Opening the Wounds – Black Lives Matter

Opening the wounds. Are we finally done tolerating the mistreatment of black people? 
I heard that said by a news-reporter this morning on Good Morning America – ‘Opening the wounds’. These past two weeks have definitely opened up the wounds for me and lots of people. My heart aches, but it also cries with hope.

It has now been two weeks since George Floyd was killed by a power-driven, racist Minneapolis cop. George Floyd is one of many African-American/Black men that are profiled as aggressive men that we, they, should fear, but as friends have mentioned, he was a gentle giant. His friend that was with him that day and witnessed his murder over the course of 8 minutes and 46 seconds, said that George was trying to defuse the situation. We’ve all seen countless videos of black men being killed by cops, only to have a brief spotlight in the media and a moment of outrage and sadness for what might have led to that happening. But, what’s circulating is that this is different. Or, at least we hope that it is! black lives matter
2020 has been a year that has taken us and the world to the edge of breaking because of the pandemic, having millions lose their jobs, not knowing where to get food to feed themselves or their children, and having us all lockdown for months. There has been time to become more introspective, pushing ourselves to realize what’s important, to slow down and appreciate time with family, learn and realize things we never thought we were capable of doing, and to value our health most of all. It’ll be written in history books. Most of us have grown by this experience and have not known perseverance like this ever before. But, has it taken being in lockdown, having so much time on our hands too really see what’s been going on for black people in the United States and that this is the time we will really make a difference, a serious step towards anti-racism?
Before you start thinking that I’m being pessimistic, I am also hoping with all my heart that there will be more than protests and riots and wanting everyone to think – Okay, what do we do now, how do we really change this, besides saying I’m not racist, I will teach my children to not be racist. That is always the first step. Teach love at an early age. Teach that there is beauty in all people and that everyone is equal and has the ability to do as much as anyone else.
Growing up Latina, new in this country in the 1970s and living in a predominantly white community, I learned about biases and racism early—towards myself, my family, and the less than handful black people in our community. I tell my son that I’m not sure when it started or why. Maybe it was a combination of where we lived in Ohio, being foreigners, and not looking like everyone else that I recognized that it was very obvious that it was not okay being different. And also, that 4 years after we moved to this country we could have been one of many families that sat in front of their TVs and watched Roots. That the combination of these things broke my heart and made me always have empathy, awareness, and sadness towards what people of color, especially black people, have to endure. I understood, to a degree, the racism that they have to deal with. Black people have to deal with a different level of racism and bias that if you are not black, you will never truly understand. Both people of color, brown and black, get held back by many because of judgments or stereotypes. Some people in authority want to just round up Hispanics and send them back to their country, while for black people, people in power are just okay with them being killed.black lives matterAs I wrote before, I’ve been talking with my son about what is going on. He is hunkering down about 30 minutes from me in Los Angeles, living with his girlfriend, and trying not to become a statistic because he has asthma and Covid-19 would not be great for him to catch because of his underlying condition. He is 25 now. And, he is half Haitian. For me, this time and moment now, with George Floyd’s death, the protests and riots are emotional because not only is he half black, but that he finally understands how he is perceived in this world.
A few nights ago, after he wrote a Letter from the Editor piece on what was going on (yes, he’s an Editor, writer, photographer for a huge music conglomerate), I told him, like I have probably shared many times, that I’ve been hoping for an end on how black people are perceived. That my heart has always been with them since an early age. That my best friend in 2nd grade was black and I was heartbroken when I was told that I could no longer be friends with her and that I didn’t care how much darker her mother was (my mom did). That when I saw Star Wars that I couldn’t decide who I had a crush on more, Harrison Ford or Billie Dee Williams – I think Billie Dee won that for many years because of films like Mahogany and Lady Sings the Blues. That I’ve not only been slightly jealous of how beautiful they are, but that I have been captivated for years by the Maasai people in Africa and that I would love to go and photograph them. That when I’d later go to college, I chose to take African American History classes over any other history. That I was thrilled to meet Rev. Jesse Jackson before a Rainbow Coalition event. And when there were talks to end Apartheid in South Africa, I cried. I was beside myself in overwhelming joy when Nelson Mandela was freed, became President of South Africa and that I was able to see him when he came to Los Angeles. I still wear once in awhile the baseball cap I got from that day that represents his prisoner ID number. *”Prisoner 46664″ continues to be used as a reverential title for him.” That when I first met Tupac, that I was not only in awe because he 2Pac, but also that his mother had been a Black Panther. For more than 40 years, my heart has stood beside the African American/Black race. Every time a small coverage was shown of yet another death or mistreatment of someone of color, my heart broke. I voted in favor of some black politicians and wanted desperately at work to do a happy dance every time someone mentioned about President Barack Obama being first elected. I raised my son telling him, warning him, that people and especially cops will single him out just because of the color of his skin. But when we spoke after he posted what he wrote about the injustice of yet another black man being murdered that was obviously not resisting arrest or branded a weapon, that he finally embraces and understands what it means to be a black man in this country. I told him that for me and how he should embrace it, that it is beautiful. Black people are beautiful inside and out. They have given us so much. Our dances, music, sporting events, fashion, art, film, food, comedy, have been highly influenced by them. They have been inventors and scientists, like –

The Three-Light Traffic Light, Invented by Garrett Morgan in 1923

Automatic Elevator Doors, Invented by Alexander Miles in 1887

Electret Microphone, Co-Invented by James E. West in 1964

Carbon Light Bulb Filament, Invented by Lewis Latimer in 1881

Color IBM PC Monitor and Gigahertz Chip, Co-Invented by Mark Dean c. 1980 and 1999

Marie Van Brittan Brown – Her original invention consisted of peepholes, a camera, monitors, and a two-way microphone. The finishing touch was an alarm button that, when pressed, would immediately contact the police. Her patent laid the groundwork for the modern closed-circuit television system that is widely used for surveillance, home security systems, push-button alarm triggers, crime prevention, and traffic monitoring.

Patricia Bath—laser surgical device. Bath is a contemporary inventor and ophthalmologist from Harlem, New York. She is the first black female doctor to receive a medical patent. In 1986, she invented the Laserphaco Probe, which has revolutionized the treatment of cataracts.

Charles Drew—blood bank. created the life-saving concept of large-scale blood banks, starting with research into the storage, processing, and shipment of blood plasma during World War II. He was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2015. Drew was born in Washington, D.C. in 1904. As a surgeon, researcher, and inventor, he invented the modern blood banks. Since World War II, his invention has gone on to save thousands of lives.

Frederick Jones—refrigeration machine. Jones was a self-taught engineer with a number of important inventions. His most notable invention was a refrigeration machine used to transport blood, food, and medicine during World War II.

Dr. Daniel Hale Williams – In 1893, Dr. Williams became the first surgeon to performed open-heart surgery on a human. His patient, James Cornish, survived. 

Alfred L. Cralle (1862-1920) received US Patent 576,395 in 1897 for an “ice cream mold and disher,” or mechanical ice-cream scoop, which is the basic design still used widely today.

Lloyd A. Hall (1894-1971) developed a method for combining sodium chloride with crystals of sodium nitrite and nitrite to keep nitrogen in the air from spoiling food—a method still used today to preserve meats—and other food preservation techniques. He was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2004 

Lonnie G. Johnson (born 1949) may be most famous for inventing the Super Soaker water gun (US Patent 4,591,071), but he is also a former NASA engineer who now runs his own research and development lab working on clean energy solutions. In February 2017, the Lemelson Center featured him in our Innovative Lives program series, where he talked about his inventive life and varied career. The list goes on and on.

I could continue with so many more, but I just wanted to point out that they are just as accomplished. That they have shown a resilience that no other race could ever endure, while still knowing that all of us have used what they’ve so willing contributed to society.
Yet we sit here now, starting to come out of quarantine for months with another death of a black person by the hands of a cop. It’s 2020. We’ve made more progress and finally, all cops are not getting away with murdering a black man trying to say that either he was resisting arrest or they were in fear of their lives. Have we made progress? Yes. Have more non-black people stood alongside this beautiful race to say no more? Yes. Do I wish with all my being hope, finally, there will be such an enormous shift that people of color will see and get? Yes.
Do we need to do more? YES! black lives matter
This fight to end racism won’t stop here. We must continue to not forget, let our voices and votes count. We must teach our friends, family, community, and children that they are just like anyone else. Probably even more exceptional because they still get up every morning, smile and greet you, hoping that one day their brother or sister won’t become another statistic.

*Wikipedia

#blacklivesmatter #BLM #georgefloyd #justiceforbreonna

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.

12 Things a lot of people don’t know about me

1. I like to take long, hot baths, about 45 min. long, 3-4 times a week.

2. I’m a writer/poet and I’m actually a self-published author. 📖

3. I can bake probably the best meringues you’ll ever try.

4. My passion for photography goes back to about the age of 7. 📸

5. My favorite band is Duran Duran, but don’t call me a Duranie. I used to want to be Duran Duran’s tour photographer.

6. I have a bad sweet tooth. 🍭

7. I secretly wish I could sing, like really sing and dance contemporary and ballet. It’s probably why I love going to the ballet and watching So You Think You Can Dance. 💃

8. I could have been a cheerleader, a really good one, thanks to my gymnastics skills, but my grades sucked and I was too shy. I think I still can do cartwheels!

9. I’m a high school dropout with two degrees. 😉 And, got both while I was raising my son by myself.

10. I love blasting music in the car when a good song comes on. Music is my 2nd passion.

11. I had a desire in my late teens & twenties to be a photographer for National Geographic. Yes, I do look at their job listings. 🙁

12. What I wish I could do with my life now, travel and photograph the world.

Are there things about you that nobody knows that you wish people knew?

 

Never take anything for granted

You really can’t take anything for granted. Family, friends, work, a paycheck, bike rides, sunsets, days off, taking pictures, hugs, kisses, holding hands, the beach, the sun, a walk at the beach or through a favorite museum, ACA meetings, eating out, and sitting in the sun for hours.Whatever it is, try to never take anything for granted. And know, that we make this little sacrifice to save lives.

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.

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!

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 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

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.

❤💖🌹✌

CyberSale going on now!

i-could-be-labeled

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 believe in by sharing my story, we all can learn from one another or at least find more compassion and understanding. ❤✌❤

#CyberSale at Amazon and iTunes is going on now! Free shipping for Prime on Amazon.

#ACoA #AdultChildrenofAlcoholics #memoir

Holiday Sale

etg_chapters_72

Holiday sale! Make sure that you don’t miss out on this discount. This offer won’t last.

Evolving to Grace is a memoir about perseverance, strength, spiritual evolution, and the choices one must make to change one’s path. Grace shares her life’s experiences, her journey—finding her way out of darkness—discovering hope, positivity, strength, happiness and the right path for the life she chose to live. She writes about many challenges she has had to face and overcome—either due to alcoholism, depression, violence, rape and being a single mother on welfare.

Grace 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 she ended up in when she was lost and broken. She has learned from her past and she is evolving to find her grace in this beautiful thing we call life. She believes by sharing her story that we all can learn from one another or at least find more compassion and understanding. We can change our destiny, our path.

 

#sale #booksale #holidaysale
#cyberMonday #blackfriday #cyberweekend

To Dare

To Dare

To laugh is to risk appearing the fool.
To weep is to risk appearing sentimental.
To reach for another is to risk involvement.
To expose your ideas, your dreams, before a crowd,
is to risk their loss.
To love is to risk not being loved in return.
To live is to risk dying.
To believe is to risk failure.

But risks must be taken,
Because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.
The people who risk nothing do nothing,
have nothing, are nothing.
They may avoid suffering and sorrow,
but the cannot learn, feel change, grow, love and live.

Chained by their attitudes, they are slaves;
They have forfeited their freedom.
Only a person who risks is free.

– Author Unknown