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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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 

I am an ACoA

I am an Adult Child of an Alcoholic.

I do mention it from time to time, that my mom is an alcoholic. By the age of 10, I knew-believed-felt that something was wrong with the dynamics of our household. Back then, in the early 80s, the lingo wasn’t there. Not many people were out speaking about addiction, at least not in our neighborhoods. If it was going on in other households, they were doing as we were, keeping secrets.

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In the United States alone there are an estimated 28 million children who have alcoholic parents. This figure is staggering when it is considered that at least 11 million of those children are under the age of 18.
Not only are children influenced by parents use of alcohol, another huge risk factor is the attitudes of the parents towards using alcohol. If parents are extremely permissive when it comes to the idea of their children using alcohol during their adolescent years, those children have a greater chance of becoming addicted either as teenagers or adults.

Alcoholic Families Usually Have Other Issues

Families who have issues with alcohol addiction often have other problems in addition to alcoholism. Some of these problems include:

  • A partial or complete lack of effective communication

  • Poor or non-existent parenting skills

  • Poorly run and managed homes with no set schedules, structure or discipline

  • Ineffective role models for children who then grow up to repeat family issues in their own families

  • More conflict in the home including arguing, fighting and sometimes physical abuse

  • Family isolation from the community due to alcohol abuse

  • Financial issues and struggles that lead to a more stressful life

557874e21841bb523883b3db440212c1Being an Adult Child of an Alcoholic was a starting point for being lost and broken for many years. It, and possibly a predisposition, led me to be depressed and suicidal at times. It lead me to give up on life, drop out of high school, and dive into excessive drinking and using drugs. It lead me to being so blacked out that I lost-was taken-my virginity one night after a party in Chicago. It could have led me, or a combination of all the things prior, to becoming a call girl in my early twenties.

 

Despite my foundation that began with being an Adult Child of an Alcoholic, my spirit has not been shattered. I was broken and lost for quite some time, but there was a fight in me from when I was about 13 years old. I despised what I was seeing when our lives were infused with the addict’s problem. I knew it was not how I wanted my life to be. The fire in me, to fight to not end up like my mother stayed lit for many years, thankfully never going out. I worked on my life, little by little, finding myself and the life I wanted to live in – peaceful, non-addicted, happy, funny, and most of all – always loving. the-best-top-desktop-fantasy-wallpapers-hd-fantasy-wallpaper-35

But remains is, I am still an Adult Child of an Alcoholic. That will never go away. But, I have learned to embrace it, learn from it (still learning), and know that I am a warrior because of it!

 

 

* Check out more statistics and information, click here.

* Get a copy of Evolving to Grace to read about my experience living as an Adult Child of an Alcoholic, amongst other things.

* And, check out the Adult Children of Alcoholics page, if you need help, support and for further information.

 

#adultchildrenofalcoholics

A Bike Ride in Santa Monica

Last weekend I decided to take my bike out for one of my rides. The weather had cooled down and I had been back to the gym. I thought to myself, I can do this! I can power through 15+miles and conquer the slops on the boulevard for a bike ride, and just maybe I can slide in the Santa Monica Stairs while I’m at it.

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I so needed this! I finally have some free time to get back into shape. Well, not completely free because I do need to do other things while I have time off from work. But, I should try really hard though to squeeze in some time to get back into shape because who knows when I will have this time again.

Earlier in the week I had been to the gym and successfully went everyday. I always begin my workouts at the gym on the treadmill – 30 minutes are required, but 45 minutes are better! I love to run on the treadmill. I have only been walking though because I am worried of getting shin splints, again. I’ve been told that I should ease into running, so possibly in the next coming weeks I will be running. I’ve always been a runner since junior high. And, I was so good that the high school I went to wanted me to be a runner for their school. Running, nowadays, is my form of relieving stress and it helps me with making any decisions on situations I am trying to work out in my life. On top of running being therapy for me, when I run I feel I am actual burning and shedding some fat, which makes me feel proud about what I am doing. So, I thought since I seemed to be able to just glide back into the gym and have the endurance to walk for 30 minutes, that I could do a little over 15 miles on my bike. Was I delusional? This 1st ride back after so many months was going to be a challenge for me, I thought.

My bike rides take me back to my Houston days before I was a teenager. We had moved there when I was 10 and almost immediately my sisters and I all got our 10 speed Schwinn’s. I could ride mine for forever though I don’t remember going much further than our neighboring neighborhoods or my school. I have had a bike since I was a very young child and until I was 16. Bike riding was in my DNA. And somehow, as many adults do, I lost touch with this thing I used to do that brought me so much joy. I went many years without riding. But, a few years back, I bought my son and I bikes. I still have mine. Every time I ride it, I am brought back to being that 12-year-old girl who could ride without holding the handle bars, wind blowing in her face. I have to hold onto the handle bars nowadays, though. I’ve kinda try it out, but haven’t gone all the way. I get scared because it gets shaky. But, maybe because it is the type of bike I have or maybe it is just the fear of being old that holds me back – knowing – I don’t have the balance that the young me used to have.

So, I headed out early on Saturday, about 9:30a.m. I took the hilly path, down the boulevard, so that I can do a better strength enduring workout than the alternative – a flat-level path. The first time I took this path, after the first incline, I had to stop and throw up a little. It’s not a piece of cake, but now I don’t stop or get sick to my stomach, which I am so happy because throwing up a little bit of your morning coffee at the side of the road is no way to start your morning. While riding I listen to music on my Walkman – yes, I have a mp3 Walkman. I have had it for years and my better excuse is that: I am a product or in love with everything from the 80’s. Sorry that’s just me!

After about 5 miles of riding and a block away, the beach was in front of me. I made a right to head over to downtown Santa Monica, which is about another 2 miles away. I wanted to walk through the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market. I always like to pick up a plum or a peach at the market. After I take my walk through the market of so many things I would like to take home with me, I get onto the next street and take it all the way to where it ends.

This is where I find 2 sets of steep stairs. I am not quite sure if both of them are The Santa Monica Stairs. The first set is made of cement and has a few turns while going up and down. The second set of stairs, a little walk from 4th Street, are wooden stairs and go straight up and down. The people who you will see here are intense. They are either professional fitness gurus, athletes, or the ones like me that think – I just want to do something extreme to shed an inch or 2. And, yes, I can shed an inch or 2, but I know it takes coming back, which I hope I will do.

los-angeles-20140426-01299 View of the ocean from the SM Stairs

Thankfully, both stairs have handrails because anyone who knows me, knows I am scared of heights, so I have to hold on, at least going down. There are times when I have started down the wooden stairs and think to myself – why I am doing this? I get scared. If I think about it for too long, I mess up and trip myself up, so I try to focus – or not to. Is this what vertigo is? Anyhow, I ended up doing 2 sets of the wooden stairs. To me, the cement ones are harder to do, so I will do them when I am better fit to do so.

I got back on my bike and rode down another boulevard, parallel to PCH (Pacific Coast Highway). This ride is probably the most serene part out of the whole ride. Palm trees everywhere. Luxury condos to my left. The Pacific Ocean to my right. And, the endless sight of sand and water is just what a mermaid like me dreams of.

Finally, I reached the Santa Monica – PCH connector road. I was happy to see that it had been finished. It was being redone for the last year or so and was closed. I didn’t go down the bike path to PCH or the ocean, but I decided to stop off right after it to just sit, view and have a moment before I headed back home.

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I thought about how I love sitting here and seeing what I was seeing. I was proud of myself that I could arrive at the SM Stairs without feeling like I wanted to die. My body felt good about the ride so far and for doing the stairs. I thought of how great it is going to be when I finally have a professional camera so that I can capture everything I had seen on this trip. In the meantime, the phone will do! And, then after taking some pictures, enjoying the sun, people watching, and eating my plum, I really took a look at my lovely bike that got me here. My cute, blue, Schwinn. Schwinn, of all the bikes, I bought a Schwinn! I giggled at myself. And, it is blue. I giggled some more. My first bike in Ohio, I must have been 5, was blue. Lastly, my bell on my bike. It has Mickey (Mickey Mouse) on it. I used to watch the Mickey Mouse club with my Mickey Mouse ears on when I was a child and just absolutely adored Mickey and Minnie.

I laughed, well, giggled to myself some more. How embarrassed I would be if anyone pointed this out to me. Well, maybe some would think it was cute, like I did. And, I know this about myself already, but in this moment I saw how in touch I am with the different stages of my life. They show up, like on a bike ride or when I take my road trips and blast my music in the car. How funny it is or how ridiculous it was at that moment that this 46 year old was sitting here with all the things I was seeing before my eyes.

For most of us, we don’t lose a sense of who we are at any age we’ve been. We may not realize it, but we are a sum of all our years and some of us have the fortunate sense to reach back to our childhood and grab the parts of what we liked and bring them into the present. We should just have fun with it, carry the things we loved or loved to do and keep doing them because life is too short, and at least for me, I never want to completely grow up. It is an essence of me I like about myself.

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Before I hopped back on my bike, I embraced my younger self with a big smile and rode off to finish my 15+miles.

The plan for the future is to continue hitting the gym as often during the week and then cycle 1 day on the weekend – other weekend day is for rest! Wish me luck!

My lowest point in my life.

In Evolving to Grace, read about how Grace overcame challenges and heartbreak to find enlightenment, compassion, hope and love.
Now available at: Amazon, B&N, IBookstore, Vroman’s, & BookSoup

A message from me to you

From Me to You,

I first started this book twenty years ago after an incident I’d had with my pimp in Hollywood who had worked the streets for ten years before moving the business in-house. It was the night that I first saw how off track my life had veered and I was scared. I came home and tried to understand how my life had turned out as it had. It was the lowest point in my life and I tried to make sense of it. My life had been so dark for some time and this was my rock bottom to wake me up to the fact that I needed to do whatever it was to begin changing my life or otherwise I could end up dead one day. I was one of the lucky ones to have survived.

When I began writing, I also wanted to help others so that they wouldn’t make choices like I had. I had always acknowledged my childhood as being bad, but I always said it could have been worse. But, I wasn’t equipped at an early age to realize that we all have choices and that we are making a choice pretty much in everything we do. Even if you are a victim to your parents or from a crime, you don’t need to allow it to keep victimizing you and putting yourself in harmful situations that you may never recover from. There will come a point that you need to move through the pain and grief of what has happened to you. You don’t need to get stuck in it and stay in victim mode, unconsciously self-loathing and being self-destructive like I had for too many years. You are not your circumstances nor are you cursed to live like your parents chose to. Your life, your destiny is your own. Your perspective on things—life, matters and you must be aware that your decisions and choices will guide you down one path or another. You must choose which one that will be, but always know that you have a chance to get back on the right path.
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Life is too short, and there is so much beauty out there and things to experience. Just take a moment to look up at the sky, look at the trees, or check out the birds flying around. It’s beautiful! It took me a long time to also find hope and faith that things could be better. Sometimes teenagers or children get stuck in the reality of being abused under their parents’ roof, I ask you to please speak out, seek help, find someone to talk to, and know that there will come a time you no longer have to endure it. It will end. Do the most with your time, like studying in school so that once you leave you can leave for good and have the life you could only dream about!

I lived too long in a sometimes suicidal state of depression, and I also used drugs to make me feel better. That’s not the way to go! I understand depression to its core and how you get so lost in it, that it never seems like life is worth it, but it is! You have to take the steps of talking to someone and getting unstuck from what makes your life unhappy and also change your way of thinking; I know from experience that you can allow your thoughts to only think about the negative. If you can’t find someone to talk to, talk to yourself in a loving, positive manner. Give yourself positive affirmations of your great qualities. Workout—bike ride, run, skate, any activity to get those happy chemicals flowing in your brain. Find a friend to hang out with that makes you laugh. Laughter is medicine. Being optimistic and knowing that your surroundings or whatever is happening is only temporary helps. Stop yourself when you even start going to the dark or negative thoughts. You are beautiful, smart, and strong. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Trust me!

Bask in your uniqueness. You are a gift; we all are in our own unique ways. Smile and “keep ya head up,” like 2Pac wrote to me. I pass this on to you and like a homeless lady on the streets of Chicago once told me and I am telling you now, “You are too beautiful to walk with your head toward the ground; look up!” What others say about you will come and go. Try not to worry yourself about it. One day, everyone will forget the things that were said, and hopefully you can rewrite those words in your head that you are repeating. Keep anyone who judges you and who doesn’t support or encourage you out of your life—or at least at a distance.254792_2148995958254_7367754_n

See the world, reach out to others. Give a hand. You will grow and be fulfilled in your heart. Follow your dreams. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do that or that won’t work. We wouldn’t be so evolved if all the inventors, creators, and the people who are so happy working in all these diverse fields listened to the naysayers!

You have so many possibilities; we all do. Wake up every morning appreciative, because every day is a new fresh start. As long as we are living, we can do anything. Sadly, some aren’t as lucky to still have a chance! Don’t compare yourself with others. The grass is not necessarily greener on the other side. Pick up the pieces to your mistakes and try to do better. Don’t get down on yourself when you repeat a mistake. Just try and try again. Let go of the guilt, shame, and loss. When your life is over, no one in the end will hold those things against you. Love, care, and try to understand as much as you can. You will always be evolving.

I let others mistreat me for too long. There are going to be people out there in the world who do not serve you,65154_10153145 so the sooner you recognize it, the better. Distance yourself from them. I learned that even though I had been hurt emotionally, physically, and mentally, I still didn’t need to fill my life with anger, hostility, and just plain meanness. We are here for such a limited time, and the last thing you should do is spend time being unhappy and hurting yourself or others just because you have been hurt. You should just fill yourself up with the beautiful moments that touch your soul.

I share my story for you to understand me and how I’m still trying to evolve, despite everything. I could have given up a long time ago. I feel I even did at times, but eventually, I learned that is not the choice I want to make anymore. I’ve learned so much about life, myself, and the things that happened to me. I know for sure that we are all meant to evolve and that doesn’t stop until we take our last breath.

By sharing my story, I’d like you to realize that you too can change your path and not succumb to the illness of victimizing yourself one way or another. I am not perfect nor is my life. This all takes time and you might find yourself, like I have, taking two steps forward and one step back. But stop and realize this—have trust in yourself that you will do better next time. Every day, every moment is a new start to make a change. The cycle from your childhood doesn’t need to continue with you. You deserve better. Your children, future children, and generations to come deserve better. I’m always evolving, and I believe if I can do it, you can do it too. I have hope in you. You just have to learn to love life, find hope and most of all love yourself!

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Much love,
Grace

 

#love #compassion #inspire #books #evolve #recovery #Faith #hope #acoa

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!

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#inspire #hope #memoir #book #xmasgift

I matter

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I’m just another writer, turned author, who hopes to be good enough that someone will like her book, her story.

Many that know me may not know this about me and could never imagine the roads I’ve traveled. I was born into a family, at least from one side, that was very privileged. My grandfather was a well-known surgeon and had a clinic in Peru and also was known worldwide to having delivered a baby to the youngest mother in history. My grandmother from one side of her family was an heiress from a family from Philadelphia that in the end had millions and owned a complete block on the Atlantic City Boardwalk. On the other side of her family, her father had been born in England, was educated in NY, and he later had been the Mayor of Pisco several times. He had come from a family that was so well off that they had created several of the first railways in Peru and had many properties in Peru.

My own life is one of knowing a little bit of this “good life” up until the age of 15—before we lost everything. But, what happens behind closed doors is always unknown to others. Alcoholism, sadness, depression, mentions (rumors) of infidelity, abuse and fighting were intertwined with this “good life”. At an early age, darkness won in my mind which opened the door to years of depression and times of suicide. Then, later came my own destruction at the hands of the bottle. Rape would follow. Drop out of life and from high school, would happen. I eventually added more than drinking to swallow the pain. And, then loss, grief and guilt would overpower the darkness that was already there. Loss of a very close friend would lead me to the road of selling myself. Selling myself would make me feel worthy. Worthy of something. Worthy of all the years I felt not worthy­—when I didn’t matter.

But, a voice was always with me, a quiet little whisper—my guardian angels, my grandparents or friends that had passed on, or God, or just my spiritual love for myself, whispered to me. This life—my life—was not meant to be like this. Always that little whisper stayed with me. Seemed at times to disappear, but was just waiting to appear, waiting to tell me at the right moment—your life means more than this! “It” stayed and stays deep down inside with me always so that it leaves it up to me to remember—I matter.

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#imatter #selfworth

excerpt – evolving to grace

During our lives, we had received tender touches by my mom at times; all us girls would jump in her bed and have her scratch our backs. We’d have a balance of humor from our dad and actual interaction, like when he’d play with us in the ocean or like that one time we all had a major water fight that went inside and around the outside of the house. All six of us would share beautiful moments like these that we all hold so close, but I would unfortunately, vividly, remember the horrific scenes too, like this brutal fight. What do moments like this fight say to a child, especially a girl? What would be the implications to me and my sisters in the future of learning and experiencing these mixed messages by the ones that were our first loves, our protectors, and the ones who were supposed to love us the most?
Within time, my parents let up, but my life was changed forever. A seed had been planted for a while, but now the soil had been covered and patted forcefully down. This life I had known up until that point was wrong. I hated it! I’d fight against it. The true rebellion in me was born, and the silent “Fuck you” to life, authority, and my parents began.
I continued going through periods of suicidal thoughts. I continued escaping in my room, dreaming of a life other than mine. My grades had fallen drastically. I had been an A/B student, and I was now completely failing. At fifteen, I’d begun my descent of finally dropping out of school. My parents were always those types to be too lenient with exception of their well-overdue violence, which they considered discipline. They did plead with me to go to school but did not force it. I think they knew I had depression, so they’d do anything to please me, thinking that would resolve it.  teenage_depression
The four of us went back to being the family we had been before, never mentioning anything that had gone on. We’d try to bury our secrets, hide, and escape from the pain. Guadalupe and I began following in our sisters’ footsteps, drinking and partying just to find some kind of pleasure in life. My parents went back to their ways of not enforcing anything. We’d go out and say that we’d be home by midnight but wouldn’t show up until after 2:00 a.m. Our parents would tell us we were grounded, but by the following night, we’d want to go out and promise to by home on time, and they’d bend and let us go out again. And we wouldn’t make it home on time again. The dysfunctional cycle continued. No rules, no discipline, no respect—just back to being normal.
“Do as I say, not as I do.” That saying scares me. I heard it one too many times during my childhood. It was pretty much my parents’ slogan as we grew up and the hypocrisy of my existence. My dad would later warn us of how my mother and her drinking didn’t start off as what we were then witnessing. He told us time and time again about how she started socially drinking at parties. He was in fear of us picking up on that behavior—that bad trait of hers. But what about teaching a child how to deal with life and not to avoid life? And, most of all, what about the violence? This was beyond disciplining a child. When you love someone, do you on occasion hit that person? My soul told me no. My heart told me no. But the life I had been given told my mind, “Love and pain go hand in hand.”stop-domestic-violence-logo
We were being taught to accept violence, but we were also being shown to escape from our problems and learning how not to deal with anything. These two were our teachers of life, and we were just following instinctively in their shoes. Do as I say, not as I do. How do children learn anything more than what they are shown? Did they expect us to guess? Why couldn’t they just have shown us how to live differently? It would take decades for me to understand this.

Evolving to Grace – a memoir

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In Evolving to GraceA story of 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, and rape.

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, 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), 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 am trying to better myself, changing my ways and learning from my past and I am forever evolving to find my grace in this beautiful thing we call life. Lastly, I write to inspire others to never give up. You can change your destiny, your path.

“This is a very powerful story told in an extremely honest and candid fashion by a woman who has been there and back . . . fractured family, drugs/alcohol, running the streets, relationships with celebrities, issues with romantic partners. But mostly I saw this as the story of a woman with all the cards stacked against her who came through, and ultimately triumphed over, adversity. Amazing, Grace!” – Seth Kadish

“Her writing is so down to earth and real … I felt like I was having a conversation with her. Her obvious strength as a woman does not diminish the scope of the tragedy, though; her vulnerability is often excruciating.” – Patrice H.

Available now on Amazon, Nook and Amazon Kindle!

#memoir

The Story of Her Life

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There are many journeys we all take in our lifetime. Many roads leading us to whom we are destined to become or to the life we are destined to live. Her journey had been a long one, sometimes extremely difficult to emotionally or physically survive from.

Her story begins in a different country than she came to know. She was born in Lima, Peru in 1970. She’s the youngest of four girls, the baby of the family. She was very quiet and soft spoken as a child; a very reserved, kind and loving introvert. Her parents were both from affluent families, but especially her mother. Her grandfather was a well-known surgeon in Lima. He had owned a hospital there. Her grandmother, though born in Peru, came from a wealthy family from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She was an heiress and her family on both sides were millionaires. The Philadelphia family had created and operated a row of stores and one of the first bathhouses on the Atlantic City Boardwalk in New Jersey. The Peruvian family had many ventures in both Peru and England that made them very successful, too.

She had been told that in 1933 when The Great Depression was making thousands of people homeless and hungry, her grandmother’s last inheritance was the property in Atlantic City and $3 million dollars. Not only was that a lot of money for that time but also it was a lot of money for someone who was living in Peru. Her grandparent’s house, that still stands today in Lima, is one she can only dream of ever having. After her grandfather’s death in 1959 though, her grandmother, her mother and her mother’s three sisters would never be the same again. Her father married into a family that any man would envy by all accounts, but he never saw that these women’s lives were taking a new path – destruction. Also, her parents could never imagine that their youngest daughter would end up being a high school dropout, would take drugs, drink until she’d blackout and later become a high priced call girl in Hollywood at the age of 21. She’d continue this new path of destruction for her own life. But, she would sometimes think, was it her destiny?

Continue reading “The Story of Her Life”