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What Raising Kids In SoCal Really Looks Like

Trina Flowers

Trina Flowers take a selfie wearing a gray t-shirt with photos taped to the wall behind her.
(Trina Flowers for LAist)
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Trina Flowers

Hawthorne • Age 42 • Freelance photographer

Lives with Leilani (19), Josh (15), Aliyah (13) and Hali'a (1)

Participatory Parent Photo Project: Trina
(Trina Flowers for LAist)

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This is just showing who runs the show here...If you don't give her her juice, if you don't give her that toy, she will scream until your ears bleed and you're like, ‘Fine, take it!’... She’s sassy!
— Trina Flowers
About Parenting, Unfiltered
  • We gave point-and-shoot film cameras to 12 Southern California parents of young children and invited them to document their lives in the Fall of 2019.

  • Join this group of families, from South Los Angeles to the San Fernando Valley and San Bernardino, as they show us what parenting really looks like, through their eyes.

Participatory Parent Photo Project: Trina
(Trina Flowers for LAist)

“So when I found this apartment, it had everything I needed, it took Section 8...I signed up for Section 8 when my oldest daughter was 7 months old and I didn't get my voucher until she was 8 and a half years old.”

“It was a nice morning, like, you see the sun coming in, [it] has a nice orange. I was just taking pictures of the living room I really don't have furniture, but a couch, two lawn chairs. And it's just saying that I'm still in [the] process of trying to make this a home.”

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A photo of Trina's burn scars on her abdomen.
(Trina Flowers for LAist)

I am also a burn survivor. I was burned when I was 5 months old by my father… I knew it was an accident...So I had no hate towards my father.
Participatory Parent Photo Project: Trina
(Trina Flowers for LAist)

“They finally approved one of my surgeries for my burns to help release pressure off my skin...I have to clean up. I have to pick up things. I have to walk the dogs. I have to pick up after the dogs and I’d be in a lot of pain...They're real quick to say like, ‘well, you know, you can lose weight.’ I'm trying. I'm trying to lose weight. The only problem is when I go work out if my burns don't swell up, my back is hurting, if my back is not hurting, someone's not watching the kids.”
Participatory Parent Photo Project: Trina
(Trina Flowers for LAist)

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“This is my 18-year-old trying to make a decision...She has her sports stuff because she was thinking about going to college for rugby, but then on this table, she has the paperwork to join the Navy... I told her, whatever she does I’m going to be proud of her.”

“This is my son's messy room… I'm trying to get him a bed. When we moved in here, all of us were on air mattresses. He's the only one left on an air mattress because my daughters’ therapists, they got them beds… Every time I tell my son, I'm going to get you a bed. I tried my grandmother like ‘OK, yeah, well, let's go find a discount place’….(but) something comes up on both of us. She gets a letter saying that the gas was never paid and she's like, ‘I paid it,’ and she has to go get that taken care of or I try to put money aside and then – boom – what? I got to pay this . So I don't want my son thinking that I don't care, but I'm trying. I even told him he can have my bed and he's like, ‘No, no, no, I want my own.’”
“What I was also showing is being a single mom – these are also medicines for my kids, too – but being a single mom that deals with domestic violence. I had to take all of this just to function in a day… I have PTSD. I have anxiety and depression. To not just bust out in tears for no reason in front of my baby, I have to take the Venlafaxine. For me to not be startled all the time, I have to take the other pills... I have medicines for insomnia. I won't take it because I'm scared that I might have a good sleep and wake up at 11 and my kids done missed school or I missed my appointment.”
Participatory Parent Photo Project: Trina
(Trina Flowers for LAist)

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“That's what our refrigerator looks like by the second week of the month… I receive food stamps. I only get $400 (a month), and I try to shop at the cheapest places that I can find… They like chicken and steak. They like salads. They're always asking ‘Are you going to make elote? I want elote,’ and I'm like, ‘OK, OK, OK.’ I’ll make elote for them. That’s what they love to eat...”

If I have enough dinner, I'll cut, like, a little piece for me, but I make sure they have enough to get seconds.

About the first photo: “My grandfather's Hawaiian; he is from the island of Oahu..I've taken all the kids there except her (Hali’a) and I'm trying to do it before she turns 2, but I don't have the money.

“When I go out there, I can breathe again. Like I have all this stuff, just my shoulders release, I'm happy out there.

About the second photo: “Just a teenage boy playing a video game and his little sister bothering him.”

Participatory Parent Photo Project: Trina
(Trina Flowers for LAist)

I want them to be strong. I want them to make their own choices that are good choices, and I am not mad at them for making a mistake. You know, that’s what you're supposed to do, so you get better.
From left: A photo of Trina's daughter Hali'a looking outside, Hali'a on a swing set, and the family standing in line outside a store with shopping carts.
(Trina Flowers for LAist)

About the first photo: “This is our first day of lockdown.”

About the second photo: “That was at Sam's Club — that was just the regular line... My grandmother had asked, can I get her some water and some bleach and soap, and her being 93 years old, you know, she can't be out.”

Recently, Trina has thought about moving.

“I have an itch to go check out Washington, because I've never seen snow fall. I love the rain. I think it's like more air. You can breathe out there and the price of living is maybe just a little bit cheaper.”

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