Sobriety Anniversary 3-4-18

Today is my sobriety anniversary. It’s hard to believe it’s been 16 years since finding myself in the back of a police car on my way to jail after a weekend drinking spree. Ironically that infamous day was on a Sunday in 2002. My dad picked me up that day from jail. I’ll never forget that feeling of complete humiliation. It wasn’t until after my dad passed away in 2011 that my mother shared how my dad had been by my side for three days after as I experienced the withdrawals from alcohol. It’s crazy, but the one thing I still remember is my dad feeding me soup. Four days later I was in rehab where I spent the next 28 days in recovery. My life has never been the same.

Every year I usually re-live my story however this year I would like to do something different. Today I’d like to find the gratitude in the strength god has given me to remain sober. My life changed forever that day. My life hasn’t always been easy since then but the good news is I haven’t faced my challenges drunk. It’s been 16 years and I no longer want to re-live the past. That time in my life is over. Today I’ll just wish myself a happy anniversary and continue moving forward.

Sobriety is hard work but it’s possible. My song today is Silver Springs by Fleetwood Mac. I chose this song because my dad was a huge fan of Stevie Nicks. He had the opportunity to meet her many years ago. It was the highlight of his life. Silver Springs is a beautiful song that depicts a love of what could’ve been. Here’s to me and to my dad and to the love that could’ve been if he was still here on this very special anniversary day.

I Am The Warrior 5-26-17

Dictionary.com defines the word Warrior as follows:

“A person engaged or experienced in warfare; soldier. A person who shows or has shown great vigor, courage, or aggressiveness, as in politics or athletics.”

In my opinion, Velma Perez Dunkin should be listed in the definition.  I am a warrior!  Up until now, I’ve overcome so many challenges in my life. I have taken on those battles and persevered. I haven’t always won however, I’ve always made it to the finish line!  A warrior is a person who shows vigor, courage, determination while persevering through adversities in life. That’s me!! 

I’ve always loved the song “the Warrior” by Scandal. I can certainly resonate to the lyrics when Patty Smyth belts out “shooting at the walls of heartache, bang bang! I am the Warrior”. I’ve experienced heartache more than once in my life. I have the scars to prove it. I am certain I don’t stand alone. There are many of us who face adversity everyday however, as Warriors, we persevere. 

I think the real warriors are those who have been brought to their knees but have managed to pick themselves up. Dictionary.com doesn’t mention the warriors who have battled cancer, overcome addictions, persevered through divorce or custody battles. How about all the single moms out there who sacrifice and fight every day to provide for their children? Being a single mom is hard work. It requires tapping in to that warrior spirit that lives inside all of us. To me, that’s a real warrior. 

I’ve had the privilege of serving those who are homeless. Words can’t describe what they have to endure. It takes a warrior to survive life on the streets!  I remember my friend James in San Francisco. He had been transferred to the Bay Area by his job. Suddenly the economy crashed. He lost everything including a place to call home. He found himself in a shelter. While in that shelter, he was stabbed and spent much time in the hospital recovering from the wounds. When he got out, he found himself living in a tent at a parking lot. His only friend was his chocolate lab.

He finally qualified for housing. However,  he was diagnosed with bone cancer. For those of us who have battled cancer as well as the treatment that goes along with fighting the disease, we can attest that it takes a warrior to persevere. James was a warrior. He fought cancer while living in a tent at a parking lot waiting for housing. That my friends is a warrior!!

There are men, women and children who are being abused every day.  Enduring physical, emotional and/or verbal abuse is tough business. It takes a Warrior to endure!! There are children being bullied at school. People overcoming PTSD, depression and/or anxiety. The list goes on. In my opinion these are real life warriors. It takes courage to persevere and overcome. 

Memorial Day is Monday. We honor all those warriors who have served our country and lost their lives in battle. For me, I not only honor those warriors, but I also honor and respect the warriors who are enduring their own personal battles every day. Life is hard. 

I happened to see a Facebook post one day posted by one of my best friends. She posted “Life Is Like A Box Of Chocolates, You Never Know What You’ll Get”. I pondered that post for several days. After much thought and reflection, I had to disagree. While it’s true, life is similar to a box of chocolates you never know what you’ll get, but we’re talking about a box of chocolate!!! Who cares?! Chocolate is delicious! Who doesn’t love chocolate?! Life….Well it’s not always delicious!! In my opinion life is more like a box of jawbreakers with an occasional box of pop rocks. It’s tough and requires a lot of patience to get to the end while enduring the occasional surprises as well as unexpected explosions along the way. 

I’d like to encourage anyone facing adversity today to put your warrior gear on and keep fighting. Grab your guns and start “shooting at those walls of heartache – bang, bang!”  You’re a Warrior!  I’m a Warrior!!  If Patty Smyth is right the only way those pesky challenges of ours will win is “if they survive….the Warrior!”  That’s you and me! Today remind yourself “I AM the Warrior!! Victory is Mine!”  If you need a little motivation I’m sharing this video with you today as a reminder. I have used this song, among others, throughout the years as inspiration to remind myself “I AM The Warrior”. Face any challenge in front of you  today head on and kick some ass!!! 

Jealous Again- My Life As A Rock Star 4-20-17

One of my favorite songs is by The Black Crowes called “Jealous Again”. It’s hard to believe but I’m a rocker at heart. I love rock and roll music. I graduated in 1984. The year Ozzie was riding that “Crazy Train”, Van Halen was belting out tunes like 1984, Panama and AC/DC was a staple in every teenagers music collection and at every party. In fact, even after all these years I still get that exuberant feeling I got in high school when I listen to AC/DC. Black Crowes came on the scene in 1989. They have recorded many songs that I love however, “Jealous Again” has been a mantra of mine as I have come against many adversaries in my life while facing challenges. 

My life story could certainly be classified as being a “Crazy Train”.  In fact, I have heard the words “you can’t make up this shit!” on many occasions from those who hear my story. It’s no secret, I’ve faced some incredible challenges in my life and through the grace of god I’ve been able to overcome many of them. What can I say? I’m one strong lady. However, I’m human. The hardest challenges for me have been while being on the receiving end of those who have found it appropriate to judge me, ridicule me, verbally attack and even shun me while enduring those very painful challenges. I’m not going to lie. It’s been very hurtful. I’ve used the song “Jealous Again” as my mantra to focus on when my feelings are hurt by others.  

Growing up my dad instilled a strength in me. He taught me many things including how to stand up for what I believe in and never give up. My dad was a force to be reckoned with. He was who he was. He never let what others thought of him bother him. Either you liked him or you didn’t. He didn’t care. He just kept on being who he was. He instilled that same attribute in me. In fact my dad used to tell me I had balls of steel and I looked like a movie star which is why any time someone hurt my feelings or made fun of me and I found myself teary eyed, my dad was always there to the rescue, reminding me I was fabulous and the meanies were just “Jealous”. I’ve lived my entire life believing everything my dad taught me. 



 I thought I would share this Black Crowe’s song, among others, on my blog today in the event someone reading today finds themselves in need of a “Pick Me Up” This blog goes out to my fellow warriors and survivors who are riding the wave of any particular challenge. Whether you’re fighting cancer, overcoming addiction or an eating disorder, recovering from an abusive relationship, dealing with an EX, overcoming PTSD, you’ve lost a job and are in financial disarray or maybe you’re facing the challenges of coming out as an LGBT.  I’ve experienced many of all of the above. In my opinion, it’s none of our business what other people think of you or me!!!  We are all survivors. Rock Stars at that!! 
It’s been my experience that in every challenge or trial there is always a lesson to be learned. I’ve learned so many lessons that I’m embarrassed to admit, I’m “lessoned” out!!! One of the most important lessons I’ve learned is empathy towards others and the ability to recognize my strength and believe in myself and keep on keeping on regardless what other people might think.  Here’s what I’ve learned…..

To those of you fighting cancer and lack the much needed support and encouragement from family members or friends….You’re not alone. I’ve been there. I even found myself being accused of faking cancer. A low blow when you’re at your lowest point!! Jealous!!! That’s what these people are!  Jealous because you have the strength, courage and determination to face a battle that they probably couldn’t face themselves. Look back at your life and remember all the challenges you have overcome. You survived those challenges because you were you and now you’ll survive cancer too!  

If you find yourself on the beaches of Maui and you’re sporting your chemo bald head or if you’re lucky like me and have lost your eyebrows, eyelashes, toenails and fingernails too and you’re greeted by the stares of many onlookers looking at you like you’re an alien…..don’t be discouraged. Theyre just Jealous! Unlike them you’re not defined by your hair or even what’s on the outside. You are strong and confident knowing it takes a Rock Star to fight cancer. You my friend are beautiful!!  However, if you must retaliate do what I did. Tell the onlookers you’re a genie that washed up on the beach and would be happy to grant them three wishes!!


Maybe you’ve lost a job and in the process you’ve lost your livelihood too. You’re insecure and lack the confidence you once had in yourself.  Others have ridiculed you because you’re rock bottom. Don’t worry about it. Those that criticize are Jealous!!! They don’t have the strength to wake up every morning like you do despite standing in a mine field while dodging the bullets of creditors blowing up your cell phone demanding money for something you can’t pay….every day, all day!  Heres what I do. I ignore them and listen to AC/DC!!

To those overcoming addictions and are facing judgement based on a previous addiction. Put your rocker pants on and remember any one who judges you is merely Jealous. It takes courage and humility to recognize and overcome an addiction. 
Maybe you’re gay or transgender and being judged for being who you are. Put your rocker hat on and remember those that judge are Jealous!!!  They don’t have the courage to be who they are but you do!  That my friend makes you a Rock Star!!

Maybe you’re recovering from an abusive relationship. Those around you don’t understand. They are shunning you or think they have all the answers while you suffer in silence. Those that judge you are Jealous!!!  It takes a strong person to walk away from abuse. An even stronger person to endure the pain and humiliation yet believe that one day you will declare “I’m an overcomer!” 

Maybe you’re battling PTSD. Overcoming PTSD is one hard battle. I know this from experience. I myself am still healing but here’s what I’ve learned. PTSD stands for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. That means you’ve endured a very traumatic experience. Not a small feat!  To anyone who thinks PTSD isn’t real. You’re just Jealous!!  Those of us who have it have been through a war zone and survived it. In my book, that makes us Rock Stars!!  I think PTSD should stand for “Pathways Through The Secret Door”. Behind that door are all of us Rock Stars!!!
I’ve been through a lot and have faced challenges galore. Through it all I’ve been ridiculed, rejected, isolated, vilified, judged but I don’t care. Like the song I’m not afraid of losing face. I wake up every morning. I’m still standing and that’s more than I can say for many others who have never faced the humility of many of the same challenges. How sad. It’s not easy being a Rock Star but some of us have to do it. It may as well be you and me!!! The truth is, I’m not afraid to have faith in God and even more so have faith in myself to keep going regardless what people think of me. Like I said previously my mantra is “Jealous Again”. It’s what keeps me going sometimes. 

We all face challenges in life. Some of us more so than others. But when the challenges or the adversaries come, remember God never gives you more than you can handle and if you find yourself in a battle right now, relish the moment. It means God thinks you are one strong rock and roller!  Now if God thinks you’re a Rock Star, who cares what everyone else thinks!  They’re just Jealous!!! And remember, in the words of AC/DC, “Its A Long Way To The Top If You Want To Rock and Roll!”

I’ll leave you with the following quote today. Have an awesome day and whatever you do……DON’T GIVE UP!!!!

“Assert your right to make a few mistakes. If people can’t accept your imperfections, that’s their fault.”- Dr. David M. Burns