Don’t call me Sexy!

Do I either have no reaction or pretend not to acknowledge when you call me, sexy? Yes. Other times I just cringe when I’m called, sexy.

Maybe it is because I don’t think of myself as sexy. Maybe I truly don’t like or understand the word, sexy, and why it is used. Maybe it is because I lost my virginity to a rape and when I used to (and sometimes still do) hear about rapes it was sometimes considered the female’s fault for what she was doing or wearing. Maybe because I think there’s more to a woman.

female writer

Or, maybe I sometimes see the word sexy as it’s definition:

Definition of sexy

sexually suggestive or stimulating : EROTIC

When I hear the word sexy, I think of sex and to entice.

I hope that 100% of the time, I’m not projecting that nor am I ever trying to come off as trying to do something to you than be myself. If you think that is sexy. No, it’s not.

Now don’t get me wrong. I love sex and I love when someone I’m with is really into me. So, it’s not that I am rigged, hate men, or have trauma. I just think the word sexy is kinda degrading, disrespectful, and gross.

female  author

You can call me beautiful. You can call me gorgeous. You can call me pretty. But please. Never call me sexy.

Stopping Traffic Documentary

Last month I finally sat down and watched the rest of the documentary, Stopping Traffic. I had previously watched the first half a month earlier. I believe that I have had it in my Amazon Prime watch list for more than a year, so it really took some time to muster up the emotions or triggers that I thought may arise. And, I just wanted the appropriate time and headspace to be able to sit through it and take it all in.

If you don’t know my story, somewhere along my journey in my early 20s I became a high-class call girl in Hollywood. It was the early 90s and I had been driving in from Huntington Beach, California with a friend to go to the Roxbury nightclub in West Hollywood. That’s where I met my future pimp. He had apartments over the years that girls would work out of seeing movie producers, executives, doctors, rich international college students, and some other wealthy men. It wasn’t until my girlfriend died that I made the move to Hollywood, unknowingly being lured into this life of prostitution.

It was a hard time in my life because I had never lost someone close to me and I was at a crossing point, of moving back in with my parents which was toxic or moving up to the City of Angels. So, even now 20+ years later, it still affects me.

I wrote about prostitution in college, while I was in the business. It was the impetus of writing my memoir, Evolving to Grace. I have had many large and brief thoughts and discussions on the topic of prostitution. The feelings I have for myself was that prostituting myself ate away at my soul and what little self-worth I had. It even had me dive back into a very familiar mindset, suicidal depression. What’s worse, it even almost got me hurt.

So, it was a big deal to watch this, maybe not just so that I can explore my thoughts again on my own experience, but the real bigger picture which is human trafficking. Were they going to merge prostitution in with human trafficking? I was curious about other people’s thoughts and what they are trying to address. 

Human trafficking has been a huge topic over the last years. The media and organizations have spotlighted the side of human trafficking which includes children being sold for sex. But, human trafficking is much more than that.

Based on the Department of Homeland Security, *Human trafficking involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act. Every year, millions of men, women, and children are trafficked worldwide – including right here in the United States. It can happen in any community and victims can be any age, race, gender, or nationality. Traffickers might use violence, manipulation, or false promises of well-paying jobs or romantic relationships to lure victims into trafficking situations.

Stopping Traffic, Stopping Traffic documentarythe documentary that can be viewed on Amazon Prime or downloaded on itunes, was focusing on children (including teenagers) sold, whether it be for labor, but typically, mainly for sex. This is by far the worst part of human trafficking and I believe that it is worse than any agency believes. It’s horrible and sad and I think more needs to be done about it. It needs to be spoken more in the mainstream and like the documentary addressed, it’s not just happening over there, in that country. It is happening all over the United States.

While I was in that life, I briefly met some girls that were a little younger than I. I was in my early twenties. I think they were over the age of eighteen, but I can not be for sure. They were girls that had a pimp that had a complete network of girls that traveled from city to city, walking the streets or running ads looking for work. It was very different from my situation. When they spoke about their situation, they made it seem like they were active, willing, participants, but even at my young age, I felt like that really wasn’t the case. There was fear behind their words when they would share their world, their life. Not only fear, but also no way to get out.

Stopping Traffic was a good documentary to show some sides and personal opinions of what can be done to “stopping human trafficking“. I don’t think though that they made a clear enough separate distinction between prostitution that is forced, coerced, and the sex work/trade industry. But, when it came to how and why some children end up being trafficked, they did an excellent job of addressing that. And, the creators and spokespersons on the film gave options on how the viewer can help and be aware.

As far as prostitution goes, there are so many different types of prostitution. Yes, forced or fraudulently coerced of any child and individual should be punished and stopped immediately, but the sex trade/sex work (also prostitution) industry shouldn’t necessarily be woven into human trafficking which I felt the film had a grey area when they spoke about it. It’s a broader picture to explore with many varying levels to it. Maybe for someone to make a documentary about.  

I’ll write more about prostitution and sex work at a later time.

But for now, I suggest watching Stopping Traffic. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

 

* https://www.dhs.gov/blue-campaign/what-human-trafficking

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

May is Mental Health Awareness month!

May is #mentalhealthawareness month. There have been quite a few times in my lifetime that I’ve come back from depression, suicide attempts, or just cycling through, what I thought was a breakdown at the time, but really was a transformation. For the most part, most of these moments were long ago. resilence

Nowadays, I am just so happy that I survived. I get choked up sometimes when I talk about it. All we ever want is for the pain to go away. And, I’m here to tell you that it eventually does. Life gets better if you work at it. Situations that you thought would just continue, come to an end. Choices you make can change the life end up having. You just have to learn to love yourself, do what’s best for you, and work through your past traumas.

Life is a beautiful thing and so are you! beauty

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.

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.

Healing is a long journey

Healing is a long journey. It doesn’t happen overnight and I believe you’ll always be healing. But, you’ll move on to a better self and better life that you’ve created for yourself. Many unhealthy behaviors that you learned, will be unlearned by better choices. A lot of trauma that you suffered will be healed, but like I’ve heard many times last year, it’s like peeling away layers of an onion. So that takes time and despite what others say, I believe that some trauma may not be 100% healed, but will be replaced with coping and understanding.
With all that being said, I say YAY to HEALING, going through the pain, acknowledging the impact most things made on my life, and finding my way.
✌💗🙌

What you do today, affects tomorrow. ❤
#childhoodtrauma
Remember that you are always thought of.
Much love

Life can end in a second

A little shaken up.
When I saw all the cop cars racing to where I was and then saw one open his door while the car was still moving with a rifle in hand I knew it was bad. Then in less than 5 seconds three gunshots behind me. I didn’t stop to turn around and look. I ran with my bike hoping all cars stopped would not start driving, trying to get out of there. As soon as I got to the other side of Sepulveda and Venice and behind a wooded fence all I could do is breakdown and cry.
In a split second, you could no longer be here. All I hope is that I left a sweet, touching, or funny memory in every that I’ve met and that the ones that are in my life or in my heart knows that I love them no matter what.

 

#lifeisshort #gratitudeforeachday

Holiday Giveaway!

If you would like to win a free copy of my memoir, Evolving to Grace, here’s your chance.

All you have to do is follow me on Instagram, like one of the book posts, and comment on one of the posts.

I will be selecting winners on Wednesday, the 18th. Winners will be notified via DM on Instagram.
✌💗🙌

Best of luck and Happy Holidays! ❤

What you do today, affects tomorrow. ❤

Remember that you are always thought of.

Much love ❤

Adult children of alcoholics

Book giveaway

#memoir #bookgiveaway #12steps #socalaca #acoa #alanon

What would you tell your 16 year old self if you had the chance?

This is me when I was 16 (1986) in Klein, TX.

I was already a high school dropout. I had already had a few #suicide attempts behind me. I had already known what it was to drink until I passed out & blacked out, many times. I was an #acoa before I knew there was such a thing & it’s complexities of being an adult child of an alcoholic. I unfortunately also knew to well #abuse – emotional, mental, and physical.
What would I tell her?
That you have a sweetness that someday people won’t take for granted or abuse. That you are so cool in your likes and appearance. That you are strong and you will get through this and everything life will throw at you. That you will experience beautiful things and have a great son that will be such a great human being and that you raised all by yourself.
That from all your heartache and pain, you will love deeper, care more, and be more resilient. And lastly, I love you just the way you are and that that is what matters most!

If you haven’t thought of what you’d tell yourself, I hope that you do so now. ❤

Much love, Grace.

 

 

 

Please remember what makes you beautiful! ❤

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.

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.

Book Giveaway

Just in time for the holidays – enter to win 1 of 2 signed copies of Evolving to Grace. 

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.

Head over to Goodreads.com to enter!
Best of luck! Enter soon! I hope you win!

#bookgiveaway #contest #freebie