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All available and more at: http://gracelozadastore.com/
Many years ago I had a calling ~ to share my story. As a teenager, I thought I was the only one that was going through what I was going through. But, there are millions out there that have been given a tough life. For those of you, please don’t give up. ❤❤
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.
And now I’m giving away a few signed copies of my memoir! Enter on Goodreads.com for your chance to win!
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
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.
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!”
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!”
“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.
She was a girl of abuse
She was a girl of silence
Those tears were hidden behind
those sad eyes
But, one day she found beauty
Beauty in the sky
Beauty in the trees
Beauty in the birds
Beauty in the lady bugs
Beauty in all things
Even beauty in hurt and pain
because through that she learned
to love life and all things deeper than ever before.
Last weekend I decided to take my bike out for one of my rides. The weather had cooled down and I had been back to the gym. I thought to myself, I can do this! I can power through 15+miles and conquer the slops on the boulevard for a bike ride, and just maybe I can slide in the Santa Monica Stairs while I’m at it.
I so needed this! I finally have some free time to get back into shape. Well, not completely free because I do need to do other things while I have time off from work. But, I should try really hard though to squeeze in some time to get back into shape because who knows when I will have this time again.
Earlier in the week I had been to the gym and successfully went everyday. I always begin my workouts at the gym on the treadmill – 30 minutes are required, but 45 minutes are better! I love to run on the treadmill. I have only been walking though because I am worried of getting shin splints, again. I’ve been told that I should ease into running, so possibly in the next coming weeks I will be running. I’ve always been a runner since junior high. And, I was so good that the high school I went to wanted me to be a runner for their school. Running, nowadays, is my form of relieving stress and it helps me with making any decisions on situations I am trying to work out in my life. On top of running being therapy for me, when I run I feel I am actual burning and shedding some fat, which makes me feel proud about what I am doing. So, I thought since I seemed to be able to just glide back into the gym and have the endurance to walk for 30 minutes, that I could do a little over 15 miles on my bike. Was I delusional? This 1st ride back after so many months was going to be a challenge for me, I thought.
My bike rides take me back to my Houston days before I was a teenager. We had moved there when I was 10 and almost immediately my sisters and I all got our 10 speed Schwinn’s. I could ride mine for forever though I don’t remember going much further than our neighboring neighborhoods or my school. I have had a bike since I was a very young child and until I was 16. Bike riding was in my DNA. And somehow, as many adults do, I lost touch with this thing I used to do that brought me so much joy. I went many years without riding. But, a few years back, I bought my son and I bikes. I still have mine. Every time I ride it, I am brought back to being that 12-year-old girl who could ride without holding the handle bars, wind blowing in her face. I have to hold onto the handle bars nowadays, though. I’ve kinda try it out, but haven’t gone all the way. I get scared because it gets shaky. But, maybe because it is the type of bike I have or maybe it is just the fear of being old that holds me back – knowing – I don’t have the balance that the young me used to have.
So, I headed out early on Saturday, about 9:30a.m. I took the hilly path, down the boulevard, so that I can do a better strength enduring workout than the alternative – a flat-level path. The first time I took this path, after the first incline, I had to stop and throw up a little. It’s not a piece of cake, but now I don’t stop or get sick to my stomach, which I am so happy because throwing up a little bit of your morning coffee at the side of the road is no way to start your morning. While riding I listen to music on my Walkman – yes, I have a mp3 Walkman. I have had it for years and my better excuse is that: I am a product or in love with everything from the 80’s. Sorry that’s just me!
After about 5 miles of riding and a block away, the beach was in front of me. I made a right to head over to downtown Santa Monica, which is about another 2 miles away. I wanted to walk through the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market. I always like to pick up a plum or a peach at the market. After I take my walk through the market of so many things I would like to take home with me, I get onto the next street and take it all the way to where it ends.
This is where I find 2 sets of steep stairs. I am not quite sure if both of them are The Santa Monica Stairs. The first set is made of cement and has a few turns while going up and down. The second set of stairs, a little walk from 4th Street, are wooden stairs and go straight up and down. The people who you will see here are intense. They are either professional fitness gurus, athletes, or the ones like me that think – I just want to do something extreme to shed an inch or 2. And, yes, I can shed an inch or 2, but I know it takes coming back, which I hope I will do.
View of the ocean from the SM Stairs
Thankfully, both stairs have handrails because anyone who knows me, knows I am scared of heights, so I have to hold on, at least going down. There are times when I have started down the wooden stairs and think to myself – why I am doing this? I get scared. If I think about it for too long, I mess up and trip myself up, so I try to focus – or not to. Is this what vertigo is? Anyhow, I ended up doing 2 sets of the wooden stairs. To me, the cement ones are harder to do, so I will do them when I am better fit to do so.
I got back on my bike and rode down another boulevard, parallel to PCH (Pacific Coast Highway). This ride is probably the most serene part out of the whole ride. Palm trees everywhere. Luxury condos to my left. The Pacific Ocean to my right. And, the endless sight of sand and water is just what a mermaid like me dreams of.
Finally, I reached the Santa Monica – PCH connector road. I was happy to see that it had been finished. It was being redone for the last year or so and was closed. I didn’t go down the bike path to PCH or the ocean, but I decided to stop off right after it to just sit, view and have a moment before I headed back home.
I thought about how I love sitting here and seeing what I was seeing. I was proud of myself that I could arrive at the SM Stairs without feeling like I wanted to die. My body felt good about the ride so far and for doing the stairs. I thought of how great it is going to be when I finally have a professional camera so that I can capture everything I had seen on this trip. In the meantime, the phone will do! And, then after taking some pictures, enjoying the sun, people watching, and eating my plum, I really took a look at my lovely bike that got me here. My cute, blue, Schwinn. Schwinn, of all the bikes, I bought a Schwinn! I giggled at myself. And, it is blue. I giggled some more. My first bike in Ohio, I must have been 5, was blue. Lastly, my bell on my bike. It has Mickey (Mickey Mouse) on it. I used to watch the Mickey Mouse club with my Mickey Mouse ears on when I was a child and just absolutely adored Mickey and Minnie.
I laughed, well, giggled to myself some more. How embarrassed I would be if anyone pointed this out to me. Well, maybe some would think it was cute, like I did. And, I know this about myself already, but in this moment I saw how in touch I am with the different stages of my life. They show up, like on a bike ride or when I take my road trips and blast my music in the car. How funny it is or how ridiculous it was at that moment that this 46 year old was sitting here with all the things I was seeing before my eyes.
For most of us, we don’t lose a sense of who we are at any age we’ve been. We may not realize it, but we are a sum of all our years and some of us have the fortunate sense to reach back to our childhood and grab the parts of what we liked and bring them into the present. We should just have fun with it, carry the things we loved or loved to do and keep doing them because life is too short, and at least for me, I never want to completely grow up. It is an essence of me I like about myself.
Before I hopped back on my bike, I embraced my younger self with a big smile and rode off to finish my 15+miles.
The plan for the future is to continue hitting the gym as often during the week and then cycle 1 day on the weekend – other weekend day is for rest! Wish me luck!
There is so much more to what the media said about Tupac Shakur. I was shown a great side of him that I treasure to this day.
He was euphoric and it penetrated off of him, onto you.
He was more interested about you and what was going on with you, than any of his problems he was facing or in.
He was a good friend and the first to tell me, I’d be a great mother. I so needed to hear that at the time!
He was Uncle 2pac and he would be so proud of that baby he took out of my arms on that Mother’s Day, so many years ago.
As I drove over to Silverlake through downtown L.A. seeing the skyscrapers and mountains in the horizon I thought of every achievement I had accomplished over the years.
I had overcome a not so perfect childhood that was intertwined with alcoholism, abuse, and love. I had somehow not let the fact that my virginity was stripped away from me at the tender age of 16 stop me from wanting to be loved and to love in return. I had challenged myself to continue my education to get two degrees even though I hadn’t passed to 10th grade. And, despite being left completely alone to raise a son on my own, I somehow knew how to raise him, making a somewhat happy life for him and I and would find the smarts to deal with the justice system to win child support and my rights toward who I had technically been his whole life – his 1 and only parent.
I don’t know how I’ve made it so far and doing so many great things in my life. How was I so blessed to continue to have such a big heart, so much more love to give and not be so jadded from my miscomings? Maybe it is just because this – we are given life, it may not be perfect, a dream come true with the fancy house on the hill, the Mercedes in the driveway and the perfect man, but once we are on our own away from the grips of our parents or whomever, our life is ours to make our own! You choose who you want in your life, what you want to do, where you want to live and what you want to experience. Life is your journey and yours alone. Experience it! Good and bad, learn from it. Find out what you want and go after it! It may not happen overnight, but work towards it and one day you will look back, like I did today, and smile.
Fajitas for lunch – my fav!
Massage – relaxation – taking care of myself!
The beauty of it all! The end of a beautiful day!
#birthday #March #LosAngeles
In Evolving to Grace, read about how Grace overcame challenges and heartbreak to find enlightenment, compassion, hope and love.
Now available at: Amazon, B&N, IBookstore, Vroman’s, & BookSoup
Looking for a X-Mas gift for the book lover in your life? Local to L.A.?
You can now find Evolving to Grace in stores at BookSoup in West Hollywood and Vroman’s Bookstore in Pasadena.
Get your copy soon! Quantities limited!
#inspire #hope #memoir #book #xmasgift
excerpt from Evolving to Grace…
By the eighth grade, I would lock myself up in my room for hours, scarring my wrists over and over again with safety pins, not looking for attention but to overpower the pain I was going through. I had even tried strangling myself with a belt, but I couldn’t get that to work. I couldn’t figure out where to place the belt so that I could hang myself. Somehow I also knew of overdosing as a way to kill myself. In those days, we didn’t have the Internet, so I wonder where I even got the idea. I thought I’d just go to sleep and never wake up. I tried killing myself twice this way, both times with aspirin and Tylenol.
By this time, I was just so hopeless. I knew the bottoms of despair like no other. Faith did not exist in my life. Life had sucked for as long as I could remember. In my mind, it was always going to be this horrible, miserable life. It was too hard to try to live anymore. Yes, I had fun times here and there. Yes, we weren’t always fighting. Yes, she wasn’t always drinking. Yes, Guadalupe wasn’t always a shitty sister. Yes, there may have been glimpses of real love. But the bad outweighed the good by volumes, at least in my mind. I wanted out so badly, and when you saw and felt that nothing would ever change—and somehow, I felt wherever I went it would still be a horrible, miserable, sad life and all I could think is that the only way out is death. I wanted to be free of the pain—the stifling pain I had endured for years, maybe over a decade, even though I was just thirteen.
Suicidal depression is like seeing no other way out, and the darkness runs so deep that almost nothing and no one could tell you anything different about your life, your situation, or how it was going to change. You feel what you feel, the deepest bottom of a sadness that shouldn’t even be referred to as sadness. You can’t compare it to being blue or sad. Only those who have been suicidal truly understand, and I understood too well because I had been suicidally depressed for more than a year or two. I had the feeling of being done with life, wanting out, but it was just in the last few months that I finally started thinking about how to end my life.
The times I tried to hang myself really ended up being more of me strangling myself, and I’d physically stop at some point. I don’t know if human beings can actually strangle themselves. I did get to the point of closing off some circulation because I ended up with hundreds of dots all over my face. It didn’t heal for a few days, and somehow I was able to talk my way out of what had happened to my face.
The first time I tried to overdose, I just got very sick to my stomach but was eventually able to lie down, and within a couple of hours, I stopped throwing up but needed a few days to get back to feeling normal. The second time I did it, I almost succeeded; the throwing up was so bad that blood came up, and after a couple of hours of that, I was so tired and then scared—not because of dying but because of the throwing up being so bad for so long. I thought I was going to lie down in this peaceful sleep that I dreamed of and never wake up. Instead, it was this endless vomiting, and I just wanted it to stop. I went to my mom and told her what I had done, and I was rushed to the emergency room. They pumped my stomach, and somehow, my parents talked the doctors out of telling the authorities or having them not commit me for a psychiatric evaluation. I stayed in the hospital for a few days. The doctors said my stomach was bleeding and that I had messed up the lining a bit, but it was not too serious. I was told to monitor or not eat certain foods that would harm it more.
From that point on, my parents catered to me, letting me stay home from school (legally ditching) for days at a time; they’d treat me sometimes to my teenybopper magazines and caramel popcorn from the specialty shop down at the strip mall outside of our subdivision. I wasn’t bratty about it. They just kept asking and asking if I wanted this or that, and I was just looking for anything to feel better, which happened to be sweets and my magazines.
Staying home from school made it a little better, because that was another thing that I hated in my life. And for a little while, the focus was on me, which had my parents behaving. I didn’t try again to kill myself. I thought it couldn’t happen, or at least I couldn’t figure out how to do it. Also, I think it really scared me. Maybe part of me from that point forward learned what death truly was, and a small part of me at that point became scared of it.
But the hopelessness remained. The sadness was still there. The wanting out, being done with life, remained. I never spoke up about what was troubling me, even though there was one time my mom came to me and sat at the edge of my bed and asked me. There was no point. Who could change my situation? Who would change our lives on Silver Shadows Lane? And if it wasn’t clear enough—because it should have been—there was no point in saying anything.
Breaking the cycle starting with me, for a healthy and functional life
Writer - Photographer - Survivor - ACoA - Single Mom