We Are Stronger Together

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My grandfather used to tell me a story about our ancestors from the Basque region of Spain. Basque is an isolated portion of Spain, and because of that isolation, they weren’t all aware initially of what other Spaniards were doing in regard to the aggressive spread of Christianity around the world. My grandfather told me that when his Spanish ancestors heard what was happening in Mexico at the hands of other Spaniards, they decided to come help and try to be mediators of peace and unity.

Some of the Spanish immigrants saw an indigenous symbol that reminded them of their vision of what God’s eyes must look like. They realized it meant something similar to the Indigenous tribes, so the Spaniards then adopted the symbol as a sign of unity between the two seemingly different cultures, realizing we are ALL on the same team and we are all created equal in the eyes of our Creator. The symbol is now often referred to as an Ojo de Dios or God’s Eye (seen in the photo above). The reality is the beliefs of the Indigenous tribes really aren’t that different than our Judeo/Christian beliefs. We all believe we come from the same source, our Creator. Father Sky can be very closely related to our Christian view of God the Father. We all believe that we come from Mother Earth, and should remember that it is our responsibility to care for our Earth. Every creature on this planet was created for a reason and a purpose. And of course, we all hold dearly the memories of our ancestors who have left this world before us.

Walt Disney once asked my great-grandfather (Juan Larrinaga) how he thought up such creative ideas, like the concept of designing a hat shaped restaurant (The Brown Derby in Hollywood). My great-grandfather explained to Walt that the traditions that he learned through his indigenous ancestors were a large part of what fueled his creativity. Walt called my great-grandfather “the real life Mad Hatter”.

When I was in college, there were some horrible people who started digging into my family ancestry and started harassing me. I don’t believe it was a coincidence that then my apartment was then broken into several times, and the thieves stole almost every one of my belongings that reminded me of my grandfather and the lessons he taught me of our family history. They even stole the box of seashells that I had collected with my grandfather. Perhaps those fools thought they could somehow steal my “power” or the energy of my ancestors from stealing my belongings. Obviously they don’t understand that physical items on this Earth may come and go, but the memories and lessons of our ancestors live on in our hearts forever.

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Look Into My Eyes

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There is a story my grandpa asked me to tell one day. He had a fear that since history has a way of repeating itself, there would come a time in our American history where the majority of us would become desensitized to everything happening in the world around us. He told me that there was a common misconception about WHY the Nazi Holocaust started. He said most people believed it started in retaliation against the death of Jesus. The reality was that although Hitler had been raised Catholic, at some point he turned against religion and started seeking power through dark forces of the occult. Hitler actually wanted to remove the Jewish (and Catholic) community in Europe because he felt that they were blocking his attempts to gain power through darkness.

My grandpa showed me this scarf that had been passed down in his family through several generations. He showed it to me as a reminder that our Mexican branch of the family tree also contained Middle Eastern heritage. He told me that the scarf had been passed down along with a story that from that side of the family tree, we all descend from Jesus’ cousins. I was fascinated by the story…is there any way we can prove through science that is actually true? He hoped that one day scientists may come up with a way to trace back to the roots of Jesus’ family through DNA research, but I don’t think we are quite there yet. I asked my grandpa how would anyone know if they were Jesus’ cousin or not, and his reply stuck with me…we should all treat every single person walking the face of this planet as if they may indeed be Jesus’ cousin, and remember to be a loud ally for those in our world who are treated with disrespect or violence.

My grandpa told me how along with the scarf, many of us also inherited our distinctive eye shape from that branch of the family tree. He even showed me pictures that went several generations back and I saw how the eye shape definitely started from the Syrian/Lebanese branch of our family. Not long after 9/11, I actually gave up a career that I loved (that involved frequent air travel) because there was a woman on the TSA watch list who had my same eye shape, and I got tired of going through lengthy security screenings just because TSA agents couldn’t discern that we were too different people. It pains me when I see the news articles about the deadly disaster President Trump has created in Syria currently. When I look at their photos, all I can see is their same eye shape and I feel like our “president” is intentionally leaving them in danger.

I know the evangelical Christians in this country don’t seem to think Trump can do any wrong, but I strongly feel that it is up to the rest of us to shout out how this man is the furthest thing from being a Christian. Look in my eyes and now look back at the news articles about the Kurds in Syria who are dying as a direct result of Trump’s reckless behavior. If I really am a cousin of Jesus, I bet the same could be said of everyone who is being left to die. After the way he has treated the Latin American immigrant community (including confiscating everyone’s rosaries!), it starts to raise a whole bunch of red flags in my brain.

How can you possibly look in the eyes of those poor children and still think that Trump is actually a Christian? He says and does the exact opposite of everything that Christianity is supposed to represent. He intentionally gets people worked up about hot button issues like abortion and LGBTQ+ rights, and I tell you with conviction…it’s not because he is a religious person, it’s because he knows that is a great way to manipulate people’s minds and opinions. It is a classic move of narcissists. Don’t fall prey to his lies. Look at the bigger picture and form your own opinion.

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Look Toward the Light

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*This post comes with a trigger warning of rape and assault.

When I was growing up, my grandfather told me that if you are forewarned of something in advance and it happens, you could easily argue that the warning was just a coincidence. However if you are warned of something in advance and it happens more than one, it statistically becomes increasingly difficult to continue to argue that it was all just a coincidence. His most ominous warning that many men intentionally assault women and members of the LGBTQ+ community in an effort to win favor and power from dark forces. I didn’t believe him…I mean, it isn’t every day that you hear about women being assaulted, right?

Then once I turned 12, my whole viewpoint on life changed. I started to wonder how much of what he had told me was actually true. At that point, my family and I moved from Long Beach to Lakewood because my parents were worried that the gang activity in our neighborhood was escalating. I feared Lakewood more than Long Beach though because the stories of the Spur Posse sex-for-points scandal were circulating on the news at the time. We realized the house we bought had been sold because the owners were in financial distress. Their son had been one of the leaders in the Spur Posse and apparently the boys had spent the majority of their time together in that house. Something in my bedroom started giving me nightmares and so one day I decided to rip out the carpet and see if there was something under the carpet. I ended up finding a ritual site, one covered in blood and urine. The neighbors confirmed my fears that terrible things had happened in my bedroom before we moved in. The ugliest part was that the older daughter of the former owners had lived in that room while she was part of the LA County Sheriff’s department. Does that mean she was involved in the dark rituals with the boys? Was the whole sex-for-points scandal actually just what my grandfather had warned me about? It sure seemed to point to that.

When I was 18, I started college at University of Southern California. Immediately I started noticing all of the things my grandfather had warned me about. I was being tormented by members of the football team who put my friend and I on a “rape the lesbians” target list (irony of course being that I didn’t even identify as a lesbian at the time). I thought that once I moved away from the football team that I would be safe, but I was not. I eventually realized that at some point I had actually been drugged and raped by someone I considered a friend. I very quickly realized that “friend” who claimed to be a Christian was actually involved with a very dark cult, one with plans to try to raise the antichrist through raping unconscious women. I also started to see signs that other people in positions of power at that school may also have been involved (like one of my professors who was very angry that my friend and I would not go on a three-way date with him, and other horrible men).

Thankfully I was able to leave that school and leave all of that mess behind me. The story has nagged at me though for 20 years. It’s a story so dark that the images of the violence I witnessed will forever be burned into my brain. I tried reporting everything I knew to the campus police department, but since my rapist was a student supervisor there, they refused to even write a report of my story. I tried contacting LAPD, and while they expressed legitimate concern over the situation, their hands were tied due to jurisdiction boundaries. As we have now seen with the Santa Muerte problem in the LA Sheriff’s department, there really needs to be some kind of accountability system that monitors this kind of behavior.

The LA Times just released a story about how sexual assault at USC is higher than at other campuses. I strongly believe that has happened in large part due to the darkness I discovered while I attended that school. The entitlement of the wealthy elite and turning a blind eye to the wrongs of others are so typical of the culture at USC. I’m not blaming everyone who has attended that school, but there have been too many secrets hid from public knowledge about that university for far too long. As a third generation SCion, I had heard lots of horrible stories from my grandfather about when he attended medical school there, but I had mistakenly assumed the attitude of the people in power would have changed by the time I got there.

I choose to speak up so the next generation of young women and LGBTQ+ students will hopefully not have to worry about any of this. We are currently in a very dark time in our country, and I firmly believe that if each of us finds our inner strength, stands up and speaks our truth, we might actually have a chance at finding our way to a better future in this country.

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Celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day

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When I was a child, my grandparents told me all of their fears for their harbor community in San Pedro, CA. They told me they feared that one day the Italian portion of the community would attempt to proclaim superiority over the rest of the community. They feared that certain “old country traditions” (ones that give honor to a very dark spirit) would take over this community. They feared that the majority of the community would miss the importance of finding ways of making amends to those in the Indigenous community. They feared that everyone would forget that this land was incredibly sacred to the Indigenous ancestors who once lived here. They feared that people would never learn that we are all on the same team, and it is our collective responsibility to look out for each other and to protect this Earth that our Creator entrusted to us. They feared that greed and ego would take over and that no one would care about retaining any of the historical aspects of this community. They begged me to promise that I would come here and attempt to be a voice of reason in the community, and spread peace and unity in whatever way I could. It felt (and still feels) like an impossible task. Based on the picture they painted, it felt like many of the people would never listen to logic or reason and would continue to see nothing wrong with their actions. Based on what I’ve experienced and seen in this community over the past several years, I can completely understand why my grandparents were worried.

My grandmother always told me to remember that we as Italian-Americans celebrate our heritage on the Feast of Saint Joseph, which is in March. That is the time when Italian Catholics celebrate the miraculous intercession of Saint Joseph for the community, preventing famine. Yet here in the Los Angeles harbor, it is suddenly Italian Heritage Month here in October. Does no one else here locally realize that Christopher Columbus was Italian?! We are in a time of crisis in this country, where we need to start to own up for our own mistakes, the mistakes of our leaders and the mistakes of our ancestors if we ever have any hope to move forward in a positive direction as a country. Many states, including Washington D.C. have declared it a state of emergency that we stop celebrating Columbus Day and instead start celebrating Indigenous People’s Day. Was the month of March just an inconvenient time to celebrate for political reasons, or is this a deliberate attempt to further show dominance over a culture that has been treated inhumanely since the very moment Christopher Columbus stepped foot on this land?!

Regardless of the motive or reasoning behind why people chose this month to celebrate “Italian Heritage”, I will stand firmly in support of the Indigenous community, especially right now. I was always told that when my great-grandfather on the Mexican branch of my family tree arrived to Los Angeles, he felt like an outsider in the white man’s world of Hollywood. He was welcomed by the Tongva tribe, who helped him feel at home here in Los Angeles. They gave him the support and community that he needed to thrive on his path as an artist. My grandparents told me that without the warm welcome from the Tongva tribe, my great-grandfather would not have stayed here. If he had left, he would never have created the artwork for King Kong and he would not have designed The Brown Derby, among many other accomplishments.

I cannot believe that in today’s society, there are still so many people who look to our Indigenous neighbors as “godless” and “savages”. I have joined the Tongva tribe in prayer both here in San Pedro and in Hollywood many years ago. I can tell you with confidence that they are some of the most deeply spiritual people I have ever met. They calmly remind me that we are all responsible for the energy we bring into our community. For someone with a Sicilian/Celtic temper, those reminders are always much needed. Without those reminders, my Medusa-like rage often tends to get the best of me at times. They remind me that our Creator has a plan for all of us and it is our responsibility to listen for guidance and direction. They stand with faith and confidence in a world that often fills me with terror and fear. They remind me to return to a place of peace, and to take a stand against injustice in this world, to work toward a better future.

I have been feeling overwhelmed lately at my path in life, feeling like I am a lost soul without a sense of community. I have always felt like I am the perpetual outsider in most groups. Most of the people in my past who I turned to for spiritual guidance have passed away, and I realized that a big part of my soul felt lost without my grandparents’ guidance. I realized I deeply longed for someone to hug me and tell me, “welcome mija!” and I found that warm embrace recently from the Tongva community and their Gathering of Elders. Words cannot express the depth of gratitude I felt at that moment. My own DNA only contains a very small percentage of Native American ancestry but I finally felt at home and welcome. The traditions and prayer services of the Tongva community are so similar in so many ways to the traditions of my Celtic ancestors, and I believe that’s a large reason why I have always felt so instinctively at home among my Indigenous friends.

I don’t have much in this world in terms of money or a political power, but I do have the four things that my grandparents asked that I use in aid of the Tongva community…I have my words, my camera, my ancestry, and my prayers. On my father’s side, we descend from the Fraser of Lovat clan. Our Fraser ancestors were strong warriors who attempted to prevent the British invasion of the Scottish highlands. I was always told that Fraser blood runs strong and made me born to stand up against injustice in the world.

I was told that battle was a particularly important one in history because it then marked the time when my Scottish ancestors were no longer allowed to celebrate their cultural heritage. Tartan plaid, clans, and all other aspects of the highlander culture were banned. Since the battle left (Catholic) Bonnie Prince Charlie without a throne, many of the Catholic churches in Scotland also started to be closed down after that defeat. We as Americans have collectively done far worse to our Indigenous neighbors and their ancestral traditions. Yet we are still debating about whether or not we should celebrate the holiday that commemorates an attempt to destroy their beautiful culture, and marks the start of a period when many innocent people were slaughtered. I cannot wrap my brain around why it even needs to be up for debate.

Since so many people seem to be blind to the struggles currently facing the Tongva community here in Los Angeles, I will offer them spiritual protection under Clan Fraser of Lovat. I do not understand why they are not currently recognized by the federal government, but I will do everything in my power to try to help them get the recognition and protection that they need. If you would like to help, they currently have a Go Fund Me account set up here to assist in helping them receive the federal recognition and protection that they deserve. They mentioned at the Gathering of Elders that they are struggling to maintain their lease at Angel’s Gate Cultural Center, and I am hoping some of us here in the Los Angeles community can help them in a very large way.

Thank you to the Tongva people for welcoming my family for generations, despite the sins of many of our European brothers and sisters. I pray that our Creator will bless your tribe in a very big way.

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Saint Brigid

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I’ve shared previously about how I was confused when I was younger about why my soul felt so masculine. People often ask me how I could identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community and still choose to remain Catholic. There’s actually a really simple explanation.

When I was in preschool, I vividly remember the teachers telling me I was “bad” and “don’t ever say anything like that again”. My best friend had been upset that her “boyfriend” had moved away, and I tried to comfort her and tell her to be happy, if she was so sad, she could be my “girlfriend” instead. The reaction from the teachers was so awful and hateful that I actually stopped speaking to anyone at school after that. When I started kindergarten, my parents enrolled me in a Catholic school, where we were told over and over that God loves ALL of His children. That message stuck with me to my core and I instantly felt a whole lot better about myself (and I slowly started speaking to strangers again).

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had dreams about an Irish woman who called me cousin and comforted me in the land of my dreams. I eventually talked to my grandparents about the whole thing, and how I kind of always felt like a boy trapped in a little girl’s body. They comforted me and told me, turn to Saint Brigid…she was a strong woman just like you. She did amazing things in her time and has sadly been nearly erased out of memory now for most Catholics. The more they told me about her, the more I wondered if she was the Irish lady in my dreams.

Disney explains in the movie Brave that some of us are led in our lives. I truly believe it is entirely possible that Saint Brigid has indeed been the Irish woman sending me messages in my dreams for the entirety of my life. There’s just been too many unexplained “coincidences” for me to continue to believe that it was all just my intuition.

My grandparents taught me about a dream that Saint Brigid had one day while she was napping during mass (hilarious, right?! Even saints get bored in church sometimes!). In the dream, she saw people planting seeds of weeds along the carefully planted rows of plants. The dream was interpreted to mean that there would be people who would come along and attempt to destroy all of the carefully planned work that her and Saint Patrick did in Ireland. They were Catholics who ministered to the pagan community in a peaceful manner, with nonviolence and inclusion for everyone. They worked to show the community that we are all on the same team, and that there are actually a whole lot of parallels between the two seemingly different faiths. That is a huge lesson that the entirety of Christianity should be listening to, especially in our current state of our world.

Saint Brigid has been erased from Catholic history outside of Ireland, and it’s pretty obvious to me why that has happened. She founded a co-ed monastery and was actually “accidentally” ordained a bishop instead of a nun. She was the first and ONLY female bishop in the history of the Catholic Church. It’s very convenient for the patriarchal system to erase a woman of that level of importance. As soon as I heard as a child that she had been a bishop, I said “I want to be a bishop too!!” My grandparents let me know that sadly that just wasn’t an option, and the option of becoming a nun felt completely unfulfilling to me since I had no interest in teaching or sitting around all day praying. Saint Brigid worked to teach their clergy that praying is not enough…God calls us to get out in our community and work toward improving our environment and our community.

I’ve realized over the past few months that her humanity has also been erased from the non-Christian side as well. Before she was born, there was an Irish pagan goddess of the same name, who had a holy well not far from where Brigid the person was born. Saint Brigid founded her monastery near that same well. To me, that screams out as something fairly significant…how can anyone argue that would all just be a coincidence?

Over the past few months, I’ve seen that #brigid was suddenly trending on social media and I realized with disappointment that it’s not Brigid the person people are suddenly talking about, but just her pre-Christian goddess side. I even saw multiple women both online and in person, attempting to hold up a Saint Brigid cross in an effort to attack the Catholic Church. That is beyond insulting and the very definition of cultural appropriation. Saint Brigid wove that cross lovingly out of reeds as an effort to demonstrate that we are all on the same team as a community, regardless of our beliefs or background. It breaks my heart that people seem to have forgotten that she was once a real life person, with real life feelings, just like Jesus.

The more I have read about her as an adult, the more I wish I could have actually known her in person because she really sounds like someone I would have loved to have been friends with. She supported equality for EVERYONE in her community, and was provided housing and support for artists and poets. For many Irish Catholics, she also screams for LGBTQ+ inclusion, which is why I still have hope that perhaps Pope Francis may actually be able to make some big changes in the Catholic Church toward equality. Saint Brigid initially started as a pagan priestess and then converted to Catholicism, so I have a feeling some of her magical stories and legends were there to teach us all a lesson that some people are just born with “unusual talents” and it doesn’t mean there is anything inherently evil about women, and that men were completely in the wrong with the way women were burnt at the stake for simply being more complex than men could understand.

Over the past few years, I’ve been frantically trying to find ways to follow her instructions for us to “raise an army of fruit trees”. My 6 year old son has horribly severe pollen allergies and even though he already went through surgery (which helped some), he still has breathing problems at night. I firmly believe based on my research that there is tremendous wisdom in her pleas to work on planting fruit trees and working on healing the Earth. The city of Los Angeles has had a problem from the very start of the way the city was planned that they filled our city with only male trees, which makes pollen allergies significantly worse for sensitive individuals (especially children).

I am gearing up for a big shift in direction for my life, which is why I’ve started filling my blog with personal stories and self portraits. I feel strongly called to start focusing on landscaping solutions and using my gift of my “magical” green thumb to help my community. I believe my talent with gardening is in large part due to my spiritual connection to Saint Brigid, and I hope she can help lead me in making change in my local community, and hopefully even the global Catholic Church.

At this time, I am no longer accepting client bookings for photo shoots. That may change at some point in the future, but honestly I am growing tired of feeling like strangers are constantly scrutinizing every aspect of my family life when they come here for a photo session. The last straw for me was after someone intentionally smashed the head of Jesus on one of our garden statues, in the spot where my boys sit and pray in our patio. Our society has become overcome with hate and division and darkness and I refuse to allow that kind of toxic energy enter my family’s refuge.

I pray that Saint Brigid will protect the LGBTQ+ community here in the United States, especially as the Supreme Court begins a very important court case today.   EVERYONE deserves EQUAL rights as human beings!

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Ave Maria

 

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There’s been a question I’ve been asked repeatedly my entire adult life…”how did you know?!” or alternately, “how did your family know?!”. I could claim that I come from the most highly magical family of witches/wizards around. I prefer to answer with the truth…ideas and dreams just come to us and it’s probably just from praying the rosary. Scientists are actually currently studying the effects of praying the rosary on the brain, and studying Latin American mystical families (like my grandfather’s family), searching to understand how some families just instinctively know things before they happen. Some of the intuition also comes from being taught how to tap into our neural pathways in a way that most people didn’t start to understand until recently. The things that my Latin American/Spanish ancestors instinctively understood are actually quite similar to the things that my Celtic ancestors and my Italian ancestors all also instinctively understood. Certain things help us on our path in our spiritual life. For Catholics, praying the rosary is a huge aid in both calming our brains and leading us with faith into an often terrifying world.

Mary unites us across many cultures. To my Latin American ancestors, she is Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe (Our Lady of Guadalupe). To my Italian ancestors, she is Maria Stella de Maris (Mary Star of the Sea). Many of my ancestors (especially those on the Middle Eastern Catholic branch of my family tree), and myself included, view Mary as the feminine side of the Divine, which also unites us with our Jewish friends. Mary is the protector of her children and of the Earth, which also unites us with our neo-pagan friends.

October is the time of the year when it is said in many cultures that the veil between worlds thins. It is for this reason that the Catholic Church many years ago decided to honor the traditions that paralleled in both the Mexican and Celtic cultures, where people gather together on All Hallows Eve or Dia de los Muertos to pay honor and remember our ancestors who have passed before us. There are so many similarities between the traditions of each of those cultures that I find it simply fascinating. I don’t believe that is all just by coincidence. Since this is a time of year that often brings much sadness and worry as the veil thins, it is also the month of Mary and the rosary, for it is said that Mary protects all of her children, especially when we pray the rosary. I kept having things stolen from my apartment in college and one of the most frequently stolen items were my rosaries. To me, that only points even more proof that the rosary must be a really effective tool against evil.

I had major anxiety from the moment I saw that Donald Trump was elected president. I’ve been simmering angry his entire presidency. Then I realized that he has been ordering that all rosaries be confiscated from the detained immigrants. I tried to rationalize it, perhaps it was just because they worried a rosary would be used as a weapon…although my intuition tells me it’s more likely that they are afraid of how the rosary is a powerful spiritual weapon against evil. Then I saw that Trump ordered DNA analysis of the immigrants who are currently being detained.

That is when I realized it is indeed time to speak up. I believe I was targeted by a horrible group of men in college because of my Catholic faith and because my DNA contains a unique mix of ancestry…There are a whole lot of super magical sounding stories from my ancestors and part of me wished I had just kept my mouth shut about all of those (admittedly awesome) stories. I worried that maybe my grandfather had been correct and there was something specific about my mix of heritages that made me a particular target for those horrible men. I worry that might be the reason that government officials would be searching through DNA of immigrants…it’s almost as if they were given orders to look for a particular recipe some people are hoping to find!

I truly believe God will handle Trump and his minions one day and show them the huge error of their ways. It’s up to us in the meantime to stop letting horribly evil men divide and control our country and our emotions.

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Find Your Voice

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When I was growing up, my grandpa told me a story repeatedly about how his dad and Walt Disney had brainstormed together about The Little Mermaid. His dad had a lot of dreams about me, and he knew that my life would have a lot of strange parallels to the original fairy tale (where the mermaid suffered from excruciating leg pain and constant bleeding). I think I can honestly say that my grandpa was probably the most excited human on the planet when that movie came out lol.

My grandpa told me that Walt didn’t believe the public was ready yet for a huge male witch, so Ursula symbolizes both the oppressive patriarchy in our society, and anyone who selfishly chooses to use others for their own benefit. He forewarned me that power-hungry people in our society often like to use “poor unfortunate souls” as a tool of manipulation and for the glorification of their own ego. In our society, politicians often use unborn babies, the LGBTQ+ community, and/or the homeless for their own “poor unfortunate soul” cries of manipulation. He also warned me that many men, often doctors, intentionally assault or injure women in an effort to metaphorically steal their voice, self-worth and energy. That repeated abuse is what destroyed Frida Kahlo’s health and it motivated my grandpa to make sure that I had all of the tools I needed in life to find my own emotional and physical healing.

If someone has assaulted you, it is often difficult to come forward and tell your story. I know that I had to go through a lengthy healing journey in order to find my own strength and voice again in life, and I hope by telling my story that it will help others reclaim their own voices as well.

Always trust your gut…your intuition is your God-given guide in this world. There are scars on my chest (near the music notes), and those scars were left behind from horrible hives from when I was in college. My body was reacting horribly to something and the hives were my warning sign. Now I look at those scars in gratitude because paying attention to the warning signs from my body played a big part in why I’m still alive today.

I’m eternally grateful for the lessons I learned from my family and the lessons passed along from Walt and also from our friends at Universal too (my grandpa told me to listen for a mermaid joke from Universal and I believe I heard it in the most recent episode of The Good Place!!).

Don’t ever let anyone steal your voice or your sparkle. We were each created unique for a reason. 😉 <3

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Cherry Bomb

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I come from a very unique family. On the Mexican branch of my family tree, we come from a long line of curanderos. A curandero is basically a healer, and in our family that comes in the form of either via medical healing or art. My grandfather was a brilliant doctor with two medical degrees, who spent the entirety of his adult life studying the intersection between science and spirituality. His father was a badass artist, who designed both King Kong and The Brown Derby. He also happened to form friendships with both Walt Disney and Frida Kahlo.

In my brain, I carry a very detailed, carefully crafted plan, put together with love from all of the people listed above. A plan that will help steer the Los Angeles area into the future, in a way that can help heal the planet and feed the hungry. I’ve been trying to quietly send this plan to the city, but perhaps I wasn’t shouting loud enough.

In the past, city planners in Los Angeles only used men to plan the landscape designs here, leaving us with an imbalance of male trees, which then aggressively spread their pollen. When trees are aggressively spreading pollen, children develop increasingly severe pollen allergies. Since I have become a mother, I have watched in horror as one of my boys spent years foaming at the mouth in his sleep due to severe environmental allergies. His condition has improved significantly with the steps I’ve taken, and I hope to help bring that same healing to the rest of the children in my community. I need help to do that though, and it seems this city only likes to assign men to do a woman’s job.

My great-grandfather worked with a woman named Kate Sessions to plan the landscape and design of San Diego. I would love the opportunity to do the same for the harbor community of Los Angeles, but haven’t been making any progress with that so far. I have however been noticing a huge increase in deadly and toxic plants in our area. The plants behind me in this photo are new to this area, non-native, extremely invasive and can kill a child with just one bite. If the city won’t listen to me, perhaps other parents in this area want to join me in my mission. Together, we can fight for a healthier future for our children.

Anyone else ready to help me raise an army of fruit trees and clean up the poison in our community? Please feel free to join me in my gardening group over at SoCal Organic Gardening & Urban Reforesting.

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This Earth is Our Wonderland

It’s time to turn this country and the health of this Earth around.

Our country is currently going through what is known in a spiritual sense as a “dark night of the soul”. It feels like things are hopeless and will never improve. I went through something very similar with my own health a little over a year ago. My whole body was falling apart and more than one spine doctor told me they weren’t sure if my problems would even be fixable with surgery. I was simultaneously worried that my uterus was finally going to succeed in killing me, after 25 years of making my life absolutely miserable.

I didn’t give up hope though because I had always been told that with God anything is possible. So I trudged through the stress that goes along with a hysterectomy, and committed myself to working on healing my spine myself, with the plan given to my by my doctor grandfather. Even though it felt hopeless, I figured any improvement was better than nothing when I was absolutely in agony. Then something amazing happened. With daily work, faith in God and working on shifting my neural pathways to a more positive mindset, I was able to completely turn around my health.

I firmly believe that we can do the exact same thing for the health of this country and more importantly for the health of this Earth. We just have to be willing to put in the work. I’m ready to fight to heal this planet…are you?

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The World in My Eyes

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Our country has become overtaken by the “us versus them” mentality. The part that really pushed me over the edge lately has been all of the talk about “if you don’t like it here, go back to where you came from.”

I have an appearance that my grandpa used to tell me was like a mood ring…whatever people want to see in me, or don’t want to see, that’s what they will notice first. My family lineage reaches around the entire span of the globe. I am at my core an American. My children are the 5th generation in our family to live in Los Angeles. Some of my fondest memories growing up are about hearing how all of the branches of my family tree came together from different countries and tried to help shape Los Angeles into the diverse city that it is today. I am absolutely not happy with the direction our country has taken lately but there’s no way I’m leaving. Just like so many other Americans, this is my home. Our diversity as a country is what made me possible as a human being existing on this planet.

Within my dna contains the message that some people seem to have forgotten recently. Our diversity is what unites us and makes us stronger. That’s why most of our ancestors came here…to seek freedom. Beyond this country of the United States, we are a global community. Everyone on this planet originally started from one united continent, and the shifts in geography separated our ancestors. It’s time we start working together as a team, remembering that we are all interconnected, and we are all on this planet together. If we stop fighting with each other, perhaps we can take a moment to see the bigger picture…that our Earth is crying out for help. We all share this one planet, and there is no backup plan. Let’s change the cycle of hate into one of love and unity and start working together as a team, not as enemies.

The colored areas of the map in my eye above show all of the areas where I trace my ancestry. I recently had my dna analyzed and there were a few surprises in there that I didn’t expect (my grandpa and I both did extensive research on all of our lineage). I didn’t quite light up every continent, but it sure came close! The most interesting part of my dna report was that 1.9% is still as of yet undetermined origin. My grandpa used to joke that our family arrived here from the future to spread a message of diversity, love and unity. Who knows…maybe he wasn’t joking. 😉

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