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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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 

Where I am in my life, for now.

It has been many years since I finished Evolving to Grace. Since then, I’ve come a long way from being that woman that was confused by what life was having her go through. I learned that whatever happens to us or the people that come into our lives are all opportunities for us to learn from, whether they are good or bad. I don’t believe that anything happens by accident or is coincidental. I am also no longer that girl that was destructive and a victim, losing herself in alcohol and countless bad choices. Though I am not “cured” or “normal”, whatever that means, I acknowledge I do still have some things to work on, but I have done a damn good job on the things I have overcome. I know that nothing becomes perfect or changes overnight–it is a process. So, year by year, things have gotten better. There are moments that are challenging for me, but those times are regular life situations that I am dealing with rather than the toxic, negative, dysfunctional behavior or situations that I used to be around. It is all about finding hope, optimism and a good perspective on things, which I work on having on a daily basis, and for the most part, I would say I have most of the time. On the days that I am not working, I choose to do what I want to do with my time. I am usually relaxing, spending time with people I enjoy, doing something productive that makes my brain and body feel good, or just investing in something that motivates me more to be a better person. In my real life–my 9-5, I work in Accounting. I like what I do in my career life, but I am working on leaving behind the corporate world in hopes that one day I will be doing photography and writing on a full-time basis, because returning back to my creative side is what I am truly passionate about.

I couldn’t be happier for my son, also. He is at a prominent university in Southern California and enjoying life. He loves film, music and is a happy, hilarious, and a compassionate young man with so many possibilities in front of him. I couldn’t have asked for a better outcome for him.

I am a warrior, a survivor, and optimist. Life is not dark anymore. I’ve triumphed, because I am still a loving, kind, compassionate, and giving individual. I still smile at strangers because why not, you never know who needs it. And, I still have my sense of humor, despite everything. And, though my memoir ends on a sad note and after the grief I had to go through, my life is actually pretty good now. I am happy and content. I live my life on my terms and have positive, supportive people in it. There have been good times throughout my life. Yes, some tragic things may have happened to me, but life is better and I look forward to what lies in my future. I don’t dwell on the past, even though I speak of it from time to time. My past, my heart, and my mind have made me who I am today. I had to experience what I experienced, the good and bad, so that I could learn, grow and love ever so deeply. There is this deep sense of gratitude and love for life, because I have seen darkness, and now all I want to experience is the beauty that life has to offer. I am excited of every day that comes and the endless possibilities–places to see and re-see, new things to experience, people to meet, loves or a love to have in my life, and definitely more books to write–next time, possibly fiction.

I hope my story taught others that the cycle of dysfunction–alcoholism and abuse, can lead to dark paths, but that you can awaken, learn and change your life to break the cycle, because in the end, life is beautiful and amazing! I believe that we all can learn from one another or at least find more compassion and understanding. I, myself, cherish the good moments, and I am excited of what my future holds. I know now that I can overcome anything, and all that I want to do besides writing and photographing is share my story with anyone who will listen so that I can tell them, “You are not alone. You can overcome whatever you are going through. Just believe, find hope, seek help, make better choices and be patient. It will happen. Your life can be different.”

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A message from me to you

From Me to You,

I first started this book twenty years ago after an incident I’d had with my pimp in Hollywood who had worked the streets for ten years before moving the business in-house. It was the night that I first saw how off track my life had veered and I was scared. I came home and tried to understand how my life had turned out as it had. It was the lowest point in my life and I tried to make sense of it. My life had been so dark for some time and this was my rock bottom to wake me up to the fact that I needed to do whatever it was to begin changing my life or otherwise I could end up dead one day. I was one of the lucky ones to have survived.

When I began writing, I also wanted to help others so that they wouldn’t make choices like I had. I had always acknowledged my childhood as being bad, but I always said it could have been worse. But, I wasn’t equipped at an early age to realize that we all have choices and that we are making a choice pretty much in everything we do. Even if you are a victim to your parents or from a crime, you don’t need to allow it to keep victimizing you and putting yourself in harmful situations that you may never recover from. There will come a point that you need to move through the pain and grief of what has happened to you. You don’t need to get stuck in it and stay in victim mode, unconsciously self-loathing and being self-destructive like I had for too many years. You are not your circumstances nor are you cursed to live like your parents chose to. Your life, your destiny is your own. Your perspective on things—life, matters and you must be aware that your decisions and choices will guide you down one path or another. You must choose which one that will be, but always know that you have a chance to get back on the right path.
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Life is too short, and there is so much beauty out there and things to experience. Just take a moment to look up at the sky, look at the trees, or check out the birds flying around. It’s beautiful! It took me a long time to also find hope and faith that things could be better. Sometimes teenagers or children get stuck in the reality of being abused under their parents’ roof, I ask you to please speak out, seek help, find someone to talk to, and know that there will come a time you no longer have to endure it. It will end. Do the most with your time, like studying in school so that once you leave you can leave for good and have the life you could only dream about!

I lived too long in a sometimes suicidal state of depression, and I also used drugs to make me feel better. That’s not the way to go! I understand depression to its core and how you get so lost in it, that it never seems like life is worth it, but it is! You have to take the steps of talking to someone and getting unstuck from what makes your life unhappy and also change your way of thinking; I know from experience that you can allow your thoughts to only think about the negative. If you can’t find someone to talk to, talk to yourself in a loving, positive manner. Give yourself positive affirmations of your great qualities. Workout—bike ride, run, skate, any activity to get those happy chemicals flowing in your brain. Find a friend to hang out with that makes you laugh. Laughter is medicine. Being optimistic and knowing that your surroundings or whatever is happening is only temporary helps. Stop yourself when you even start going to the dark or negative thoughts. You are beautiful, smart, and strong. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Trust me!

Bask in your uniqueness. You are a gift; we all are in our own unique ways. Smile and “keep ya head up,” like 2Pac wrote to me. I pass this on to you and like a homeless lady on the streets of Chicago once told me and I am telling you now, “You are too beautiful to walk with your head toward the ground; look up!” What others say about you will come and go. Try not to worry yourself about it. One day, everyone will forget the things that were said, and hopefully you can rewrite those words in your head that you are repeating. Keep anyone who judges you and who doesn’t support or encourage you out of your life—or at least at a distance.254792_2148995958254_7367754_n

See the world, reach out to others. Give a hand. You will grow and be fulfilled in your heart. Follow your dreams. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do that or that won’t work. We wouldn’t be so evolved if all the inventors, creators, and the people who are so happy working in all these diverse fields listened to the naysayers!

You have so many possibilities; we all do. Wake up every morning appreciative, because every day is a new fresh start. As long as we are living, we can do anything. Sadly, some aren’t as lucky to still have a chance! Don’t compare yourself with others. The grass is not necessarily greener on the other side. Pick up the pieces to your mistakes and try to do better. Don’t get down on yourself when you repeat a mistake. Just try and try again. Let go of the guilt, shame, and loss. When your life is over, no one in the end will hold those things against you. Love, care, and try to understand as much as you can. You will always be evolving.

I let others mistreat me for too long. There are going to be people out there in the world who do not serve you,65154_10153145 so the sooner you recognize it, the better. Distance yourself from them. I learned that even though I had been hurt emotionally, physically, and mentally, I still didn’t need to fill my life with anger, hostility, and just plain meanness. We are here for such a limited time, and the last thing you should do is spend time being unhappy and hurting yourself or others just because you have been hurt. You should just fill yourself up with the beautiful moments that touch your soul.

I share my story for you to understand me and how I’m still trying to evolve, despite everything. I could have given up a long time ago. I feel I even did at times, but eventually, I learned that is not the choice I want to make anymore. I’ve learned so much about life, myself, and the things that happened to me. I know for sure that we are all meant to evolve and that doesn’t stop until we take our last breath.

By sharing my story, I’d like you to realize that you too can change your path and not succumb to the illness of victimizing yourself one way or another. I am not perfect nor is my life. This all takes time and you might find yourself, like I have, taking two steps forward and one step back. But stop and realize this—have trust in yourself that you will do better next time. Every day, every moment is a new start to make a change. The cycle from your childhood doesn’t need to continue with you. You deserve better. Your children, future children, and generations to come deserve better. I’m always evolving, and I believe if I can do it, you can do it too. I have hope in you. You just have to learn to love life, find hope and most of all love yourself!

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Much love,
Grace

 

#love #compassion #inspire #books #evolve #recovery #Faith #hope #acoa