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From the creator of the philosophy “foster children are fabulous champions”, author and previous foster child herself, Capri Cruz, shows us how to overcome childhood trauma by implementing the effective healing strategies she’s used throughout her life of turmoil, which ultimately catapulted her voyage From Foster Care to Fabulous. As an authority in the psychology of emotional healing, she presents techniques to initiate profound subconscious and spiritual transformation, which include perception realignment, inner-mind awakening, and the art of surrendering. Although designed with the foster child in mind, this book is a must read for all as it addresses two fundamental threads encompassing humanity: the human experience and the interpretation of that experience. The effects of negative childhood experiences often linger with lasting toxicity, which confines the mind to constricted and often unforgiving ideals birthed thereafter. Capri shows us that no longer has to be true! It’s time to let the inner healing begin as she peels back the layers to reveal secrets for reprocessing those damaging experiences. The simplicity of it is astonishing.

FROM FOSTER CARE TO FABULOUS

We’ve all heard of the problems associated with children coming out of the foster care system, now let’s talks about some solutions!

By disassembling our various experiences ranging from childhood abuse to adulthood divorce, then analyzing them through a lens of wisdom, and reconstructing healthier subsequent perceptions, dynamic change in the trajectory of your life will be imminent. Tie this in with the knowledge of deliberate creation and the master piece called your future becomes limitless as pain gets transformed into freedom!

The healing work within is the seed for the guaranteed reward without.

Cruz

“Time waits for no one!”, she exclaims. “The sand in the hour glass of life continues to slip away, whether we are mindful of it or not.” Thus, let urgency lead the way as you journey into her world for a fresh look at what IS possible. I assure you, the quality of your life depends on it!


FROM FOSTER CARE

TO FABULOUS


FROM FOSTER CARE

TO FABULOUS An Imperative Movement

Capri C. Cruz


AuthorHouse™ 1663 Liberty Drive Bloomington, IN 47403 www.authorhouse.com Phone: 1-800-839-8640

© 2012 by Capri C. Cruz. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means without the written permission of the author.

Published by AuthorHouse

04/05/2012

ISBN: 978-1-4685-5251-5 (sc) ISBN: 978-1-4685-5252-2 (hc) ISBN: 978-1-4685-5253-9 (e) Library of Congress Control Number: 2012902754

Any people depicted in stock imagery provided by Thinkstock are models, and such images are being used for illustrative purposes only. Certain stock imagery © Thinkstock. This book is printed on acid-free paper. Because of the dynamic nature of the Internet, any web addresses or links contained in this book may have changed since publication and may no longer be valid. The views expressed in this work are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher, and the publisher hereby disclaims any responsibility for them.


Contents Dedication .......................................................................................... vii Introduction: A Personal Letter from Me to You .................................. ix 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

Tears That Fell in the Dark ............................................................. 1 My Past No Longer Haunts Me and Neither Should Yours ........... 12 The Real Enemies ......................................................................... 23 Love Yourself! ................................................................................ 35 Healing Is A Process ...................................................................... 46 Get to Know the Real You............................................................. 56 Take Personal Responsibility for Your Life Today .......................... 67 Define Yourself for Yourself . . . or Society Will ............................. 79 Don’t Live in Anger, Blame, Fear, or Procrastination ................... 101 The Importance of Stability ........................................................ 114 Create a Vision in Your Mind...................................................... 130 Make Success Your Only Option . . . and Be Very Specific! ......... 147 GOALS: You Better Get Some! ................................................... 158 Open a Bank Account and Pay Yourself First............................... 168 Stay Young at Heart: Laugh a Lot, Then Laugh Some More ........ 171 Where Do You Want To Live ...................................................... 175

Conclusion: My Most Important Message to You .............................. 179 Appendix A: Define Yourself for Yourself! .......................................... 181 Appendix B: Things to Do for a Better You ....................................... 187 Appendix C: What I learned from Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich ......................................... 193 Appendix D: Top 3 Goals Exercise .................................................... 195 Appendix E: Personal Satisfaction Exercise ........................................ 199 Appendix F: Helpful Resources ......................................................... 203 Appendix G: Brief Overview of Traditional College Degrees ............. 207 Acknowledgments ............................................................................. 209


Dedication dedicate this book to every child and adult survivor of foster care who has ever been mentally, physically, emotionally, or otherwise abused. Please know the circumstances from which you came were not of your doing. You had no control over those experiences, but your future . . . well, now that is a different story. Let my forty-year journey from hell to happiness be a guiding light for you as you start on your own path in life to find your divine purpose. Go into the world and create your own joy and success, because truly I say that you not only have the power—but also the duty—to discover your greatness! I also give a very special dedication to my daughter, Jazsmine Caprie. You are my everything! My greatest hope is that from my life of struggle you will learn to increase your joy and success exponentially. Always be true to yourself and maintain inner peace, my little queen. You are the air in my lungs, the vision in my mind, my inspiration for tomorrow, and the calm as I close my eyes. To you I dedicate my life because you have made, and are still making, me a better person. Continue to let Jesus be the center of your life and thank you for taking this journey in life with me.

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Introduction A Personal Letter from Me to You ear foster care survivor, This book is a tribute to you. It is a story of VICTORY and TRIUMPH: a celebration of what is possible for you if you learn, believe, and do the necessary work. Never, ever forget that you are a fabulous survivor of all you have had to endure and that you were born to be even more than this. You were born to be a champion—a champion who reflects greatness! You were born just as strong and capable as anyone else in this world, and only you have the power to choose to become even greater and accomplish anything you want. Despite your struggles—in fact, because of them—you can discover great inner strength leading you to your own divine purpose. You absolutely must believe in yourself and not let anyone in this world tell you different. I’m writing this book to make sure the world never forgets us foster children, and although so many of us suffer, we are nonetheless just as fabulous as everyone else—we just need to be shown how to reflect it. You see, regardless of the trials and triumphs I’ve experienced in life over the last forty years, I am a reflection of all of you. I’m not someone outside of the struggle, different, or privileged. I am you! The details of our stories may be different but I, too, have cried sorrowful tears and felt death-wrenching pain. I, too, once was a frightened child that hid in my closet scared of those in the home where I lived. I have prayed that my abusers would just walk by me as if I was invisible in order not to harm me, and I’ve prayed to a God I thought had left me to die. I, too, have felt alone, lost, unloved, and discarded as worthless. I have wondered why my parents didn’t want me, and why no one ever came to save me. In my darkest hour, I even tried

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to kill myself in order to stop the madness of my life because I couldn’t handle it. Thank God I didn’t succeed! But this is not a book of “poor me” and my woes. This is a book of triumph and inspiration! Today I’m able to openly share my life’s victories by way of hidden secrets that were once shameful to me, in order that other people will be inspired to be that much more victorious in their own lives. I encourage you to one day do the same: Tell your story to the world so the foster children who come after you will have a light to follow, for it is only when we give back to others that we truly make a difference. Please know that the painful tragedies in your life that make you drop to your knees in pain and prayer can be transformed into super strength to catapult you to excellence! Embrace your past, your struggles, and your pain. See each instance as it really is. Control it. Do not let it control you. Then use it to bring a definite vision for your future, clarity for your life’s purpose, and the perseverance needed to achieve greatness! No matter what you’ve gone through in life thus far, don’t let it define you. Don’t let it darken your heart or turn you into a monster. Stay the course of righteousness. Every day continue to do the next “right” thing. You must choose a better way to live, for it is you and only you who is responsible for your ultimate happiness and greatness. Create sunshine from darkness. Joy from pain. Seek clarity in your confusion. Hope from despair. Let love evolve from hate. Achieve victory over struggles. Success over misfortune. Give service to others. Choose life over defeat! And with great belief in your ability to succeed, I sincerely wish you all the best in your life! GO NOW and CREATE it! With all of God’s love, —Capri Cruz

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Author’s Note his is a work of nonfiction. There are many life stories and opinions of mine throughout this book. If you were referenced in relation to my stories or opinions, please know it was my genuine intention to be as honest and transparent as possible in order to teach others how to use this material as a tool for self-improvement.

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1 Tears That Fell in the Dark “Keep me away from the wisdom which does not cry, the philosophy which does not laugh, and the greatness which does not bow before children.” —Kahlil Gibran

h dear God! Do you see what I see? Do you see that man dragging that poor woman by her hair on the dirty cement side walk? What’s going on? Is anyone going to help her? She’s yelling for him to let go, one hand holding the base of her hair from being pulled off her scalp as her eyes scream of pain. She fights the shameful tears her pride won’t reveal because she’s been here one too many times before. Her face reflects her secrets. Her eyes speak if only someone cared enough to listen: the excruciating agony and degradation that can’t be hidden. I know that look. It comes from deep within her soul where despair begs for compassion and forgiveness. What were her sins that led her to this moment of complete helplessness? Surely, she must’ve gotten lost on a path not her own and somehow has arrived at this place called hell that is now her life. Isn’t her value more than to be treated as worthless? Her spirit so drained, lacking answers to her life’s problems; she undoubtedly has never been introduced to the truth that she was born to be great. If only she knew God, like I now know God, things could have been different for her. This is the memory of my mother.

O

As I look out my window today, I remember myself as a seven-year-old child having been removed from my mother’s care, and somehow 1


Capri C. Cruz

plummeting into a scary, abusive foster home. I had been sitting all alone in what felt like an abandoned kitchen one night finishing up my dinner when from around the corner came this strange woman who told me to go take a bath and get ready for school the next day. Despite not having been in that kitchen in over thirty-two years, the image of that room has never left my mind. It was cold and dreary, and I knew I didn’t belong there. There was a back door leading to the kitchen from the yard, and upon entering, the first thing visible was a plastic kitchen table. I sat there that particular night facing the sink, which was beneath the window overlooking the muddy yard where the farm animals were kept. There were doorways on either side of that table leading to other parts of the house. To my right was the living room. To my left was a hallway, which I walked down that night leading me to a bathroom that would house the secrets of some of my earliest childhood abuse and the memories of my upcoming horror.

Earliest Recollection of Abuse Sitting naked in the bathtub that night, I played in the water as most children do, when suddenly I was frightened by someone coming in. I can’t visualize her face today, but I recall it was my foster mother. She stood towering over me with a green fly swatter in her hand and a look on her face that paralyzed me. Fear immediately consumed my soul as she raised her arm and began to beat me. Pain ripped through my bare, wet skin as I slid across the tub. Screams from inside my head were all I heard as I helplessly howled in terror. I have no idea what she was saying in that moment; I just remember being unable to escape. Why was this happening? I had done nothing wrong. I had no idea what was going on. Why was I being punished when I was just doing what I had been told to do? Today those sounds of terror still echo in my head from her beating me as I struggled to find safety in that tub. My face stinging, my arms burning, my back wrenching with pain, my head throbbing from her pulling my hair: With each scream that escaped me in hopes of someone to save me, I wonder some thirty-two years later what could I have been thinking in that moment as that little innocent child consumed by pain and fear? Slipping and sliding from one side of the tub to the other, I had tried to squirm away from this person in the midst of her rage. I had 2


From Foster Care To Fabulous

screamed and cried, but alone I remained. No one came to help me. I remember hitting my head on the side of the tub as I tried to move away from her. As she grabbed ahold of my hair, I was scared for my life and called out for my mommy and daddy to come save me. She continued to beat me, pulling my hair and hitting me so hard that I thought I was going to die. What could I have done so wrong from the time I left the kitchen table to when I began playing in the bathtub? At some point I remember her saying something about me hiding peas under my mashed potatoes, which she discovered while cleaning my plate. The rage she expressed over those vegetables that night is the first conscious memory I have of the crippling fear that would follow me for most of my life. Today as I recollect my scattered memories of childhood abuse, I realize this is but one of the many memories that has haunted me and helped to create a life that has rarely made sense to me. Yes, this would be just one of my petrifying experiences at the hands of my abusers, but as sad as the memories were for me, they were nothing compared to those of my brother.

Like Pigs to the Slaughter All his life and especially by the age of twelve, my brother had been my protector. Today I cannot escape the memory of witnessing these people hurting him. I can see it as if it were a horrible scene from the movie Mommy Dearest playing continuously in the corners of my mind. One particular night our foster father dragged my brother by his hair, pulling him up and down that hallway by the stairs just outside the kitchen. As I close my eyes and revisit that pain, I see my brother’s face pale from fear and torment . . . then red, so unbelievably bright red, as though all the blood in his body had rushed to his face. That’s my brother you’re hurting! I cried in my mind. Stop! Please stop hurting my brother! The feelings that overtook me as I saw them torturing him and screaming at him, knowing our evil foster brother and sister were laughing at us, crippled me. Feeling powerless and scared to death, isolated and weak, I knew there was nothing I could do to help him. The painful message in his face screamed out to me. It connected with me. I was all he had and I could do nothing but close my eyes from the horror before me. His shame and tears ripped away any of the childlike innocence he had at the time. All that remained was damaged. He tried to fight back his 3


Capri C. Cruz

tears as he became a victim to the physical abuse these shameless people wrathfully subjected upon him. It must have felt as though his scalp was being pulled completely off his head. That had to be the same feeling my mother felt as she too screamed out for help while being dragged on the cold, dirty cement in front of my grandmother’s house a year or so earlier. How could this grown man treat this poor child in the same way he dragged the pigs in the backyard on their way to being slaughtered? Maybe that was the problem. Maybe they thought they were supposed to treat us as they treated the pigs and other farm animals. Maybe to them we as foster children were nothing more than a different type of livestock. Could it have been that they saw us as nothing more than expendable animals? Today, I wonder how much more dysfunction we could’ve endured had we not eventually moved. Would we have survived? Would they have eventually cut our throats as they did the pigs? I sadly remember what that looked like.

A Punch to the Kidney My brother was such a beautiful little boy. His smile was delightful. You could see from his physical features that he was going to grow up to be brilliant. It was something that radiated from his face: his eyes. He was so young, sweet, and innocent: Why would anybody want to hurt him like that? They were so mean to us. They were so cruel. Even today, their mistreatment of us just doesn’t make any sense to me. Their foster-son Ronny, who was about sixteen years old at the time, tortured my brother mentally by bullying, fighting, teasing, and pushing him around as though he were worthless. The mental torture was so much more devastating for us than the physical. My brother, only twelve years old then, was petrified of Ronny. He was still an innocent child just as I was. Despite having been removed from our mother’s care due to her neglect, we had never experienced anything like we were being exposed to in this foster home. My brother came to this home an innocent boy, but the evil he was subjected to through the actions of these people would soon change his personality forever. Ronny and his sister, Tammy, were always slapping my brother in his face for no reason, slowly defiling his youthful dignity. Why were they more.... 4


From Foster Care to Fabulous - by Capri C. Cruz