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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

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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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What remains after…

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What remains after the butterfly has gone.
What remains is sorrow—that I won’t have one last kiss.
What remains is loneliness—that I won’t have one last embrace.
What remains is bitterness—that you had to leave me so soon.
What remains is guilt—that I wasn’t there for you in the end.
What remains is disbelief—that you’re not lying here next to me.
What remains is knowing—that I’ll never meet anyone like you.

Love,
Key

#loss #grief

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I matter

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I’m just another writer, turned author, who hopes to be good enough that someone will like her book, her story.

Many that know me may not know this about me and could never imagine the roads I’ve traveled. I was born into a family, at least from one side, that was very privileged. My grandfather was a well-known surgeon and had a clinic in Peru and also was known worldwide to having delivered a baby to the youngest mother in history. My grandmother from one side of her family was an heiress from a family from Philadelphia that in the end had millions and owned a complete block on the Atlantic City Boardwalk. On the other side of her family, her father had been born in England, was educated in NY, and he later had been the Mayor of Pisco several times. He had come from a family that was so well off that they had created several of the first railways in Peru and had many properties in Peru.

My own life is one of knowing a little bit of this “good life” up until the age of 15—before we lost everything. But, what happens behind closed doors is always unknown to others. Alcoholism, sadness, depression, mentions (rumors) of infidelity, abuse and fighting were intertwined with this “good life”. At an early age, darkness won in my mind which opened the door to years of depression and times of suicide. Then, later came my own destruction at the hands of the bottle. Rape would follow. Drop out of life and from high school, would happen. I eventually added more than drinking to swallow the pain. And, then loss, grief and guilt would overpower the darkness that was already there. Loss of a very close friend would lead me to the road of selling myself. Selling myself would make me feel worthy. Worthy of something. Worthy of all the years I felt not worthy­—when I didn’t matter.

But, a voice was always with me, a quiet little whisper—my guardian angels, my grandparents or friends that had passed on, or God, or just my spiritual love for myself, whispered to me. This life—my life—was not meant to be like this. Always that little whisper stayed with me. Seemed at times to disappear, but was just waiting to appear, waiting to tell me at the right moment—your life means more than this! “It” stayed and stays deep down inside with me always so that it leaves it up to me to remember—I matter.

Purple Angel

#imatter #selfworth

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excerpt – evolving to grace

During our lives, we had received tender touches by my mom at times; all us girls would jump in her bed and have her scratch our backs. We’d have a balance of humor from our dad and actual interaction, like when he’d play with us in the ocean or like that one time we all had a major water fight that went inside and around the outside of the house. All six of us would share beautiful moments like these that we all hold so close, but I would unfortunately, vividly, remember the horrific scenes too, like this brutal fight. What do moments like this fight say to a child, especially a girl? What would be the implications to me and my sisters in the future of learning and experiencing these mixed messages by the ones that were our first loves, our protectors, and the ones who were supposed to love us the most?
Within time, my parents let up, but my life was changed forever. A seed had been planted for a while, but now the soil had been covered and patted forcefully down. This life I had known up until that point was wrong. I hated it! I’d fight against it. The true rebellion in me was born, and the silent “Fuck you” to life, authority, and my parents began.
I continued going through periods of suicidal thoughts. I continued escaping in my room, dreaming of a life other than mine. My grades had fallen drastically. I had been an A/B student, and I was now completely failing. At fifteen, I’d begun my descent of finally dropping out of school. My parents were always those types to be too lenient with exception of their well-overdue violence, which they considered discipline. They did plead with me to go to school but did not force it. I think they knew I had depression, so they’d do anything to please me, thinking that would resolve it.  teenage_depression
The four of us went back to being the family we had been before, never mentioning anything that had gone on. We’d try to bury our secrets, hide, and escape from the pain. Guadalupe and I began following in our sisters’ footsteps, drinking and partying just to find some kind of pleasure in life. My parents went back to their ways of not enforcing anything. We’d go out and say that we’d be home by midnight but wouldn’t show up until after 2:00 a.m. Our parents would tell us we were grounded, but by the following night, we’d want to go out and promise to by home on time, and they’d bend and let us go out again. And we wouldn’t make it home on time again. The dysfunctional cycle continued. No rules, no discipline, no respect—just back to being normal.
“Do as I say, not as I do.” That saying scares me. I heard it one too many times during my childhood. It was pretty much my parents’ slogan as we grew up and the hypocrisy of my existence. My dad would later warn us of how my mother and her drinking didn’t start off as what we were then witnessing. He told us time and time again about how she started socially drinking at parties. He was in fear of us picking up on that behavior—that bad trait of hers. But what about teaching a child how to deal with life and not to avoid life? And, most of all, what about the violence? This was beyond disciplining a child. When you love someone, do you on occasion hit that person? My soul told me no. My heart told me no. But the life I had been given told my mind, “Love and pain go hand in hand.”stop-domestic-violence-logo
We were being taught to accept violence, but we were also being shown to escape from our problems and learning how not to deal with anything. These two were our teachers of life, and we were just following instinctively in their shoes. Do as I say, not as I do. How do children learn anything more than what they are shown? Did they expect us to guess? Why couldn’t they just have shown us how to live differently? It would take decades for me to understand this.

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Evolving to Grace – a memoir

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In Evolving to GraceA story of 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, and rape.

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, 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), 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 am trying to better myself, changing my ways and learning from my past and I am forever evolving to find my grace in this beautiful thing we call life. Lastly, I write to inspire others to never give up. You can change your destiny, your path.

“This is a very powerful story told in an extremely honest and candid fashion by a woman who has been there and back . . . fractured family, drugs/alcohol, running the streets, relationships with celebrities, issues with romantic partners. But mostly I saw this as the story of a woman with all the cards stacked against her who came through, and ultimately triumphed over, adversity. Amazing, Grace!” – Seth Kadish

“Her writing is so down to earth and real … I felt like I was having a conversation with her. Her obvious strength as a woman does not diminish the scope of the tragedy, though; her vulnerability is often excruciating.” – Patrice H.

Available now on Amazon, Nook and Amazon Kindle!

#memoir

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He was The Nicest Thing I had ever seen

Excerpt, from Evolving to Gracea rose

…… I saw that he was meant to be in my life also because he had

some things to teach me, too. I had finally met a man that was

sensitive, understanding, trusted me by sharing all the things that he

couldn’t to others, would always acknowledge anything good or bad I

was talking about and was appreciative and thankful that I was there

in his life. He was my V.O.R. (Voice of Reason) when I needed someone

to remind me to see the good. I always thought if he got sober and

really loved me that I would have been the luckiest girl in the world.

He was The Nicest Thing I Had Ever Seen. He taught me to be more

compassionate, understanding and sensitive towards everyone by showing

me himself giving out his last five dollars to some homeless teenagers

and a buck and change another night to an older gentleman on State

Street and to now understand my mother and how unfortunate it is that

she could not find her way to peace and happiness. His mom would share

stories of his generosity at his service that others shared with her.

He also put everyone else first. His last voicemail that he left for

his mother and she played for me was that he’d be by to visit her and

help out around the house after he went to court with his brother and

saw his ailing grandmother the next day. The last thing he taught me was that I was

much stronger than I thought. I always thought I put people first, was

extremely compassionate and had a lot of patience, but I had never

known that I had so much abundance of these traits before all the

struggles we endured in this time. Maybe the year and seven months

with him helped me grow into the person I’m meant to become. I just

wish I could hug him for one last time and apologize for that letter I

last sent him. I hope he knew I was just hurt and didn’t mean it. And,

I wish he could have read this book. He was the one that encouraged me

the last year of his life to get back to writing it.

#evolvingtograce

#loss

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I was just barely 16 & still a virgin when I was raped

Excerpt, from Evolving to Grace

A little over a week later, I lost my virginity, technically. I was raped. It is mind boggling what paths my journey took me on when I didn’t make good choices. I never stopped to even think of what I was doing. I shouldn’t have ever had a drink. I shouldn’t have been at that get together. I shouldn’t have been in Chicago. I shouldn’t have bottled things up that hurt me. I should have been in school trying to do the best thing for myself, getting my education. So many should not haves or should haves play over and over in my mind. If I could have only pressed rewind, this may not have happened to me, but maybe like most things in our lives they are destined and meant to happen for a purpose.

I began drinking a year earlier. I drank until I threw up, blacked out and passed out next to my new friend, “Potty”, the toilet. And, even though I’d go to the extent that I had seen my mom go to and hated it, I was now doing it a lot of the time. Here I was at 16, still drinking, bottling up my emotions – escaping from my life, only facing my reality through depressed feelings, scarring my wrists with safety pins and drinking to the excess I was. At a get together across the street at a neighbor’s brownstone in Chicago, me and my sisters drank. One of my sisters was there with her new boyfriend, the boy I had been dating! I had to have felt uncomfortable. I was still so confused on what had happened to me again or maybe I was just trying to ignore my feelings. I believe by this time in my life I was trying to push down my feelings because to everyone besides me, my feelings didn’t matter. People, especially family had done so many hurtful things and with no apology. My feelings didn’t matter, I didn’t matter.

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I can only recall about the first few minutes of that evening. We were at the guy with the tall, blue mohawk’s place which he shared with his roommate. I was excited because I had a crush on Mr. Mohawk. I kind of remember trying to go over there as cute as I could. I couldn’t be pretty or even pretty enough to get his attention because I was still not bloomed into the prettiness that would come years later. But, it didn’t stop me from getting excited from going over there. I walked into this guy’s place that evening with happiness and with a profound innocence that I still had. I was 16, going on 12. I didn’t know really what happened during sex. I had never seen a boy naked; except for the Playgirl Magazines one of my sisters would sneak and show us. I had only made out with two guys in my life and that was just heavy duty kissing. My sister mentioned later, that I had gotten so drunk I began to throw up all over the place. At some point like I always had, I had time to take pictures. It’s funny how I could continue doing what I love to do, despite never remember doing it. My sis later told me that she stuck me in the bathtub to clean me up and then later put me into the roommate’s bed to sleep it off, not Mr. Mohawk’s. I passed out. My sisters left me there. One of them had to leave me there because she was catching a plane back to Cincinnati. I believe Mr. Mohawk went with her to the airport. It was only decades later that I spoke to the other sister about that night, but it was brief, and we only spoke about the rape. She felt bad hearing what I had gone through and she didn’t want to talk any further about it, so I was never able to find out why she left me there. I cannot blame her though because for so long we all had been only watching out for ourselves. I was blacked out the whole night. I do recall a moment though. The pain of him trying to enter me woke me up. I remember seeing his outlined figure in the dark, on top of me and I was trying to push him off. I moaned in agony because of what he was trying to do. It hurt, but I just passed out again. In the morning I woke up to find myself half naked lying next to this dude which was completely naked. I quietly went out to the living room trying to find my clothes, which one of my sisters had semi-cleaned of throw up in the bathroom. I made small talk with Mr. Mohawk. My best time spent on Sheffield Avenue was watching this tall, skinny white guy with a blue Mohawk skate up and down the street. And, now this moment in the morning was embarrassing. I acted as nothing happened, like I always do – nothing affecting me, but it had to be written all over my face because I was so uncomfortable. I’d no longer look at Mr. Mohawk the same or his roommate. I pretended as all was good, even to the point that a few days later when I left to go back to Houston, they both rode the subway with me to the airport, like we were all friends or something. As a young girl, you don’t know how to behave when things like this happen because you really can’t understand what happened and you are probably in shock. I’d later find out that I got a STD. I had my virginity taken from me. I felt ashamed and confused, not knowing what to do but get out of there. I walked in as a happy, innocent girl and walked out snatched of everything that was pure of me, forever changed. It took me decades to realize how devastating that night truly was. It took me 26 years to finally cry about it. For so many years I use to say, “thankfully I was passed out for most it and that was why it never really affected me”. But, it did affect me. My childhood laid a base foundation for me to let men use me and possibly lead me into selling myself for sex, but this incident may have played more of a role than my childhood. After the rape, I didn’t have sex again for another year, but that time it was my choice.

#evolvingtograce #rape

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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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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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