The Aftermath

Grief, Sex, and Love

After Matt passed, almost nine years ago, I thankfully was unemployed. I would have never been able to work after he died. It was hard enough to get my son to school; it was a 20+ minute drive from where we lived. I wasn’t able to sleep. I’d sit up in my bed, scouring the web to find either something someone would write about him that I hadn’t heard about, or looking for a picture of him that I had never seen before. When I look back now, I was trying to hold onto him. I was trying to hold onto a ghost.

I didn’t turn to family, friends, men, or booze. I soothed my grief with more than my usual long hot baths, where all I did was cry, not wanting to be here without him. I didn’t know how I’d be here without him. I didn’t want to be here without him. But I wanted, and needed, to be here for my son. The love I had for my son was bigger than what I felt for Matt and what I felt for myself.

I found quick pleasure in red velvet cake slices, sometimes having two a day. I found moments of forgetting what I had lost, through my son’s laughter, stories, conversations, or smile.

After a month of Matt’s passing, I picked up the handwritten, and typed, manuscript of my memoir that he told me he would love to read one day. I pieced it together and dove right into finishing the book I had started when I was 22 years old, nineteen years earlier.

For almost 2 years, this was my life. I gained 30lbs, from the grief of Matt dying and from reliving and rereading my difficult childhood in my memoir. It could have been worse. I could have been in a bar every afternoon.

After I was done writing my book, it took me about another year and a half, to edit and re-edit my memoir.

The only person I did see, from time to time, was Matt’s mother. I found comfort in speaking to someone about Matt. I still felt close to him and felt his presence with me. loss

By 2013, I was working. I sometimes tried to get out of my isolation either by meeting up with friends, going to the beach, or going outside to exercise. I also sometimes tried to move on and date. I wanted to try to find pleasure in being with another. If anything, I at least needed sex. But, I couldn’t. I didn’t want to.

Matt had passed at the end of 2011 and from 2013-2019, I slept with 4 or 5 men. I was disconnected. I put up a wall around my heart. I didn’t want to love anyone else. I didn’t want to be touched by anyone else. I didn’t want to connect with anyone else. Matt felt like my destiny and that was a hard thing to stop feeling.

I knew it was important to get myself out there and that maybe the hurt would lessen if there was somebody that came into my life. I wanted to try to be hopeful, maybe something would bloom, but all that happened was that I would get what I wanted (as far as sex went). I sometimes would not even let them finish. I was cold afterwards. No hugs. No sleepovers. My feelings afterward were – OK, now don’t touch me, I gotta go. There was actually one guy in 2018 that I dated several times and only kissed, but after two weeks he wanted to know where this was going which freaked me out. He said he was ready to have someone fully in his life. I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about him. So, that ended.

But to know something about me after Matt passed, I had mostly met guys with the sole intention of having sex. Once I realized I had issues with intimacy, I made a more conscious effort for it to not be just about that. I usually don’t want to always have sex on the first date. I’ve dated a few times in the last two years where I didn’t have sex. intimacyBut, sometimes the need to have that pleasure, not just orgasm, but to really enjoy kissing and being kissed, to wrap your arms around another, is what I longed for.

During these years, the longest I worked at one company was almost 2 years. My patience would wear thin when it came to people and their toxicity, stupidity, or lack of humanity. Death wakes up what is in your heart and soul. And, the way people go on and on about little things that are going to be irrelevant in the end, or the way people chase money and are greedy, or how people aren’t kind or compassionate to a stranger that is obviously struggling, is always magnified for me when I lose a loved one.

Eventually, over the years, I found the grief to be bearable and it would only show it’s self a couple times a year. I found joy in my son’s success. He went away to college for two years. And, then he moved back home when he transferred to UCLA. For the most part, I was starting to feel somewhat back to normal.

Or, so I thought.
By 2018, my suicidal thoughts came back. I think the passing of Matt, rewriting, rereading, and going over my past for completing my book, the fact that I hated doing accounting, wasn’t following my passion – photography, and that I didn’t have someone in my life (or relationships figured out) brought back my suicidal depression. It sucked because it had almost been 20 years that I hadn’t been suicidal or for the most part, depressed.

Two other things that may have also had a part to play in triggering my suicidal thoughts were the passing of my dad in December 2016 (we hadn’t seen each other in over 5 years because I had removed myself from my mom’s narcissism and alcoholism the week Matt passed) and when Chester Bennington killed himself. Let’s just say, that one hit me hard.

So in 2018, I was trying to take care of myself. I was trying to market my book. I was trying to pursue my passion – photography. I was even flown out to New York City to be on the Kathy Lee and Hoda show for the “Pitch Your Passion“ episode. But, what I was also sometimes doing at home while either in my room or walking around my neighborhood was, thinking of where I could hang myself from. Trees? Anywhere in my apartment? I did try time and again to talk myself out of thinking about it because I had to live.

By the end of 2018, I had stopped trying to conjure up a full-proof way of hanging myself. I reached out and sought therapy. In January 2019, I was back in therapy. By July 2019, I was in ACA (Adult Children of Alcoholic) meetings for the first time in my life. Also in mid to late 2019, I dated this one guy. I had actually let him stay the night, one night. I liked how it felt when he reached for me in the middle of the night and in the morning, but I didn’t feel that I wanted it from him. I just liked how it felt, the touch of someone reaching for me. I missed that feeling. The next guy I was with at the beginning of 2020, it felt great to be held by him. There was no longer that, oh gosh, don’t touch me feeling. It was now, yes, embrace me. Hold onto me as long as you’d like. But, I ended that because we were in different places in our lives. Then last month, I met someone who I enjoyed having sex with and wanted to see more of. That hadn’t happened in a long time. I was ready to have someone in my life again or at least ready to see what could develop.

relationships

Grief is hard on everybody. But, when you are either in a relationship with someone or like me, saw that Matt was the first person I had ever seen marrying, it is hard to let go or put that love in a box, on a shelf, in your closet. Sex is natural and we all need that intimacy and connection. Love is harder when you’ve lost someone you thought you would love for forever. But, life is mysterious. For people like me, we think and we feel like we cannot get through the tough shit the universe throws at us. And yet time and time again, in the end, if we just hold on, breathe, and seek help, we find a newer us. We are much stronger and unbreakable than we give ourselves credit for. We must always remember that!

Stay strong, stay sweet, and know you are not alone!

Relationship Problems of an ACoA

Being an adult child of an alcoholic can be multifaceted. Why did my mom become an alcoholic? I’m not sure that anyone can say that there is just one thing that makes someone an addict. I believe it is a number of things.

As far as the character of defects she had were – insecurities (she was short and got teased about it), unresolved trauma of her dad passing when she was just in her twenties, jealousy, anger, not being good enough (at least one of her sisters would make her feel unworthy), she didn’t have friends until later in her years because her parents didn’t allow her to school until later so it was hard for her to socialize, confusion on sex/male and female relationships (keep in mind, she was very young and throughout her life probably heard about and couldn’t understand what happened to Lina. Lina Medina was only three years older than my mom and was around the family), and the neglect and possible abuse that occurred.

I’m not here to analyze my mother or diagnosed her. But, I am here to know and understand how her own unhealed wounds played out in her life that would eventually have an impact on me and my life. We can’t understand why we do things or believe what we believe without unpacking our childhood to see what we were told, taught, and just saw from those closest around us.

Between 1973 and the end of 1979, we lived in Ohio. Having just migrated from Peru, things were very different, especially culturally. The one who did not take this well was my mom. It heightened all of her own underlying issues, especially her drinking. Once my dad got a job and began to travel for work, things got worse. I grew up learning about infidelity before I knew what the word meant. I heard about affairs, him being on the beaches of Rio de Janeiro with his mistress (his secretary). I’d see the fighting that would occur, especially when he’d get back into town and she was drunk. In my head, my memories, it seemed like they were constantly fighting about this. At an early age, I would ask my mom, “Do I have to get married?” She would say back to me, “You don’t have to get married if you don’t want to.” Now years later, take a step back. Throughout the years, she brought this up. This seemed to be said more than once between my mother and me, to the point that she would mention it from time to time. And, she doesn’t have the greatest memory. So, I am not sure if she just found it cute or that she found it relieving because then I’d be independent which she never was. I don’t think she ever wanted to get married but had to because that is what women did in her time.

When you take a step back, the only thing I can say that I was truly saying is – if this is what it means to be married, I don’t want to ever get married. And so until I was around the age of 38, even though I loved monogamy, I didn’t want to get married because I was fearful of having a marriage like my parents.

It took a lot of soul-searching and therapy, to realize that I am not my parents nor my mom and therefore will not necessarily have a marriage life like theirs.

Now the impact of all those times I heard what a cheater my dad was. He may have or may have not cheated. I’m not here to judge. But, what that put into my head, into my psyche, was that all men cheat. And, that’s how I lived. On one hand, I didn’t ever want to get married because I thought that it would be volatile and if I didn’t get married, it wouldn’t hurt as much because if whomever I’m with cheats, at least then I can walk away.

So, as a teenager through to my 30s, I was actually with men that never wanted to get close enough to me as to ever talk about marriage and for the most part, they saw other women while seeing me (or I believed they were cheating because that is what all men do). Even though this was my thought process, it hurt just as much. It felt like it broke me at times. It felt like I could and would never be loved enough. Throughout the years of working on myself and healing many aspects from my childhood, relationships, especially with the opposite sex, was and always felt like it was going to be a part of me that was going to be unresolved, unfixed, unhealed.

But like I mentioned earlier, little by little, my thought of me and marriage changed. I saw that I am different, a separate person than my mother, and therefore won’t have a marriage like hers. I rarely, if at all, drink. I like to analyze myself and think of why something might be the way it is or where people might be coming from (their perspective). And, I like to problem solve and I can talk things out, rationally without screaming or fighting. So, marriage – yes. If it happens, I am open to it with the right person.

Cheating on the other hand.

All men cheat. That is what they do. When they are not with you, they are with another woman. This mindset would take a few more years until that lightbulb moment would happen. Like many times before when I uncovered the end of the thread or the beginning of the thread that would unravel most of my unhealed trauma – defects of character – I carried for so long and would have a starting point to pool at that thread, to unravel these misconceptions I was taught or interpreted as a child. This week that happened on – men that cheat and when they are not with you, they are obviously with another woman.

It all happened on the floor of the shower. I was taking a shower, kind of thinking about a guy that I had met weeks prior and couldn’t get out of my head and why we weren’t working out. To know something about me, I’ve never been boy crazy. You know, those kinds of girls that can find so many guys attractive or interesting. I like to say, I’m picky. But, the truth is is that I intuitively need to see or feel that something and for me, that doesn’t happen often. So, this man that I met a few weeks earlier, I was just drawn to him, even prior to meeting him. There was just something about his eyes, his face, that drew me in. Or, maybe it was something else. Maybe he was supposed to be someone that was going to be someone in my life to show me something I needed to see. I believe everything happens for a reason and those that come into your life are meant to come into your life for a reason. I didn’t see it like that at first. All I knew was that I was interested in him.

So, after we met, we hit it off. So, I thought. We texted a few times and then I texted him another time and he didn’t respond. I flipped. Not that bad. Just asked if I should delete him out of my phone? It had only been 24 hours that he hadn’t responded. But, he hadn’t responded, so the things that I thought…He wasn’t interested. He was with someone else. 

Well, thinking about this while taking a shower, I came to realize that I behaved just like my mother would have. Everything in my mindset was my mother’s mindset. It was what I saw in my childhood. The insecurities, the unworthiness, the jealousy, the infidelity. For the last few weeks, all I thought about was that he didn’t get to know me enough. He would like me enough if he’d just get to know me. And, I also thought that he is with somebody else. Even though he told me he worked a lot. My mind went to, he is with somebody else.

So, there I was, beginning to cry, finding myself go to the floor of the bathtub while hot water hit my back. Once I hit the floor, I was bawling. And it all hit me. childhood trauma

My childhood.

The things that were said.

The scenes that were shown.

My childhood mind that interpreted it all.

Epiphany!

That was my parent’s truth, their reality.

Because a man is not by your side, every waking minute does not mean, there is another woman by his side. What about all the times I’m doing things? Out bike riding and being at the beach for hours, meeting with family or friends, running errands, or just hanging out at home alone. Does that mean, that I have another man by my side? No.

So why, all the times before, did my mind go there? I now know why.

But, I now know that I don’t need to think that way or jump to react that that is what is going on. Like, I did weeks before in that stupid text.

Now, I don’t know if this man and I will ever see each other again. But, what I know for sure is that our paths were supposed to cross because he helped me to find this piece of thread that I can unravel and heal and not think all men cheat.

female writer

Don’t call me Sexy!

Do I either have no reaction or pretend not to acknowledge when you call me, sexy? Yes. Other times I just cringe when I’m called, sexy.

Maybe it is because I don’t think of myself as sexy. Maybe I truly don’t like or understand the word, sexy, and why it is used. Maybe it is because I lost my virginity to a rape and when I used to (and sometimes still do) hear about rapes it was sometimes considered the female’s fault for what she was doing or wearing. Maybe because I think there’s more to a woman.

female writer

Or, maybe I sometimes see the word sexy as it’s definition:

Definition of sexy

sexually suggestive or stimulating : EROTIC

When I hear the word sexy, I think of sex and to entice.

I hope that 100% of the time, I’m not projecting that nor am I ever trying to come off as trying to do something to you than be myself. If you think that is sexy. No, it’s not.

Now don’t get me wrong. I love sex and I love when someone I’m with is really into me. So, it’s not that I am rigged, hate men, or have trauma. I just think the word sexy is kinda degrading, disrespectful, and gross.

female  author

You can call me beautiful. You can call me gorgeous. You can call me pretty. But please. Never call me sexy.

Stopping Traffic Documentary

Last month I finally sat down and watched the rest of the documentary, Stopping Traffic. I had previously watched the first half a month earlier. I believe that I have had it in my Amazon Prime watch list for more than a year, so it really took some time to muster up the emotions or triggers that I thought may arise. And, I just wanted the appropriate time and headspace to be able to sit through it and take it all in.

If you don’t know my story, somewhere along my journey in my early 20s I became a high-class call girl in Hollywood. It was the early 90s and I had been driving in from Huntington Beach, California with a friend to go to the Roxbury nightclub in West Hollywood. That’s where I met my future pimp. He had apartments over the years that girls would work out of seeing movie producers, executives, doctors, rich international college students, and some other wealthy men. It wasn’t until my girlfriend died that I made the move to Hollywood, unknowingly being lured into this life of prostitution.

It was a hard time in my life because I had never lost someone close to me and I was at a crossing point, of moving back in with my parents which was toxic or moving up to the City of Angels. So, even now 20+ years later, it still affects me.

I wrote about prostitution in college, while I was in the business. It was the impetus of writing my memoir, Evolving to Grace. I have had many large and brief thoughts and discussions on the topic of prostitution. The feelings I have for myself was that prostituting myself ate away at my soul and what little self-worth I had. It even had me dive back into a very familiar mindset, suicidal depression. What’s worse, it even almost got me hurt.

So, it was a big deal to watch this, maybe not just so that I can explore my thoughts again on my own experience, but the real bigger picture which is human trafficking. Were they going to merge prostitution in with human trafficking? I was curious about other people’s thoughts and what they are trying to address. 

Human trafficking has been a huge topic over the last years. The media and organizations have spotlighted the side of human trafficking which includes children being sold for sex. But, human trafficking is much more than that.

Based on the Department of Homeland Security, *Human trafficking involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act. Every year, millions of men, women, and children are trafficked worldwide – including right here in the United States. It can happen in any community and victims can be any age, race, gender, or nationality. Traffickers might use violence, manipulation, or false promises of well-paying jobs or romantic relationships to lure victims into trafficking situations.

Stopping Traffic, Stopping Traffic documentarythe documentary that can be viewed on Amazon Prime or downloaded on itunes, was focusing on children (including teenagers) sold, whether it be for labor, but typically, mainly for sex. This is by far the worst part of human trafficking and I believe that it is worse than any agency believes. It’s horrible and sad and I think more needs to be done about it. It needs to be spoken more in the mainstream and like the documentary addressed, it’s not just happening over there, in that country. It is happening all over the United States.

While I was in that life, I briefly met some girls that were a little younger than I. I was in my early twenties. I think they were over the age of eighteen, but I can not be for sure. They were girls that had a pimp that had a complete network of girls that traveled from city to city, walking the streets or running ads looking for work. It was very different from my situation. When they spoke about their situation, they made it seem like they were active, willing, participants, but even at my young age, I felt like that really wasn’t the case. There was fear behind their words when they would share their world, their life. Not only fear, but also no way to get out.

Stopping Traffic was a good documentary to show some sides and personal opinions of what can be done to “stopping human trafficking“. I don’t think though that they made a clear enough separate distinction between prostitution that is forced, coerced, and the sex work/trade industry. But, when it came to how and why some children end up being trafficked, they did an excellent job of addressing that. And, the creators and spokespersons on the film gave options on how the viewer can help and be aware.

As far as prostitution goes, there are so many different types of prostitution. Yes, forced or fraudulently coerced of any child and individual should be punished and stopped immediately, but the sex trade/sex work (also prostitution) industry shouldn’t necessarily be woven into human trafficking which I felt the film had a grey area when they spoke about it. It’s a broader picture to explore with many varying levels to it. Maybe for someone to make a documentary about.  

I’ll write more about prostitution and sex work at a later time.

But for now, I suggest watching Stopping Traffic. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

 

* https://www.dhs.gov/blue-campaign/what-human-trafficking

Opening the Wounds – Black Lives Matter

Opening the wounds. Are we finally done tolerating the mistreatment of black people? 
I heard that said by a news-reporter this morning on Good Morning America – ‘Opening the wounds’. These past two weeks have definitely opened up the wounds for me and lots of people. My heart aches, but it also cries with hope.

It has now been two weeks since George Floyd was killed by a power-driven, racist Minneapolis cop. George Floyd is one of many African-American/Black men that are profiled as aggressive men that we, they, should fear, but as friends have mentioned, he was a gentle giant. His friend that was with him that day and witnessed his murder over the course of 8 minutes and 46 seconds, said that George was trying to defuse the situation. We’ve all seen countless videos of black men being killed by cops, only to have a brief spotlight in the media and a moment of outrage and sadness for what might have led to that happening. But, what’s circulating is that this is different. Or, at least we hope that it is! black lives matter
2020 has been a year that has taken us and the world to the edge of breaking because of the pandemic, having millions lose their jobs, not knowing where to get food to feed themselves or their children, and having us all lockdown for months. There has been time to become more introspective, pushing ourselves to realize what’s important, to slow down and appreciate time with family, learn and realize things we never thought we were capable of doing, and to value our health most of all. It’ll be written in history books. Most of us have grown by this experience and have not known perseverance like this ever before. But, has it taken being in lockdown, having so much time on our hands too really see what’s been going on for black people in the United States and that this is the time we will really make a difference, a serious step towards anti-racism?
Before you start thinking that I’m being pessimistic, I am also hoping with all my heart that there will be more than protests and riots and wanting everyone to think – Okay, what do we do now, how do we really change this, besides saying I’m not racist, I will teach my children to not be racist. That is always the first step. Teach love at an early age. Teach that there is beauty in all people and that everyone is equal and has the ability to do as much as anyone else.
Growing up Latina, new in this country in the 1970s and living in a predominantly white community, I learned about biases and racism early—towards myself, my family, and the less than handful black people in our community. I tell my son that I’m not sure when it started or why. Maybe it was a combination of where we lived in Ohio, being foreigners, and not looking like everyone else that I recognized that it was very obvious that it was not okay being different. And also, that 4 years after we moved to this country we could have been one of many families that sat in front of their TVs and watched Roots. That the combination of these things broke my heart and made me always have empathy, awareness, and sadness towards what people of color, especially black people, have to endure. I understood, to a degree, the racism that they have to deal with. Black people have to deal with a different level of racism and bias that if you are not black, you will never truly understand. Both people of color, brown and black, get held back by many because of judgments or stereotypes. Some people in authority want to just round up Hispanics and send them back to their country, while for black people, people in power are just okay with them being killed.black lives matterAs I wrote before, I’ve been talking with my son about what is going on. He is hunkering down about 30 minutes from me in Los Angeles, living with his girlfriend, and trying not to become a statistic because he has asthma and Covid-19 would not be great for him to catch because of his underlying condition. He is 25 now. And, he is half Haitian. For me, this time and moment now, with George Floyd’s death, the protests and riots are emotional because not only is he half black, but that he finally understands how he is perceived in this world.
A few nights ago, after he wrote a Letter from the Editor piece on what was going on (yes, he’s an Editor, writer, photographer for a huge music conglomerate), I told him, like I have probably shared many times, that I’ve been hoping for an end on how black people are perceived. That my heart has always been with them since an early age. That my best friend in 2nd grade was black and I was heartbroken when I was told that I could no longer be friends with her and that I didn’t care how much darker her mother was (my mom did). That when I saw Star Wars that I couldn’t decide who I had a crush on more, Harrison Ford or Billie Dee Williams – I think Billie Dee won that for many years because of films like Mahogany and Lady Sings the Blues. That I’ve not only been slightly jealous of how beautiful they are, but that I have been captivated for years by the Maasai people in Africa and that I would love to go and photograph them. That when I’d later go to college, I chose to take African American History classes over any other history. That I was thrilled to meet Rev. Jesse Jackson before a Rainbow Coalition event. And when there were talks to end Apartheid in South Africa, I cried. I was beside myself in overwhelming joy when Nelson Mandela was freed, became President of South Africa and that I was able to see him when he came to Los Angeles. I still wear once in awhile the baseball cap I got from that day that represents his prisoner ID number. *”Prisoner 46664″ continues to be used as a reverential title for him.” That when I first met Tupac, that I was not only in awe because he 2Pac, but also that his mother had been a Black Panther. For more than 40 years, my heart has stood beside the African American/Black race. Every time a small coverage was shown of yet another death or mistreatment of someone of color, my heart broke. I voted in favor of some black politicians and wanted desperately at work to do a happy dance every time someone mentioned about President Barack Obama being first elected. I raised my son telling him, warning him, that people and especially cops will single him out just because of the color of his skin. But when we spoke after he posted what he wrote about the injustice of yet another black man being murdered that was obviously not resisting arrest or branded a weapon, that he finally embraces and understands what it means to be a black man in this country. I told him that for me and how he should embrace it, that it is beautiful. Black people are beautiful inside and out. They have given us so much. Our dances, music, sporting events, fashion, art, film, food, comedy, have been highly influenced by them. They have been inventors and scientists, like –

The Three-Light Traffic Light, Invented by Garrett Morgan in 1923

Automatic Elevator Doors, Invented by Alexander Miles in 1887

Electret Microphone, Co-Invented by James E. West in 1964

Carbon Light Bulb Filament, Invented by Lewis Latimer in 1881

Color IBM PC Monitor and Gigahertz Chip, Co-Invented by Mark Dean c. 1980 and 1999

Marie Van Brittan Brown – Her original invention consisted of peepholes, a camera, monitors, and a two-way microphone. The finishing touch was an alarm button that, when pressed, would immediately contact the police. Her patent laid the groundwork for the modern closed-circuit television system that is widely used for surveillance, home security systems, push-button alarm triggers, crime prevention, and traffic monitoring.

Patricia Bath—laser surgical device. Bath is a contemporary inventor and ophthalmologist from Harlem, New York. She is the first black female doctor to receive a medical patent. In 1986, she invented the Laserphaco Probe, which has revolutionized the treatment of cataracts.

Charles Drew—blood bank. created the life-saving concept of large-scale blood banks, starting with research into the storage, processing, and shipment of blood plasma during World War II. He was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2015. Drew was born in Washington, D.C. in 1904. As a surgeon, researcher, and inventor, he invented the modern blood banks. Since World War II, his invention has gone on to save thousands of lives.

Frederick Jones—refrigeration machine. Jones was a self-taught engineer with a number of important inventions. His most notable invention was a refrigeration machine used to transport blood, food, and medicine during World War II.

Dr. Daniel Hale Williams – In 1893, Dr. Williams became the first surgeon to performed open-heart surgery on a human. His patient, James Cornish, survived. 

Alfred L. Cralle (1862-1920) received US Patent 576,395 in 1897 for an “ice cream mold and disher,” or mechanical ice-cream scoop, which is the basic design still used widely today.

Lloyd A. Hall (1894-1971) developed a method for combining sodium chloride with crystals of sodium nitrite and nitrite to keep nitrogen in the air from spoiling food—a method still used today to preserve meats—and other food preservation techniques. He was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2004 

Lonnie G. Johnson (born 1949) may be most famous for inventing the Super Soaker water gun (US Patent 4,591,071), but he is also a former NASA engineer who now runs his own research and development lab working on clean energy solutions. In February 2017, the Lemelson Center featured him in our Innovative Lives program series, where he talked about his inventive life and varied career. The list goes on and on.

I could continue with so many more, but I just wanted to point out that they are just as accomplished. That they have shown a resilience that no other race could ever endure, while still knowing that all of us have used what they’ve so willing contributed to society.
Yet we sit here now, starting to come out of quarantine for months with another death of a black person by the hands of a cop. It’s 2020. We’ve made more progress and finally, all cops are not getting away with murdering a black man trying to say that either he was resisting arrest or they were in fear of their lives. Have we made progress? Yes. Have more non-black people stood alongside this beautiful race to say no more? Yes. Do I wish with all my being hope, finally, there will be such an enormous shift that people of color will see and get? Yes.
Do we need to do more? YES! black lives matter
This fight to end racism won’t stop here. We must continue to not forget, let our voices and votes count. We must teach our friends, family, community, and children that they are just like anyone else. Probably even more exceptional because they still get up every morning, smile and greet you, hoping that one day their brother or sister won’t become another statistic.

*Wikipedia

#blacklivesmatter #BLM #georgefloyd #justiceforbreonna

May is Mental Health Awareness month!

May is #mentalhealthawareness month. There have been quite a few times in my lifetime that I’ve come back from depression, suicide attempts, or just cycling through, what I thought was a breakdown at the time, but really was a transformation. For the most part, most of these moments were long ago. resilence

Nowadays, I am just so happy that I survived. I get choked up sometimes when I talk about it. All we ever want is for the pain to go away. And, I’m here to tell you that it eventually does. Life gets better if you work at it. Situations that you thought would just continue, come to an end. Choices you make can change the life end up having. You just have to learn to love yourself, do what’s best for you, and work through your past traumas.

Life is a beautiful thing and so are you! beauty

Wellness – Turning away from Negative Thoughts

I used to be consumed with negative ways, more so, my thinking was negative. It didn’t help that my situation at home sucked. Life within an alcoholic home (mother is/was an alcoholic) is very chaotic and it is especially worse when the alcoholic is not so nice when she is under the influence. Fighting, verbal/emotional/mental abuse, neglect/abandonment, and not knowing what next will erupt is not a situation a child should live in. A child needs a nurturing, loving, attentive, and consistent environment where they are guided to becoming a healthy, kind, and productive adult.

So, as an Adult Child of An Alcoholic, I am very aware that most of us that are either ACoA or come from dysfunctional families that our essence – mind, body, and soul are affected by the shame and abandonment that comes from these environments. We don’t know any different from our environment and especially our home life.

We come into this world as curious, happy, sweet beings. What we learn at first, especially in our first 5 years is critical to our brain development and sense of being. What is going on at home. How individual family members speak and treat each other. How they look at you and treat you. How they feel about themselves and the world. All this is taken in by you when you are a baby and child. All this has an effect on you and how you view the world, people, and yourself. Your self-esteem is formed. Your way of being is formed. Your cognitive skills are developed. The six types of cognitive processes are attention, perception, memory, language, learning, and higher reasoning. The processes are interdependent and occur simultaneously. Perception is very important here!

Basically. Your development. Your child development sets you up on how you grow into adulthood. I can’t discount that genes do play into who you will become. Your temperament also plays a factor. Coming from a family of four girls, me being the youngest, none of us grew up the same as far as it comes to our thinking or how we choose to live our lives. Our selves, our brain development, where the family was as far as in the disease of addiction and abuse, all have had an impact and made us very different in certain ways.

positivity

But, my negativity was one of the strongest at an earlier age. Looking back in some instances, this not only hurt me, but has also helped me in fighting against adhering to the dysfunction. But mostly, the negativity hurt me because I could not change my environment and could not find any other way but to be negative toward my environment which lead me to a continuous way of thinking that made my depression more severe and made how I viewed the world and people very badly. It was very pessimistic and the negativity made me view myself in a way that was way too harsh and unloving.

Examples of my negativity were – I just can’t do anything right. I’m so ugly. I’m so fat. I’ll never be good enough. Every single thing that happens bad in the world will happen to me. I hate myself. I hate my life. And I hate the way I feel.

Where is the freaking reset button?

Well, there was a reset button. It took many years, maybe even decades. I still have to stop myself sometimes. At some point, I realized that I had to change the way I thought. My perspective needed to change. And, once I started to re-learning how to think, how to view things, how to stop myself in my tracks in my brain and say things to myself like you are pretty, you are smart, you are strong, was it only then that I viewed myself, the world, and others in vibrant colors and warmth. I feel like I had always been loving and kind. With that being said, I was rarely ever a mean person. Most of my bad way of thinking was internalized. I am just saying that I believe I came into this world trusting and knowing how beautiful things and people are and how even in a difficult situation there can be a silver lining and a way to rise above. My being probably somehow yearned to be that person once again and it took some time to reprogram myself away from what I was introduced and conditioned to for so many years.

Changing my perspective has been once of the most challenging but life alerting things I have done.

By changing your negative way of thinking, to a more positive way, you then become more resilient, can handle issues in a more productive way, are less stressed, you lean away from depression (unless your depression is caused by a chemical unbalance or something else), and you just have a better outlook on life, the world, and yourself.

Please don’t focus on the wrong or negative. Give yourself positive affirmations and focus on the things you have done right or that are good about you. When you stop and think about what you are thinking, say positive things to yourself, changing your perspective. Don’t criticize yourself for thinking negatively. You are harming yourself by beating yourself up. Just redirect your thinking in a gentle and loving manner and find a new way. Much love ❤

positivity

If you are thinking of having a child, have children, or being a care-taker of a child, here are some good tips below. You can also read more about child development on Harvard’s Center on the Developing Child site and what they list as 8 Things to Remember about Child Development.

 

Parent Tip

Recent brain research indicates that birth to age three are the most important years in a child’s development. Here are some tips to consider during your child’s early years:

  • Be warm, loving, and responsive.
  • Talk, read, and sing to your child.
  • Establish routines and rituals.
  • Encourage safe explorations and play.
  • Make TV watching selective.
  • Use discipline as an opportunity to teach.
  • Recognize that each child is unique.
  • Choose quality child care and stay involved.
  • Take care of yourself.

12 Things a lot of people don’t know about me

1. I like to take long, hot baths, about 45 min. long, 3-4 times a week.

2. I’m a writer/poet and I’m actually a self-published author. 📖

3. I can bake probably the best meringues you’ll ever try.

4. My passion for photography goes back to about the age of 7. 📸

5. My favorite band is Duran Duran, but don’t call me a Duranie. I used to want to be Duran Duran’s tour photographer.

6. I have a bad sweet tooth. 🍭

7. I secretly wish I could sing, like really sing and dance contemporary and ballet. It’s probably why I love going to the ballet and watching So You Think You Can Dance. 💃

8. I could have been a cheerleader, a really good one, thanks to my gymnastics skills, but my grades sucked and I was too shy. I think I still can do cartwheels!

9. I’m a high school dropout with two degrees. 😉 And, got both while I was raising my son by myself.

10. I love blasting music in the car when a good song comes on. Music is my 2nd passion.

11. I had a desire in my late teens & twenties to be a photographer for National Geographic. Yes, I do look at their job listings. 🙁

12. What I wish I could do with my life now, travel and photograph the world.

Are there things about you that nobody knows that you wish people knew?

 

Wellness – Good food – Dad’s Strawberry Juice

My dad was good in the kitchen.
He had his dishes that not any one of us could recreate like he made them. I am still trying to get his Carbonara recipe down or even to be somewhat similar to his. His bolognese was great, too. He tried to teach me a few times how to make it. I never came close. How I wish I had at least written down the recipe, step by step. One thing I created into my own and kept very close to how he used to make it, was his sopa. Our version of Sopa a la Minuta. We’re Peruvian, so the Peruvian recipe is quite different. But, one thing I think I did do of his as well as he, was his strawberry juice, probably because it is so simple to make.

strawberry-juice-in-a-blender_sm

strawberry-juice_sm
From him, to me, to you!
Fresh strawberries. Clean off the stems and rinse. Fill the blender 3/4 of the way.
About 1/4 cup of orange juice.
1/4 a cup of white sugar. Blend in 1/2 and taste. If it’s not sweet enough, add the remainder.
Once all blended, add 6-8 ice cubes. Chop then crush.
It’s perfect for a picky kid or just refreshing for a sunny day.
Also, it is great frozen. Just add to ice cube trays with toothpicks or ice cream trays.
Enjoy!

10 Recommended Books

Hi everyone!
Hope all is well.

Since a lot of us are at home due to the Coronavirus, I thought that I would recommend some of my favorite books, most are available on Amazon Kindle. You don’t need a Kindle to download them either. You can purchase the kindle version and download them to your phone, tablet/ipad, or computer. You just need to download the app to get this to work. Go on Amazon and type in the search bar, kindle app for “pc” free download, or “Android”, or “Mac”. I have a Samsung Galaxy (android), so I know it works! The kindle app will appear on your phone, tablet, or computer after you download this app and all your kindle books you purchase will appear here! Make sure that after you download the app from Amazon and make purchases that you select where you want the book to download to. You’ll see this while checking out your cart. It is really easy!

books

The Power of Intention by, Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

Evolving to Grace: A story of perseverance, strength, spiritual evolution, and the choices one must make to change one’s path by, Grace Lozada (me!)

Adult Children of Alcoholics by, Dr. Janet G. Woititz EdD

You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by, Jen Sincero

The Wisdom of Sundays: Life-Changing Insights from Super Soul Conversations by, Oprah Winfrey

Grace: Quotes & Passages for Heart, Mind, and Soul by, B.C. Aronson

Strengthening My Recovery: Meditations for Adult Children of Alcoholics/Dysfunctional Families by, ACA WSO INC

The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (A Toltec Wisdom Book) by, Don Miguel Ruiz

Edie: American Girl by, Jean Stein

Keeping Secrets by, Suzanne Somers – only one that is not on Kindle, but life changer if you are a child of an alcoholic.

Never take anything for granted

You really can’t take anything for granted. Family, friends, work, a paycheck, bike rides, sunsets, days off, taking pictures, hugs, kisses, holding hands, the beach, the sun, a walk at the beach or through a favorite museum, ACA meetings, eating out, and sitting in the sun for hours.Whatever it is, try to never take anything for granted. And know, that we make this little sacrifice to save lives.

Healing is a long journey

Healing is a long journey. It doesn’t happen overnight and I believe you’ll always be healing. But, you’ll move on to a better self and better life that you’ve created for yourself. Many unhealthy behaviors that you learned, will be unlearned by better choices. A lot of trauma that you suffered will be healed, but like I’ve heard many times last year, it’s like peeling away layers of an onion. So that takes time and despite what others say, I believe that some trauma may not be 100% healed, but will be replaced with coping and understanding.
With all that being said, I say YAY to HEALING, going through the pain, acknowledging the impact most things made on my life, and finding my way.
✌💗🙌

What you do today, affects tomorrow. ❤
#childhoodtrauma
Remember that you are always thought of.
Much love