Overcoming the Fear of Speaking Up

I’ve lived in fear of speaking up most of my life. I’ve only challenged it sometimes. Covid and quarantining makes you really have time to think. It gives you the time to work on things about yourself that you may want to change or the things about your life that you may want to overcome. Speaking up or writing about anything and putting it out there for the whole world to see, without fear, is something I struggle with.fearful

Fear. It’s hard to be a writer and to be fearful. As a writer, knowing that fear will hold you back, is a hard thing to tackle and overcome. I write a lot about personal or private experiences and my thoughts or opinions on many matters. I am not scared of sharing. 

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Though, I am scared of retaliation or backlash or just plain physical harm or threats because doing so. A friend and I recently spoke about speaking up. We both come from addicted childhoods. Alcoholism. Never being allowed to speak up is a condition that comes from growing up in a household that had alcoholism in it. We are supposed to be seen and not heard. You can never rock the boat in a household where anything can set off the alcoholic or the other adult that has to maintain some kind of household that has to deal with an adult that is constantly making a wreck of their lives. So, when I was speaking with my friend, I had mentioned to her that I was in fear of a physical response more than anything. Sometimes I have also felt guilty, too. Even guilty of speaking up when I was hurting. As most adult children of alcoholics do, we swallow everything and try to remain silent. We bury our feelings, our thoughts, our words.

Never being able to speak up was hard. Because for the most part, if you spoke up or confronted anything, you’d sometimes get hurt. A slap could come from anybody. If someone didn’t like what you had to say even if you were being honest, you could be backhanded. Even from a sibling. So, I learned to never be confrontational. Yes sometimes I slipped up, regurgitated my thoughts, but I am only human and it was rare for me to do so.  

speaking upSo now as an adult, I have navigated to try to learn how to speak up without fear of harm and in a more civil manner than shouting or fighting, which is what I saw growing up. It’s hard to learn something you were never taught, so it has been challenging at times, but necessary. We must speak up when something is wrong, we must speak up and ask for a raise at work, we must speak up in court when you’re battling someone that keeps lying and doesn’t want to pay you child support, we must speak up and say what we are looking for in a relationship, and we must speak up on how we expect to be spoken to or treated. But, when I write and have written over the years my fear comes from people’s thoughts and opinions on how I should not say something about something or someone, even though time has passed and I hold no resentment. I cannot help it if they are in so much fear of secrets being revealed, their own shame for things they’ve done, or just that they like to maintain an image that is clearly perfection. None of us are perfect. Time has passed and people have learned and grown. But, some of us are trying to speak up to break the silence, break the cycle of keeping secrets and toxicity, tell others that they are not alone, and heal by sharing and talking to one another.

This fear that I have keeps me back. I’m scared of what will happen to me. The fear is based on physical harm more than anything. It’s just what I was trained as a child, not necessarily that it would happen as an adult. Let me tell you, the PTSD is real, but at least nowadays I am aware what the panic is and where it comes from. The physical harm could happen, but more than likely it wouldn’t. So it’s been hard to overcome this fear of physical harm coming from speaking your truth. But this morning in the rarest of moments that I’ve had, I know that I need to challenge this fear and stop being scared and hiding. I cannot be scared of what someone might do. I cannot be scared of what could happen. Fear in some cases, is irrational and it is holding me back as a writer. I must let go and live my life to the fullest.

Without fear there is only abundance. Without fear there is only freedom. Without fear there is only true fulfillment and happiness.
I will live this day and the rest, moving forward, walking through fear and not let it hold me back.

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.

Tonight, 8.11.18

Tonight I cried like…well, like I sobbed.
Baths, those long hot baths I like to take for about 45 minutes do something to me. Sometimes they make those aching muscles go away, sometimes they just relax me, and sometimes they are therapy.
So, I just got out of the bath, dried myself off, and lied down on the floor because a good song was on.

This is not typical. And, then I just started to cry uncontrollably. I began apologizing to myself for being there and drinking. You see, I was raped when I was 16 and still a virgin. I went over with my sisters to some guys place across the street for a small party while living in Chicago. And I drank, until I threw up all over the bathroom, blacked out, and passed out. I woke up in the middle of it, just to only get a few whimpers out of “No”. I’ve rarely cried about it. The 1st time I cried about it was when I was edit my memoir, a few years ago. I never thought it affected me much because I was passed out. But, tonight the apologies kept coming. I’m sorry for putting you there. I’m sorry for drinking. I’m sorry that you’re parents didn’t love you the way you needed to be loved. I’m sorry for everything that was hurting you up until that point to make you feel unworthy and putting yourself there. I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry…because you are worthy.
How many decades later and I’m really just getting an idea that not only it did affect me, but that it really may have (along with other things) affect my life.
I’m sorry because you (I) deserved so much more. This was the last thing I said to myself as I stopped crying and got myself off the floor.
We all have our moments. I hope you pull yourself out of them with kindness and love to yourself.

Ode to Court today, 5/23/2017

As I sit here, next to you 

I think of all these moments of time.
The moments of my life, so long ago.

My life was adventurous.
My life had promise.
My life had excitement of new loves, new experiences.

Not everyone gets to live the high life of fun times in West Hollywood’s clubs
the glamorous who’s-who parties in the Hollywood Hills
the adoration and reassurance of self esteem of someone like 2pac noticing you.

The moments you and I shared.
The relationship and things we shared.
All I can think,
while I sit next to you here in court – how did we get here?

Why did you choose not to be part of your son’s life
with not even a care in the world to make sure he was properly taken care of.
Is all you have to say to me
when you sit down next to me is –
“sorry”.
#childsupport

Holiday Sale

etg_chapters_72

Holiday sale! Make sure that you don’t miss out on this discount. This offer won’t last.

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

Grace 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 she ended up in when she was lost and broken. She has learned from her past and she is evolving to find her grace in this beautiful thing we call life. She believes by sharing her story that we all can learn from one another or at least find more compassion and understanding. We can change our destiny, our path.

 

#sale #booksale #holidaysale
#cyberMonday #blackfriday #cyberweekend

Spiritual Beauty

She was a girl of abuse
She was a girl of silenceSpiritual Beauty

Those tears were hidden behind
those sad eyes

But, one day she found beauty

Beauty in the sky
Beauty in the trees
Beauty in the birds
Beauty in the lady bugs
Beauty in all things

Even beauty in hurt and pain
because through that she learned
to love life and all things deeper than ever before.

 

7/31/2014

#poem

1st page of Evolving to Grace 

1st page of Evolving to Grace.

Chapter 1 – Threats from a Pimp
“Excuse Me—Press Rewind”

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Available on Amazon in print and ebook (Kindle). If you don’t have a Kindle, no problem. Just download the software for free to read any kindle book on any device, click here.

Life can be a roller-coaster ride for some more than others. Mine has been this way. Born into generations of educated, privileged, and successful millionaires, in this memoir I tell a story of how one generation’s downfall due to financial, emotional, and addiction problems had crippling, traumatic effects on everyone around them, including myself. This story is about my journey of how I was going to fight with every fiber of my being, so that I would not follow in the footsteps of others. From very dark times as a teenager where I believed suicide was the only option to later entertaining times in my early 20’s living in the City of Angels, hobnobbing with professional athletes and entertainers.

I could be labeled many things: illegal, ACoA (Adult Child of an Alcoholic), doChapters of Evolving to Gracemestic 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 write to share my experiences with others with the hope that no one, despite whatever situation they may be going through, will ever give up. You can change your destiny, your path.

 

 

 

#acoa 

Lttr to the suffering, hold on.

Dear ones that are suffering,

Please hold on. Don’t give up. Life will get better.

It took me a long time to get to other side of feeling hopeless, like life was always going to be hopeless. I am so beyond happy that I survived to the point I never want to leave this world.
PLEASE, seek help. Counselors, psychologists. Talk to someone. Find someone to help you find someone.
When life is over, it’s over. No more chances to do the things you love, no more chances to experience something you’ve always wanted to try, no more saying, “fuck you” and finally walking away from that thing or people that add to your depression.
Please never give up. Life is beautiful.

Much love,
Grace

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#fightdepression

Never as I seem

We should never judge a book by its cover. I was “alternative” before that was even a thing and I was living in a town that was very conservative; all I got were stares. I feel that back then I had more style than I do now and I was trying new things, definitely with my hair and clothes. I wasn’t doing drugs (yet), but I could only imagine that that was what everybody thought.
And here I was at 16, innocent as could be, but as closed off to the cold, cold judgemental world. With a slightly grown out shaved head, no one ever could have imagine that I was anything but happy because of the smile on my face. I was also good at disguises, I was battling depression then, so I’m sure it wasn’t pure “happiness”. Or maybe, I just very seldomly wore my emotions on my sleeve lIke I  seemed to be doing that day. 
In this picture  I was more relieved than happy because that day meant to me, a celebration of freedom. Freedom from the put downs, freedom from inferiority, freedom from the physical attacks, freedom to now be good enough, and mostly freedom to no longer be just “her sister”.

I love my sis, but I was always in her shadow. Now was the first time I saw that I could break free to be me!
Read more in Evolving to Grace.
Available at Amazon.com 

Evolving to Grace available in stores now!

Looking for a X-Mas gift for the book lover in your life? Local to L.A.?
You can now find Evolving to Grace in stores at BookSoup in West Hollywood and Vroman’s Bookstore in Pasadena.

Get your copy soon! Quantities limited!

memoir

#inspire #hope #memoir #book #xmasgift

I was just barely 16 & still a virgin when I was raped

Excerpt, from Evolving to Grace

A little over a week later, I lost my virginity, technically. I was raped. It is mind boggling what paths my journey took me on when I didn’t make good choices. I never stopped to even think of what I was doing. I shouldn’t have ever had a drink. I shouldn’t have been at that get together. I shouldn’t have been in Chicago. I shouldn’t have bottled things up that hurt me. I should have been in school trying to do the best thing for myself, getting my education. So many should not haves or should haves play over and over in my mind. If I could have only pressed rewind, this may not have happened to me, but maybe like most things in our lives they are destined and meant to happen for a purpose.

I began drinking a year earlier. I drank until I threw up, blacked out and passed out next to my new friend, “Potty”, the toilet. And, even though I’d go to the extent that I had seen my mom go to and hated it, I was now doing it a lot of the time. Here I was at 16, still drinking, bottling up my emotions – escaping from my life, only facing my reality through depressed feelings, scarring my wrists with safety pins and drinking to the excess I was. At a get together across the street at a neighbor’s brownstone in Chicago, me and my sisters drank. One of my sisters was there with her new boyfriend, the boy I had been dating! I had to have felt uncomfortable. I was still so confused on what had happened to me again or maybe I was just trying to ignore my feelings. I believe by this time in my life I was trying to push down my feelings because to everyone besides me, my feelings didn’t matter. People, especially family had done so many hurtful things and with no apology. My feelings didn’t matter, I didn’t matter.

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I can only recall about the first few minutes of that evening. We were at the guy with the tall, blue mohawk’s place which he shared with his roommate. I was excited because I had a crush on Mr. Mohawk. I kind of remember trying to go over there as cute as I could. I couldn’t be pretty or even pretty enough to get his attention because I was still not bloomed into the prettiness that would come years later. But, it didn’t stop me from getting excited from going over there. I walked into this guy’s place that evening with happiness and with a profound innocence that I still had. I was 16, going on 12. I didn’t know really what happened during sex. I had never seen a boy naked; except for the Playgirl Magazines one of my sisters would sneak and show us. I had only made out with two guys in my life and that was just heavy duty kissing. My sister mentioned later, that I had gotten so drunk I began to throw up all over the place. At some point like I always had, I had time to take pictures. It’s funny how I could continue doing what I love to do, despite never remember doing it. My sis later told me that she stuck me in the bathtub to clean me up and then later put me into the roommate’s bed to sleep it off, not Mr. Mohawk’s. I passed out. My sisters left me there. One of them had to leave me there because she was catching a plane back to Cincinnati. I believe Mr. Mohawk went with her to the airport. It was only decades later that I spoke to the other sister about that night, but it was brief, and we only spoke about the rape. She felt bad hearing what I had gone through and she didn’t want to talk any further about it, so I was never able to find out why she left me there. I cannot blame her though because for so long we all had been only watching out for ourselves. I was blacked out the whole night. I do recall a moment though. The pain of him trying to enter me woke me up. I remember seeing his outlined figure in the dark, on top of me and I was trying to push him off. I moaned in agony because of what he was trying to do. It hurt, but I just passed out again. In the morning I woke up to find myself half naked lying next to this dude which was completely naked. I quietly went out to the living room trying to find my clothes, which one of my sisters had semi-cleaned of throw up in the bathroom. I made small talk with Mr. Mohawk. My best time spent on Sheffield Avenue was watching this tall, skinny white guy with a blue Mohawk skate up and down the street. And, now this moment in the morning was embarrassing. I acted as nothing happened, like I always do – nothing affecting me, but it had to be written all over my face because I was so uncomfortable. I’d no longer look at Mr. Mohawk the same or his roommate. I pretended as all was good, even to the point that a few days later when I left to go back to Houston, they both rode the subway with me to the airport, like we were all friends or something. As a young girl, you don’t know how to behave when things like this happen because you really can’t understand what happened and you are probably in shock. I’d later find out that I got a STD. I had my virginity taken from me. I felt ashamed and confused, not knowing what to do but get out of there. I walked in as a happy, innocent girl and walked out snatched of everything that was pure of me, forever changed. It took me decades to realize how devastating that night truly was. It took me 26 years to finally cry about it. For so many years I use to say, “thankfully I was passed out for most it and that was why it never really affected me”. But, it did affect me. My childhood laid a base foundation for me to let men use me and possibly lead me into selling myself for sex, but this incident may have played more of a role than my childhood. After the rape, I didn’t have sex again for another year, but that time it was my choice.

#evolvingtograce #rape