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.

The Aftermath

Grief, Sex, and Love

After Matt passed, almost nine years ago, I thankfully was unemployed. I would have never been able to work after he died. It was hard enough to get my son to school; it was a 20+ minute drive from where we lived. I wasn’t able to sleep. I’d sit up in my bed, scouring the web to find either something someone would write about him that I hadn’t heard about, or looking for a picture of him that I had never seen before. When I look back now, I was trying to hold onto him. I was trying to hold onto a ghost.

I didn’t turn to family, friends, men, or booze. I soothed my grief with more than my usual long hot baths, where all I did was cry, not wanting to be here without him. I didn’t know how I’d be here without him. I didn’t want to be here without him. But I wanted, and needed, to be here for my son. The love I had for my son was bigger than what I felt for Matt and what I felt for myself.

I found quick pleasure in red velvet cake slices, sometimes having two a day. I found moments of forgetting what I had lost, through my son’s laughter, stories, conversations, or smile.

After a month of Matt’s passing, I picked up the handwritten, and typed, manuscript of my memoir that he told me he would love to read one day. I pieced it together and dove right into finishing the book I had started when I was 22 years old, nineteen years earlier.

For almost 2 years, this was my life. I gained 30lbs, from the grief of Matt dying and from reliving and rereading my difficult childhood in my memoir. It could have been worse. I could have been in a bar every afternoon.

After I was done writing my book, it took me about another year and a half, to edit and re-edit my memoir.

The only person I did see, from time to time, was Matt’s mother. I found comfort in speaking to someone about Matt. I still felt close to him and felt his presence with me. loss

By 2013, I was working. I sometimes tried to get out of my isolation either by meeting up with friends, going to the beach, or going outside to exercise. I also sometimes tried to move on and date. I wanted to try to find pleasure in being with another. If anything, I at least needed sex. But, I couldn’t. I didn’t want to.

Matt had passed at the end of 2011 and from 2013-2019, I slept with 4 or 5 men. I was disconnected. I put up a wall around my heart. I didn’t want to love anyone else. I didn’t want to be touched by anyone else. I didn’t want to connect with anyone else. Matt felt like my destiny and that was a hard thing to stop feeling.

I knew it was important to get myself out there and that maybe the hurt would lessen if there was somebody that came into my life. I wanted to try to be hopeful, maybe something would bloom, but all that happened was that I would get what I wanted (as far as sex went). I sometimes would not even let them finish. I was cold afterwards. No hugs. No sleepovers. My feelings afterward were – OK, now don’t touch me, I gotta go. There was actually one guy in 2018 that I dated several times and only kissed, but after two weeks he wanted to know where this was going which freaked me out. He said he was ready to have someone fully in his life. I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about him. So, that ended.

But to know something about me after Matt passed, I had mostly met guys with the sole intention of having sex. Once I realized I had issues with intimacy, I made a more conscious effort for it to not be just about that. I usually don’t want to always have sex on the first date. I’ve dated a few times in the last two years where I didn’t have sex. intimacyBut, sometimes the need to have that pleasure, not just orgasm, but to really enjoy kissing and being kissed, to wrap your arms around another, is what I longed for.

During these years, the longest I worked at one company was almost 2 years. My patience would wear thin when it came to people and their toxicity, stupidity, or lack of humanity. Death wakes up what is in your heart and soul. And, the way people go on and on about little things that are going to be irrelevant in the end, or the way people chase money and are greedy, or how people aren’t kind or compassionate to a stranger that is obviously struggling, is always magnified for me when I lose a loved one.

Eventually, over the years, I found the grief to be bearable and it would only show it’s self a couple times a year. I found joy in my son’s success. He went away to college for two years. And, then he moved back home when he transferred to UCLA. For the most part, I was starting to feel somewhat back to normal.

Or, so I thought.
By 2018, my suicidal thoughts came back. I think the passing of Matt, rewriting, rereading, and going over my past for completing my book, the fact that I hated doing accounting, wasn’t following my passion – photography, and that I didn’t have someone in my life (or relationships figured out) brought back my suicidal depression. It sucked because it had almost been 20 years that I hadn’t been suicidal or for the most part, depressed.

Two other things that may have also had a part to play in triggering my suicidal thoughts were the passing of my dad in December 2016 (we hadn’t seen each other in over 5 years because I had removed myself from my mom’s narcissism and alcoholism the week Matt passed) and when Chester Bennington killed himself. Let’s just say, that one hit me hard.

So in 2018, I was trying to take care of myself. I was trying to market my book. I was trying to pursue my passion – photography. I was even flown out to New York City to be on the Kathy Lee and Hoda show for the “Pitch Your Passion“ episode. But, what I was also sometimes doing at home while either in my room or walking around my neighborhood was, thinking of where I could hang myself from. Trees? Anywhere in my apartment? I did try time and again to talk myself out of thinking about it because I had to live.

By the end of 2018, I had stopped trying to conjure up a full-proof way of hanging myself. I reached out and sought therapy. In January 2019, I was back in therapy. By July 2019, I was in ACA (Adult Children of Alcoholic) meetings for the first time in my life. Also in mid to late 2019, I dated this one guy. I had actually let him stay the night, one night. I liked how it felt when he reached for me in the middle of the night and in the morning, but I didn’t feel that I wanted it from him. I just liked how it felt, the touch of someone reaching for me. I missed that feeling. The next guy I was with at the beginning of 2020, it felt great to be held by him. There was no longer that, oh gosh, don’t touch me feeling. It was now, yes, embrace me. Hold onto me as long as you’d like. But, I ended that because we were in different places in our lives. Then last month, I met someone who I enjoyed having sex with and wanted to see more of. That hadn’t happened in a long time. I was ready to have someone in my life again or at least ready to see what could develop.

relationships

Grief is hard on everybody. But, when you are either in a relationship with someone or like me, saw that Matt was the first person I had ever seen marrying, it is hard to let go or put that love in a box, on a shelf, in your closet. Sex is natural and we all need that intimacy and connection. Love is harder when you’ve lost someone you thought you would love for forever. But, life is mysterious. For people like me, we think and we feel like we cannot get through the tough shit the universe throws at us. And yet time and time again, in the end, if we just hold on, breathe, and seek help, we find a newer us. We are much stronger and unbreakable than we give ourselves credit for. We must always remember that!

Stay strong, stay sweet, and know you are not alone!

Stopping Traffic Documentary

Last month I finally sat down and watched the rest of the documentary, Stopping Traffic. I had previously watched the first half a month earlier. I believe that I have had it in my Amazon Prime watch list for more than a year, so it really took some time to muster up the emotions or triggers that I thought may arise. And, I just wanted the appropriate time and headspace to be able to sit through it and take it all in.

If you don’t know my story, somewhere along my journey in my early 20s I became a high-class call girl in Hollywood. It was the early 90s and I had been driving in from Huntington Beach, California with a friend to go to the Roxbury nightclub in West Hollywood. That’s where I met my future pimp. He had apartments over the years that girls would work out of seeing movie producers, executives, doctors, rich international college students, and some other wealthy men. It wasn’t until my girlfriend died that I made the move to Hollywood, unknowingly being lured into this life of prostitution.

It was a hard time in my life because I had never lost someone close to me and I was at a crossing point, of moving back in with my parents which was toxic or moving up to the City of Angels. So, even now 20+ years later, it still affects me.

I wrote about prostitution in college, while I was in the business. It was the impetus of writing my memoir, Evolving to Grace. I have had many large and brief thoughts and discussions on the topic of prostitution. The feelings I have for myself was that prostituting myself ate away at my soul and what little self-worth I had. It even had me dive back into a very familiar mindset, suicidal depression. What’s worse, it even almost got me hurt.

So, it was a big deal to watch this, maybe not just so that I can explore my thoughts again on my own experience, but the real bigger picture which is human trafficking. Were they going to merge prostitution in with human trafficking? I was curious about other people’s thoughts and what they are trying to address. 

Human trafficking has been a huge topic over the last years. The media and organizations have spotlighted the side of human trafficking which includes children being sold for sex. But, human trafficking is much more than that.

Based on the Department of Homeland Security, *Human trafficking involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act. Every year, millions of men, women, and children are trafficked worldwide – including right here in the United States. It can happen in any community and victims can be any age, race, gender, or nationality. Traffickers might use violence, manipulation, or false promises of well-paying jobs or romantic relationships to lure victims into trafficking situations.

Stopping Traffic, Stopping Traffic documentarythe documentary that can be viewed on Amazon Prime or downloaded on itunes, was focusing on children (including teenagers) sold, whether it be for labor, but typically, mainly for sex. This is by far the worst part of human trafficking and I believe that it is worse than any agency believes. It’s horrible and sad and I think more needs to be done about it. It needs to be spoken more in the mainstream and like the documentary addressed, it’s not just happening over there, in that country. It is happening all over the United States.

While I was in that life, I briefly met some girls that were a little younger than I. I was in my early twenties. I think they were over the age of eighteen, but I can not be for sure. They were girls that had a pimp that had a complete network of girls that traveled from city to city, walking the streets or running ads looking for work. It was very different from my situation. When they spoke about their situation, they made it seem like they were active, willing, participants, but even at my young age, I felt like that really wasn’t the case. There was fear behind their words when they would share their world, their life. Not only fear, but also no way to get out.

Stopping Traffic was a good documentary to show some sides and personal opinions of what can be done to “stopping human trafficking“. I don’t think though that they made a clear enough separate distinction between prostitution that is forced, coerced, and the sex work/trade industry. But, when it came to how and why some children end up being trafficked, they did an excellent job of addressing that. And, the creators and spokespersons on the film gave options on how the viewer can help and be aware.

As far as prostitution goes, there are so many different types of prostitution. Yes, forced or fraudulently coerced of any child and individual should be punished and stopped immediately, but the sex trade/sex work (also prostitution) industry shouldn’t necessarily be woven into human trafficking which I felt the film had a grey area when they spoke about it. It’s a broader picture to explore with many varying levels to it. Maybe for someone to make a documentary about.  

I’ll write more about prostitution and sex work at a later time.

But for now, I suggest watching Stopping Traffic. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

 

* https://www.dhs.gov/blue-campaign/what-human-trafficking

May is Mental Health Awareness month!

May is #mentalhealthawareness month. There have been quite a few times in my lifetime that I’ve come back from depression, suicide attempts, or just cycling through, what I thought was a breakdown at the time, but really was a transformation. For the most part, most of these moments were long ago. resilence

Nowadays, I am just so happy that I survived. I get choked up sometimes when I talk about it. All we ever want is for the pain to go away. And, I’m here to tell you that it eventually does. Life gets better if you work at it. Situations that you thought would just continue, come to an end. Choices you make can change the life end up having. You just have to learn to love yourself, do what’s best for you, and work through your past traumas.

Life is a beautiful thing and so are you! beauty

Wellness – Turning away from Negative Thoughts

I used to be consumed with negative ways, more so, my thinking was negative. It didn’t help that my situation at home sucked. Life within an alcoholic home (mother is/was an alcoholic) is very chaotic and it is especially worse when the alcoholic is not so nice when she is under the influence. Fighting, verbal/emotional/mental abuse, neglect/abandonment, and not knowing what next will erupt is not a situation a child should live in. A child needs a nurturing, loving, attentive, and consistent environment where they are guided to becoming a healthy, kind, and productive adult.

So, as an Adult Child of An Alcoholic, I am very aware that most of us that are either ACoA or come from dysfunctional families that our essence – mind, body, and soul are affected by the shame and abandonment that comes from these environments. We don’t know any different from our environment and especially our home life.

We come into this world as curious, happy, sweet beings. What we learn at first, especially in our first 5 years is critical to our brain development and sense of being. What is going on at home. How individual family members speak and treat each other. How they look at you and treat you. How they feel about themselves and the world. All this is taken in by you when you are a baby and child. All this has an effect on you and how you view the world, people, and yourself. Your self-esteem is formed. Your way of being is formed. Your cognitive skills are developed. The six types of cognitive processes are attention, perception, memory, language, learning, and higher reasoning. The processes are interdependent and occur simultaneously. Perception is very important here!

Basically. Your development. Your child development sets you up on how you grow into adulthood. I can’t discount that genes do play into who you will become. Your temperament also plays a factor. Coming from a family of four girls, me being the youngest, none of us grew up the same as far as it comes to our thinking or how we choose to live our lives. Our selves, our brain development, where the family was as far as in the disease of addiction and abuse, all have had an impact and made us very different in certain ways.

positivity

But, my negativity was one of the strongest at an earlier age. Looking back in some instances, this not only hurt me, but has also helped me in fighting against adhering to the dysfunction. But mostly, the negativity hurt me because I could not change my environment and could not find any other way but to be negative toward my environment which lead me to a continuous way of thinking that made my depression more severe and made how I viewed the world and people very badly. It was very pessimistic and the negativity made me view myself in a way that was way too harsh and unloving.

Examples of my negativity were – I just can’t do anything right. I’m so ugly. I’m so fat. I’ll never be good enough. Every single thing that happens bad in the world will happen to me. I hate myself. I hate my life. And I hate the way I feel.

Where is the freaking reset button?

Well, there was a reset button. It took many years, maybe even decades. I still have to stop myself sometimes. At some point, I realized that I had to change the way I thought. My perspective needed to change. And, once I started to re-learning how to think, how to view things, how to stop myself in my tracks in my brain and say things to myself like you are pretty, you are smart, you are strong, was it only then that I viewed myself, the world, and others in vibrant colors and warmth. I feel like I had always been loving and kind. With that being said, I was rarely ever a mean person. Most of my bad way of thinking was internalized. I am just saying that I believe I came into this world trusting and knowing how beautiful things and people are and how even in a difficult situation there can be a silver lining and a way to rise above. My being probably somehow yearned to be that person once again and it took some time to reprogram myself away from what I was introduced and conditioned to for so many years.

Changing my perspective has been once of the most challenging but life alerting things I have done.

By changing your negative way of thinking, to a more positive way, you then become more resilient, can handle issues in a more productive way, are less stressed, you lean away from depression (unless your depression is caused by a chemical unbalance or something else), and you just have a better outlook on life, the world, and yourself.

Please don’t focus on the wrong or negative. Give yourself positive affirmations and focus on the things you have done right or that are good about you. When you stop and think about what you are thinking, say positive things to yourself, changing your perspective. Don’t criticize yourself for thinking negatively. You are harming yourself by beating yourself up. Just redirect your thinking in a gentle and loving manner and find a new way. Much love ❤

positivity

If you are thinking of having a child, have children, or being a care-taker of a child, here are some good tips below. You can also read more about child development on Harvard’s Center on the Developing Child site and what they list as 8 Things to Remember about Child Development.

 

Parent Tip

Recent brain research indicates that birth to age three are the most important years in a child’s development. Here are some tips to consider during your child’s early years:

  • Be warm, loving, and responsive.
  • Talk, read, and sing to your child.
  • Establish routines and rituals.
  • Encourage safe explorations and play.
  • Make TV watching selective.
  • Use discipline as an opportunity to teach.
  • Recognize that each child is unique.
  • Choose quality child care and stay involved.
  • Take care of yourself.

Healing is a long journey

Healing is a long journey. It doesn’t happen overnight and I believe you’ll always be healing. But, you’ll move on to a better self and better life that you’ve created for yourself. Many unhealthy behaviors that you learned, will be unlearned by better choices. A lot of trauma that you suffered will be healed, but like I’ve heard many times last year, it’s like peeling away layers of an onion. So that takes time and despite what others say, I believe that some trauma may not be 100% healed, but will be replaced with coping and understanding.
With all that being said, I say YAY to HEALING, going through the pain, acknowledging the impact most things made on my life, and finding my way.
✌💗🙌

What you do today, affects tomorrow. ❤
#childhoodtrauma
Remember that you are always thought of.
Much love

Holiday Giveaway!

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

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

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

Best of luck and Happy Holidays! ❤

What you do today, affects tomorrow. ❤

Remember that you are always thought of.

Much love ❤

Adult children of alcoholics

Book giveaway

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

It’s been a while. Hello again!

It’s been a while since I have written a post. I think sometimes I stay away from writing. But, writing to me is usually therapeutic and perhaps I haven’t wanted to reach deep or possibly I haven’t felt okay with being so vulnerable. But, as most of my writing happens, I felt an urge to write, to share my thoughts, my feelings, and what has been going on.

2018 was a hard year for me. Not one of the hardest, but I went back to places that I hadn’t been in a very long time.

I’m sure the depression had been creeping up for some time. It could have even been ignited by the death of Matt at the end of 2011. It wasn’t his death that I was depressed about. I was extremely sad, felt broken at times, and even sometimes said to him that I didn’t want to be here anymore if he wasn’t here, but fully depressed I wasn’t. At least not then. Back then I was grieving.

But, then a month after his passing I picked up the memoir I had started writing so many years prior. Almost 2 decades prior. I was determined to put this book back together, with it’s outlined pages, typed up pages, and hand-written pages. I was determined to finish it. Months prior to Matt’s death, I had shared with him the book that I would one day finish. He had said how he’d love to read it someday and how I should get back to writing it.

No longer was I going to put it off until I turned 60. I had the time now to finish this goal. I was determined. It was important to him. It was important for me because I thought if there was someone that I could help by seeing that they could change their lives, I had to finish it and get it out there to the world.

For the next 3 years, I wrote. I edited and edited and edited. I published, Evolving to Grace in 2015.

But, it took its toll.

I had just lost someone that meant so much to me. Almost immediately, I pick up memories on paper. I wrote and wrote. I remembered and had to remember things I had healed from and some that I had not. I was revisiting a past in its entirety. Feeling and crying over things that I had for some 20 years thought hadn’t affected me. Like my rape when I was 16 years old and still a virgin. Forever I had been saying how it barely affected me because I was mostly blackout (and passed out). That it wasn’t one of those brutal rapes that happen to a lot of females. Well, after re-editing my book, I found myself crying about it for the first time. A lot of trauma came storming back. But, I pushed threw. I felt good about finishing the book and self-publishing it. I felt accomplished. But, even though maybe 1 more edit was needed, I knew I couldn’t handle emotionally going over it again. So, I left it, published it and touched it up here and there with minor edits.

Then in 2016 I lost my job. It wasn’t a job I loved, too much animosity and toxicity was happening because of lack of good management. But, the thing about that job was that I was good at what I did day-to-day. So, after that lay off in September, I took a break. I had been wanting to switch professions for some time (from Accounting to Photography).

And, then in December my dad, that I hadn’t spoken to in 5 years fell ill and was in the hospital about to be put on a ventilator. I spent the next 2 weeks with my mom (that I also hadn’t spoken to in 5 years), three older sisters, nephews, niece, and my son. It was good and it was bad. My dad passed on December 22nd and we still have not had a service or a funeral. That hurts.

Forward to May 2017. I found myself defending the unpaid court order for child support. It was lowered and now this man that hadn’t cared to see his son or take care of him for 22 years, wanted to meet him. That lasted for a few months and as far as I know, he is no longer around. But, is paying child support. Though he tried to get it lowered again this past February. He was denied! And just for the record because so many people ask. Here in California, once a court order for child support is issued, it never goes away. Interest might continue accumulating after the child is 18 and the non-custodial is not paying. But, it sits there, waiting to be paid. And, I had never been paid until 2017.

As I write this and lay it all out, I see. The depression was bound to come back if I was just moving through all this dirt (wanted to type something else) without having someone there to talk to or have in my corner. I was still solo. I couldn’t connect with anyone the times I tried to date. I wasn’t seeing a therapist. Family, besides my son, were non-existent.

There were a few other things like not transitioning to get a career going in Photography or getting a decent Bookkeeping job. My son moved out and I finally felt the empty nesting syndrome even though I was keeping busy. And, finances were rough.

So, this is where I am. Where I was last year and I was kinda drifting away from blogging and keeping up with posting on Facebook and Instagram. I was deep into my depression. My suicidal at times depression. I hadn’t been there for 15 years or so.

I am now back in therapy and finally attending ACA meetings for the first time in my life. I am still trying to pursue my photography career, but I have a job that I really like in Accounting. I’m trying to put more effort back into writing because it is not only therapeutic for me but if one person comes across my story or my book, that they will feel less alone and will realize that they can heal. It doesn’t happen overnight and maybe like me, you will uncover things that you may have never looked at as traumatic. But, change can happen.

I can’t guarantee I will write a lot because I have to put most of my free time to my photography business, but I will try to share and write.

If you are going threw a lot, or even a little, talk to someone. Don’t think you can always work your way out of the mud by yourself. I have some resources if you’re in need on my Resources page.

Be well and lots of Love,
Grace

Once I stopped running from my pain.

“Life doesn’t get easier or more forgiving, we get stronger and more resilient.” -Steve Maraboli ❤ 

It’s so amazing how as a teenager I use to run.

Run from my surroundings, run from my life, run from everything. It was my way of escaping. I was trying to escape from the reality of everything that had gone wrong in our lives – alcoholism in the home, abuse, neglect, violence amongst almost all of us in my home, and then losing it all that included our home. In a year, I ran, thinking maybe something would change. 

At 16, I literally was in Houston, went to Chicago, went back to Houston, then went to California, then back to Houston, back to Chicago again, and back to Houston. Then finally went back to Cali – for good. Once I stopped running, I ended up exactly where I was before I started running – in the reality of what life had given me for 16 years. Only then could I decide to live in the pain, heal, grow, and learn.

Your circumstance is what life has destined you to live and it all has a purpose – to cherish what you have/will have, become stronger, become wiser ~ evolve.
There are no easy roads to a beautiful life.
A beautiful life: a life where you value what you have, value spending time with the people who are in your life, the moments you get to do the things you love to do, and all the experiences that bring you laughter, happiness, peace, and awe moments.
For some of us life is harder, but you will get stronger and become more resilient if you decide to work through your hurt and sorrows. I’m not saying you’ll never be hurt again or past traumas or situations that made you suffer won’t affect you again. You’ll just become a much stronger, braver, wiser individual that can fight through whatever life (or people) have in store for you.

Remember that you are always thought of.
Much love ❤

📸: By me

If you are thinking or have thought about suicide, if you are worried about someone you know, or if you just need someone to talk to, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or chat with their counselors online. All services are free and available 24/7.

Book Giveaway

Just in time for the holidays – enter to win 1 of 2 signed copies of Evolving to Grace. 

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.

Head over to Goodreads.com to enter!
Best of luck! Enter soon! I hope you win!

#bookgiveaway #contest #freebie

You Can Choose

You can choose to stay in the hurt and pain.
You can choose to remain angry.
You can choose to be like them.
You can choose to continue victimizing yourself.
You can choose to live in the negative.
You can choose to throw it all away. 

 

 

 

Or,

You can choose to live with love.
You can choose to live in the light.
You can choose to live seeing and being in nature.
You can choose enjoying loved ones.
You can choose enjoying listening or seeing your favorite band.
You can choose to have that delicious meal.
You can choose going to a city that you love or enjoying the experience of getting to know a new one.
You can choose to bask all day in the sun or to play in the snow.
You can choose to stay in, under the covers, on a cozy couch, watching a great movie.
You can choose achieving those goals that you set forth for yourself that makes you feel accomplished.
You can choose to have that 1st date that you have been anticipating for days.
You can choose to fall in love.
You can choose to have a child or as many children as you desire.
You can choose to learn new things that bring you pleasure.
You can choose to continue doing that thing you are passionate about.
You can choose to get older, being able to look back on your life and smile because it’s been interesting and you’ve loved it, even with its ups and downs. 

  

The choice is yours.
What are you going to choose?

#ACoA #recoveryispossible #12steps

The pain can stop, if you just hold on.

Years ago, what seems like lifetimes ago, I tried killing myself a few times.

I wanted the pain to end.
I wanted the life I had to end.

But, what I really wanted was a new life, a different life than the one I had.
It’s all about change and the choices one must make to change their life.
If you ever feel – you want out, remember this – your life, your situation is only temporary.

I know it may not feel like it and you feel like you can’t take it, live it one more day. But, if you hold on, you can get through this, and your life can be different. It can be just how you want it!
It’s not easy. It doesn’t happen overnight.

But, there are pleasures out there. There are hilarious, beautiful experiences waiting for you to have.
Just hold on and find something that helps you get through this and benefits your future.

You were given life because it needs you!
Much love, Grace!