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Taking A Look Back and Moving Forward…

As I say goodbye to another year and welcome 2012, I have taken some time to reflect on my past, understand that the experiences I’ve been through have made molded me into the person I am today. I’ve accepted that even though I can’t change the past, I do have the power to change my future so that the past does not continue to haunt me. It is a process that begins with accepting that the past is one that should not be repeated, having the will, then finding the strength to follow through and truly change the future.

When my life was turned upside down inside out, I was overwhelmed with emotions…fear, doubt, anger, love. The most difficult was losing my pets because they were my everything, my link to reality, my “kiddos”. Even afterwards dealing with continued health problems ranging from post traumatic stress, depression, anxiety, insomnia, migraines to now discovering the stress has affected my blood sugar and thyroid. I did not know if I would ever find my way through the mess of frustration, the loss of my life as I once knew, and find may way to begin again.

Fortunately, I have a strong support system. Family and friends came to visit me from out of town when they could. While I did not have much family in town, I did have friends. At first I did not want anyone to see me in the condition I was in nor did I want anyone’s help because I felt I needed to be able to do for myself. I tried so hard to hide the pain and bleeding internal wounds. I felt weak to have to lean on others, but I also did not want to deal with those stares, gossip and crude jokes from all around. I was embarrassed of another failed marriage and blamed myself for allowing myself to get into yet another abusive and unhealthy relationship. I wasn’t answering anyone’s calls not even from the insurance or my attorneys. My bills were stacking up and was behind on all payments. My weight had dropped to literally skin and bones. I honestly did not see the toll this was taking on me. My dear friends stepped in and literally camped out with me for days. They helped me see that I could not longer continue the path I was on because it was one of self-destruction.

There are many things I have learned through all of this madness. A strong support system, holding on to my faith, understanding it was not my fault, and asking for help are the most important things that have guided me to find my way back to “life”. I was able to let go of the worry what others thought of me. Accept my past as part of who I am. Keep my chin up with one foot in front of the other. While a very difficult transition, I was finally able to return to work and prove to myself that I was a much stronger person and in a better place.

Finding a strong support system is not as easy as it sounds. While family is always there to be supportive, friends, true friends…well you just never know until something like this happens to you. I believe a true friend is someone who sticks by you when you are down and celebrates with you when you are up. It’s someone with mutual trust, who understands you, knows the real you and appreciates the person you are and, most of all, doesn’t judge you.

Sure, there are many types of friendships. There are situational friends that see each other regularly, have fun together, even share occasional disappointments, but when you move or something changes, you don’t stay in touch. Then there are casual friends that meet each other once in a while, go out for lunch and dinner, catch up on the news/gossip. You like each other, appreciate the company, but are are not best friends. Of course, there are close friends who understand the real you, help when you’re in trouble and are people you can rely on in good times and bad. They will not judge you, they let you in their lives, and care about you deeply. You see these friends more like family. Such people don’t come along often and are the friendships to be cherished.

Sometimes friendships disintegrate or people grow out of them when you don’t spend time together, have fun together and talk (I mean really talk about your lives, decisions, whatever is going on). It really depends on the person. Myself, I value loyalty above all others. I would never let my friends down, I stick by them and they by me. We understand we are human and make mistakes that with the occasional misunderstanding, we know there is forgiveness and love because the relationship is more important. Yes, we always have family, but at some point, everybody needs a friend too.

Happy New Year everyone! May your faith be strengthened, life be humbled, and your journey filled with with more joy than sorrow…and if not, maybe it’s time to take a look back so you can move forward. Take some time to evaluate your past and understand what you want for your future. Ask yourself if you have the support system to help you. If you find that you have been too busy to reach out and be a friend, make the time. Make the time to cherish the family and friends who are important to you. You just never know if someone you love and cherish is afraid to ask or even realize they need help.

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Growing A Thick Skin


Over the years, I’ve met so many people with very different personalities. Many who have become role models for me and have molded the person I am today. All along providing me with the strength to see through the many challenges in my life from childhood bullying, adoption, infertility, divorce, and yes…domestic violence. However, the hardest challenge I have faced time and again has been in the work place dealing with conflict, but the type of conflict that on the surface appears to be rewarded rather than frowned upon. Bullying.

Unfortunately, I’ve dealt with bullies in my life. After all, there are many types; childhood bully, teenage bully, best friend bully, life-partner bully and there’s the workplace bully. My experience has been to just mind my own business, treat these bullies with kindness in hopes of softening their hearts in that one day they will change. But the later, unfortunately, rarely happened partly because I, like many others, just sat back and said nothing. After all, I was an expert at walking on eggshells. I knew how to avoid conflict. My kindness was instead taken advantage of because the bully was nice to me in return only when they needed something. All the while, all I was doing was increasing my stress and frustration. For what? To avoid conflict for fear of retaliation. After all, we are taught as children that you let the adults, “the ones in charge”, handle the bad behavior. We are taught early on that nobody likes a “tattle-tail”. The only problem is that rarely does a bully act out in front of the ones in charge. So what do you do? Kinda stuck between a rock and a hard place, eh?

***Needless to say, the phrase “grow a thick skin” popped up over and over!***

I guess I never really thought about it. I don’t know, maybe I just didn’t understand the true meaning of this phrase. After all my career, not my personal life, has been by far more successful. So obviously I was doing something right! However, after the realization of my failed personal life, it came to light that, without knowing, I, in fact, had grown a thick skin. Yes, it wasn’t until I had to go to weekly counseling for the living nightmare of a near-death experience I so gratefully survived, that I became aware of exactly how thick my skin had become. It’s almost like an onion…you don’t truly know that it has layers, or how many layers, until you start peeling it. Then comes the challenging part of dissecting each layer just so in that you carefully and cleanly peel away each layer. You find yourself in tears at times, fighting hard to not let the onion’s strong layers get to you, but ultimately, to get to the center of the onion…you will have been forced to shed more than just a few tears, but a ton of weight you’ve been carrying because of the thick skin you were forced to grow.

People would tell me I don’t know how you do it, but you are the strongest person I know. Even though on the inside I felt like a fragile piece of crystal that could break into a million pieces in an instant. Was it strength? Weakness? Denial? No, it was the thick skin I had grown. I learned to block out the things that made me feel like I wasn’t good enough or weaker than others. This only worked for short periods of time though and got harder and harder instead of easier. Why? Well, I never dealt with the real issue. The bully! You see, it takes more effort to shield yourself of the bad stuff so as to avoid being hurt by the bully. Instead, you end up hurting yourself by carrying more weight than you need to.

So now when I hear, “Oh that’s just the way that person is, you just need to learn to grow a thick skin and shrug it off,” I just cringe! I’ve worked so hard at peeling back the layers that I say NO! Why should I have to grow a thick skin when the bully is the problem? I’ve realized that I can’t ignore them anymore. I can’t sit back and pretend that everything is all fine and dandy. I can’t continue to treat the bully with kindness when I know their behavior is wrong. It shouldn’t stop there either…if I see others being treated this way, I feel obligated to step in. Why? Because I know what it’s like to live in fear and frustration…and not speaking up only empowers the bully’s behavior and gives them permission to act as they do.

Next time you see someone being bullied, whether at work or not, stop and think how you would feel if this were happening to you. Would you want someone to tell you, “Oh just grow a thick skin” or would you prefer they stand by your side and defend against the bully? Strength in numbers, right?…so are we going to let the bully population grow or are we going to stand up and speak out?

http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/2011/03/dateline-on-bullying-my-kids-w.html

LIVING TO SHARE RAISES $1,300 IN FIRST WEEK OF CAMPAIGN

Organization Seeks To Double Donation Amount Each Week

DALLAS:   The non-profit, Living To Share, created by Rowlett Domestic Violence survivor Veronica Galaviz announced Monday that during it’s first week of actively soliciting contributions for its mission, the organization raised $1,300.

Galaviz was nearly murdered when her estranged husband broke into her home at 1:30 a.m. on April 21, 2010, and set the house on fire before shooting himself and killing her pets in the process. As part of her recovery, Galaviz has created LivingToShare.org and created her non-profit organization to help others who might be in a tragic domestic relationship.

“The response to our organization’s mission and goals has been overwhelming in the first week alone,” Galaviz said. “We’ve raised more than $1,300 from close friends, supporters, and North Texas businesses also supportive of our mission to raise awareness for stopping Domestic Violence and bringing about needed changes to reduce those who are victimized by this horrible social problem. Each week we want to double the amount raised the prior week.”

After being featured in a news story on CBS 11 KTVT in Dallas last week, Galaviz has received several invitations to speak, including invitations from two law enforcement organizations.  She also has received a copy of a draft bill from a DFW legislative office that seeks to add a stalking provision to the awarding of a protective order.  She also held a successful fund-raiser in Addision, Texas Saturday night.

“We have a lot of work ahead with the upcoming session of the Texas Legislature,” Galaviz said.  “Hearing that legislation is pending was hugely encouraging, but also just a beginning of what needs to be done to help track protective order violators, and raise law enforcements’ training when it comes to dealing with Domestic Violence situations.”

Galaviz said donations will be used to cover expenses for the organization’s operations as the 2011 Texas legislative session draws near.  Funds also will be used for national research, outreach, travel, and supporting Domestic Violence survivors like herself as they try to get their feet back on the ground.  Galaviz says she will work nationally on the issue to affect change where ever it is needed.

Donations can be sent to Living To Share, PO Box 861885, Plano, TX 75086-1885 or paid online at PayPal.

During the April attack, Galaviz awoke to find her estranged husband in her home and armed with a shotgun.  He told Galaviz that he was going to kill her.  Galaviz says thankfully she had a friend also in the home who attempted to fend off her husband.  The friend was shot in the hand in the process.  Thankfully, Galaviz and her friend were able to escape and call authorities.  When the Rowlett Fire Department arrived at the home it was engulfed in flames (which burned to the ground) and her attacker was found dead inside along with her 3 pets.

Galaviz’s conflict remains that she repeatedly notified the Rowlett Police Department of her husband’s violations of a protective order that was issued in November of 2009 with the assistance of her attorney, Julie Lucio, of Lucio, LaFleur and Associates in Richardson.

Each time Galaviz confronted RPD they told her that her husband hadn’t done enough to warrant his arrest so he could be brought before the judge who issued the protective order.

Veronica Galaviz

After surviving an attack in her home on April 21, 2010 by her estranged husband, Veronica Galaviz now seeks to raise awareness about the dangers of domestic violence, increase victims’ rights, implement tougher enforcement of protective orders and sensitivity training for police officers who respond to domestic violence complaints, and offer educational grants to victims allowing them to obtain financial independence and freedom from their abusers.

Claxton Creative, LLC

Claxton Creative is a DFW-area based public relations firm focused on Social impact, innovation and invention.  Owned by former political advisor and Dallas ISD spokesman Donald Claxton, the company specializes in social media and traditional mediums to market and brand products domestically and internationally.  The company provides PR services for brands, bloggers, businesses and school districts.

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