On September 06th 1979 I was born to Pedro Juan Vazquez aged 48 and Lilliana Hernandez age 34 at the time. I am the 4th child to my mother, who had Victor, Marianela, and Marco before I was born. My mother was told she could not bare any other children because of an accident she had and my father was infertile due to a disease he had caught while in jail in Cuba (country where was born) at the beginning of the Fidel Castro revolution.
Dad was married to his first wife Ada when he got to Miami in 1967, and Mom was divorced when she arrived in 1976 with Marco only 2 years old at the time. When my father and mother met it was love at first sight, mom was a waiter at the local bar where dad went for drinks, Dad never mentioned he was married. Several months into the relationship mom miraculously conceived and dad divorced Ada, the year was 1979.
From what I remember as a child my father was always expressing his love for me both verbally and affectionately. He was an extremely loving father. I believe it had to do a lot with his age and the fact that he had no other children except for myself and later Susie who was born in 1982.
Father was a hardworking man. He was a mechanical dentist and did most of his work from a home-based shop. Mother was also hardworking, selling shoes and other goods from home as well.
Susie, Marco and I all grew up together, Marianela and Victor the eldest grew up with there father in Guatemala, Marco’s father is from Costa Rica. With all this said you might understand why mom a young beautiful women escaping from past relationships arrived in Miami with hopes of finishing her education and never getting involved with another man to bare more children.
When Susie and I where ages 2 and 5 mom began to show her first signs of what years later she was diagnosed with, schizophrenia. She was always seeing people and hearing voices, it was very scary for me as a child. She began consulting what she called “saints” and reading tarot cards. I get the chills just to think of it. She was very smart and had a way of telling people what they wanted hear. That with the combination of drugs she began to use had really changed the environment at home. From what I remember father was always getting yeld at, for sleeping with other women and coming home late. Mother became obsessed with the idea that he had other women in his life. From all the time I spent with father visiting his customers and going to the dental supply, I never saw the other women mom spoke about.
The environment at home was chaotic, from plates being thrown to smell of crack cocaine coming out from under the door of my mothers room. I soon began to ask God why I was born, why was I in this family, why could I not have a normal life like the rest of my friends. I would spend hours at night cuddling with Susie in the bed at night telling her that everything was going to be ok. Mother was extremely physically abusive she would beat my father and us when she didn’t have money for drugs. Susie and I grew up very close, always caring for one another and making the best of times despite of our reality at home.
With the years the situation at home only got worse. Father was always getting sick. After his first stroke in 1985 it was all down hill from there, I was 6 years old time. I remember talking to my friend at school while we walked laps on the baseball field, that I didn’t want my father to die. Despite of the fact that times where difficult at home, he always maintained his loving attitude towards us trying to make the best of what he had. He got us involved in after school activities to keep our minds of from moms growing dependency on drugs, and the fact that he could not do anything about it.
Her addiction had gotten so bad, she would steal the money for the rent from his wallet, and poor father would take us with him as witness to tell Mr. Nicholas to please give him time to come up with it again. There was also the time mom got home all bruised up because she had gone into over town to get her fix and two colored men beat her up just to steal her gold chain.
These are just a few of the stories that are easier on me emotionally to remember. Dad had put mom in a rehab program, and she came out like another person. He had hopes that she would not go back to her old self, so did we. But unfortunately her addiction one her over with the months to come, she was back to her old self and father was devastated.
The situation at home lead me to open up to one of my high school counselors Dr. Burke who suggested I go into a work experience program that would give me something to do after school the days I didn’t go to swim practice. At the age of 16 I started working part time at Keen Battle and Mead a family owned insurance company. This gave me the opportunity to spend more time out of the house and the ability to make my own money which in turn would give me more independence, and lessen the financial burden on father because I now had my own money to party on the weekends. Partying on the weekends was always fun, especially because I had become friends with the school prettiest girls and we always got invited to the best parties.
My new closest friends also had difficult situations at home, some coming from divorced parents and others from parents that where in the middle of getting divorced. It gave us an excuse to do what was wrong and blame it on our parents.
On June of 1997 the day after my high school graduation father passed a way after a long struggle with diabetes. What I had feared the most growing up had happened! I lost the only person who cared for me.
My fathers lose was a tremendous turning point in my life, I began to look for answers. Why I am here? Why was I raised in this family? I thought to myself. And then one day I met a handsome young man, and I thought to myself this is the answer, we can marry and live happily ever after. Boy, was I wrong! It only made matters worse, this young man was from a wealthy family. He had no idea what it was to work, and his way of seeing life, was through the eyes of money. I on the other hand worked very hard for everything I had to this point, and started enjoying the financial woes of dating a wealthy person. Even though it seemed to cover up my emotional problems, in my heart I always new there had to be more.
In 2001 I graduated from Florida International University with a degree in International Business. I remember thinking to myself that this was the best day since my fathers death, I was finally going to put an end to my current relationship and become successful on my own I thought, and then I am going to be happy.
That December I moved to Guatemala to get some international work experience, my older brother Victor who lives there would give me a place to stay in his home. I got a job at Vestex, the office in charge of all the 250 factories that manufacture and export garments for brands like Old Navy, Gap, Perry Ellis, Levi’s and others in the country. I was 21 years old at the time, and was getting the best work experience any International Business major could have, I felt really happy to have made the move. Even though I was happy on the outside, there was still that sense of belonging that was always missing, especially when I thought of my father and my folks back home.
I grew up Catholic, so when I felt this way I would wander in to the first church I would find and just sit there hoping some heavenly angel would come down and show me the way. After one year of being in Guatemala and not being enlightened I decided it was time to go back to the US and start my own clothing line, I had made good friends with some of the factory owners in Guatemala, this is going to be easy I thought to myself.
When I got back to the US, my mother was still living what I began to call “La Vida Loca” and I knew I couldn’t live with her. So I decided it was time to live on my own. I rented an apartment from Anita in Miami’s hottest spot for fashion, South Beach. Anita a Christian Croatian lady treated me like family from day one, she spoke to me about God and his love. I just nodded my head and listened to what she had to stay.
After living on South Beach and not having any success with the clothing line, I got in touch with people I had met in Guatemala that had offices in Los Angeles, Mr. Kim a Korean man was one of those people. I sent him an email with my idea of a clothing line. He soon wrote back saying that if I wanted to do anything in clothing I had to move to LA.
Razmig a Lebanese Armenian I had met on South Beach, told me he could pick up me up at the airport and take to see Mr. Kim. When Razmig picked me up from LAX, I remember thinking if this trip was about Razmig or about my job interview with Mr. Kim. A few days later I found out Razmig did not want anything other than a friendship with me.
My first meeting with Mr. Kim was quite, he just listened to everything I had to say and dropped me off at my hotel room. The next day I woke up thinking, Razmig, doesn’t want to date me, Mr. Kim didn’t say anything about the job, and I am running out of money. I had lost my day job back in Miami due to this trip. That day at my hotel room I threw myself on the floor, God, where are you! I need you! Please help me! I took the Gideons Bible that was in the hotel room, and started scrolling threw the pages, and nothing happened. Since nothing happened I walked down stairs, and asked the hotel front desk clerk to point me in the direction of the nearest church, “It’s right around the corner he, said”. I walked over there, and it was empty, I sat in the chairs, just wondering where God was, I had called out to Him so many times through out all these years, and why does He not listen to me.
In the catholic church I learned that if I sinned God would not hear my prayers, and I had to repent on Sundays. Repenting on Sundays became the norm, and that had become very frustrating since I could never live up to be good enough for God, and that was so frustrating. While sitting in the chair, this short Asian man with glasses walked over to me and asked “Are you ok?” I said no I am not sir, and I began to tell him my story starting from my arrival in LA. I remember him praying for me and asking God to forgive me of my sins, I had done things with Razmig that I knew where wrong, in hopes of liking me.
After my encounter with the Asian man I went back to my hotel room feeling better. A few minutes later the phone rang, it was Mr. Kim “What are you doing?”, he asked “Nothing, how about you?”, I replied. “Well, I’m going to church”, he said “Church”, I replied, “Can you please take me with you”, “Sure I will be down stairs in 30 minutes he said”.
Like most Asians he was very punctual in 30 minutes he was downs stairs. We got in the car and drove off, again only silence. Once we got to the place, I remember thinking to myself “Is this the church?” It was this white old building which we entered through a back entrance. We walked and there where other Koreans sitting in chairs with there Bibles opened while one man speaking in Korean spoke at a podium.
The Asian women where weeping and there was a sense of peace through out the whole place. As I looked around, I said to myself, God I want the sensitivity that these people have towards your message and your teachings. I continued to go to this church for the next 6 months, watching in amazement how these people where so sensitive to the Lord’s word.
One day one of the youth Pastor’s called me into his room and said “Margot, would you like to pray to accept Jesus as your Lord Saviour?” I replied “Of course”. The next day I got to what had become my new job, working for Barbara Fields one of nations top fashion guru for teen clothing, and as I parked my car I looked up, and saw a huge sign on top of a building that read “Jesus Saves”.
On that day, I knew I had finally found what I had been looking for all these years. The Lord saved me from my current situation of constant unworthiness. The Asian man said to me “God came and became man in the form of Jesus Christ living the perfect life that you could not live,” what a relief I thought to myself, I am finally worthy through Jesus Christ. Jesus saved me from a life of destruction that I felt I was destined to live because of the marks in soul from my childhood experiences. I was finally freed!
I now had a sense of belonging, I belonged to my Creator and He began to work in me. He gave my transit here on earth a purpose, one that would be for His Everlasting Glory not just a temporary one.
Despite of what my current situation may look like now I know that it is all part of a transcendental plan, and that alone has changed me forever.
Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.