Another Super-Bowl Sunday comes and goes..

The morning of February 5, 2006 my team the Seattle Seahawks were preparing for their very first Super Bowl Sunday game as I prepared for my first hosting of my teams visit to the big games by throwing a party at my home.

Before the game could even start, as I hurried around preparing for the Big Day my phone rings. My Dad calls to say “Good Luck Today” “I’ll be routing for your Seahawks” we chatted and I said, got to go Dad. Still lots to do. Less then a hour after I hung up the phone, the phone rings again and the words uttered at the other end of that line dropped me to my knees. My dad was found dead when they went looking for him because he didn’t return from a walk he ventured out on with his dog.

As people showed for the party my husband shared the news and people graciously left as I sat by myself in tears for the better part of the day. Several

Super Bowls past before I even watched again as it was a reminder of all I put off that now could never transpire.

The one day I realized if it weren’t for the Seahawks making it to the Big Game on that very day, I wouldn’t even have had the opportunity to share the conversation we had that Morning. So looking at the glass half full, I was blessed to at least have that.

So I’m back to watching the big game but it’s still a reminder of all that was lost. A reminder that tomorrow is not promised. That putting off until tomorrow what should be done today is a risk that sometimes can’t be undone.

If you were here today Dad, I’d call you to say, Rhonda is better today then I’ve heard her be ever in my adult life. I know you always worried that she’d never find a path to some sort of wellness.

I’d call to say I love you, just because..

So if you love someone make sure you let them know. If you need to be someplace, get there.. because putting it off could very well mean it will never happen.

Growing up Broken..

There has just been a few times in my life I’ve opened up publicly about all I’ve been through. All I’ve walked away from and all I’ve turned my back on. I never look back or use the past as a crutch. I always keep moving forward. I don’t dwell on all I’ve been though even though at times I have to push it back down when the pain from the past starts to creep out of my inner soul.

Sometimes there seems to be no reason for the memories that cause the anxiety to shows it’s painful way to the surface and other times people whom chose to not put the abusive and violent ways behind them try to come at you and in some ways as if to try to guilt me into their failures or lack of strength to walk away like I did. They treat me like I was given a “break” to make it out of the viscous cycle I was born into.

The only break I got was a broken back.. literally.. No one handed me anything, not even a reached out hand.. I made the choice to find the path that took me out of that past I have worked so hard to put behind me.When I think about it though I have to give credit to one event. A event that shaped the beginning of the process of me changing and choosing a different path. It was the Day I saw Jesus. I know. You think I’m crazy. It was a day Like so many others.. fighting, yelling, beating in a trailer we lived in that was 10 ft wide maybe. The bedrooms very small. A twin bed along one wall that took up almost the entire width of the room, but there was just enough for my little body at 11 years old to fit between the wall and the end of the bed. I hid there repeating to myself ” I don’t want this life. God please help me” I remember saying it over and over and then I heard a mans voice speaking softly but firmly “This is not the life you have to have” I heard him say “I will always be by your side if you always hear me I will Lead you out” looking up from the corner of the floor where I was hiding, towards the door, I saw a light in the shape of a man.. I remember sitting there and a peaceful calm came over me. It was from that moment I knew to listen intently and I will find my way out. And that has been what I have done. For nearly 42 years now that’s been my roadmap. I talk to him daily and many times I get caught. People say, are you talking to yourself and I just say yes. But I know I’m talking to him. And I know he listens.

Years can go by and all is good and then something comes up that brings it all back.

Then I’m trapped in this spiral of feelings .. yes it’s family, but it’s family that if I stayed anywhere near them, their addictions, abusive behaviors and unlawful activities would have drug me down with them. Multiple prison terms for many of them, years and years and years of drug abuse and drug trafficking, prostitution for some has caught up to them. One in the Hospital tetoring at deaths door, another one homeless but still choosing to use and abuse .. and somehow it comes back to me as “My Fault” or “My Responsibility” to make life better for them, yet never, not once did they ever set out to make a better life for themselves.

What I needed today as I woke up to this was the day God provided for me. A day with what I know is most important. A day that is hard to make happen as my kids are adults. But today out of know where it came together and it was so needed. A reminder to me why I took the path I took. The path that led me to a loving husband and two beautiful kids that love their family. Kids that unlike me never saw the ugliness I saw as a child.

I stopped the cycle of abuse. I broke the odds. Today was a reminder to me that I did the right thing. And I’m not done. God put me on this path of strong and virtuous life to change this World where I can and I know I’m not done.

Tonight I’ll go to bed thankful for today and prayful for tomorrow. To know what direction or path to take as one life could be coming to a end. I pray that somehow God has been on the same path with them too.

If your out there and you think you want to break the cycle of abuse. Please trust God and find your strength to do it for you and for those you can bring into this world because you did.

Once Abused.. Can’t just Look the other way..

Once again, another sleepless night. Seems to be happening more frequently again..

You see, the way I can understand it for me is when you’ve endured abuse and live through it and gotten out of it, like I have because I fought back and I chose a different path. At a very young age I made that decision that it wasn’t going to define me.. and I won that battle, but where I struggle is seeing it all around me.. Abuse, it takes on so many roles: emotional, verbal, sexual, financial, elder, power.. I’m that person who will speak up and speak out all the time, the disheartening and let’s say exhausting part is watching so many Just Look the other way as if it’s becoming the Normalcy in the world we live in today.

Have we become that nation that so many will take the time to record the abuse rather then step in and stop it.

How many times have I heard, “it’s none of our business” or “it’s not your place” when in Turn I’m saying “It’s not right” or “what if that was you, wouldn’t you want help?”

So for social acceptance am I just supposed to sit down now and except that this is the way it is? If only just one person could feel in my heart and see in my head what I feel and see, I wouldn’t feel so alone..

Somewhere out there someplace there is someone that gets what I’m saying. Someone that is going through what I’m going through. Someone, Someplace, Somewhere… I know I’m not alone in this battle.

What is DACA and what you should know

 

THIS IS A REBLOG FROM A POST FROM ANTONIO PEREZ ON LINKEDIN  NEEDS TO BE SHARED AND SHARED.. ORIGINALLY WRITTEN AND POSTED BY ANTONIO PEREZ ON NOV. 9, 2015 BUT SO RELEVANT NOW.

ORIGINAL ARTICLE

This post is intended to spread awareness about Deferred Action for Childhood arrivals. Please consider sharing and if you know someone who is a recipient of DACA, please direct them to my linkedin page. Thank you.

What is DACA? On June 15, 2012, President Barack Obama announced that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security would stop deporting certain undocumented migrants who came to the United States as children. I myself am a recipient of this program and it has transformed my life. I had very limited opportunities and although things are not perfect as they stand, I’m very fortunate to be where I am today. Under this directive, us youth may be granted temporary permission to stay in the U.S. called “deferred action.” The Obama administration calls this program Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.

How did this impact the Recipients? I think I can speak for many others when I say that DACA has empowered me to be comfortable with who I am. December 25, 1995 was the day my life would change forever, but i was not old enough to comprehend what was going on. My mom, three sisters, and myself were on our way to the US after my father saved enough money to eventually hire a coyote to bring us over. My dad and older brother had already made the journey a year earlier and realized how much better the standard of living was in the US. Who wouldn’t want a better life for their family? For starters we have socialist schooling systems, prior to coming to the US most of my Dad’s salary went towards my siblings tuition and the rest for food and miscellaneous living expenses. I was always told to keep quiet about my status and how we got here; I was always afraid and felt like a black sheep. When I became a DACA recipient all of that changed. I finally felt like I was an American and could work anywhere  I wanted if i worked hard and set my mind to it. I was lucky to be in a state where I could already have a driving license although I have to renew it on a yearly basis; Along with drivers licenses many of us were finally able to seek new jobs, open bank accounts, obtain credit, obtain health care, and increase in our job earnings. This opened my eyes to what’s really out there and not to settle for less.

On November 20, 2014, President Obama announced an expansion of the DACA program. However, on February 16, 2015, a federal district court issued an order to put the “expanded DACA” program on hold. People cannot apply for expanded DACA at this time. However, people who believe they are eligible for DACA under the pre-expansion guidelines may still apply.

Who Qualifies for DACA? To be eligible for deferred action under the DACA program, you must:

  • Have come to the United States before your sixteenth birthday.
  • Have lived continuously in the U.S. since June 15, 2007.
  • Have been present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012, and on every day since August 15, 2012.
  • Not have a lawful immigration status on June 15, 2012. To meet this requirement, (1) you must have entered the U.S. without papers before June 15, 2012, or, if you entered lawfully, your lawful immigration status must have expired before June 15, 2012; and (2) you must not have a lawful immigration status at the time of your application.
  • Be at least 15 years old at the time you apply for DACA. If you are currently in deportation proceedings, have a voluntary departure order, or have a deportation order, and are not in immigration detention, you may apply for DACA even if you are not yet 15 years old.
  • Have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, be an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or U.S. armed forces, or “be in school” on the date you submit your DACA application. See below for more information about meeting the “be in school” requirement.
  • Have not been convicted of a felony offense. A felony is a federal, state, or local criminal offense punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year.
  • Have not been convicted of a significant misdemeanor offense or three or more misdemeanor offenses. See below for more information about offenses that may disqualify you.
  • Not pose a threat to national security or public safety. (DHS has not defined what these terms mean but has indicated that they include gang membership, participation in criminal activities, or participation in activities that threaten the U.S.)

 Why should you consider hiring Deferred Action Recipients? We are Dreamers! We are first generation immigrants who come from hard working families looking for a better future. We have everything to gain, and nothing to lose. Things still aren’t where we need them to be but it’s getting there. Although I’ve been able to comfortably seek jobs, things don’t always go my way. We are still unable to join any military program, but we are able to sign up for select service. Before going through the lengthy hiring process with the United States Postal service, I asked if they would hire DACA recipients which they said they would. I don’t think the public fully understand how this program works as we are not granted residency, but are permitted to stay nonetheless. I went through the interview process and the required tests, driving all over the state only to be denied while handing in my W2 and other paperwork because of my legal status. We put our hearts and souls into everything we do because we know the sacrifice our parents gave us in order to put us in a position to live the American Dream. At the end of the day we’ve spent the majority of our lives in the US and are just like other Americans, but don’t have the same opportunities or benefits that others take for granted. I didn’t choose to come here, but i’m choosing to stay.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Regards,

J. Antonio Perez

*****

Please click ‘Follow’ if you would like to hear more from me in the future. Please share with anyone you know who is a DACA recipient or if you are one yourself, please connect with my on linkedin. I would like to establish a group on linkedin to network and share ideas. Dream Act Group

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Growing up Broken; Learning Not To Run 

My favorite quote is “Turn Your Wounds Into Wisdom ~ O.W.” This comes out of knowing first hand that it’s exhausting to continually run from the pain.     Growing up I had a childhood that wasn’t ideal to say it mildly. I learned at a very young age that “I” was what would get me to the next day. I took that character into adult hood and as I went through my days I worked so hard to make sure “I” made it happen. Not just for me but as I aged for my kids and my husband. It was me that would make it safe and secure because I certainly didn’t trust anyone to have that responsibility. Not with me or the ones I loved and felt the need to protect. If I worked hard enough it would take care of us all. And I did financially and for them I was there emotionally too, but as the authoritarian not as the mothering nurturing role. Yet I was the mother. My husband stayed home with our kids. Again that was out of a sense of fear. Not wanting to be in a position of helplessness and homeless as I was so many times as a child. Always Running from one disaster to another. Waking up not knowing where tomorrow would find me at as a child I was determined to never have those fears and to make sure my children didn’t either. 

     When I hit 50 it became a whirlwind of emotions as I realized how fast the time had gone. How because “I never stopped to smell the Roses” as so many speak of the memories were so faint. The kids are raised and I am exhausted and still broken. The constant running to make sure I had “safe” never really took care of me. It’s like 15 years of abuse as a child came crashing down all around. 

     I have a mother that still today likes to Guilt you into feeling small. Insignificant in so many ways. Her 14 marriages including one to a man that should rought in Hell wasnt enough. Although she finally found one that was more worthy then she probably deserves and she appears to have found happiness. God forbid if anyone else does. 

     My mother raised my sister and I both as we are only 16 months apart. I’m the younger. I sit and wonder how I found it in me to “Run” as I call it. Emancipated at 16 is where my running journey began. I had my GED (required as part of the Imancipation process) so my full time employment started then. Started full time at a restaurant and moved up to manager, turning that position into a company I created to clean the entire chain of restaurants. That’s when I saw that entrepreneurial spirit in me. The harder your work the more you get paid.. you want more, you do more, sell more. Self employment was in my blood. It gave me a way to then again be in control of my security. Or so I thought. Again. Always running. Never slowing down to think, process and inevitably to heal. 

     My sister, she didn’t run, she stayed in the toxic environment and turned to prostitution and drugs. Her entire life starting at about 17. So why me? What gave me that sense to run!! Both from the same cloth, raised the same way.. My answer to that is “I saw God” I know. Your thinking, yeah sure you did. But I did. I was curled up in the corner of my very small bedroom. (The trailer we lived in was 10 ft wide so yes the bedroom was very small) curled up there because the fighting, throwing things and violanance was more then I could bare and I knew if I didn’t run and hide I’d be next.. (Another gem of a husband. I think that was #7) As I cried in that corner begging for another life ( I was 11) I saw a light hovering in front and above me. It was a silhouette of a man with long hair. From that light I heard him say to me, “Follow me, I’ll keep you safe.” From that moment I knew I’d make it out. That man (God) and I had regular conversations, I would get yelled at for talking to myself but I didn’t try to explain I was talking to him. They would never have believed me anyway. 


I tried on so many occasions to get my sister to believe that what I saw and who I hear in my head was real and that if we followed the light and the voice in my head, we would both be ok. I can’t explain how I new what directions to take but I always did. The voice in my head guided me. People would ask me “how did you know that” I would just say, I don’t know, it just came to me. This still happens to me today at times. I just trust it and follow. But what I try to do today is heal me from my past. I’m tired of running.. tired of it’s all on me. If I can help just one person to know that running isn’t the answer, that you yourself are not expected to do it all alone, that trusting those around you, that tearing down those walls will give you a more secure emotional base then that too will help me as I heal myself.  

I want to write a book. I’ll title it “Growing Up Broken”

     What are my biggest accomplishments. I succeeded at? you might ask. I Broke The Cycle.. The Abuse stopped at me. 

My sister unfortunately wasn’t so lucky. She had three kids and all three suffered. All adults now they are working on letting go of their violent and abusive pasts. I keep praying for them to hang on strong and pull hard very hard to shut that door permanently. 

     My next chapter.. only God knows for sure but what I’m sure about is.. I’m no longer running.  

“Gaurded Girl”

This morning in a conversation with a friend she said to me, “Your a Guarded Girl” and please know this to me is not a insult. In fact it’s a reassurance that yes, some of my friends do get who I am and appreciate the fact that with them they’ve found a place in my heart that allowed me to “Let Down My Guard” atleast with that particular person. 

My “Tight Circle” is small and I’m ok with that but it made me think this morning as I sit in my car, Is it small because I’m guarded or is it because some people take no effort to really know who people really are. This thought came to mind because of the person that had a heart to heart talk with me today. A pep talk you could call it. She has known me a shorter amount of time then most of the people around me but yet had me so figured out and loves me for it and who I am. I had to ask myself that question. Why is it so apparent to some yet not to others and the only answer I could find is some people just don’t see anything past what’s on the surface yet others have the special gift to see beyond that. I feel I’m that person too. Someone that looks at someone but sees things others don’t. So is it because people like me have been through so much as our character was being molded that it gave us a ability to see things that are more then skin deep. 

Just thinking out loud (sitting in my car waiting on a appraiser leaves plenty of time to think) 

For those that know me and have taken the time to truly know and understand me I’m forever Greatful for them in my life. They know who they are ❤ for those that are to thin skinned themselves to look deeper, don’t need them anyway. Life is short, love those that love you back, walk away from those that don’t take the time to learn with you..