Tag Archives: compassion

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

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Why anonymity in recovery?

So, recently I finally asked the question – why be anonymous in support groups for AA, Alanon, Alateen, and other recovery groups?

I have been vocal for so many years. At first I shocked many. My family never has liked it. But, after years of doing it and writing my memoir, Evolving to Grace, I have come to realize that I have reached many more people and there are more that understand that not everyone has the same upbringing, that there are highly dysfunctual families out there and more importantly, I’ve reached others that do not feel so alone anymore.

There are estimated 18-28 million adult children of alcoholics out there in the US & the UK. It can’t be shocking anymore? And, how many kids still don’t know that they are not alone? Like me when I was a teenager and pre-teen, I felt that what was going on was not normal, but nothing was out there that told me otherwise. And, then there was this notion that we should never talk about it. So, even if a counselor, or in my case, prinicipal at my school asked me — I’d never mention it. Never learning that I wasn’t alone and that we could get help. Or, I could.

I will have the respect to not to post their comments, but I asked a support group this:

Just want to throw out a thought that I’ve had several times and would like to ask you guys.
Why are most of the support for alcoholism, addiction, and COAs recovery, anonymous? To me I feel we continue the guilt and shame that has been associated with this and we really strengthen the stigma with comes along with the illness or something that we had no control over. I understand the judgment out there in the world, but mustn’t we stand up to end that?

Thanks for all the responses. I was just curious and would never think that everyone should have to be vocal. I just opened my eyes and began my recovery after reading, Keeping Secrets by Suzanne Somers and that term is so much of our role in alcoholism and growing up in that household – “keeping secrets”. I just thought the more vocal people are, the more people we will help and people wouldn’t feel alone. But, to each its own. Thanks! Much love

I’m not trying to blast the alcoholic. They were/are sick. We have to acknowledge and help others to understand that our parent(s) were not “our parents” when they were under the influence. To me, they were – she was, the alcoholic, not my mother. And, to also keep that from your children. Some parents do that, cover up their past. I believe I am the only one that has told my child, when he was old enough to understand, about my experiences of my childhood. I believe they learn and understand and can maybe have more compassion toward others, that everybody’s life isn’t perfect.

I’m not thinking everyone should reveal EVERYTHING that went on, but just to mention that they are/were affected from that circumstance would probably lessen the stigma, shame, guilt, and to connect ourselves to others, and heal more.

What are your thoughts? Does anonymity continue this cycle of the stigma and keeping secrets? Are you not as sick as your secrets?

#adultchildofanalcoholic #breakthecycle #breakthesilence #endthestigma #shamefree

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R.I.P. Dad

Rest in peace, Dad (12/9/1933 -12/22/2016)

So thankful for who you were and who you evolved to be.
“I love you so much, too.”

My dad was a man who had four girls, me being the youngest. He was a strong, funny, and sometimes quiet man. He was a man who loved football (soccer) and was a fan of Pelé. He liked the beach, the sun and fishing. He liked action-packed, old westerns and movies with Doris Day. He could cook the best Carbonara and Spaghetti Bolognese. He believed in education, family, and that a woman (especially his girls) could do anything a man could do.

By the time I was 3 years old, he made plans to move his family to the U.S. because of the government issues in Peru, but primarily for our education.

dad-and-me-in-peru   dad-n-me

My dad raised me to be a strong, independent woman. He showed me first hand equality between the sexes (Feminism). Besides being the primary bread-winner, he tended to his daughters. He cooked and showed me how to cook (‘if you love shrimp and bacon you have to learn to deal with being stung by the grease sometimes’). He cleaned around the house and he showed me how to take care of my cars. And, most importantly he taught me how to think for myself, that you needed to do the research-read, learn and find out things for yourself, instead of just listening to someone else or one person’s opinion. I’m sure all this helped me when I was left to be a single mother many years later.

My dad, unfortunately, was also co-dependent to my mother (she is an alcoholic). He kept his family together because he thought he was doing the right thing. He had loyalty and he sacrificed his life for my mom and us. In the end, he stuck by my mom because he could not give up on their vows and he knew what would possibly happen to her if there was no one there to take care of her. I’m sure it wasn’t easy for him, even at the expense of losing touch with me back in 2011 because I could no longer accept my mom in my life. He thought that he was doing the right thing and I do not, nor did back then, blame him for the choices he made then and all our years. I realized, back in 2011, that it was okay because it was “their” journey together. Since 2011, I had only seen him once when my son graduated from high school.

My dad showed me in my lifetime, and especially in the last 20 years, that he was truly a loving man and a father that really did love me. Sometimes when you grow up in an alcoholic home, you aren’t quite sure how much the co-dependent parent loves you.

My dad showed me that he could have very deep conversations, expressing one another’s opinions and thoughts that were maybe contradictory to his daughter’s. My dad showed me that he could have these conversations with me that would never lead into an argument (that wasn’t the case many years earlier). I believe it was important for him to share some things with me and to also to really get to know me.

My dad showed me what a father should be after I had my son. The few months we lived together after I had my son, he stepped in-to let me eat, to sooth my son’s colic because I couldn’t, and to let me rest or just have a break.

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My dad showed me what it was to work hard, to never rely on a handout or rely on a man.

My dad showed me to move forward in life despite all the storms that life may throw your way.

I was told in the hospital before he passed that this last decade or so that he struggled with illnesses, like Leukemia, Diabetes, and Anemia that he wanted to be part of any clinical trials, so that maybe by doing so his life could be used to benefit others. I love this!

My dad was my very important to me and I was very fortunate and grateful to see him again before he passed. He wasn’t well, but he somehow managed to say to me, “I love you so much.” I told him, “I love you more.”

I will move on as my dad only wished for me to live. I will countlessly remind my son what it is to be a strong, loving man and father (with the exception of ever becoming co-dependent and sacrificing yourself for another). I will remind my son that a man should also cook, clean, and be a caretaker to his kids. I will continue my dad’s legacy and I hope to continue to make him proud for generations to come.

image-4_sm     2014-08-30-23-16-27

Previous posts on my dad’s final days.

https://gracelozada.com/2016/12/13/making-amends-before-its-too-late/

https://gracelozada.com/2016/12/18/a-week-later/

https://gracelozada.com/2016/12/21/trip-back-to-the…al-to-see-my-dad/

#agingparents #rip #ripdad

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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 

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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

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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

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What Grace means to me

Grace by definition is:
simple elegance or refinement of movement or in Christian belief – the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings.

Besides “Grace” being one of my  birth names, translated from Spanish, Grace has many meanings for me and what I consider Grace to be.

Since I do not follow any organized religion, I don’t think of Grace in that sense and even though I believe in a soul and spirit, I am far from truly saying for sure that there is one divine creator. I am just a human being that does not know for sure. I do believe in past lives. I relish in my love and connection I feel for the universe-which includes Mother Earth and Inti (the sun-god) and I think that it is bigger and more important than we treat it as.

I believe we all have souls that pass on – eventually, to a new life until we reach our peak of divineness. I believe that it is okay whatever others believe. I just believe in being good toward yourself and others; having compassion, love and understanding as best you can. And lastly, I believe in giving back – helping whomever you can.

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When I titled my memoir, Evolving to Grace, I thought of how my journey was desperately trying to find the path back to Grace – to me. That spiritual being that came into this world so peaceful, so happy, so centered.

Life happened though, and how we all do, I lost my way to who my real self was. We lose touch with our soul, at least partially. We let pain, suffering, hurt in. It is unfortunately a part of life. But, it not only changes who we are, steers us away from why we are here, but it also takes away that state of grace we have when we are in touch with ourselves, in touch with the universe, and in touch with what life is supposed to be. I didn’t realize until I completed my book that this was exactly what I was desperately trying to fight for, for so many years. I wanted and needed to change, so that I can be realigned with my grace. 527302_4671234532642_653853301_n

Grace also means to me, moments of grace. Are they divine? I don’t know because my belief is that I won’t truly know what is for sure until I pass. I do believe though that there are loved ones that have passed on that are present in moments of need. But, I also believe in ourselves and that our inner wisdom that has been learning or at least trying to from past lives is speaking out to our current self. Some may refer to this as “inner voice”. In my book, Evolving to Grace, I wrote about a moment I had of clarity about my parents while driving to a loved one’s service. So many years before, I struggled with the pain of letting go of family and then just in an instant it all made sense. Finally, without any conflict in my heart and head, grace happened, and I was able to understand that it was okay to let go.

Temple in SB

 

 

Grace means something different to everyone. But, these are my thoughts and feelings of what Grace means to me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#peace #grace #book #memoir #amazon #goodreads 

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LGBT – Love is Love

Right before I became a teenager, I was living outside of Houston. It was the early 80’s. My two eldest sisters used to run away from our nightmarish home to downtown, where they used to go and hang out with their friends in the clubs. My parents weren’t okay with their friends because most of them were gay.
The years of hearing my parents speak badly about their friends and anyone who was gay made me dislike yet another viewpoint of their’s.
My nature was all accepting.
I never understood why humans disliked other humans because of the color of their skin, or now, who they loved. And, after I met my sister’s friends, I never had any other thought or feeling that 1 that loves someone of the same-sex was anything but normal. It’s never been a second thought or feeling and thankfully I have passed that on to my son.
Anyone who hates #lgbt should lay down their judgements and remember that #loveislove. And at least for me, I’d rather love than hate.
This pick is of one of my sisters’ friends, Kent & I, when I was 16 and visiting Chicago in 1986.

Kent & Kiki_redo

 

#lgbt

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I could be labeled

Labels shouldn’t exist, but they do. They are things we have done, NOT who we are or who we will become.
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 write to inspire others to never give up. You can change your destiny, your path.
I could be labeled_225

#nojudgement #labelsshouldnotexist #understanding

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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

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Sometimes Misunderstood

a rose

I cannot be put in a box.

I am a sum of all my experiences, good and bad. I am a sum of all my experiences I have analyzed or thought of. I am a sum of all my experiences I have yet to experience.

I have had money. I have been broke.

I have lived in a large house in a nice community. I have lived in a tiny apartment in a run-down community.

I have had a roof over my head. I have been practically homeless.

I have been loved. I have been abused.

I have been happy. I have been depressed.

I have two college degrees. I have been a high school dropout.

I have been stable. I have been unstable.

I have known and seen what life has to offer. I have known and seen what life should not offer.

I have been weak. I have been strong.

I have known sobriety. I have known addiction.

I have been silent. I have been vocal.

I have been clean cut. I have been edgy.

I have had long hair. I have had a shaved head.

I have liked classical. I have liked rap.

I cannot be measured for who you see or by one thing I say. I can only be measured by all of my experiences.

I cannot be put in a box.

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