It’s been a while. Hello again!

It’s been a while since I have written a post. I think sometimes I stay away from writing. But, writing to me is usually therapeutic and perhaps I haven’t wanted to reach deep or possibly I haven’t felt okay with being so vulnerable. But, as most of my writing happens, I felt an urge to write, to share my thoughts, my feelings, and what has been going on.

2018 was a hard year for me. Not one of the hardest, but I went back to places that I hadn’t been in a very long time.

I’m sure the depression had been creeping up for some time. It could have even been ignited by the death of Matt at the end of 2011. It wasn’t his death that I was depressed about. I was extremely sad, felt broken at times, and even sometimes said to him that I didn’t want to be here anymore if he wasn’t here, but fully depressed I wasn’t. At least not then. Back then I was grieving.

But, then a month after his passing I picked up the memoir I had started writing so many years prior. Almost 2 decades prior. I was determined to put this book back together, with it’s outlined pages, typed up pages, and hand-written pages. I was determined to finish it. Months prior to Matt’s death, I had shared with him the book that I would one day finish. He had said how he’d love to read it someday and how I should get back to writing it.

No longer was I going to put it off until I turned 60. I had the time now to finish this goal. I was determined. It was important to him. It was important for me because I thought if there was someone that I could help by seeing that they could change their lives, I had to finish it and get it out there to the world.

For the next 3 years, I wrote. I edited and edited and edited. I published, Evolving to Grace in 2015.

But, it took its toll.

I had just lost someone that meant so much to me. Almost immediately, I pick up memories on paper. I wrote and wrote. I remembered and had to remember things I had healed from and some that I had not. I was revisiting a past in its entirety. Feeling and crying over things that I had for some 20 years thought hadn’t affected me. Like my rape when I was 16 years old and still a virgin. Forever I had been saying how it barely affected me because I was mostly blackout (and passed out). That it wasn’t one of those brutal rapes that happen to a lot of females. Well, after re-editing my book, I found myself crying about it for the first time. A lot of trauma came storming back. But, I pushed threw. I felt good about finishing the book and self-publishing it. I felt accomplished. But, even though maybe 1 more edit was needed, I knew I couldn’t handle emotionally going over it again. So, I left it, published it and touched it up here and there with minor edits.

Then in 2016 I lost my job. It wasn’t a job I loved, too much animosity and toxicity was happening because of lack of good management. But, the thing about that job was that I was good at what I did day-to-day. So, after that lay off in September, I took a break. I had been wanting to switch professions for some time (from Accounting to Photography).

And, then in December my dad, that I hadn’t spoken to in 5 years fell ill and was in the hospital about to be put on a ventilator. I spent the next 2 weeks with my mom (that I also hadn’t spoken to in 5 years), three older sisters, nephews, niece, and my son. It was good and it was bad. My dad passed on December 22nd and we still have not had a service or a funeral. That hurts.

Forward to May 2017. I found myself defending the unpaid court order for child support. It was lowered and now this man that hadn’t cared to see his son or take care of him for 22 years, wanted to meet him. That lasted for a few months and as far as I know, he is no longer around. But, is paying child support. Though he tried to get it lowered again this past February. He was denied! And just for the record because so many people ask. Here in California, once a court order for child support is issued, it never goes away. Interest might continue accumulating after the child is 18 and the non-custodial is not paying. But, it sits there, waiting to be paid. And, I had never been paid until 2017.

As I write this and lay it all out, I see. The depression was bound to come back if I was just moving through all this dirt (wanted to type something else) without having someone there to talk to or have in my corner. I was still solo. I couldn’t connect with anyone the times I tried to date. I wasn’t seeing a therapist. Family, besides my son, were non-existent.

There were a few other things like not transitioning to get a career going in Photography or getting a decent Bookkeeping job. My son moved out and I finally felt the empty nesting syndrome even though I was keeping busy. And, finances were rough.

So, this is where I am. Where I was last year and I was kinda drifting away from blogging and keeping up with posting on Facebook and Instagram. I was deep into my depression. My suicidal at times depression. I hadn’t been there for 15 years or so.

I am now back in therapy and finally attending ACA meetings for the first time in my life. I am still trying to pursue my photography career, but I have a job that I really like in Accounting. I’m trying to put more effort back into writing because it is not only therapeutic for me but if one person comes across my story or my book, that they will feel less alone and will realize that they can heal. It doesn’t happen overnight and maybe like me, you will uncover things that you may have never looked at as traumatic. But, change can happen.

I can’t guarantee I will write a lot because I have to put most of my free time to my photography business, but I will try to share and write.

If you are going threw a lot, or even a little, talk to someone. Don’t think you can always work your way out of the mud by yourself. I have some resources if you’re in need on my Resources page.

Be well and lots of Love,
Grace

Alcoholism affects everyone, not just the alcoholic.

Nowadays so much is spoken about and known about alcoholism especially within the family unit. It affects everyone. It brings on other problems like abuse, financial stresses, lack of parenting because of the focus shifts on the alcoholic and not what the children need as far as growing into a successful adult with self-esteem, self-worth, knowing how to be in healthy relationships, and how to cope when things go wrong.
Don’t assume that because you got through another night of the alcoholic being drunk that things will be better today or if you don’t speak about what happened the night before that it didn’t happen.
Seek help. Do what you have to do for you and especially your children, not for the person that doesn’t want to get better.

When men just don’t know any better?

A few weeks ago I was approached with a job opportunity for an Accounting position. I’ve been out of work for a while and I’m in desperate need because my finances are dwindling down. So, when I was approached with a possible job for a major social media influencer in Beverly Hills, I was thrilled and relieved. Not only did the position seem perfect and I was qualified based on my experience, the pay was exactly what I was requesting and needed. The recruiter thought I’d be a perfect candidate, too. I had to do some testing though before I was sent out for an interview. And, even though I had been approached on a late afternoon I was willing to do whatever was required of me. That evening I researched the employer. The name had sounded familiar but I couldn’t pinpoint who he was. As he came across my screen, I totally knew who he was. I watched a few videos, googled him to see what others said about him, and checked out his Instagram which displayed him dancing with several girls, other posts were he flaunted his mansion and cars but said that wasn’t what he valued. He values knowledge (on how to grow your Instagram account?). Was I really this desperate? He annoyed me and I really didn’t know what he does besides selling falsehoods and everything that is superficial and shallow.
I guess I was that desperate. I have no one helping me out. I don’t have much in my savings, no retirement, nothing really. I had to push my personal thoughts aside. I knew I had dealt with different personalities, probably equivalent or worse. I could do this, I thought. So the next morning I started on the two personality tests and a comprehension test. I began the first personality test. 100 questions, choice questions (either or) to see where your personality was on different aspects, were you a narcissist or not, etc. Ugh. This was getting tedious and weird. After a few questions I saw that this was his very own personality test. Why I knew, they were coming from his website and I had taken personality tests before. Some of these questions seemed different. More personal. And that was just it. They kept getting more personal. Some questions were building upon each other, making me feel more uncomfortable as I continued. Probably 50 questions in I just wanted to stop. Was he serious? What he is asking is wrong. I can’t recall what number this question was, I must have been more than halfway through when one of my choices were – ‘I enjoy having sex with people I hardly know’. Oh my gosh! I’m done, I thought. All kinds of emotions were happening. Was he serious? In this age of #timesup and #metoo, doesn’t he know better?
In the end of drilling through the rest of his personality test with a bunch of, “that’s none of your business”, stopping at should I choose – ‘My body is nothing special’ or ‘I like to look at my body’, I completed the test and the other test, too. I sat for a minute trying to decide what I whelplessas going to do. Should I just follow through and see what happens? Maybe I can confront him face to face. I emailed the recruiter. I declined the position because I found his questions inappropriate, I wrote. She later called me to discuss and apologized. I never responded.
Being an older woman who was raised with no gender roles, where I could do just about everything a man could do and vice versa, I wonder why things are still so unequal? I recognize the beauty I had especially in my twenties in the bright lights of Hollywood and learned the hard way what that gets you. I’ve made myself too aware of the statistics of crime against women inflicted by men and in my belief, the crime is also being committed every day by keeping women down, economically and socially. I became a very capable independent woman and mother that raised a young man to not see women as less than because she has different body parts.
This behavior of inappropriateness has happened for centuries where women are an object. We are only good for breeding, being mothers, being utilized for the hard work without getting any recognition, and to be only what our outer appearances are to the eyes of men. Are we as women getting further away from being seen as qualified and just as competent or closer to being nothing more than having ginormous butts, revealing all to break the internet, subjecting ourselves to countless cosmetic treatments were we don’t look real anymore, so that some of us continue to be objectified to these kinds of personal questions by men?
My years have unfortunately made me well aware of what some men do in the corporate world. We all have heard it on the news. But, why is it still happening? Do some men just not know any better, think they can get away with it because we are naive, young, dumb or just won’t speak up?
Well I’ll tell you this, I’m probably the age of this guy and I have the guts to speak up so hopefully guys like him will think differently, be more accountable, but more importantly so not one more female is subjected to your ridiculous questions that are none of your business and who knows what behavior or atmosphere working for you would be.
Do you just not know any better, I wonder.

What would you tell your 16 year old self if you had the chance?

This is me when I was 16 (1986) in Klein, TX.

I was already a high school dropout. I had already had a few #suicide attempts behind me. I had already known what it was to drink until I passed out & blacked out, many times. I was an #acoa before I knew there was such a thing & it’s complexities of being an adult child of an alcoholic. I unfortunately also knew to well #abuse – emotional, mental, and physical.
What would I tell her?
That you have a sweetness that someday people won’t take for granted or abuse. That you are so cool in your likes and appearance. That you are strong and you will get through this and everything life will throw at you. That you will experience beautiful things and have a great son that will be such a great human being and that you raised all by yourself.
That from all your heartache and pain, you will love deeper, care more, and be more resilient. And lastly, I love you just the way you are and that that is what matters most!

If you haven’t thought of what you’d tell yourself, I hope that you do so now. ❤

Much love, Grace.

 

 

 

Please remember what makes you beautiful! ❤

If you are thinking or have thought about suicide, if you are worried about someone you know, or if you just need someone to talk to, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or chat with their counselors online. All services are free and available 24/7.

Once I stopped running from my pain.

“Life doesn’t get easier or more forgiving, we get stronger and more resilient.” -Steve Maraboli ❤ 

It’s so amazing how as a teenager I use to run.

Run from my surroundings, run from my life, run from everything. It was my way of escaping. I was trying to escape from the reality of everything that had gone wrong in our lives – alcoholism in the home, abuse, neglect, violence amongst almost all of us in my home, and then losing it all that included our home. In a year, I ran, thinking maybe something would change. 

At 16, I literally was in Houston, went to Chicago, went back to Houston, then went to California, then back to Houston, back to Chicago again, and back to Houston. Then finally went back to Cali – for good. Once I stopped running, I ended up exactly where I was before I started running – in the reality of what life had given me for 16 years. Only then could I decide to live in the pain, heal, grow, and learn.

Your circumstance is what life has destined you to live and it all has a purpose – to cherish what you have/will have, become stronger, become wiser ~ evolve.
There are no easy roads to a beautiful life.
A beautiful life: a life where you value what you have, value spending time with the people who are in your life, the moments you get to do the things you love to do, and all the experiences that bring you laughter, happiness, peace, and awe moments.
For some of us life is harder, but you will get stronger and become more resilient if you decide to work through your hurt and sorrows. I’m not saying you’ll never be hurt again or past traumas or situations that made you suffer won’t affect you again. You’ll just become a much stronger, braver, wiser individual that can fight through whatever life (or people) have in store for you.

Remember that you are always thought of.
Much love ❤

📸: By me

If you are thinking or have thought about suicide, if you are worried about someone you know, or if you just need someone to talk to, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or chat with their counselors online. All services are free and available 24/7.

Happy Holidays to all!


Christmas is forever, not for just one day,
for loving, sharing, giving, are not to put away
like bells and lights and tinsel, in some box upon a shelf.
The good you do for others is good you do yourself.

Peace on Earth, good will to men,
kind thoughts and words of cheer,
are things we should use often
and not just once a year.

1yr anniversary – R.I.P. Dad

I saw this at the mall and it spoke to me.

I probably have a connection to it because it has water, looks like it was taken under the sea. And, I probably feel a close connection because I’m such a Pisces, water girl, mermaid. I even take baths, a couple a week, and they usually are as long as 30-45 minutes long. Sometimes taking baths like this reminds me of Big Fish, the movie. ☺ But, this #art piece made me also feel and think of how there are days/times in my life that I need to just flow, swim, or reach with what the current tide in life is bringing me.
Today is one of those days. Today is the 1 year anniversary of my dad’s passing. Even though there are important things I need to deal with, calls to return, all I’m going to do and focus on is the time I’m going to have with my son down at the beach. My dad (& family) loved the beach, the ocean, the water. I want to remember him there.
I want to laugh, cry, and feel his love there.
R.I.P. Dad. I love you!

Book Giveaway

Just in time for the holidays – enter to win 1 of 2 signed copies of Evolving to Grace. 

Evolving to Grace is a memoir about perseverance, strength, spiritual evolution, and the choices one must make to change one’s path. I share my life’s experiences, my journey—finding my way out of darkness—discovering hope, positivity, strength, happiness and the right path for the life I choose to live. I write about many challenges I’ve had to face and overcome—either due to alcoholism, depression, violence, rape and being a single mother on welfare.

I could be labeled many things: illegal, ACoA (Adult Child of an Alcoholic), domestic violence survivor, excessive alcohol and drug user, rape victim, assault victim, hitchhiker, high school dropout, call girl, and single mother on welfare. But, these are just situations I ended up in when I was lost and broken. I’ve learned from my past and I am evolving to find my grace in this beautiful thing we call life. I believe by sharing my story, we all can learn from one another or at least find more compassion and understanding. We can change our destiny, our path.

Head over to Goodreads.com to enter!
Best of luck! Enter soon! I hope you win!

#bookgiveaway #contest #freebie

You Can Choose

You can choose to stay in the hurt and pain.
You can choose to remain angry.
You can choose to be like them.
You can choose to continue victimizing yourself.
You can choose to live in the negative.
You can choose to throw it all away. 

 

 

 

Or,

You can choose to live with love.
You can choose to live in the light.
You can choose to live seeing and being in nature.
You can choose enjoying loved ones.
You can choose enjoying listening or seeing your favorite band.
You can choose to have that delicious meal.
You can choose going to a city that you love or enjoying the experience of getting to know a new one.
You can choose to bask all day in the sun or to play in the snow.
You can choose to stay in, under the covers, on a cozy couch, watching a great movie.
You can choose achieving those goals that you set forth for yourself that makes you feel accomplished.
You can choose to have that 1st date that you have been anticipating for days.
You can choose to fall in love.
You can choose to have a child or as many children as you desire.
You can choose to learn new things that bring you pleasure.
You can choose to continue doing that thing you are passionate about.
You can choose to get older, being able to look back on your life and smile because it’s been interesting and you’ve loved it, even with its ups and downs. 

  

The choice is yours.
What are you going to choose?

#ACoA #recoveryispossible #12steps

Do What You Love

One thing I don’t share about me too often  is one of my passions – photography.

It’s been something I’ve been loving and doing since about the age of 6. It brings me happiness and it is 1 of the things I actually think I am good at.

 

 

I believe we all should be doing what we love. Easier said then done sometimes. I know. I had to raise a child all by myself and thought I’d be practical and do Accounting. But, now it’s my time to chase my dreams! Even if I don’t succeed, I’ll never give up doing what I love.

Never let go of what brings you happiness.

Making your mark on the world is hard. If it were easy, everybody would do it. But it’s not. It takes patience, it takes commitment, and it comes with plenty of failure along the way. The real test is not whether you avoid this failure, because you won’t. It’s whether you let it harden or shame you into inaction, or whether you learn from it; whether you choose to persevere.
Barack Obama

#photographer #chasingmydreams #acoa

R.I.P. Chester Bennington

Two days and I am sitting in my motel room crying, weeping. After I heard the news I was shocked and cried, but for 2 days I went on with my days in disbelief, numb, heartbroken, in a fog. 

I’ve been known to be “sensitive”, like it was a bad thing to be. What I’ve come to realize is that I am extremely empathetic. I feel for others as if I am feeling their pain. It is not a bad thing to be empathetic or sensitive. But, what I don’t care for is being empathetic when I can so relate.
Trauma as a child sucks. Depression – suicidal depression hits so close to home for me. I feel for the pain and hard it must have been to be you when you were clearly suffering with depression.
As a teenager and for a brief moment as an adult, I suffered from it. It feels like it was yesterday. And, so when I hear of someone killing themselves, much less someone that has brought so much to me and my son over the last 15+ years, breaks my heart.
Again, the tears are flowing.

 

If I was a teenager, I would have said proudly, I had a crush. You helped me, helped all your fans that at one time or another felt the same pain you had so clearly suffered, to release it through your screams of angst in your songs. But, to then mix screams into a softness-mellowness, lyrical flow was to also remind us to go on with the love we needed to find in our lives, living with the pain or trauma, that many of us still carried. That talent was truly magical.
You were strong. You were talented. You had that thing, we all so dearly adored.
Empathetic. Sensing your pain. Feeling our loss. Says so much to who you were this time around, Chester Bennington.

 

Much love to your spirit wherever that finds you. Much love to your family and friends 💔
You will be so dearly missed!

If you are thinking or have thought about suicide, if you are worried about someone you know, or if you just need someone to talk to, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or chat with their counselors online here. You can see more of their services here. All services are free and available 24/7.

 

#endthestigma #suicideprevention #linkinpark #chesterbennington #fightdepression
#depression #suicide #childhootrauma #ripchesterbennington

 

Pre-Graduating Day!!

What a rollercoaster ride of emotions today. I’m experiencing soon one of my happiest and proudest days of my life ~ my son will be graduating from UCLA tomorrow with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a minor in Music Industry. It has been one amazing journey to get here with the struggles, disappointments, challenges, laughter, and many all-nighters. And, I’ll never forget all the driving every morning to Brentwood and later to Pacific Palisades.

But, I can’t help to think of the ones that won’t be sharing in knowing and seeing what a great, accomplished young man he has become. The very first one, Tupac (Happy Birthday), that knew I was going to be a great mother ~ Uncle Tupac as he wanted to be. The words of wisdom and kindness he wrote to me while he was away in NY were what I so desperately needed to hear at that time. How happy he would be tomorrow for my son and I! And, then my father, who just passed in December. He brought us to this country for our education. Furthering one’s education beyond high school was so important to him because he hadn’t done it and he knew the value in it. I’m grateful that he at least knew that my son was graduating soon, as we told him in December in the hospital bed. How proud he would be!

So, really, a world of emotions – but good ones. Because in the end it is nothing but pure joy of my son’s accomplished that brings it all to this.

 

 

 

#beatingtheodds #persevere #2pac