Hello everyone, thank you for being curious to learn more about me. I hope my story will truly inspire and help others to live their passion and purpose. Most importantly, I hope my story will bring greater awareness about the effects of childhood trauma, and mental health. I further hope my story encourages people that are facing hardships and mental health struggles to reach out for help.
Here is my story, that led to the writing of Journey of Reflection, A Collection of Poems:
The photo you see to the left, inspired the cover of my book. My kindergarten photo.
I'm Chicana, and born in East LA (ELA), California. I have 7 half-brothers and 2 half-sisters. My parents then had me and my sister. Yes, you counted correctly, I have a total of 10 siblings. Yes, you counted correctly again, there are 11 of us. I am 2nd to the youngest child.
When I was born, I lived in a small 2-bedroom apartment in ELA, with most of my siblings, if not all. I believe some of my siblings lived with my grandmother in Texas. We were low-income and relied on government assistance to survive, from powdered-milk, government cheese, peanut butter, and food stamps.
Throughout my childhood, I lived in and out of the following cities:
East LA, a short time in La Puente, CA, El Paso Texas, Montebello, CA, and Moreno Valley, CA. Before I completed high school, I moved (if I counted correctly) more than 25 times and attended 9 different schools.
Learning was very difficult for me. You will read in my book the poems share some of those struggles I faced. It was hard to learn at school and home. I struggled. Some of my siblings were involved in their struggles with gang involvement, addiction, and more. I grew up in a house with dysfunction. I will note that my Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) score an 8 out of 10. If you are familiar with ACEs, you will understand how relevant that score is to my story.
My father was an alcoholic. Not only did he drink a lot, but he was physically and emotionally abusive. A few of us kids were hurt “more than others." A few of us didn’t see that it was “that bad" because we also had a lot of fun and wonderful memories with our father. Yet, we learned early on to minimize his actions. Growing up in a Latino household, this was a norm, or it was believed to be normal.
I’ve always felt a bit out of place in my family. I love them for sure, but I’ve always felt that I was never the person I was meant to be when I was around my father and family. I learned early on that I had no voice and no freedom to be myself. I learned to numb and shut down. As a child, I acted out and misbehaved to get attention. Negative attention. I learned to internalize and repress the pain. It was my safe place that has kept me to survive all these years.
However, as an adult, I learned the hard way about my mental health struggles. You can read more in my book. I will share though that I finally reached out for help and started seeing a therapist at age 49. I am 50 now. At 49, repressed memories, emotions, and unresolved trauma began to surface. That is when I was diagnosed with complex post-traumatic stress disorder (CPTSD). I’ve had CPTSD my entire life. It now makes complete sense.
In between therapy sessions, each week, I started writing to freely express my emotions on paper. I mentioned the poems to my therapist, and she suggested I read them in therapy to help me process the memories. Several of the poems are intentionally written and titled through the child’s voice. The illustrations are drawn through the child’s thoughts and hands. My inner child that once had no freedom to speak.
My book Journey of Reflection is a Collection of Poems that share parts of my life that include hardships, relationships, decision-making, and career decisions, and others that are inspiring and positive.
I hope that you can support me by purchasing my book, now available on Amazon. I’m also available to speak and share my story. Visit my Services tab for more information to book me.
Thank you for reading,