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. 

scared

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.

Adios 2020. Hello 2021!

2020 is over and I was reflecting on this tough year through my pictures.
A little year ago, at the end of 2019, I was so looking forward to 2020, which was going to end with a trip to my homeland, Peru. Things were going so well and the upcoming year looked so eventful and promising. But, one thing that life has taught me, over and over again, is that a lot is out of my control and that I should remember that I can get through mostly anything.
The year started off great. On the 1st day I started my commitment to regaining my health and dedication to be consistent with exercise. I challenged myself every weekend doing 5-7 mile walks at the beach and I actually stuck to it . My birthday at the beginning of March found me traveling to one of my favorite places, Santa Barbara. My son and his girlfriend even came up to spend the day with me. The original plan wasn’t Santa Barbara though. But, there was so much talk about a virus that was taking so many lives overseas and beyond and countries were starting to close down, trying to lessen the spread of a disease that was brand new. Within days of returning from my trip to SB, a complete shutdown and panic was setting in on Los Angeles and the world. We left work early on a Thursday with the intent to work from home for at least the coming week. I rushed to the market to fill up on groceries and any essentials. All week long we had heard about stores being emptied and toilet paper was scarce. For the time being my physical wellness had to wait. I was worried about how my mental wellness was going to take the thought of a deadly virus which had no cure or even remedy. It was only two years earlier that my depression reappeared after being gone for over a decade and a half. I had worked so hard in 2019 on myself and I didn’t want panic to make my life dark again. The worry of death was definitely going to be tested. I had so much I still wanted to see, so much I still wanted to do. I didn’t want to go yet or especially leave my son too early. Covid-19 was testing me. I quarantined by myself and didn’t even venture to a store or get delivery for over three weeks. I zoomed briefly with my therapist, but I was well aware after 1-2 meetings that now was not the time to dive into issues that still needed to be healed. The best thing for me was to try to make the best of my time and stay positive. But bike/beach paths were closed. The fear of venturing out to come across some who was unmasked frightened me. Just like weeks earlier with Italy and most of Europe, New York and Los Angeles and other cities across the country, everything had to wait. Life had stopped as we knew it and our daily lives were at a standstill.
Within a few months, I learned how to protect myself. I learned to work through my fear of dying too soon. I learned that even though I like to be alone, I don’t like to be lonely. I learned that I can be very resourceful and know how to stay busy and alone. I probably already knew that, but not to the level of weeks on end. 2020
Thankfully I kept working Monday-Thursday, just now from home. I easily gave up the occasional eating out. I picked up the commitment to myself at the beginning of the year and as soon as the beach paths opened up, I got back on my bike. I and the rest of the country dealt with the heartache that even in 2020 to some, black lives don’t matter. I embraced my son’s maturity and mind to take this virus seriously (he has asthma). I also felt proud that he protested and stood for the fact that Black Lives Matter and that he finally understood what his mom had warned him about for so long – that not everyone will see beyond his skin color and that even in 2020 his life doesn’t matter to some. I learned on a deeper level that I can truly commit to something. I was finally conquering my diet and was working off the 30lbs I gained after Matt’s death in 2011. 2020 was also the year that I fully got over my intimacy issues. Little by little over the prior two years, I was feeling like I was almost there, but not fully. I had put up a wall after Matt’s death, and really wasn’t sure if I was going to entirely want to love again. And, even though the man that taught me that I am over my heart being closed off didn’t work out, I learned through our one night together and weeks of communication that I could love again and I want to be fully loved.

Grace Lozada Author
Oh 2020, you kept me busy with having me dive deeper to see what I was capable of, what I did and did not love about myself and living situation, and so much more. I read more, I stimulated my brain more with word puzzles, I listened to more music, I got to witness a Congolese man being baptized in his final days during a baptism that was performed by people from the Congo, I kept up my love of taking pictures, and I pushed myself further on my bike rides. Another good thing that came out of meeting that man. He had said to me, “I bet you can ride further “. So I did, doubling my distance at times. I now do 25-30+ miles on my bike! I learned that I can easily adjust into new routines. Maybe when things get back to being better than they are now, I’ll look forward to my old routines finding their way into my new routines. I learned that I truly enjoy myself and still can amuse myself on my bike rides, taking pictures, or while just feeding the birds at the beach. My strengths, vulnerability, and perseverance is undeniable and if anything I wish to truly hold onto when I look back at 2020 is how much my child grew in this year and how grateful I am of my life and whom I have become. I look forward to this next year and the next, and the next after that, and the next after that! I’ll never take my life for granted.

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.

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

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

Signed Book Giveaway! Enter soon!

Many years ago I had a calling ~ to share my story. As a teenager, I thought I was the only one that was going through what I was going through. But, there are millions out there that have been given a tough life. For those of you, please don’t give up.
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.

And now I’m giving away a few signed copies of my memoir! Enter on Goodreads.com for your chance to win!

For book bloggers/reviews, please direct message me.📖
Also available at Amazon.com, ibooks, and B&N.com.

#nomoreweek #endthestigma #youarenotalone

I am an immigrant 

​This is the face of an immigrant.

Our family came over from Peru in the early 70’s.
Like many Hispanics and immigrants, we came over for a better life, better education.

All I know is this country.
All I have ever known is to be American, even when I was still technically Peruvian.

We are not here to take or get handouts. We are not here to commit crimes. My parents worked hard, paid their taxes, and tried their best to provide a better life for their daughters.

There is no need to deny someone based on traditions, beliefs, religion or they way they look.

This country is based on diversity. Most of us, including Trump, we’re immigrants.

It’s sad now that I am not recognizing this country because it is all I have ever known (remember).

“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me: I lift my lamp beside the golden door.” – Emma Lazarus

#immigrantsmatter #unity #lovetrumpshate #immigration #ilovetheusa
#immigrant

Trip back to the hospital to see my dad. 

On the train, back to see my dad. He’s still very critical. He was admitted a day before his birthday, December 8th. I went down from Los Angeles to San Diego that Sunday, a few days after and stayed until late Saturday, living in the waiting room or with my mom in his room. Never knew, whom ever knows, how the end of someone’s life will go. We all just wished that he’d die peacefully in his sleep. He deserved to go that way. He has had a long life, he’s 83, and even though there were very horrendous times, there were also many beautiful times. 

He has come a long way. From a man so happy of the possibilities, marrying a well-to-do, beautiful woman to having four girls and moving to a country that had, in his eyes, a better education (for his girls) and the endless opportunities the U.S. could provide. Mind you, parts of him, I’m sure, would have loved to stay in Peru. But, the way things were going with the government, he made the choice to what he believed, would be a better life.

The transition wasn’t easy, especially for his wife and his unknowing of what it took to raise a family. 

Despite all the heartbreak and turmoil that was endured within our home, there were caring, funny, and educational times. He loves us as best he can and he evolved to a man that could have serious talks with me without it turning into an argument of whether what we were sharing was wrong or right. 

He loved my son and felt closer to him because they both didn’t have their fathers in their life. He tended to my son, each and every day, when I couldn’t ease my son’s colic. He showed me first hand truly what feminism – equality – was. He cooked, cleaned, and took physical and loving care of his children. He showed me how to be independent, check all my fluids and tires on my cars. We’ve shared the love of cars and racing. He showed me to give my all when I workout – make it count! Growing up I heard he came to this country for our education and I hope that despite dropping out of high school, I made him proud with the two degrees I ended up getting and I’m sure he is so happy that my son is a senior at one of the most prominent universities in Southern California. 

I so wish the last few years could have been different. It was so hard in 2011 to close him out of my life, but a few months ago he read my memoir and all I hope is that he completely understands that despite everything I love him.

#agingparents #loss #grief 

A week later.

Hello lovelies!

Just got back home late last night from spending the last week in the hospital with my dad. He’s still in icu, still on the ventilator, and still sedated. They found 2 bacteria strains, which is causing his bacterial pneumonia, but they can’t understand why his lungs are bleeding. Tests still have yet to be back and he’s wasn’t running a temp today – which is great! But ots still a day to day, hour to hour situation. 😔
Hold your love ones closely, tell them you l0ve them all the time.

holding-hands
You never know when you may get another chance.

 

 

 

#agingparents

To Dare

To Dare

To laugh is to risk appearing the fool.
To weep is to risk appearing sentimental.
To reach for another is to risk involvement.
To expose your ideas, your dreams, before a crowd,
is to risk their loss.
To love is to risk not being loved in return.
To live is to risk dying.
To believe is to risk failure.

But risks must be taken,
Because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.
The people who risk nothing do nothing,
have nothing, are nothing.
They may avoid suffering and sorrow,
but the cannot learn, feel change, grow, love and live.

Chained by their attitudes, they are slaves;
They have forfeited their freedom.
Only a person who risks is free.

– Author Unknown

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

heart-for-you.jpg.jpg

 

#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