LOVES him. He’s so comfortable, spitting out answers with little thought and all honesty, and here I am with nerves that are completely shot! Go figure. Husband just cannot meet a stranger.

Our couples interview was short, just a few joint questions and then lots of free time for us to address our own questions and concerns.

Well,

WE GOT NOMINATED!!!!!

I have no idea where we’re going yet, but Jai said she had NEVER nominated a couple right after interviewing them before. She told us she was working on something super specific for us, but the program is actually contingent upon my medical clearance. Husband won’t be bothered about medical stuff until later on in the summer, but I, on the other hand am supposed to be hearing from the Medical Office within 48 hours! This puts the pressure on me, because I am currently having some issues with/within my body and I’m very afraid I’ll ruin everything.

She says I have up until September to be completely medically cleared, which both IS and ISN’T a lot of time. If I am not medically cleared by September, then we could miss the program she’s working on! I was told that because of my medical history, my options for places to serve are limited. If I am not medically cleared, then I will just have to wait for the next round of nominations, which means a country within my restrictions, with spots for a couple, and with our specific skill needs, and who knows how long that could take.

It was all God in this! “It just so happened that with your regional limitations, that I have two spots open in a place you can serve, with both of your skillsets, that leave in JANUARY.” HOLY SHIT!!! January!!!!!! Husband and I have been thoroughly convinced that IF we’d get a nomination, it would be to leave in FALL of 2014…. January is practically tomorrow.

I am just so excited to have gotten nominated! I am BEYOND proud of us! It feels so good to be that much closer to achieving one of my ultimate life goals, and to be able to do this with Husband is a DREAM!! Of course, Husband is completely convinced that his charm alone got us in, but whatever, I’ll take it!! I was shouting from excitement the minute we hit the elevator!

We have a plan! We know what we’re working towards! It feels so amazing to have this huge burden lifted off of our shoulders. Granted, all of this is contingent on my medical clearance, but WE GOT IN!! WE GOT IN! WE GOT IN!!

Baby Steps

This “medical leave” has been a long, stressful, embarrassing situation for me. I was offered acceptance into my dream school and was there for two weeks before I had to withdraw for the year. There’s a really long backstory here explaining why.

So far, it’s been six months since I’ve been on medical leave and I was supposed to be starting the process to come OFF the medical leave back in January, but I just haven’t. I’m not even sure why. On most days it’s because I’m thoroughly convinced I’m done with NYU, because 1. I just don’t want to go back to the city, 2. I think I want to start the baby-creating process, and 3. I’m not sure if I’m even mentally ready to go back yet. The string of surgeries and pressures of this infertility thing have really chipped at my psyche and NYU needs my full and utmost attention.Then there are those days when I want to go back to school, because I need some normalcy back in my life. I need to move forward, and I miss school. I miss learning, and what better place to learn than at NYU!

Well, regardless of how ready I am or am not, I made one small step in the name of Progress today. I called my OB/GYN/Surgeon and asked him to create a document for me, to forward to my advisor, stating I am able to return to school this fall. He had to submit one to her last year saying that it was in my best interest if I took a medical leave, and I decided to take if for the duration of the year. He said he’d do it. He said he’d work on the document and fax it to her as soon as he could.

Baby steps.

Even if Husband and I decide before school starts in September that we really, truly, don’t want to go back to NYC, that’s ok. But in the meantime, I have to try and grab the reigns back from these situations in my life. I walked away from NYU last year feeling so humiliated and embarrassed. It was for my own good I suppose, but still. I can’t continue to sit around and wait for the universe to make these decisions for me.

I have to pick myself up and move on. Regardless of my fears of infertility, or making the wrong choice… sitting here, stagnant, doesn’t help. We have many decisions to make by the end of summer, and I’m just going to try to make the best out of the waiting period. This was a big step for me today. It felt good taking some control.

That’s why rehabilitation is all about right? Learning to regain control of your life, taking the power back, and becoming a better and smarter choice maker.

Maybe I'll be back.

Maybe I’ll be back.

The Rejection

Every morning I spring right out of my sleep and reach right for the phone to check my email. I wait patiently as my iphone loads and cringe when I see I’ve received nothing from UW’s School of Social Work. I do and have done this every morning since February.

Today was no different. I’m getting really frustrated. I applied for the early decision deadline and was supposed to hear back a month ago. It’s making me paranoid. I want to know something!! Actually, I NEED to know something. There are so many other things Husband and I have floating out in the universe that need decisions and we haven’t been able to make them because so much is pending.

At this point, I’m feeling like I didn’t get in, so as I check my phone this morning, I don’t even feel excited when I see, “SSW Admissions: A response…” in the subject line in my inbox. My eyes dart right past the frill and straight to the “Unfortunately we cannot offer you admission…”

I’m not shocked. I’m not surprised. I’m not sad. I don’t even really care anymore. Maybe a month ago I’d be disappointed because this is now my second UW rejection. Maybe a month ago I’d be devastated because we want to move back to Seattle SOOOO badly and this was the perfect plan. But today, as I’m sitting here tired, worn, and stoic. I don’t care.

Frankly, that’s one less choice we’d have to sort through by summer. Now, it’s between returning to NYU and the Peace Corps (if and when that ever moves along). So far, I’ve got a huge financial hold on my account that is about to be sent to collections because they over-refunded me before my medical leave, which means I cannot register for classes next month. Thanks NYU. Husband is pretty confident that the Peace Corps will actually work out, but the catch is the application process is SOOOOO…..LOOOOOONG. We have an interview on April 18th but between waiting for medical clearances, nominations, and placements for not one but TWO people, we could be waiting around all year, and that’s if they even like us.

UGH.

How exhausting my life has turned out to be. I don’t even want to get started on how Husband and I are feeling about our current living situation. That’s a whole ‘nother post for a whole ‘nother day.

Fucking UW…. Jerks.

*Then Walks Away*

*Then Walks Away*

-Jenn

Decisions, Decisions… The Aftermath

After ALL that talk I did the other day about my withdrawing from NYU, and about how okay I was with it, I’m taking it back. All of it. Call me spazz whatever. It was a pretty pitiful sight though: me, in the car balling my eyes out to Husband about the situation. My confidence in my ‘decision’ lasted all of 45 minutes before I FREAKED THE FUCK OUT.

See, here’s the thing (just try and keep up):

1. I am enrolled at NYU in the MSW program. It’s clinical, which I don’t really care for, but you’ve heard it all already, it’s NYU, blah blah blah!! I’m technically on a medical leave but I can just submit my release papers via my OB/GYN and I’m good to go for the fall. We really don’t want to be in NY long term and I damn sure don’t want to have little Jenn&Tommy’s running around the concrete jungle. No thanks. BUT… if I get my degree from there I’m sure we’ll end up being stuck there because of my licensing and work opportunities, or whatever. Oh, and NY just so happens to be really expensive. And NYU…. The tuition… ain’t nobody got time for that!

Sea of Concrete.

Sea of Concrete.

Ran into Magic right after Orientation!

Ran into Magic right after Orientation!

2. We really, really want to go to Seattle. To live forever with a home and a garden with the kiddies and some dogs and all that holistic, west coast, earthly shit. I spent some time there a few years ago and I LOVED it, and our relationship really sort of blossomed there. It’s a special place to us. But it’s really far away from our family. Oh, and I applied to UW for their MSW program and was told that I’d know by February. It’s now March and I still have no word back. This is now my second attempt. If they let me, to hell with NY… we’re going straight to Seattle. First flight out with Apollo in hand! If they deny me, well… we haven’t figured that part out yet.

Space Needle.

Space Needle.

Mt. St. Helen's was around there somewhere.

Mt. St. Helen’s was around there somewhere.

3. In the midst of all of this, we (well, mostly I) decided that we should apply to the Peace Corps. I saw a big “Apply by February 28th to leave by the end of 2013 or early 2014” banner flash across the screen and we (mostly I) couldn’t pass that up. There’s really no telling how fast or slow that process will move because we are applying as a couple. They typically take a little longer to place couples than single people. I also really don’t think I’ll make it past the medical exam portion. My body is holding together by threads. But it’s been my goal to apply to the Peace Corps since high school. I start an application every year and never finish it. Finally, I can scratch that off my “To Do List” but yea… not sure I chose the best timing. Oops.

Photo courtesy of Google.

Photo courtesy of Google.

4. Endometriosis is really ruining my fucking life. I feel like there is a time bomb in my uterus and if I don’t have a baby TOMORROW, it’s going to blow my chances of ever having kids right to Mars. Nope. No pressure, and I really want to have a baby too. We both do. The baby fever is killing me. It’s on a really deep, conflicting, emotional level. I don’t know if it’s the fear of not being able to have babies that’s making me want one so badly, or if it’s that my body is really trying to tell me something. I love my husband with all my heart, and we talk about this all the time. We’ve even talked about starting Clomid, a fertility drug, in June.

5. Tommy wants to rejoin the reserves. He served seven years in the Air Force and he really misses the discipline. He says he had purpose then. I fully support and respect that decision. But he’s got to drop some weight in order to do so, and that’s kind of hanging in the balances because of our pending application with the Peace Corps.

Are you starting to see why I may be freaking out a bit??

Now, imagine trying to figure out the best combination of opportunities to satisfy the both us. Do I press pause on graduate school and a building career to try and have babies now, while I’m “fresh out” of surgeries and my chances for success are still pretty high so we can have a family? Or do we wait to have babies and live our lives, accomplishing things and trying to change the world and I potentially miss my chances of being able to create life with the man of my dreams? Oh, shoot… well what if the Peace Corps accepts us? Do we go? Hmmm. Seattle? New York? Babies? No babies? Peace Corps? Reserves?

It’s all a waiting game. Waiting to hear about school. Waiting to hear about jobs. Waiting to hear about Peace Corps. Waiting to hear about medical clearances. God, it’s exhausting. So that’s why we put NYU back on the table. No premature, irrational decisions. Not until we start to get some word back. It’s out of our hands still.

Anyone have any bright ideas, because so far… we’ve got nothing.

-Jenn

Decisions, Decisions…

It’s time for me to make one of the most bittersweet decisions of my very young life; a decision that I have been battling internally with for months now. One that is taking me a lot longer to come to terms with because of the circumstances. I am not one for being still, not one for moving slowly or taking time off, or “giving myself a break.” Truth is, I love living fast. I love having a million commitments all at once, stretching myself just thin enough to accomplish a world of things while remaining relatively in tact. I love being involved, and I love being busy. I love those really late nights and super early mornings. I guess in my mind I always equated busyness with successfulness, or productivity. I always had to be doing something. I could never just sit down, because when I did sit down, I crashed. My body would fall apart, I’d sleep the days away and I’d just feel like I wasn’t being a contribution to society. So… I just kept moving.

I graduated from high school in May of 2006 and went to college early that June. I did what every freshman/sophomore does… I partied my ass off. I became such a social butterfly and kind of forgot about the college part. But, I paid the price: fully loaded summer terms every single summer with no spring breaks in order to graduate with my peers. I brought my GPA up from waaay down in the dirt to an above 3.0 GPA, joined a sorority, landed a dope internship and graduated in May 2010, exactly 4 years later. From May to August I did my internship with the Boys & Girls Club, and by the end of August, drove from Georgia to Washington to join a 10-month AmeriCorps program. During that program I had 3 jobs. I worked in an elementary school from 8-3, then an afterschool program from 3:30-6, and during the nights I worked at “Latino Night School.” I did this all the while participating on community chapter sorority events, maintaining my gym membership and again, partying my ass off with my teammates. On average, I was clocking in over 93 hours of service each paycheck from AmeriCorps alone. I drove back to GA in August 2011 with my then-boyfriend Tommy (who was living in GA) after the program ended and we got married that December. I started working at Old Navy during those months. What was supposed to be something just to keep me busy, turned into the primary household income, as Tommy was still a college student and stopped receiving military student aid. I was driving an hour to Savannah to work minimum wage, trading shifts to make rent & utilities. He was supposed to graduate that May, but things just didn’t work out. We couldn’t afford his summer tuition, and I ended up cashing in my AmeriCorps education award just so we could make it.

Earlier that year, in April I believe, I was standing with Tommy in line at Old Navy, when I got the email that nearly made me pass out. I had been accepted into the Master’s of Social Work program at NEW YORK UNIVERSITY!! That school has been my dream school since I was a child. NYU was everything to me. So, it was settled. Tommy and I decided that I would go and start at NYU during the fall of 2012 and he would stay behind to finish his last semester at Georgia Southern. It would just be one semester apart, I have family in New York so no big deal.

Then I got sick.

Actually, I had been sick all along. Sick for years, but I was too busy to really notice. Or care. It’s an addiction, the fast-paced moving and shaking. If I had a pain, I’d pop an Ibuprofen. If I had a cold, I’d pop a NyQuil. Stomach ache, heartburn, skin rash? Tums and Neosporin. NEVER a day off! I wasn’t listening to my body.

I was spending the summer preparing myself for my move to New York since school started in September. UW had denied me, and George Mason accepted me… but come on, there was NO way I wasn’t going to my DREAM SCHOOL. So here I am going to my OB/GYN for a bladder infection & routine pap in July suddenly I’m having surgery in August. I had a laser laporoscopy on August 17th, stitches removed (early) on the 24th and I was on a plane on the 26th. During that time, it was suggested that I consider having babies really soon because of the endometriosis and the PCOS. I also needed another procedure for an abnormality on my pap smear, but that shit had to wait because I WAS GOING TO NYU!!

Yea right. I was an NYU student for all of two weeks before I had to take a medical leave of absence. I’m on a plane back to GA and in another surgery just days before Tommy graduates from college in December. We’ve been here in GA ever since. I was supposed to submit my paperwork to come off the medical leave in January of this year, but I haven’t yet done so. I’ve been trying really hard to get my health in order but just can’t seem to get a handle on it. Tommy isn’t too keen on being in NY while trying to start a family, and honestly, neither am I. My NYU dreams are toast!

Sometimes, I feel like I’m having to choose between two very important things. Do I try and start a family now, because I may not be able to later? (This includes fertility drugs, treatments, tests… the whole nine.) Or do I continue to follow my dreams? (Go to graduate school, join the Peace Corps, save the world and try for babies later when it MIGHT be too late.) I get so frustrated because everyone else gets to have their cake and eat it too, but me… I’m falling apart. While I was walking all over the city post-surgery, doped up on painkillers… I was damaging myself. I was in so much pain and developed internal hemorrhoids. I was being incredibly irresponsible and reckless.

I’m taking the time now to really take care of myself. I’m eating better, working out, actively listening to my body. It’s telling me that NYU is a no-go. More so then my body, my marriage is telling me NO. Neither one of us, at this point, want to go to New York anymore. I don’t want to start a family there, it’s so damn expensive, and I wasn’t really crazy about the curriculum anyways, but still I get caught up on what NYU symbolizes. NYU is fast-paced: it’s grad school classes and internships, papers and busyness, late nights and tears, stress and accomplishment. NYU needed single Jenn, able to run around like a crazy person with no commitments Jenn. But I’m not her anymore. I’m married, ready to have a home Jenn. Ready to start a family with the man of my dreams Jenn. Ready to live life slower, because not only does my condition require that, but my quality of life does too.

I mean, we haven’t ironed out the details of our “baby-making” timeline because we still have so many other possibilities out in the universe. We’re still waiting to hear from UW, did I get in or didn’t I? We’re still waiting to hear whether we can move forward with the Peace Corps. We’re in between the references and interview phase. We’re still trying to figure out what state we want to make home base, and while all of those possibilities will iron themselves out one by one, I know there is one thing I can actively eliminate. My medical leave is turning into an academic withdrawal, and I am okay with that. One decision made, a million more to choose from.

NYU SIlver

NYU SIlver

-Jenn