• Shawna Baca

At War with Trust


There came a point and time in my life where I lost trust in people, in God, and the world I lived in. My first trauma into this world was losing my father at seven in a half-months-old, my second was after my father died, I was sent to live with my grandmother. Studies have shown that an infant losing his or her main caregiver before the age of one years-old can cause death in severe cases and although I don’t remember my feelings or emotions at that age, those traumas were stored in cellular memory. At three and a half, my mother came back into my life and that meant leaving my grandmother, who at that point, I thought of as “mom.” I do remember those early childhood memories of having to leave my grandmother and live with my biological mother and here lies where the beginning of my abandonment issues started. Childhood trauma, especially unresolved or untreated will sit with you well into adulthood and disrupt your life until you deal with them.


My mother ultimately lost three husbands by the time I was seventeen years old, and when I say lost, I mean died. What that taught me was that all men died or at least in my family. I felt like we were cursed. Other people around me had their fathers, why was it that every time we tried to have a normal family life, it was disrupted by death? The family unit we were trying to create could never be completed. Although, this is not how I see life or the world today, at seventeen that perception of truth became my reality. This is when I became afraid to grow up and be an adult. I was too young to remember my father’s death, but I remember my sister’s father’s death and my stepfather. I really believed that if I loved a man when I grew up, that I would suffer the fate of my mother’s curse. I became distant from love and having been raised by an emotionally unavailable mother. I didn’t trust love. I felt that it was something that worked for some people but not for others.


By the time I turned twenty-one, I developed a panic disorder and agoraphobia that left my isolated and debilitated in my own home for over a year. My mother eventually took me to the Pala Indian Reservation to see a Medicine Man. He cured me that night, but I was left traumatized and emotionally and spiritually bankrupt. I learned through being cured that there was a God, but I lost trust in his love for me, and I really felt that I was meant to walk this world alone.


After trying my hands at romantic love in my 20s and 30s, I realized I sucked at picking healthy relationships because I came from a dysfunctional world. After years of working through my shit, having to break down and face all my fears, and develop a new way of thinking, put myself back together... the hardest thing to overcome was ‘trust.’ I eventually learned how to deal with the pain, trauma, fear, and had to figuring how to find my courage, and build my sense of self-confidence and self-worth. Even self-love was one of the hardest things to learn because I came from a loveless family, yet -- TRUST was even harder than learning how to love myself.


We guard ourselves, especially if we have been hurt in the past. When you have lived through enough heartbreaks or disappointments it is hard to keep getting back up and trusting the world again. When you have had many damaging romantic relationships, how can you trust that the new person is not going to do the same thing to you? If the world has knocked you down over and over again, it’s hard not to take it personal. And what about trusting yourself to make the right decisions for yourself? You will think something may be wrong with you, I know I did.

The truth is life will knock you down. You will have your heart broken into a thousand pieces whether it’s the loss of a partnership, marriage, or loved one. You will question whether you are of sound mind to make decisions on your behalf after you have made mistake after mistake and taken yourself down the wrong road… several times.


What has helped open me up and deal with the trust issues I had, was to learn to believe in myself again. I know that as much as I have worked on myself, that today I will not allow toxic people into my personal space. I don’t engage with toxic people. I am the creator of the situations I want to be in and the second thing that set me free is my perception. No matter how emotionally balanced and strong you are, the world will come crashing down on you when you least expect it. If I take it personally, it will affect me. If I look at the situation and figure out what is the lesson here, or what opportunity is presenting itself, I look at it as a challenge that I have to overcome. I’m sure this sounds new age-y, but it is not. If I look at a break-up or losing as a job as the world is out to get me, I will definitely sit in the heart of pain. If I look at losing a job or a relationship as an new direction in life that the universe has planned for me, then I see the positive aspect of a future outcome that seems promising and I am not living in the past.


I also know that mistakes will fall through the cracks and I am not perfect, but I also trust that I can get myself out of any situation. We cannot control other people and their behavior. If allowed, people will take you for granted, mistreat you, bully you, and not appreciate you. It’s inevitable but you know what, it doesn’t matter because you don’t have to stay and put up with that and not everyone out there is out to get you.


I don’t trust everyone, but I trust myself. I trust giving space to new friends who I want to get to know. I trust going into new situations, knowing that if at any moment I don’t like being there, I can leave. Trust is the one side of fear that will keep you from living a loving, happy, and stable life. We can’t get trapped into that world, when there is a world out there worth living. You are definitely worth living a happy, healthy and peaceful life -- deserving of unconditional love and joy.

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About the Author

SHAWNA BACA

Shawna Baca is the author of the transformational memoir, "FEAR LESS: Conquering the Demons of Mental Purgatory," and an award winning writer, director, and producer. She was selected by Steven Spielberg and Mark Burnett from more than 20,000 filmmakers to be part of the 2007 FOX television show, On The Lot.  She received a “Mujeres Destacadas” award by La Opinion newspaper and the City of Los Angeles and was honored at the Latina Symposium in Washington D.C. in recognition of her positive portrayal of Latinos and Hispanics in the media. Shawna has been creating New Media content for corporate clients ever since and has produced a feature documentary. She is currently developing the coming of age feature drama, "Space for Raven," which was a second rounder in the 2020 Austin Film Festival Screenplay Competition, a 2020 WeScreenplay Diverse Voices - Semi-finalist, and a 2020 Script Pipeline Feature Screenplay - Quarter-finalist. 

She was born in Los Angeles where she currently resides, and is Apache, Yaqui, Spanish and French. 

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