The week leading to my book launch (which was wondrous) and the week after was rough, for lack of a better word. With tear filled eyes I sent a text to a dear friend and the conversation that followed was very raw, very real.

I spent the next several days reflecting on that conversation and this is what I’ve gathered…

Throughout the last twenty-five years, I’ve accumulated all these pieces.
Pieces passed down genetically, from parents and other members of the family, from the places I lived and the people I surrounded myself with, from the schools I attended and the trips that I took, from the things I read in a book, from the things I saw on tv – a piece from each and every thing.
Eventually, all these fragments began to form this picture and this picture began to provide the guidelines of what my life is supposed to look like.
Yet time and time again I have found that my life looks nothing like what it ‘should.’

Not because my aspirations aren’t attainable. Not for a lack of love and support. Not for a lack of determination or anything else. But because, as Michelle Obama so eloquently said, you cannot have it all at the same time because “that shit doesn’t work.”

That perfect picture is actually an impossible illusion.
An illusion I intend to dive deeper into throughout the next few weeks and I’d love if you’d join this journey with me.

Francis Scott Fitzgerald once wrote, “A new world…breathing dreams like air…” I certainly felt like I was breathing my dreams like air this past weekend.

And it was wondrous.

47293029_2158452584403217_6248237041180475392_o (1).jpg

About three years ago I wrote a blog about a woman named Ellie who was tormented by nightmares of her childhood sexual abuse. I ended this particular blog admitting that Ellie was me. A whirlwind of comments and private messages followed. Women I had never met before began opening up about their own trauma. I was immediately moved to continue sharing Ellie’s story. Ellie (although originally stemming from my own suffering) became a name to bear the burdens, the scars and secrets, of ALL women.

This past Sunday I celebrated the first installment of my Ellie’s story trilogy called Unveiling Ellie.

With the help of an amazing friend, Zaibel Torres of ZaiPhotography, a special edition was created. As you flip through the pages of this version of Unveiling Ellie you will see 17 women of different ages, races, shapes and sizes. Each one representing Ellie.
Why?
I want women to open this book and see someone that looks like them, someone with the same scars and secrets. I want to provide hope to the hopeless and light in the darkness. I want others to know that they are not alone.

Becoming a publishing author has been a dream of mine since childhood and seeing that dream come true still feels so surreal. Maybe that’s because I created more than just a book. I created a movement. You see, we are all Ellie.

If I’m honest, I tried to cancel this celebration, twice. But my husband said and I quote, “You’re not stopping me from celebrating my wife dammit!” I will always be thankful for those words because it was indeed a ravishing gathering.

So much laughter. So much love. So much joy. So much breakthrough.

Unveiling Ellie is my ode to every woman, everywhere who has ever felt she needed to keep her scars and secrets hidden from sight.

Order your own copy of Unveiling Ellie today.

47104164_2159411067640702_6040735128022417408_o
xo,
Kimberly Cruz-Lopez

P.S. Please enjoy this beautiful promo of the second installment Ellie Exposed courtesy of another dear friend of mine AJ Lovelace

“The wind grows cold and with each blow, the leaves fall fast yet somehow still slow. Creating colorful pavements beneath the trees and with a new breeze, they start to flee. Swirling, searching, settling somewhere new but we cannot see this journey, we’re distracted by their hues.”

IMG_20181106_100859_272.jpg
I jotted this down in my journal just yesterday while watching the leaves dance in the breeze. When I read what I had written I realized how much it reflected my own life. The past few months have been miraculous but even in the midst of the miracles, they’ve also been messy.

How can that be?
How can someone have both delight and distress?

Well, I’ve been in a season of creating new ‘colors’ and while most see the beauty of what’s before them, only a select know the shedding (removing, discarding, replacing) that had to happen in order to create it. Seeing how my description of these leaves paralleled so perfectly with me, it was evident that I needed to be more tactical with my thoughts.

Why?

Almost one year ago, I vowed to voyage down a path of positivity. A path of love and light, a path not of perfection but of peace. And in order to stay on this path, I need to do things differently.

How is this shedding process shifting the way I see things?
How is it affecting my actions?

It’s easy to see the negative and I think it’s because we’re all a little pessimistic; pointing out what’s wrong with this or that, focusing on all the worst case scenarios, immediately finding ourselves disillusioned before even beginning. But on a path of positivity, there’s no room for pessimism. Positivity promotes optimism. Positivity shifts the way we see. So, positivity tells me that shedding trees represents the start of a new season.

Share some ways you stay positive with me!
Then take a look at these other noteworthy November blogs 😉

How many times have I sat down at my laptop to write only to stare at my screen making a mental checklist of all the things that need to get done in and for the house, wondering what activities I could be doing with my BabEs or how I could help my husband?
But none of these things are for me.
Writing – that is for me.
Yet somehow it’s usually put at the bottom of my list (if it even happens at all).

Today a dear friend of mine pointed out that this is something I struggle with. Actually, his exact words were, “You’ve forgotten how to put yourself first, which you should. The better you are, the better your family will be.”
Upon reading that text, my eyes watered.

There’s an immense difference between selfish and self-care.
I have a hard time remembering that.
Today I was reminded.
And tonight I’d like to remind you.
Take the time to do something for yourself this week.

Don’t wash those dishes and dive into that book you bought months ago that is now collecting dust on your nightstand, say yes to that friend who’s been wanting to meet for coffee and chat, try that new yoga class or whatever it is that you haven’t been able to enjoy doing in a while.

Now, this part is important…don’t feel bad about it!

As for me, I have this beautiful new journal just waiting to be written in.

xo,
Kimberly

Today, like most mornings, I sat at my dining table with my cup of coffee and Five-Minute Journal. As I struggled to scribble my thoughts onto the page I could see my oldest son across the table writing away. He too was scribbling his thoughts into his Five-Minute Journal. But he was writing with certainty and confidence. Two things I was clearly lacking today.

Most days there is this false perception of perfection that lingers – daunting me, filling me with doubts. Taking a small, simple task and turning it into something super strenuous.

Elijah had already completed his page and ran off to play with his brother. Still I sat staring at the same page. What should have taken five minutes or less was quickly becoming ten minutes or more.

Suddenly, my phone vibrated. Ahh yes – a distraction from this now tedious task. It was a text from a friend. Eager to evade my current mission I opened it. She sent me a picture. But not just any picture. A picture with words. A picture with these exact words…

“Perfection is annihilation. It paralyzes us from working from the heart. Humans by nature are not perfect and imperfections are what make the world beautiful.”

On this beautiful, brisk Monday morning I’d like to remind someone that perfection is an illusion that seeks to distract us and defeat us. This week when that false perception of perfection starts to linger – remember that imperfection is beautiful.

I am not those things you called to say
None of those words are my name
Yet here I am hiding in shame
Why?
Why have I allowed your lies to label me?
To hide behind a mask that doesn’t belong to me?
A guilt that was never assigned to me?
All because you felt the need
The need to replace your pain with misplaced guilt
So no one will demolish the wall you’ve built
But it’s okay to wreck mine
Even though I just rebuild for the seventh time
Why?
Why did you choose to use those words?
Did it not occur to you that they might hurt?
That they may be that last chip
That last chip that forces me to flip
Or sink and drown
Are you proud?
I am not those things you called to say
None of those words are my name
It is not my guilt nor my shame
But if you let me, I can help you heal your pain

You should’ve been here
We should’ve been together
But now she’s gone
And she’s gone forever
How can you live with yourself?
How can you go on knowing you chose someone else?
You aren’t a delight, you are a disgrace

The tears start streaming down her face
She wants to scream, she wants to shout
Instead she continues to hear them out
Each word contributing to her guilt
Slowly wrecking the wall she had just built
Her fortress, her protection
Fallen to natural selection

No, this is not okay
No, it shouldn’t be this way
If only they could understand
Their words are much like quicksand
She is sinking deeper and deeper
All from the guilt they have given her

I thought about killing myself yesterday
I thought about leaving it all behind
I thought about walking away
I thought about how much better the world would be
How much better it would be without me
I thought about grabbing a knife
I thought about slitting my wrist
I thought about pulling the trigger
Maybe then it will be over quick
These thoughts come and they come quick
So fast in fact, I never expect it
It’s debilitating
Sometimes I can’t breath
Sometimes I’m screaming but no sounds come out of me
Where will I go?
What will I do?

Get a grip! They can’t see this side of you.”

 

 

break the S I L E N C E 

You know that thing called family

Yeah that word doesn’t mean much to me

And I’ll tell you why

They love my kids differently

I’m not a lion but hear me roar

Because there’s nothing that frustrates me more

Than seeing favoritism right in my face

To see the ones that I birthed less embraced

To protect them

There’s nothing I wouldn’t do

Even cut off those they have blood ties too

You know that thing called family

Yeah that word doesn’t mean much to me

And if my words offend you

Then you’re guilty

Some of us struggle in silence
Afraid to allow the world to see
All the broken pieces we hide underneath
Underneath our laughter and our smile
While deep down, we’re wailing like a child
Kicking and screaming, making a scene
Yet we don’t say a word because the world is so mean
They call us too sensitive
They say we’re too weak
These are the reasons we choose not to speak
To not say a word, to let it all fester
Instead of fighting we choose to surrender
Some of us struggle in silence
Afraid to allow the world to see
All the broken pieces we hide underneath
We keep them hidden
We keep them out of sight
So don’t always trust us when we say we’re alright