Coming Out Of The Closet... My Authentic Story.
What I am sharing with you today is deeper than any other "My Story" that I have ever written for professional purposes. I have kept my personal story private for quite some time and feel that in order to truly be authentic, I must tell you the story of what impacted and inspired me to be where I am today. This is how Authentic Family Wellness was birthed and what rests deep within its roots. I hope my story inspires you to freely share yours with others. I believe this is how we can better connect with the people around us and change the world.
I am a mother of 3 amazing boys that guided me on this path. They teach me so much each day and remind me every second of how precious childhood is. I myself grew up with a strained mother-daughter relationship and was a rather hyperactive little lady who couldn't keep my hands to myself.
"She is too much like a little boy, hyper
and impulsive and needs to calm
down and act like a lady."
Being labeled in grade school as one who "needs improvement" in such areas, I now am a massage therapist and touch people for a living to help restore the absence of positive and safe physical contact in our culture today. Most of my childhood experience was being the girl who was strange, talks too much, is too emotional and way too head strong. I recall a time when I was a young adult and ran into my elementary school psychologist who once told my parents, "She is too much like a little boy, hyper and impulsive and needs to calm down and act like a lady." My parents fought for me for 2 years as this psychologist insisted I be put on medications for ADD. I was great in school, earned high grades and was an eager helper. With a professional second opinion outside of the school, the recommendation for medication was rebutted. I was diagnosed with mild ADD/ADHD with a hyperkinetic temperament and treatment was to be involved in group activities as well as extracurricular activities, to use positive reinforcement discipline techniques and my parents where told that my impulsivity will be managed with consistent routines that will one day benefit my future as I am "quick on my feet."
Did You Know?
"Since the prefix hyper- means "above, beyond", hyperkinetic describes motion beyond the usual. The word is usually applied to children, and often describes the condition of almost uncontrollable activity or muscular movements called attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder *(ADHD). Kids with ADHD are usually not just hyperkinetic but also inattentive, forgetful, and flighty. Though they're often treated with drugs, many experts believe there are better ways of dealing with the problem." https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hyperkinetic
Sadly, for almost 2 years before this second opinion, I was kept inside a resource center during recesses and lunch while teachers and staff where educated by this school psychologist that I be isolated from group activities because this would help me. So I sat alone playing at tables and children were informed to "keep away to help me succeed." Vastly different advice than later prescribed. The rest of my school age years were extremely difficult. From the sixth grade through eleventh I was heavily bullied, jumped by a gang and even threatened to be shot. Growing up in So Cal wasn't the easiest being a mixed filipina/white girl and looking predominately white while dating latino boys. I was an easy target for the girls in school that frowned upon the boys that chose to date me, and in my high school years I was a definite outcast for my choice in strange clothes and eclectic goth yet hippie attire. What can I say? I have always been "different!"
One day when I was 19 years old, my former elementary school psychologist passed by me in the hallways of a grade school that I then worked at. I was also attending child behavioral psychology courses and my goal was to be there for children who were experiencing similar struggles that I had had, and help parents realize their child's strengths and not just what doesn't make them a gender appropriate cookie cutter academic. When she saw me she didn't recognize me and when I finally approached her to give her a warm hello and reintroduce myself and told her what I had been doing with my adult life, the first statement out of her mouth was, "ILY, I never would have thought." It's amazing to me how someone like her was ever in a position that was supposed to empower and help children grow.
This was my first fire, my flame that burned and showed me a way to go into the world and make a difference. I was supposed to help children, protect them and guide them as best as I could with what I had learned in my own experiences. This is why I love children and worked with them for 8 years in a before and after school program.
"I was so excited to meet my brother but remember feeling my mother's helplessness in what should have been her most protected moment.."
The second flame that inspired my path was the most amazing experience I can remember as a child. I was almost 10 years old and got to witness my mother give birth. I didn't understand what was happening in the birth room as I watched my mother quietly grunt and look miserable, but I knew my brother was being born. I watched everything! Unfortunately this also meant that I watched as my mother didn't have a voice and decisions were made for her rather than in advocacy for her. She was a silent "birther", in a fog of hormones and meditation. It was purely cat like and amazing. Yet I remember her quietly ask and state her wishes and not be acknowledged by her nurses and doctor. I was so excited to meet my brother but remember feeling my mother's helplessness in what should have been her most protected moment. I wanted to do something to help but couldn't. After my brother was born I was the happiest big sister in whole world. I forever wanted to be his protector and one day be a mother of boys myself... I didn't know that all 3 of my children would be boys though! And wild ones at that!
My "Little" Brother and Me
Alongside this flame stands a third. As a child my grandfather whom I was very close to, became ill with chronic fatigue after a horrible car accident. He spent years in pain and opted for spinal surgery and unfortunately his surgeon hit a nerve. This sent my grandfather into many more years of chronic pain that couldn't be relieved. He was inevitably prescribed high amounts of pain killers and became addicted to morphine. The addiction created anger and aggression so he was then prescribed antidepressants that later affected him so negatively that he developed a drug induced bi-polar disorder. At one point while my grandfather was suffering, we had to evacuate our home as he threatened to come to our house and hurt us.
"I can remember the fear, and the statement I made while we hurried next door. "I thought we had a normal family?" I can still hear my father say, "I thought we did too.""
My Grandfather and Me
I was 11 years old and followed my dad while I carried my 1 year old baby brother to our neighbor's house. I can remember the fear, and the statement I made while we hurried next door. "I thought we had a normal family?" I can still hear my father say, "I thought we did too." For 13+ years after my grandfather's car accident he was in pain and for 4 of those years experienced extreme emotional suffering. He shot himself when I was 13 years old and after that event our entire family was never the same. I can still see the small matter that was once his, sticking to his belongings that my parents had to go through. It wasn't meant for me to see as no one had noticed till I found them. As horrific and painful as this all was for me, this experience helped me see the love in all people at such a young age. At first I was angry with the world and wasn't able to cry for months. Once that anger was explored through meditation and art, I found a feeling of connection with all things. I started making music, painting, and writing stories and poetry by the age of 14. It was my self taught therapy,
After senior graduation, my high school sweetheart and I moved in together and married only a year later. After 3 years of marriage we had our first little boy. The experience was phenomenal! I successfully planned and experienced a home birth and started my obsession with safe products for our home and organic foods. I became interested in all things pregnancy and birth related and found myself contemplating a change in my career path. I researched how we can help children before they are born by helping their mothers with the proper emotional