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!

R.I.P. Chester Bennington

Two days and I am sitting in my motel room crying, weeping. After I heard the news I was shocked and cried, but for 2 days I went on with my days in disbelief, numb, heartbroken, in a fog. 

I’ve been known to be “sensitive”, like it was a bad thing to be. What I’ve come to realize is that I am extremely empathetic. I feel for others as if I am feeling their pain. It is not a bad thing to be empathetic or sensitive. But, what I don’t care for is being empathetic when I can so relate.
Trauma as a child sucks. Depression – suicidal depression hits so close to home for me. I feel for the pain and hard it must have been to be you when you were clearly suffering with depression.
As a teenager and for a brief moment as an adult, I suffered from it. It feels like it was yesterday. And, so when I hear of someone killing themselves, much less someone that has brought so much to me and my son over the last 15+ years, breaks my heart.
Again, the tears are flowing.

 

If I was a teenager, I would have said proudly, I had a crush. You helped me, helped all your fans that at one time or another felt the same pain you had so clearly suffered, to release it through your screams of angst in your songs. But, to then mix screams into a softness-mellowness, lyrical flow was to also remind us to go on with the love we needed to find in our lives, living with the pain or trauma, that many of us still carried. That talent was truly magical.
You were strong. You were talented. You had that thing, we all so dearly adored.
Empathetic. Sensing your pain. Feeling our loss. Says so much to who you were this time around, Chester Bennington.

 

Much love to your spirit wherever that finds you. Much love to your family and friends 💔
You will be so dearly missed!

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 here. You can see more of their services here. All services are free and available 24/7.

 

#endthestigma #suicideprevention #linkinpark #chesterbennington #fightdepression
#depression #suicide #childhootrauma #ripchesterbennington

 

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

I am a Modern Muse! I am completely honored.

I was so honored and touched that UGauGrrl nominated me for their Modern Muse.
Ugaugrrl sets to Inspire, Empower, and make an Impact.
UGauGrrl’s mission is to inspire every woman and girl to recognize the muse within herself and empower her to find her purpose so that she can make her singular impact on the world.

My interview:

What inspired you to do the work that you do/motivates you today?

“Why I write? I write because at an early age a voice told me to write down words, sentences that were coming to me. Prior, I had never been one who was interested in poetry, but little did I know that I would be gifted ever so-lightly with phrases/sentences. Now, I write to share myself with others and to hopefully inspire people that they can get through anything and that they are not alone.

“Why I photograph? I have had a passion for taking pictures since I was 6. My mother had fancy, professional cameras always, and the very first time I got one and went on a field trip to the zoo, I was hooked!”

 “I fought and continue to fight to make better choices and finally learned to love myself.

How did you get to where you are and what challenges did/do you face?
“I got to where I am by sheer determination to not follow in my mother’s footsteps. As a teenager, I did veer in her direction, abusing alcohol and drugs, allowing others to mistreat me, but I fought and continue to fight to make better choices and finally learned to love myself.”

Who is your she-ro?
“J.K. Rowling is my she-ro because she was also on public assistance as a single mother, as I was after I had my son. She believed in her story (Harry Potter) and didn’t give up. After becoming the wealthiest woman in Great Britain, she donates a lot to charity.”

What does the term”UGauGrrl” (“you go girl”) mean to you?
“The term ‘UGauGrrl’ means to me: a girl that defies the odds based on what used to be society’s standards or defies the odds based on her circumstances. We have brains, intellect, strength (physical, emotional, mental), and perfectly can combine those with love, compassion and understanding. We can do it all, and we can do anything!”

Favorite quote:
“The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.

Check out my video and the complete Modern Muse post at: http://ugaugrrl.com/2017/01/modernmuse-survivor-grace-lozada/

Also, check out their wearable inspiration! A collection of stylish t-shirts that feature women of yesterday and today who are muses in their own right as well as words of inspiration.

 

#interview #modernmuse