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

Life can end in a second

A little shaken up.
When I saw all the cop cars racing to where I was and then saw one open his door while the car was still moving with a rifle in hand I knew it was bad. Then in less than 5 seconds three gunshots behind me. I didn’t stop to turn around and look. I ran with my bike hoping all cars stopped would not start driving, trying to get out of there. As soon as I got to the other side of Sepulveda and Venice and behind a wooded fence all I could do is breakdown and cry.
In a split second, you could no longer be here. All I hope is that I left a sweet, touching, or funny memory in every that I’ve met and that the ones that are in my life or in my heart knows that I love them no matter what.

 

#lifeisshort #gratitudeforeachday

Holiday Giveaway!

If you would like to win a free copy of my memoir, Evolving to Grace, here’s your chance.

All you have to do is follow me on Instagram, like one of the book posts, and comment on one of the posts.

I will be selecting winners on Wednesday, the 18th. Winners will be notified via DM on Instagram.
✌💗🙌

Best of luck and Happy Holidays! ❤

What you do today, affects tomorrow. ❤

Remember that you are always thought of.

Much love ❤

Adult children of alcoholics

Book giveaway

#memoir #bookgiveaway #12steps #socalaca #acoa #alanon

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.