The truth behind Mary A. Pérez’s autobiography

My interview by the talented and fabulous Ella Ritchie of Stellar Communications Houston.

Stellar Communications Houston

You may know Mary A. Pérez as the author of Running in Heels: A Memoir of Grit and Grace, her incredible true story of survival and forgiveness against all odds.

blog image 4 The author chatting with a new fan at a Kroger book signing

If you don’t, then let us fill in you in. Somewhere between stealing cold cuts from stray cats and watching a stranger leave her mother’s bed after breaking in through their bedroom window, Mary figured out that her family was dirt poor. Worse than her empty stomach, she was hungry for acceptance and love in the shadows of her mother’s choices and on through an abusive marriage.

Running in Heels: A Memoir of Grit and Grace is Mary’s promise of hope for anyone who was abandoned as a child, for anyone who woke up hungry and went to bed hungrier every day, and for every wife who has…

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Celebrating the Birthday Boy

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Happy Birthday to my hubby, confidant and best friend! You still light up my life, the wind beneath my wings.

 

 

 

 

 

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Secret of Life

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Read this wonderful story today:

On the first day of classes, our professor introduced himself and challenged us to get to know someone we didn’t already know. I stood up to look around when a gentle hand touched my shoulder. I turned round to find a wrinkled, little old lady beaming up at me. She said, “Hi handsome, my name is Rose, and I am eighty-seven years old. Can I give you a hug?”

I laughed and enthusiastically responded, “Of course you may!” and she gave me a giant squeeze. We became instant friends. Everyday for the next three months, we would leave class together and talk nonstop. Over the course of the year, Rose became a campus icon and she easily made friends wherever she went.

At the end of the year, we invited Rose to speak at our football banquet. I’ll never forget what she taught us.

After the introduction, she stepped up to the podium, cleared her throat and began . . .

“We don’t stop playing because we’re old; we grow old because we stop playing. There are only four secrets to staying young, being happy and achieving success. You have to laugh and find humour every day. You’ve got to have a dream. When you lose your dreams, you die. We have so many people walking around who are dead and don’t even know it!”

“There’s a huge difference between growing older and growing up. If you are nineteen years old and lie in bed for one full year and don’t do one productive thing, you will turn twenty years old. If I am eighty-seven years old and stay in bed for a year and never do anything, I will turn eighty-eight. Anybody can grow older. That doesn’t take any talent or ability. Have no regrets. The elderly usually don’t have regrets for we did, but rather for things we did not do. The only people who fear death are those with regrets.”

At the year’s end Rose finished the college degree she had begun all those years ago. One week after graduation Rose died peacefully in her sleep. Over two thousand college students attended her funeral in tribute to her. She taught by example that it’s never too late to be all you can possibly be.

These words have been passed along in loving memory of Rose:

“Remember growing older is mandatory. Growing up is optional. We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”

In youth we learn; in age we understand. ~ Source Unknown

 

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July 16, 2016 · 10:48 AM

Damn the Torpedoes! Full Speed Ahead!

You ever been excited about something and somebody who you love and admire shoot it down? Let me tell you, it stings. Bites. Deflates you, doesn’t it? Yeah, but don’t allow anyone to steal your dream!

They may have meant well, but they just couldn’t see what you envisioned. They didn’t grasp your concept or idea. Then what? Your resolve wavers, your hard work and steadfastness quakes.

So what do you do? Do you throw in the towel and just give up? No, for crying out loud! Perseverance is a virtue. Where’s your stick-to-it-iveness? You have it. Haven’t you burned the midnight oil long enough to come this far? Okay, so maybe they didn’t get it. Time to regroup; dig a little deeper. Re-examine your goal and ask yourself what is it that you feel? What is the message that you’re trying to convey?

I guess with me, I tend to say a prayer, asking God to continue to guide me to express the message closest to my heart to share with others. Listen, I’ve come too far to give up! And so have you! Sure, it may be a little scary, but so what? Acronym of FEAR: Face Everything and  Run, or Face Everything and Rise. I chose the latter.

I know this is not always the case. At times, it does good to cry and let out emotions. Yes, I too, have meltdowns on occasion. But if you can stick to your goal, doing all you know to do with a determination second to none, when oppositions come (and they usually will), you won’t easily break. Time to reflect, is all. Plant where you’re rooted. Bend like a palm tree, change directions if you must. If you feel you are to do a thing, whether people get you or not, stay the course. Don’t let others defeat you by their words or the looks on their faces! What am I saying? Face your giant! (But don’t forget your slingshot.)

BE encouraged.

“Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!”

How determined are you?

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© M.A. Pérez, 2016, All Rights Reserved

About "Running in Heels: A Memoir of Grit & Grace"

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So God Made A Soldier

Duty, honor, country: Those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be. They are your rallying point to build courage when courage seems to fail, to regain faith when there seems to be little cause for faith, to create hope when hope becomes forlorn. They make you strong enough to know when you are weak, and brave enough to face yourself when you are afraid. ~ General Douglas A. MacArthur, 1962

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July 2, 2016 · 6:47 AM

Does Size Matter?

Something doesn’t sit right with me, and here it is. I have heard numerous times how one has to dream “big” in order to achieve something, or become something, or change something. You know the old adage: Dream big or go home. I’ve come across some other sayings such as: If your dreams don’t scare you they aren’t big enough. Say what? Listen, I’ve got plenty of dreams, okay? Your dreams may not be my dreams, and I can guarantee that my dreams are not your dreams! But a dream is a dream is a dream. I just don’t buy the line, hook and sinker that screams your dream doesn’t count or isn’t as important if it isn’t “big”! No sir! No ma’am!

Think what you will, but you can’t look down on my dream and say that yours is more important than mine. Or that my dream doesn’t count because it isn’t as”big.” Who are you to downplay my dream? Have you walked in my shoes?

When I wrote, “Running in Heels: A Memoir of Grit and Grace” I not only mention some of the heartaches I endured as a child and young adult, but I also mention the good times, the happy times, and the contented times. And you know what? Some looked down on those cheerful events that I wrote about because it seemed insignificant to them. Is that fair? Hey, I’m tickled pink you had a  much “happier” life than me, nonetheless, those were my good times and they meant everything to this girl. And I will tell you this: I am a dream come true.

We all have goals, we all dream dreams. Don’t try to be like anyone else. Be yourself and follow your heart. Pursue your dreams and don’t ever quit. Timing is everything and sometimes it takes baby steps. But don’t allow anyone to downplay your dreams! Ever. No matter the size.

© M.A. Pérez, 2016, All Rights Reserved

About "Running in Heels: A Memoir of Grit & Grace"

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June 23, 2016 · 7:06 PM

Father’s Day Tribute to the Men in my Family

 

Picture2Dad: A son’s first hero. A daughter’s first love.

The fathers in my family are called Dad, Daddy, and Papi. Newsflash: None are perfect! But each one represents love, courage, provision, and strength. Their eyes glow with purpose. Their smiles melt hearts. Their chest swells with pride. Their callous hands protect. They stand tall with dignity. And their embraces offer comfort and assurance. Yes, they are the pillars in our households.

It’s said that every man is trying to either live up to his father’s expectations or make up for his father’s mistakes. I don’t know if that’s true. I only know that each man represented in my family strive to being the very best possible. Each hold a mantle and carry a torch for the next generation. Each dad represented in my family lays a solid foundation, even those who have crossed over to the other side. I can’t help but to think about my own grandfathers. They were strong, respected dedicated men with a constant presence. They left behind a legacy. When the tough got going, they didn’t cave under pressure. They persevere with Puerto Rican pride in every fiber of their being.

To the men in my family who are dads (and have yet to be): I love and admire each and every one of you. And to my dear husband who married me with four children, I share this quote: “It takes a strong man to accept somebody else’s children and step up to the plate another man left on the table.” I salute you.

I salute you all.

Remember: Any man can be a father. But it takes a special person to be a dad.

© M.A. Pérez, 2016, All Rights Reserved

About "Running in Heels: A Memoir of Grit & Grace"

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June 17, 2016 · 6:19 AM

Metamorphosis

My family was poor.  As a child, by not owning four-legged friends, I grew an interest in the behaviors of tiny critters, such as insects. Curious at what lay beneath the ant piles, I liked to dig apart their colonies to watch the different activities of the workers, the soldiers, and the queen ant that I read about in books. I never developed a fear of grasshoppers, even if they spat “tobacco” on my fingers, or of handling caterpillars that pricked when they crawled on my hand, or of sneaking up on lizards that left their wiggling tails behind — I was too caught up wondering what the funny red thing on their throats going in and out was all about. My fascination for those critters was a favorite pastime.

Not all school projects were memorable, but I recall one that stuck with me for years. When the teacher assigned a report on any subject, I decided to pick caterpillars. On a large poster board, I drew the four stages of the butterfly: (1) egg, (2) larva, (3) pupa, and (4) adult. I described metamorphosis. Though it wasn’t a Picasso, my work earned a ranking on my school’s hallway wall, posted for all to see, with the highest mark in class: A+.

One sunny day at school during recess, I found a black, woolly caterpillar crawling in the shrubs and unafraid, gently placed it in my palm. A classmate asked to see what I held. When I opened my hand to show him, he whacked it so hard that the caterpillar flew out and disappeared onto a bush. And that’s when I morphed! Without hesitation, I slapped him on the face, hard. The boy stood stunned, mouth opened.

As an adult, I often thought about the word metamorphose. It means to change completely in nature or form.

I think back about how alcohol deceived my loved ones, giving them a false sense of power. After drinking, like the caterpillar many years ago in my book report, they metamorphosed into social butterflies fresh out of its cocoon. They felt invincible, glamorous or intelligent. Gone were the restraints that crippled them emotionally. They carried a false sense of bravado. It was then that they laughed wildly, conversed freely, and flirted openly.

The more attention and compliments they received from others, the less they knew the difference between genuine praise and mere flattery.

(A small excerpt taken from Running in Heels: A Memoir of Grit and Grace. )

 

© M.A. Pérez, 2016, All Rights Reserved

About "Running in Heels: A Memoir of Grit & Grace"

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I Don’t Know What to Do!

I don’t know what to do today.
Perhaps I’ll go outside and play,
or stay indoors and watch TV,
or take a bath, or climb a tree.

Or maybe I’ll go ride my bike,
or pick my nose, or take a hike,
or jump a rope, or scratch my head,
or play a game, or stay in bed,
or dance a jig, or pet the cat,
or drink some milk, or buy a hat,
or sing a song, or read a book,
or change my socks, or learn to cook,
or dig a hole, or eat a pear,
or call my friends, or brush my hair,
or hold my breath, or have a race,
or stand around and slap my face.

I’m so confused, and bored, and blue,
to not know what I ought to do.
I guess that I should just ask you.
So, what do you think I should do?

Copyright © 2009 Kenn Nesbitt. All Rights Reserved.


I found the above humorous poem and thought about my kids when they were small. Outside of TV, the only technology we had back then was on the Atari, playing games like Pong and Asteroids. Anyone remember those? But the most entertainment for me was watching my kids’ aerobic antics while calling out to me:

“Watch me, Mommy.”

“Mommy, look at this.”

“See what I can do, Mommy?”

Today, my grown children each have individual gifting, talents and uniqueness. I still love hearing from them whether they call, text, or email me. My heart skips a beat whenever they excel in their achievements. They still put a smile on my face. We can still laugh together.

Children grow fast. All you have to do is blink. You’ll wonder where did the time fly? Cherish those moments.

Oh, and by the way, I drew the sketch below of my kids, thirty years ago.

Wasn’t it just yesterday?

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© M.A. Perez, 2016, All Rights Reserved

About "Running in Heels: A Memoir of Grit & Grace"

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Memorial Day Tribute

Memorial Day is reserved for those who can’t return a smile or a salute, not to mention the families and friends who have been left behind. We honor those American men and women who died during combat.

Freedom is NOT free.

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