Tag Archives: Love

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

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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.

image-4_sm     2014-08-30-23-16-27

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

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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.

❤💖🌹✌

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November 14th – 5 years later

candle-vigil_sm

It is amazing that it has been 5 years since you went away. I feel like it was yesterday that it was the last time I saw you. We were sitting in my car and you were telling me how hard every morning was because of the disappointment you felt that you let everyone down again. I made you feel better by telling you we didn’t care about the past and that you should let go of that guilt that, all we cared about was that you stayed healthy and you were happy. Little did I know how hard it really was for you. I should have known. I had been there – feeling like I can not move on from those negative thoughts.

I will carry a bit of your essence always in my heart. 

He was The Nicest Thing I had ever seen
https://gracelozada.com/2014/11/14/he-was-the-nices…-i-had-ever-seen/

Butterfly Beach Butterfly Beach, CA, 3.7.14He was everything quote297816_2274135206657_1027169808_n

#loss

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September the 13th

RIP, Lily (25yrs ago) and Tupac (20yrs ago).
Such amazing souls and very similar.
Enthusiastic, happy, fun loving friends of mine that were appreciative for the moments life was giving them.
Lily, you changed my life.
Tupac, you said things I needed to hear at a very lonely time.

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Thank you both for coming into my life and touching my soul!

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LGBT – Love is Love

Right before I became a teenager, I was living outside of Houston. It was the early 80’s. My two eldest sisters used to run away from our nightmarish home to downtown, where they used to go and hang out with their friends in the clubs. My parents weren’t okay with their friends because most of them were gay.
The years of hearing my parents speak badly about their friends and anyone who was gay made me dislike yet another viewpoint of their’s.
My nature was all accepting.
I never understood why humans disliked other humans because of the color of their skin, or now, who they loved. And, after I met my sister’s friends, I never had any other thought or feeling that 1 that loves someone of the same-sex was anything but normal. It’s never been a second thought or feeling and thankfully I have passed that on to my son.
Anyone who hates #lgbt should lay down their judgements and remember that #loveislove. And at least for me, I’d rather love than hate.
This pick is of one of my sisters’ friends, Kent & I, when I was 16 and visiting Chicago in 1986.

Kent & Kiki_redo

 

#lgbt

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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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20151017_180658 20151018_163255-1 IMG-20130918-00743 Santa Barbara-20120812-00350 KK in SB

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Who Tupac is to me

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.

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Evolving – 1yr. older

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.

IMG_20160307_133556 Fajitas for lunch – my fav!


Massage – relaxation – taking care of myself!

March 7th Sunset The beauty of it all! The end of a beautiful day!

#birthday #March #LosAngeles

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Why “thanks” to Duran Duran

In Evolving to Grace my first dedication is to “DD”- Duran Duran. I wrote briefly in EtG about how I used to listen to their music, dreaming of going on tour with them, photographing them.

“MTV had just aired a few years earlier, and punk and New Wave music trends were happening across the country, and we loved it. The new British invasion included a band called Duran Duran, and I wrapped myself up in everything that had to do with them. They were my escape from what was going on around me, the only pleasure and happiness I could find. I’d just have to put on one of their albums, lock myself up in my room, and dream of being on tour with them, photographing them, not being in this hellhole. There were a few times later that their music helped me hold on for just one more day and try not to end my life. To this day, I’m so thankful for their music, because it helped me get through very tough times.

Planet-Earth-duran-duran

I can’t always remember what led up to the very critical points and traumas of my life. Maybe that night I was up in my room, listening to Duran Duran, trying to escape and dream away my reality while I tried to fall asleep. As I got the story from my mother in 1992, she may never understand that this was traumatizing to me, even though I told her that this incident was maybe the most heartbreaking thing up until then that I had ever had to experience in my life besides a friend’s death in 1991. It was a time when I thought I was going to live without my mother.”

There is such a bigger picture to what I wrote. Even if you read Evolving to Grace you may not grasp how deep my thankfulness goes and why they were one of my dedications. The thing is is that they saved me for many years. Duran Duran in Sri Lanka

When you are a teenager and living with depression, sometimes suicidal, and also having to cope with a vulgar alcoholic mother, a shut-down father and the sometimes violence, it can just be 1 thing that can help you go on. It could be sports, your friends, or theater in school that can help you cope-or distract you from the severe unhappiness you are living with. You just want to spend your time escaping or feeling happy with that 1 thing that comforts you and gets you through hard times. For me that 1 thing was Duran Duran.

It all began when I was 11. Things at home were really bad. Also, I was secluding myself from friends more and more and just starting to withdraw from school. I felt alone. Maybe because I thought no one could understand or help us. Over the next few years my life seemed hopeless. Most days, weeks, months then years, I thought there was no point. But, when I felt like this the only thing that kept me going, brought me some joy and helped me escape from my reality was the music, the videos, the photographs, and the lyrics of Duran Duran.

There were nights, in between the suicide attempts, that their music helped me not try to end it all.

When the time came that I was no longer a young girl living with my parents, having the constant feeling of wanting it all to end, their music still helped me. As a young twenty and thirty something trying to find my way, thankfully rarely having any bouts of suicidal depression and no longer having to witness my drunk mother or my once in a while father having bits of rage, I’d still find comfort listening to DD. When I broke up with a boy or cried when life was feeling too hard, listening to Duran Duran brought a non-spoken feeling. A feeling that everything was going to be alright and a reminder of what was important-me, my future and the things that make me happy.

DD logo

It has now been decades since that little girl first watched, “Planet Earth” on MTV and that she found something meaningful in her life.  It’s been many years that I have “needed” to lean on Duran Duran’s music for comfort or guidance. But, I was reminded months ago when I was driving to see them at a signing of what they did for me and how deep that went. I brought them each a copy of my book, Evolving to Grace (minus Andy. One day I will get his to him.) to say, “thank you” but that they wouldn’t grasp how big the thank you was until they read it. On that partially sunny, rainy Los Angeles afternoon, I didn’t get it until then either. It had been so many years.

I overcame and lived through some things I hope my son will never have to witness. I changed my life for the better. I have had good experiences that I wouldn’t have had if that 1 thing in my life wasn’t there. I am here because 5 guys in Birmingham decided to get together for the love of music, for the love of girls, for the love of being in a band. And, all I can think of is that “Thank you” isn’t enough. They all have a piece of my heart filled with gratitude for the life I have.

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Read about how Grace overcame more challenges and heartbreak to find enlightenment, compassion, hope and love in Evolving to Grace.
Now available at: Amazon, B&N, IBookstore, Vroman’s, BookSoup

#DuranDuran

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February 8, 2016 · 9:22 pm

He was everything

He was everything quote

#love #lostlove #quote

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January 23, 2016 · 5:23 pm

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

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21 years!

Oliver's 21st_1

#celebrate

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November 24, 2015 · 8:10 pm

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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Being together, once again

7-1986
I know you’re out of reach,
“til I’m back at the beach.
 Just like when we first met,
Knowing it was a sure bet.
I remember being married,
And now I am buried,
In the sand,
Hand in hand.
With all our hopes and dreams
Going down the streams
One leaving and one staying,
But soon after all
You and I will be lying
Together in the fall.

 

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