Pre-Graduating Day!!

What a rollercoaster ride of emotions today. I’m experiencing soon one of my happiest and proudest days of my life ~ my son will be graduating from UCLA tomorrow with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a minor in Music Industry. It has been one amazing journey to get here with the struggles, disappointments, challenges, laughter, and many all-nighters. And, I’ll never forget all the driving every morning to Brentwood and later to Pacific Palisades.

But, I can’t help to think of the ones that won’t be sharing in knowing and seeing what a great, accomplished young man he has become. The very first one, Tupac (Happy Birthday), that knew I was going to be a great mother ~ Uncle Tupac as he wanted to be. The words of wisdom and kindness he wrote to me while he was away in NY were what I so desperately needed to hear at that time. How happy he would be tomorrow for my son and I! And, then my father, who just passed in December. He brought us to this country for our education. Furthering one’s education beyond high school was so important to him because he hadn’t done it and he knew the value in it. I’m grateful that he at least knew that my son was graduating soon, as we told him in December in the hospital bed. How proud he would be!

So, really, a world of emotions – but good ones. Because in the end it is nothing but pure joy of my son’s accomplished that brings it all to this.

 

 

 

#beatingtheodds #persevere #2pac

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

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.

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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

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

Making amends before it’s too late. 

Sorry I have been MIA.
I came down to San Diego on Sunday. I had received news that my dad was being put on a ventilator. He had been admitted a few days prior, unfortunately the day before his 83rd birthday.
As many of you that have read my book know, I haven’t had the best relationships with my some of my family members from time to time. Even a few years ago I had to make the difficult choice to break away from my parents for my own emotional and mental well-being. But, in the end, love still remained for the love we had and the memories we had share. And, as loved ones get older, or death gets near, we must come close to those ones that were your first loves, and especially the ones that brought you into this world.
It’s a full circle moment to say, and even though situations kept us apart, I still love you.
Making amends before someone leaves this Earth is so important for one another’s spiritual evolution and just peace in your heart.My dad might pull through, it’s too early to know, but I am fortunate enough to have seen him and he saw me and my son before he got fully put under sedation and paralysis medications. I am blessed to have that moment with him. He wanted to say so much, but no words were needed.

❤💖🌹✌

1st page of Evolving to Grace 

1st page of Evolving to Grace.

Chapter 1 – Threats from a Pimp
“Excuse Me—Press Rewind”

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Available on Amazon in print and ebook (Kindle). If you don’t have a Kindle, no problem. Just download the software for free to read any kindle book on any device, click here.

Life can be a roller-coaster ride for some more than others. Mine has been this way. Born into generations of educated, privileged, and successful millionaires, in this memoir I tell a story of how one generation’s downfall due to financial, emotional, and addiction problems had crippling, traumatic effects on everyone around them, including myself. This story is about my journey of how I was going to fight with every fiber of my being, so that I would not follow in the footsteps of others. From very dark times as a teenager where I believed suicide was the only option to later entertaining times in my early 20’s living in the City of Angels, hobnobbing with professional athletes and entertainers.

I could be labeled many things: illegal, ACoA (Adult Child of an Alcoholic), doChapters of Evolving to Gracemestic violence survivor, excessive alcohol and drug user, rape victim, assault victim, hitchhiker, high school dropout, call girl, and single mother on welfare. But, these are just situations I ended up in when I was lost and broken. I’ve learned from my past and I am evolving to find my grace in this beautiful thing we call life. I write to share my experiences with others with the hope that no one, despite whatever situation they may be going through, will ever give up. You can change your destiny, your path.

 

 

 

#acoa 

I am an ACoA

I am an Adult Child of an Alcoholic.

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

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

Alcoholic Families Usually Have Other Issues

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

  • A partial or complete lack of effective communication

  • Poor or non-existent parenting skills

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

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

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

  • Family isolation from the community due to alcohol abuse

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

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

 

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

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

 

 

* Check out more statistics and information, click here.

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

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

 

#adultchildrenofalcoholics

Where does our life and journey begin – Peru

Does our life and journey really begin at birth, or does our lineage collide with us to lay the foundation to our journey once we are born? Is our spirit passed on from lifetimes before, making amends, learning, and trying to evolve? I’ve always also felt that generations of my past did influence my upbringing. Some habits, traditions, stories, and experiences are passed on from generation to generation, good and bad, just as they are in any family. I’m a melting pot of different cultures—Peruvian, Spanish, Irish, and German, but mainly my heritage for the last few generations is from a country that is somewhat foreign to me, Peru—a place unknown to me because we left there to move to the United States when I was just three years old. Peru’s rich and varied heritage includes the ancient Incan capital of Cuzco and the lost city of Machu Picchu.

I’ve read that it’s one of the most mesmerizing, spiritual places in the world. People visit Peru because it has so many attractions, such as its archaeological treasures, the Andes mountain range, and the Amazon rain forest. In 2011, it was estimated the population was around 29.4 million.

Peruvian territory was home to ancient cultures, spanning from the Norte Chico civilization, one of the oldest in the world, to the Inca Empire, the largest state in pre-Columbian America. The Spanish Empire conquered the region in the sixteenth century. The earliest evidences of human presence in Peru have been dated to approximately 9000 BCE. The oldest known complex society, Norte Chico civilization, flourished along the coast of the Pacific Ocean between 3000 and 1800 BCE. Peru has been described as having three regions: the costa (coast), the sierra (highlands/mountains), and the selva (jungle). It is a multiethnic country formed by different groups over five centuries. Amerindians inhabited Peru for several millennia before the Spanish conquest of the sixteenth century. Spanish and Africans arrived in large numbers under colonial rule. Gradual European immigration from England, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain followed. Chinese arrived in the 1850s, replacing slave workers, and have greatly influenced Peruvian society. Peruvian culture is primarily rooted in Amerindian and Spanish traditions, though it has also been influenced by the various ethnic groups.
Lima, the capital of Peru, which is where I was born, is the largest city in Peru and one of the largest financial hubs in Latin America. It’s referred to as the City of the Kings (Ciudad de los Reyes) and was founded by Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro on January 18, 1535. Mestizos are a mix of Amerindian and European (mostly Spanish and Italian) ancestry and are now the largest ethnic group. Lima is on the coast facing the Pacific Ocean; I’d later hear that California reminded my parents of their home country. European Peruvians are the second-largest group. Lima has the largest ethnic Chinese community in Latin America.

Peruvian cuisine combines Amerindian and Spanish food with influences from African, Italian, Chinese, and Japanese cooking. Besides its delish variety of great Peruvian seafood dishes, Chifa, Peruvian-Chinese cuisine, was something our family centered on when we lived in and visited Peru. Lima is known as the gastronomical capital of the Americas. It’s my favorite cuisine and is finally becoming well-known and awarded worldwide.

As in most families, our family converges around food, primarily Peruvian food. It is the root of getting together or when there is something to celebrate; we make an abundance of dishes that we grew up with. I’m proud to say that I’m Peruvian, even though I’ve become an American citizen, and I was almost completely brought up as any other middle-class female in the United States. I’ll be thrilled when I can reconnect with my beloved birthplace and show my son some of our true culture, history, and sights of this lovely place, Peru.
#peru #family #history #book #memoir #books #amazon #goodreads #kdp

The Story of Her Life

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

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

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