The phone call from the past that turned my life upside down. PART 1


Photo credit: Google

Dear friends,

I’m not sure how to write these blog posts, but they must be done because you all here on WordPress know me better than any other social media subscribers or followers. WordPress is my happy place and it is here where I feel safe with my words & have cohesive thoughts. What I’m about to write happened and has consumed most of my life the past 2 years. I want this to be more of a post of encouragement and I want you all not to feel sorry for me, but rather celebrate that I am a survivor and to encourage those who are going through the same thing.

I remember like it was yesterday. I was at my former job during the summer of 2016 with my coworkers at a park and all our clients. My phone rang, but I ignored it as I didn’t know who from New Jersey would be calling me. I later listened to the message when I had finished work. The message was from a detective who needed me to call him back immediately. He gave me no reason. By this time, it was late in NJ and I was able to leave a message stating I had gotten the message and that I was returning the phone call. I didn’t hear back from the detective for 2 days. During those 2 days, I was going through my mind of what and why a NJ detective would be calling me. Was it concerning a former client I had in NJ? Was it a relative?

Two days later the detective called me. He told me why he was calling. I remember exactly where I was once again and I had clients. I was able to step outside as my coworkers took over. One piece of advice, when it concerns serious phone calls, make sure you can talk to that person after work or set up a time and place where you can handle the news. I didn’t do that. The detective told me good news, but it also flooded my mind with terrible memories. My mind was of mixed emotions. He said, “We got a hit.” I asked what he meant by that. He said that the perpetrator who assaulted me 17 years ago was finally identified from a DNA mouth swab as he came out of jail which matched the sexual assault kit DNA procedure I had to do at the hospital the night of the attack. My mind was numb and after speaking to the detective I turned back to look at my clients who were happily eating their lunch. My life was going to change. I wanted to hide and make sense of what I heard and what I was about to go through. But instead, I walked back into the Wendy’s and acted like it was just another normal phone call I had to take. I’ve been in many plays growing up and I didn’t realize that for the next 2 years, I’d have to delve into my acting skills while at work since most of the important phone calls were done during that time due to the time difference from Colorado and New Jersey.

My case had turned into a cold case all these 17 years. it turned out the perpetrator had been a neighbor of mine from across the street and had come into my house at night and attacked me while I was home alone with my 4 month old son. He had grabbed me in a choke hold and covered my eyes so I would not see him as he dragged me down the hallway. I was never able to see his face. The only witness of this crime was my son who was only 4 months old at that time and he cried when he sensed I was struggling against the attacker. Thankfully, my son calmed himself down. I won’t go into further details, but it was very traumatic for me. 911 was called and there were about 7 police cars outside my house and I had to repeat my story 7 times to the officers. I was so frustrated doing this, but I later found out why I had to do this. This was a way to see if I was telling the truth. I was telling the truth and it’s something we as victims have to put up when we are telling the truth and people think we are making it up. I had just experienced something horrible in what I thought was a safe place (my home) and the last thing I needed to feel was that no one believed me.

My mom, son and I all moved six months later to another home in a different town. I got a different job, my son grew up and life continued. The first years I wondered about my case. I didn’t hear anything from anyone. I felt like no one cared about it. I pushed it away in the back of my mind. It was still something I didn’t like talking about, obviously.

After the call, my life was then spent having long and sometimes short phone calls with my Victim’s Advocate, police in NJ, my prosecutor, detectives and others. Having a Victim’s Advocate was wonderful. She really helped me a lot in understanding what was happening and how the case was being handled. She would text me updates or call me regarding the latest court proceedings on his behalf because he was getting charged with a lot of things. Luckily, once the DNA was matched up with the person, he was arrested again and sent to jail. He’s been in there since then. Just having to relive the incident and go over the details was emotionally draining. I would end up in tears after phone calls and it affected my week. Luckily, I didn’t let it affect how I worked, but there were days I had to cry in the bathroom or wipe away tears so no one would know. No one really knew what I was going through except a few friends. How I missed my mom at this time. I just needed a hug from her. Just anything. One word. But she was not here. So I had to look into myself and remember all the things she taught me about overcoming hardships. I knew (and know), I’m brave and strong. I felt my inner strength slowly grow back during the past two years, but it took time and I was able to manage my emotions as a result. During this time, I also found out what true friends are all about. I also saw how heartless people could also be. I had a boyfriend  for 3 weeks (he might as well not even hold that title and just be someone I dated) and he knew what I was going through, but he decided to break up with me anyways. Instead of checking up on me to see how things were and being a good friend instead, he didn’t care. I was really struggling and he didn’t seem to care anymore. Some people are so selfish. He tried to reach out later on FB, but I don’t ever want to talk to him again. Not after that. Especially when I needed a good friend. Luckily, I leaned on my good friends who took care of me and made sure I was ok and lifted my spirits. This whole thing was a lot to go through. It’s not like tv. There are countless hours and legal things you have to do as a victim to a crime and the process is long. My days were not all doom and gloom. I made sure I lead a normal life despite everything that was going on and be the best mother I could to my son. We would go to the movies, hang out with friends and watch our favorite shows on tv like The Walking Dead, The Amazing Race and Ghost Adventures. My son knew what was going on, yet he did not know the details of the attack. He was my rock and continues to be. I’m his rock too.

One day my prosecutor said to me that there might be a possibility that I would have to go to court to testify, which meant flying back to New Jersey. When I heard that, it really affected me because I would have to come face to face with him again. After 17 years, I would have to look at him. I told her, I didn’t know if I could do that. It terrified me. She told me to wait a few more weeks until I got the official confirmation whether I had to go to NJ or not. Then the call came again…..

 

To be continued…..

What’s your social media audience like?

Hi everyone!

So this evening I was wondering about how each social media audience differs from one another. This is my observations from my personal social media audience and what I’ve gathered from observations. I’m sure your audience is different and behaves differently as well. Here is what I have gleaned from the past years from the social sites I’m on. Depending on the social platform, there is a generalization of the same mindset of the audience that each platform carries. I find this interesting as it also covers the age of the audience in that platform, hence demonstrating their behavior towards me.

WordPress:

WordPress is my baby. I’ve been on here for years and have put a lot of time writing down my feelings, researching interesting places and giving my opinions on movies. The audience from WordPress has been so sweet and supportive. There is a sense of community of fellow writers and artists on here that you can’t find anywhere else. I’ve seen it many times where some bloggers go on hiatus for months or even years, but are always welcomed back with open arms. On another platform such as Twitter, if someone doesn’t like what you say, it’s an immediate “unfollow”. Everything is instantaneous over there, whereas, here on WordPress, a fellow writer will be more forgiving and keep reading regardless. After all, we all want to express our opinions. We love to observe and glean one another’s writing style and try to assess the beautiful minds of each other. I find my WordPress audience hails from all over the world and we love to share our cultures, beliefs and passions on here. There is no rush on WordPress. Everyone is relaxed because we know it takes time to write down things. Therefore, it takes time to read all of it too. This is a basic understanding of every WordPress blogger. Of course, some thought provoking writings are shorter than others, but no less important than someone who has a mind running 900 miles an hour with thoughts and rants. There is somewhat of a deeper connection that I get from fellow bloggers on WordPress because more thought goes into writing or sharing photographs. We all have stories to tell and it takes much more time to do this. Overall, myWordPress audience is open, supportive and understanding.

Instagram:

I initially started Instagram because it was new and exciting. I couldn’t quite get into the whole Instagram hype after a while and don’t use it as much. I like the “stories”, but have never done one myself. I think I lost interest when Instagram changed a lot of features and started becoming more like Facebook. I don’t have a connection with my Instagram followers at all. I don’t communicate with them nor do I care to, except one and that’s only because she’s a fellow blogger and I adore her. I also had a bad experience of some guy wanting to date me from there. Luckily, we never met and I blocked him after he started calling me names. So Instagram is not my thing. In fact, I might just delete every post I’ve every posted on there and just get on there to watch and like posts I think are interesting. I don’t feel the need to post things about my life because I don’t feel like my followers care. Sorry Instagram, but you’re just not my type.

Facebook:

I first used Facebook using my legal name. It was hacked twice and it scared me. Eventually, my full name disappeared into the abyss of Facebook’s deleted profile junkyard. If that is even possible. I’ve typed in my name and it doesn’t show up anymore, but it did take over 3 years to disappear completely. So I made another account after a few years and it was only to be in communication with my niece and sister in Brazil. I have 2 accounts. I have a general account and a very private account that has 8 people on it. I’m not social at all on Facebook and go on Facebook twice a week to see what people are up to. My perception of my audience on Facebook has been mixed. I have relatives and “friends” on there, but when I post something, no one interacts with me about it. Nothing like, “That’s a cool place, what was it like?”. There’s a strange lack of interest or communication which I find odd. I love interacting, but I can only take one sided interaction for long before I completely shut down and refuse to post anything on my FB. So why bother? So I stopped and haven’t posted in a very, very long time. If it wasn’t for my sister or niece, I would have deleted my FB account a long time ago. But I enjoy seeing what my lovely niece is up to and writing to my sister. I’m terrible with messsenger too. It takes me forever to respond to someone. I just don’t like FB. I keep to myself quietly and just watch others from the sideline; I have no problem with that which is hard to believe since I am an extrovert.

MusicShake:

This social site is a place where I made short music bits. My audience here was the most interactive audience I have ever experienced and I would get a lot of feedback from them. My audience at MusicShake all were super friendly, supportive and extremely engaging. I do miss those days, but making music and remastering different instruments was taking too much of my time because I wanted my music to be perfect and it took away from my time spent on WordPress. I am proud of all my short music on there, especially the “Dance of the Fireflies”.

Pinterest:

Ok, here is an interesting audience. I don’t know anyone from Pinterest, but I do have a lot of interest from my audience. Especially, from my “male style” audience because I have several males who like my “male style”. I do have an eye for fashion and I suppose they want to see what females like. I get a lot of likes of mostly fashion choices and decor of the house. I would call my Pinterest audience an interactive but very quiet audience. There is no words exchanged or comments, but boy do they do love to “save” my pins! Once a month I go on Pinterest and pin my favorite things.

Twitter:

Twitter was my saving grace after I went on hiatus from WordPress. I needed an outlet, but nothing that would take time to write. Twitter was my answer. Before, I spent so much time on WordPress, I was hardly on Twitter. I didn’t like Twitter in the beginning because of the restrictions of how much I could write on it. It was ghastly to think I couldn’t express myself in long paragraphs, but in only 140 characters? Wtf. My Twitter audience is fast paced, very informed, extremely interactive with each other, friendly and wants things fast and now! The general Twitter audience is unforgiving, mean and demanding and I’m not talking about my followers either. For the most part, my followers are sweet, supportive and at times sarcastic. Overall, Twitter’s audience is a hodgepodge of all kinds of goodness and fun.

But WordPress has a special place in my heart because I’ve spent so many hours on here writing and reading other posts. This is my happy place because it is here where my thoughts come to life and where I can live vicariously through the adventures of my fellow bloggers.

xoxo

What’s your audience like on your social media platforms? The same? Very different?

*Originally written April 3, 2018

A controversial procedure to look beautiful!

“Snapchat Dysmorphia” the name of the latest trend sweeping the nation. Surgeons are being shown pictures from patients wanting “smoother skin”, “bigger eyes” and “fuller lips”.  They want to look exactly like their Snapchat picture, minus the ears, whiskers and flowers in the hair. Society has forced fed women (and men) that beauty has to be at a certain standard and with Snapchat, it’s only a simple click away. There are two types of people who want this. The first group just want the smooth skin look that erases any wrinkles and blemishes because we all know that society only allows blemish free people walking around. No blemishes or else you are practically a hideous beast and should be banished from all civilization. What was once only a privilege to celebrities for magazine covers is now available for the general public and it has created a monster as a result.

The second groups are those that actually want to look like an animal. The whimsical idea that people are willing to pay to look like their favorite animal filter. Here is a picture of 2 models painted as a Snapchat deer & dog, but take this simple act of makeup play to a whole different level and you’ve got people who think they’d look better by looking like an animal…uh…forever. Some are even willing to have flowers or butterflies sewn into their hair. This is what we’ve come to. Imagine your grandkids coming home to introduce their friends to grandmom or grandpa & they turn around from their chair to the gasp of said friend. By then your skin is wrinkly, you’ve got silver or white hair and that dog nose tattooed on your nose (probably with whiskers if you are a cat) is making you look more like a really bad case of a lab experiment gone wrong or a wrinkly brown band-aid across your nose. Your tattooed cat whiskers are not so straight anymore and look more like broken legs of a spider spread across your cheeks. Yeah. Not so cute anymore, IS IT?!!

Photo credit: Cosmopolitan

Don’t get me wrong, even moi plays around with Snapchat, I mean there I am up top with some weird camera thing in the middle of my chest, awesome ears & bigger than usual eyes, but I don’t feel the need to run to a surgeon and ask to look like my filters. That’s just next level crazy, but that’s none of my business. Sips tea…

So what’s next? Emoji face plastic surgeries? Nothing at this point would surprise me. I hope when I become a grandmom, I don’t have little emoji grandkids running around. I can only imagine family photos…

 

 

 

 

 

I’m still alive…

Have you ever gone on stage and the audience is there, but it’s so dark that you can’t clearly see how many people are out there watching you? The lights are so bright yet you squint your eyes to get some estimate of the amount of people out there who have come to see you. That’s how I feel right now. You walk across the stage and wonder if they even care or if they just want to be entertained by it all. You want to express how you really feel from the heart, yet you wonder if they will only laugh and go home and forget what they even heard moments ago. Then you wonder again, why am I even here? Is it for the audience? Or for the pure love of telling your own story? For me, it’s for telling my own story. Even if I get one person to read this blog, I’m happy.

Hi.

Remember me? I know I’ve been gone for quite some time and I do apologize. Thanks also for my new subscribers who found the time to want to subscribe to my blog even though I rarely blogged. I hope you stick around a little bit because I do appreciate you being here.

I was thinking today how when I used to let off steam I’d come online and blog about it. Sometimes my rants would be funny or downright heartbreaking. I realized I hadn’t been doing that; instead I have been clamming up and keeping it to myself. I love to write. Writing is my outlet when I can’t speak face to face to anyone. Yes, I have friends in real life who I can easily call up, but I also like to digitally record my thoughts as a journal. Looking back at your writing allows you to reflect and understand the way of thinking of that moment.

Lately, I’ve been thinking I need to start blogging more. I know I’ve said this a million times in the past, but I’m kind of stressing out a little bit now about something and writing relaxes me. What’s stressing me? Several things, but there is a pretty big thing I have to go through and it has put me in a funk the past 2 weeks. I can’t seem to shake it off. It’s a situation tha makes me wish I had my mother here to comfort me. But she’s not, just like she’s not here for many other things happening in my life right now. It’s life, but it makes me dig deep into ny inner strength to get through it. I’ll write about it more soon, I can’t just right now.

I’ll be blogging a lot more now. I promise. xoxo

Advice from Mister Rogers when tragedy strikes.

Even though I grew up most of my life down in Brazil, whenever I did spend time in the US, one of my favorite shows to watch growing up was Mister Roger’s Neighborhood. Mister Rogers had a gentle way of teaching you life lessons and how to get through the tough times in life. It’s amazing how a simple thing as puppetry could easily fascinate a young mind and be an easy and age appropriate way to teach values and character traits. Years later when I was in High School, I joined in a puppet team of college students who went to visit tiny towns along the Amazon river. Those memories of playing a character behind the curtain to the thrill and screams of children on the other side was unforgettable. I personally think it was easy to make the children laugh because I still was a child (granted I was maybe 16 years old-same age as my son today) so I still had the kid in me so I was goofy with my puppet. Of course, towards the end my arm hurt and ached, but I still kept going. I’m talking technicality of puppetry, but it brings it back to why as a young child I was fascinated by Mr. Roger’s kingdom with the likes of King Friday, Lady Elaine and Fairchilde. Sure, they were little puppets with really weird faces, but I was mesmerized by the story they told and how they got through their little drama. As I look at my son who is 16 years old, he’s still my baby. His mind is still learning about how the world works, why people do the things they do and how to react to it. Children are so impressionable. The world we live in now is very different from when I was 16 years old. As a 16 year old, drinking out of a water hose was the norm (unheard of today), writing notes and giving it to someone was our version of text messaging. I feel as though as he’s grown up in the 2000’s, I’ve had to explain in terms he can understand the battle between good and evil. The balance he needs to get through it and how he can be of encouragement to his friends. Tragic things happen and we often wonder why it happened. There is so much suffering, sadness in this world and if one allows it, it can destroy one’s view of the good in the world. Yes, tragic things happen, but somewhere in there, there is good. And there is hope. Which is why it’s good to look back at my own childhood figure like Mister Rogers who gave some good advice of how to deal with tragedy.

Red Rock Canyon: Part 1

Hey guys!

A warm welcome to my new subscribers and loyal readers. Let’s talk about the hike I took with my son and his friend last week. I’ve lived here in Colorado Springs for two years now and I just got around to visiting Red Rock Canyon, which is across from Garden of the Gods. We go to Garden of the Gods a lot just to sit and enjoy the scenery, hike and I also go there often with my clients. When we went on our hike, we took the long way to get to the lake at Red Rock Canyon. Luckily, the day was nice and windy, so it wasn’t too bad. My knee continues to hurt after a month (I injured it at work), so towards the end of the hike, it was very painful to walk back to the car. Hiking in Colorado Springs is very common among the locals and we’ve come to participate in that activity as well. Back in New Jersey, you’d never see us hike like we do here. Anyways, it was lovely to just walk and enjoy the little trail, think about how nice it was to explore a new park and anticipate the view of the lake I’ve only seen via YouTube and pictures. I decided to film the hike for memories to share. Click on the video below and you can come along with us on our little hike. This is part 1. There is another trail I’m very excited to go on and I can’t wait to show you all that one because it’s pretty incredible.

Continue being amazing.

xoxo

Amanda takes a Japanese Personality Test!

Hello guys!

I’m sure most of you have heard of personality tests and I for one think they are interesting. I came across a Japanese personality test and decided to take it. Give it a go and see what your answers reveal about you! I’ll post my answers below so you can know a little more about me. You must first watch the video to understand my answers.

Video credit: BuzzMoy

Do you see a cube?
-Yes.

How large is it?

Probably the size of a moving box.

What is it made out of?

-Shiny silver metallic. Unbreakable. Solid.

Where exactly is it in the desert?

-I don’t know. It’s just there.

Is it buried under the sand or is it sitting on top?

-It’s sitting on top of the sand.

Is it floating in the air or moving?

-No. My box is sitting on the sand.

What material is the ladder made from?

-Wood.

How tall is it?

-Six feet.

Where is it in relation to the cube?

-Next to the cube.

How far is the horse from the cube?

-It’s right next to it.

What is the horse doing?

-Not much, just standing there making sounds.

Which way is it moving?

-The horse is relaxed and just standing there content.

What does it look like?

-The horse is brown and beautiful.

Is the horse tied up or roaming freely?

-The horse is not tied up and can roam free as it pleases.

Is it wearing a saddle?

-Heck no!

Can you picture any flower in the desert?

-Yes.

Where are they situated compared to the cube?

-The flowers (yes plural) are situated in front of the cube and horse.

How many of them do you see in there?

-Lots of flowers! Flowers of all colors and sizes.

Storm approaching. Is it big or small?

-It’s big.

Is it violent or calm?

-The storm off in the far, far distance is calm yet dark with sounds of thunder every 10 minutes.

What’s the distance between the storm and cube?

-Very, very far. There are many miles between the storm and cube.

Does the storm affect the cube, horse, ladder or flowers?

-Nope.

**After watching the results of my flower inquiry, I must say I do think of kids, but I don’t want hundreds of them according to how many flowers I envisioned in my desert. I just love flowers and think they add beauty to anything. These two tests were fun and were interesting. Take it with a grain of salt and just have fun!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Other Prince William: A Love Story

Yesterday I watched this beautiful yet tragic love story between a Hungarian woman and a British Prince named Prince William. This is the love story of a namesake of the current Prince William of England. I never heard about this story and found it so sad, beautiful, romantic and tragic. Interestingly enough, the woman in the video currently lives here in Colorado. I found this similar to the movie “Titanic” where the woman at end has a necklace, but as you’ll see, the woman in this video has a lasting memory of her prince with something else.

There are love stories and there are love stories that are simply so beautiful you wouldn’t believe they actually existed. This is one of them. I hope one day I’ll finally have my fairytale ending.

Video Credit: Kayla Gillis

Remembering Sept. 11: 15 Years Later

Dear friends,

It seems like just yesterday that we experienced tragedy, yet it’s actually been 15 years. For those of you who are new to my blog and are new subscribers, New Jersey was my home since I was 5 years old every time my mother and I would come to visit from Brazil. Every four years we’d come up to visit my grandfather and visit relatives. Sometimes, we’d stay longer from a few months to a year. During these times, we’d go visit NYC since we lived less than 2 hours away, so thus began my relationship with New York City. I’ve never had a bad memory that occurred in NYC. Eventually, when I finally moved to NJ to stay after High School in Brazil, I would visit NYC many more times as a young adult would-exploring what was waiting for us there. I had dreams of moving there one day and even knew what kind of home I wanted. I had everything all planned out. I loved walking around the city and had met many interesting folks there; a place with so many things to see and experience it would take a lifetime to complete them all.

One particular day, we had the idea of going up one of the Twin Towers to visit. As you may know, I am terrified of heights yet I thought it would be something I’d never forget. Once inside the building, we took a long ride up in the elevator to the very top. I felt slightly dizzy as I walked out of the elevator and saw how high we were. The view from the top floor up in the Twin Towers were amazing. I walked closer to the glass wall and looked down. The taxis were so small, like bugs, and I felt like the tower was even swaying a bit, but perhaps that was just me. I thought how beautiful it was from up there and it seemed so peaceful. Very quiet. I honestly remembered even then this was something I’ll never forget. The feeling of being so high in a building I saw so many times coming into NYC from NJ. Sitting in the car as a child, I’d wait looking out the window to get the first glimpse of the two Twin Towers. Once I saw them, I’d get so excited. Now I was finally up in one of them and I was left speechless.

On September 11th I happened to have the tv on watching a morning show when they suddenly cut to breaking news. Reports were being said that a “small airplane” had flown into a tower. I saw the video and thought it was odd. I remember everything of that day. What I was wearing, where I was standing and the kind of day it was outside. How could a plane just crash into one of the towers? I was glued to the tv and was watching it as my heart started to race. I had no idea how worse it was going to get that day. I watched as the second plane hit the tower with my hands over my mouth in disbelief when it showed on tv. Sadly, the copilot of the second airplane was someone I knew; he was my childhood friend’s cousin. My stomach dropped. All those people on that plane (and the plane before that). As the day wore on, there was so much chaos and I felt like I was living a nightmare. So much sadness and grief that day.

I still get emotional when I watch documentaries about 9/11. It’s tough. My heart goes out to every single family that lost someone that day. The story of the heroes on the third plane I will always remember their story as well. As anyone who has experienced loss from a tragic event, you learn to cope. The pain remains, yet you do your best to keep your loved ones memory alive.

15 years and yet it feels like yesterday.

We will never forget.

Do you remember where you were or doing that day?

The September 11th Memorial and Museum from Amanda on Vimeo.

My 2016 Summer Song

Every year during the summer, I choose a song that reflects how I am feeling or what I am going through up to that point. This year I chose the song “The Sun is Shining” because of the lyrics. This song just makes me feel good, the video is filmed flawlessly and it just is special to me. It’s great to remind people that no matter what they are going through, they will get through it. I remind myself how I have dreams and goals and I won’t allow something to ruin my aspirations and determination. I have to work hard to get there. Speaking of which, I ‘ll be starting up kickboxing very, very soon. More on that later, but until then, please enjoy my summer 2016 song “Sun is Shining”. I dedicate this to all my newest subscribers and to all my blogger friends who have stuck by me through the years. Thank you. I love you! xoxo

Video credit: Axwell Ingrosso

Song: Sun is Shining