reCHARGE® Your Life

Ep64: Valeria Elliott reCHARGED

August 03, 2022 Dr. Keri Ohlrich & Kelly Guenther
reCHARGE® Your Life
Ep64: Valeria Elliott reCHARGED
Show Notes Transcript

If we had to describe the theme of this podcast in one word, it would "gratitude." Valeria Elliott starts our episode by sharing with us the inspiration she finds through the Bible and the PBS show Finding Your Roots. The idea of understanding the journey that others before her have taken reminds her to be kind, to love and to always be present.

Better known as “Ms. V The Storyteller,” Valeria Elliot lost her voice at the age of six and didn't get it back until she was twenty-three. As a result, she started sharing her personal stories and decided to turn them into a podcast. Her stories are personal, and she uses them as a tool to help others. Valeria believes that stories can educate, heal, free, and propel people into making new and better choices.

Connect with Valeria to learn more about her and her background:

Sign up for our newsletter at https://abbraccigroup.com/. Please subscribe, leave a review and tell your friends about our podcast. Learn more about the CHARGE® model by purchasing the book, The Way of the HR Warrior. Let us know about the moments for you that changed your life trajectory. Drop us a note via our website.

Keri [00:00:13] Welcome to the Recharge Your Life podcast with me Dr. Keri Ohlrich and Kelly Guenther. We are thrilled to talk to people who have made a decision that recharged their lives. Often they push themselves out of their comfort zones and took risks. We want to know about that decision point. Why did they make that decision? And most importantly, how can we learn from them? Kelly and I are passionate HR professionals, and together we co-founded our consulting firm Abbracci Group.. We have talked to amazing people throughout our careers and listen to them as they make decisions that change their lives and knew that these inspirational stories would help others. And why did we call it reCHARGE®? It's based on a book I coauthored called The Way of the HR Warrior. And in it we have a leadership model CHARGE which stands for Courage, Humility, Accuracy, resiliency, goal oriented and exemplary. We know that people used one or more of these qualities to help them make their decisions, and we want to learn from them. Now sit back, listen, and be inspired by these stories and then do something to recharge your life. Let's get to it. 

Kelly [00:01:19] Hi, everyone, it's Kelly. We're thrilled to have Valeria Elliott as our special guest. Valeria Elliott is better known as Ms. V, the Storyteller. She lost her voice at the age of six and didn't get it back until she was 23. As a result, Valeria started sharing her personal stories and decided to turn them into a podcast. Her stories are personal and she uses them as a tool to help others. Valeria believes that stories can educate, heal free and propel people into making new and better choices. Valeria We always like to start our podcast by asking what you do when you want to expand your thinking. 

Valeria [00:01:59] One of the main things that I do is I read my Bible and I meditate. I have to I have to spend time with God to prepare myself mentally for for the day, even if it's not going to be a great day. I just need to have that space and that time. And then there is there is like a show that comes on that I'm always I always go to to help push me. And it's called Finding My Roots. And it's a show that comes on PBS. And it basically they they have guest on the show in the guest find their roots. They they go back all the way back in time. And when I look at that show, it makes me feel so inspired to move forward because I think about my ancestors and everything that they gone that they had gone through and they made it in order for me to be here. So if they can go through all the things that they went through, I can do the same. So it just pushes me. Every time I watch an episode. I'm like, You know what? I'll stop that. I'm going to stop complaining and I'm going to move forward. So the Bible meditation and Finding My Roots, that program is amazing. 

Keri [00:03:14] Valeria, I welcome and thank you again for joining us. We're so excited. And I was just thinking when you said it's kind of you have this short term daily, which is the Bible and your meditation and then finding my roots and I can see the person, the who's the host, what's his name again? 

Valeria [00:03:33] Louis Gates. 

Keri [00:03:36] Gates, Gates, Gates. That's yeah. I was like, I can see it. I haven't watched it but I love I know the premise and so I adore that you this gratitude is such a thread already that I can tell. So the gratitude and like this is what I come from, this is what I understand. And I kind of go, I've, I've done so much like Jimmy, like you, like you understand the the longitudinal of life. But then also you do the short term, which is I need to meditate daily and kind of get right daily. Does that make sense? 

Valeria [00:04:14] I think yes, it does, absolutely. And you know, because I'm a storyteller, I look at it this way. The Bible is a book of stories. When I look at this show, Finding Your Finding My Roots, that is a story. That is my history. That's stories of my history, of other people's histories. And I love it. And the meditation is just for me to sit quietly, not talk, just sit. Sometimes I just put music on the the ocean in the ways and just sit quietly so I can be center, so I can make sure, you know, I'm going in the right direction and those things. You just wouldn't believe how they help you. Even a TV program, you know, just watching someone else go through their journey and through their stories of their life is inspirational to you as well as for them. 

Keri [00:05:01] Yes. Well, and we're going to get to why you're such a storyteller and why it's so important to you. But it it's so powerful. It's the reason that we do this podcast is a reason to do your podcast, because so many people learn and grow through a story, not in research, which we like research too, but no one cares. As I changed my life because I read a stat, right? Right. They say it because I heard a movie tell me a story. Right. They like she made me feel something. And that's what the Bible in the meditation does for you as well as finding my roots. Have you real quick because we are we are lots of our guests talk about meditation how and just kind of being that centered have you done that for a very long time and it's now kind of easier for you? We always kind of try to help people like how do you break into that? How do you kind of center yourself and do that? And it is a daily habit. 

Valeria [00:05:57] Well, it's not easy. It's really not easy at all because your mind does not like to be quiet. It likes to keep talking. And a friend of mine, she calls it "mind chatter" and it just like a whole bunch of talking going on and is very difficult to do it from the beginning. So what I fell because I struggled at the very beginning just to sit quietly. Now I can sit in my house quietly, I can be here and I'm quiet, but my mind is always thinking, What do you need to do next? And you know, especially as women, because we have so much on our plates, you know, it's like our mind is like you don't have time to be quiet because you have to do the case. You have your husband, you have your job, you have your business, you have all of this and your mind doesn't want to be. So what I start doing is I love the beach. The beach is my most favorite place in the world. I can be so centered there. So I will go on YouTube and I would pull up the oceans and the waves and I would put my ear earbuds in and I would sit and I listen to it and I imagine myself at the beach. It quiets me down so quick, even like right now, if I would just to put those waves on in the back, my whole body would immediately go into relaxation mode because that is a place that I've found. That brings me peace, it brings me down. So I would start off with that and I would just play that music and it just helps my mind. I see myself on the beach. I feel the the water underneath my feet. I feel the sand, I smell the ocean because I've been there so many times. So I can actually visualize myself there and that helps me. And then after about 10 minutes of that, then I start to turn that music down. And then by that time, I'm starting to get a lot calmer. 

Keri [00:07:43] Mm hmm. 

Valeria [00:07:44] And then. Then I, you know, I start just praising God and just talking to the Lord, and it just brings me down. But it's not easy at Fox at first. You have to find that thing that you know, that some people like to climb mountains. Some people like to wrap icicles, you know, whatever that thing is. And if there's music associated with because music will bring you in so quickly, you'll be surprised and not necessarily with words, but just music in general and just put music on just to center yourself, just to bring yourself in, you know, and then go into your meditation, going into, you know, and meditation to me is just me simply talking to God and listening, just having a conversation and actually listening with intention. I want to take this time to talk to you or I need you to show me what I need to do next. If you have a business, that's what I do. Lord, what do you want me to do today? With an intent? And. And that's what I do. 

Keri [00:08:45] I that nugget of just kind of plane like for you it's the beach but finding something that can kind of center yourself even before you want to meditate, read the Bible, talk to God. So to kind of clear it out, clear out your brain and start to focus. And so what is that in the fact that you told such a vivid story about being at the beach and you can feel everything? It's incredibly helpful for people who want to get started. Hmm. Yeah. Thank you. And maybe before the podcast, we talked about how you have a list of questions for God. And that's a holiday that is a whole other podcast because we already talked about one of Journey, and that is I'm going to be thinking about that all day, like, why did you create puberty? Why did you do that? So we're going to get into that. 

Valeria [00:09:31] That's like my favorite question. 

Keri [00:09:34] Well, let's have a whole podcast about God's questions. 

Valeria [00:09:37] You know, whatever. And I think it's okay to ask that question is I ask questions all the time. God is not sitting up high in heaven like, No, you can answer. The crowd wants us. He wants to ask them questions. He wants to communicate with him. He wants us to have, you know, so that life can be easier, you know, because God knows everything. So when I ask him a question, he already knows the answer. But sometimes he may not give me the direct answer, but he may give me steps to get to the answer, you know, so, you know, open up. Talk to God. He'd love to hear from you. Just what I am struggling I'm having to do is get this man out my face, you know, whatever it is, God is like, okay, I got you, baby, because I love you. 

Keri [00:10:23] Well, I love that. And let's go to the big question is what decision did you make or was made for you that changed the trajectory of your life? And what are some of those church qualities that you use to help you through that? 

Valeria [00:10:38] Well, for me it was I made a choice at six to stop talking. I was not sick. It wasn't health related. It was basically family dynamics that was going on. And I felt as though if I was quiet, then I wouldn't get into trouble and life would be better for me. And after doing it for a bit of time, it actually happened. You know, I didn't get in as much trouble, you know, even in school, I didn't get in trouble. I what happened was because I wasn't talking, the only trouble I would say in I wouldn't say is technically trouble. It was more concern is, you know, we need your daughter to start speaking up in class. We need her to talk. She doesn't talk in class. So to me, that's not necessarily a bad thing because I did my work, you know, I didn't get in trouble. You know, the only thing was if a teacher called up on me, you know, good luck because I wasn't going to open my mouth, answer questions in class. So that was a decision that kind of changed my life. But then when I turned 23, it became a Christian. I made a decision to get on my knees and ask for my voice back. Ask God to give me my voice back. And God did that. However, be careful when you pray because God will give you exactly what you asked for. Because I got my voice back. But I got it back in a way that wasn't a positive. It was a negative because I had been hurt so much from so many people being mean and nasty towards me, talking across me. I felt like I had no value, I had no self-esteem, and I was acting out of hurt. People were hurting me so badly. So I turn into them. I turn into, I'm going to get you before you hurt me. So I would cuss someone out. I would be mean or nasty. I turn into the bullies and the people who had turned me. And I am so grateful to God because what God did was He allowed me to hear myself one day and I heard myself talk and I'm like, Oh my God, I'm supposed to be a representation for the Lord. And I am sitting here cussing people out. And I was like, Oh my God. It was like an aha moment, as Oprah would say. I have now turned into the people who hurt me. And I was so upset by the time I got home, I was bawling. I was crying so hard. I was like, I cannot be this person. I don't want to go back to the non talker, but I definitely do not want to be the customer outer because that's what I called her. God, I went on my knees again. I'm like, Lord, I'm. I'm a representation of you. I do not want to be this person. Please help me get a happy medium. Help me to find a place where I can feel comfortable. And again, God did that exact thing. What? I asked. Now I will say I'm not 5050 because you catch me on a bad day. I'm not. I'm not perfect. I'm human. Especially when I'm driving that, you know, the comes out of my come out, I try not to use cuss words, so I make up words to fill in the blank. But I also don't want to go back to the non speaker. So I'm about a good 75 ish, 65 seven ish on a good spectrum. You know, there's a little bit, but there's a little bit and everybody I mean, we're not perfect. That's why we need God. So, yeah, but I'm a lot better than I was. 

Keri [00:14:11] How so? Okay. This is like. Such as? I have two major questions. Let's go back to when you were six years old and you have the insight to like at six, usually you're, I don't know, sticking Legos up your nose. Right. So how did you. It's six eight. That's it. I'm going to be quiet because this is just better for me to be quiet and I'm not. And when you say you're not speaking, did you just, like, not speak at all? Like, I'm hungry? Like, did you say, like, I would like this and just you didn't speak much or did you just stop speaking?  

Valeria [00:14:45] Well, the answer the first part of your question. Yeah, as a scout, you were a six year old. You would be surprised how smart sixth graders are. Six years. Six? Yeah. People that are six. You'll be surprised how smart they are. That's why I'm always telling parents, you really need to talk to your children because you don't know what they're thinking. Yeah. And at five, because I used to be a preschool teacher, and then I was a first grade, second grade kindergarten teacher. They are like sponges. They absorb everything and they are learning how to use their first voices. They are learning how the world operates. You know, it could be a TV program and they saw something on a TV program at six and say, oh my God, it worked on TV, not realizing it's not real. And so they let me try that. Let me see if that's going to work in my world. You know, that's not what happened with me. With me. It was that I was already a shy child anyway in an interview room. So and I'm number three in line of four. And so I didn't really have a lot of voice anyway because I had an older I have a older sister and a older brother who, you know, they were in charge or whatever. So for me to just stop talking, it wasn't a hard decision. It wasn't anything like, oh my gosh, you know, it was just one day. I'm just saying, I said to my son, you know, I'm just not going to say anything because what's the point? It was just that simple. What's the point? You know, I'm going to get in trouble. They're going to believe him or her, you know? So you know what? Just be quiet. Just don't say anything. And that's exactly what I did. Now, if my my mom or my dad would ask me something, of course I will answer it, you know, or you know, it wasn't like I had to ask for. Well, you know, I'm a chubby child, so listen, I came in the world. I guess so. I'm like, Mom, can I have a cookie? Sure you have a cookie or something like that. But if it wasn't one of those things where I had to. Then the choice would be not to talk. I spent a lot of time with older adults like my great grandma, my great grandfather. My grandmother. You know, my aunties and everything. You know, it was just easy. I could just be myself. And I didn't really have to be fearful of, you know, talking around them. But when I was around, anyone else is like, you know why? It's just easier. It was just easier. Just not to say anything. 

Keri [00:17:11] Mm hmm. And so you continued that. Just kind of like. I'm not. I'm going to be pretty quiet. Not going to say much. It's easier. And so was it easier for you then as you went through let's get up to kind of 23 years old, but like going through school did be was it easier for you and how kind of were you feeling throughout this? 

Valeria [00:17:33] It it was to a certain extent and it wasn't because t is a mean. Let me just just break it down to everybody. If you've been in school, anybody have been in elementary, middle school, high school, the children I mean, the more people that walk around, they just mean and when they find someone, it's like they have a radar. Oh, my God, she's fluffy. And I like the word fluffy instead of fat. So she's fluffy and she doesn't top big when we we being I'm she's my target and that's that. But the people who I was not there to target, they didn't really bother me. They just say, oh, she's shy. She doesn't. But I have more of the target, me being a target. Then I had not. I am grateful that God put me in the classroom with some amazing teachers who saw that in me and pulled it out of me. They kind of like took me under their wing and, you know, kind of tried to help me. But, you know, that I believe that's the thing that helped me through school having certain teachers, because I can remember those teachers who protected me who wouldn't allow, you know, in their classroom. I remember in middle school, that's what I really needed it. Mr. Coleman on my part because I write about him because he was one of my favorite teacher. He refused to allow anyone to mistreat me. And I loved that. But then, you know, I had some other teachers who didn't care. You know, they let them joke me. They would let them pick on me. So for me, that decision, it was it in school, it wasn't good. But again, I was trying to protect myself. And I, I thought that was a great decision. I feel like it went on a little bit too long in the beginning. I think it was a great decision because it worked and it worked wonderfully. I didn't get in trouble, you know, with elementary school a little bit, but that middle school in high school, somebody should have been talking. That was me. 

Keri [00:19:36] Wait, what? Then you talked about kind of turning the 23. So you make this decision, you're like, I'm going to be quieter. But as you said, you didn't really have your voice then. You didn't kind of practice your voice. And so when it came out, then it became the kind of the people who were targeting you. You start to sound like them, which you and I know how and Kelly to how easy it is to get teased. And then you become the teaser, right? Like, so that cycle keeps continuing. Mm hmm. So how did you kind of start to use your voice? And then you're like, Oh, this isn't the way. Like you said, you went home crying. I want to hear about that when you kind of went, Oh, no, I'm becoming them. Okay. 

Valeria [00:20:20] Well, my voice, my mouth became a weapon of destruction. I mean, I it it it was almost like. A switch. This that's kind of flipped on. Okay, now you can talk. Oh, if she come at you the wrong way. Oh, you get her before you get. She gets you. Oh, even my family or whatever. Oh, no, no, no, no, no, no. You can't talk to her anymore. She's gone. You're dealing with the new me. Okay. You better get out my face. You know, I became a bully. You know, I'm like, Oh, no, I would. I was definitely going to get you before you got me, even if you looked at me the wrong way. Why are you looking at me? What? Yeah, I'm fat. Yeah, I'm fluffy. What? What? You have to say that kind of bullying kind of thing, you know? But I had went so many years of that happening to me. It's kind of like I became that person through going through all of the pain and all the things I went through school, it it kind of like just jumped on me and out of I always talk about my heart and my heart had so much damage and so much hurt into it. Whatever is in your heart is going to come out of you. Mm hmm. And all of that stuff built up. I mean, it wasn't one year. It wasn't two years. It wasn't five years. You know, it was it was like 18, 16, 18 years of this. And now, you know, I have my voice. I don't know how to use it in a positive way, because that's not what I've encountered. I've encountered negativity for the most part. So that's what I'm going to spew out. Negativity hurt, you know, anger, you know, all those negative feelings. But God is so merciful, is so grateful. That day at the game, I was at a football game. And God is it's almost like someone just took the earbuds out of my ears and just allowed me shut out everybody else's voice. And all I heard was my voice and what was coming out. And if you've ever had a moment like that where you actually hear yourself and what you're saying, it will change your life, I think, especially if it's negative and you're like, Oh my God, that was me saying that. And then I put two and two together and but you know, because I'm upset about it and as I'm driving home, you know, all of these pieces of puzzles are coming together and I'm realizing, oh, my God, you have now turned into them. 

Keri [00:22:55] Mm hmm. 

Valeria [00:22:57] And that's when the tears just start rolling. I'm like, Oh my God. I am them. I am her. And I could name people the bully when I was in school, you know, I was like, I never put my hands on people. Like, he put his hands on me. But my words were just as bad as he is. You know, my my worst things that were coming out of my mouth was just as bad as if I was physically putting my hands on someone because the pain was still there. It may not have been a physical pain, but it was a mental pain. It was a pain that hurt them to their heart. And I'm like, I hate this. I cannot live like this. And I'm like, Lord, I do not want to go back to not talking. I do not want to go through that any more. But I definitely do not want to be the customer at it. So please help me. And as time went on, you know, my heart started to change. And God start allowing me to encounter positivity, positive things by going to church, by reading my Bible, you know, and getting to really know God and how much he loved me. You know, that was like a love that I wasn't used to. And I'm like, Oh, my God, you love me so much that you protected me by giving me teachers, you know, that washed over me. And then you sent me to a church that was feeding me spiritually, helping me to grow. And then you allowed me to get my voice back, but then you allowed me to hear myself again. And then you came back, you know? I'm like that. That's some that's some pretty good love. And that is a pretty good love it for, you know, to see all of that and then allow me to develop and become the woman that I am now. I'm telling your guy that pretty good when it comes to loving on. 

Keri [00:24:50] You know that it's so it's that like that love. Because I was just thinking when you were talking, I was like, oh, my goodness, you're kind of like a tea kettle. So all this building, building, building, building, building, year after year after year and all that negativity and so all of this, all other people's stuff, right, that they were putting into you and the negative and the bullying. And then it kind of this explodes. And what's so beautiful about your story is that whereas a lot of people become the bully or like, wait, the cycle keeps continuing, the cycle keeps continuing. I was bullied, so I'm going to bully others. I was abused, I'm going to abuse others. Like that whole thing that you had, that moment of hearing yourself and instead of squashing that down, you said, no, I'm going to I'm going to do something like this really impacted me. So what maybe a couple of those, like maybe the church qualities that you used and some of the advice you have for people who whatever cycle you're in. Lots of us say like, I don't want to be by parents, right? Or I don't want to be that person. And then you have this moment. You look in the mirror just like you said, and you are I am that person. Oh, my gosh. The thing I didn't want to be. So what how did you. You talked about God and and and that love and the positivity. But what are some of the charge qualities and some of the actions you want to share with people so they can move through it as beautifully as you have? 

Valeria [00:26:13] Well, for me, it took courage. It took courage to sit down and again, hear yourself not like it and to make it and say, you know, I don't like what I just heard. And then it took courage to drive home and have all of those memories, all those people who hurt you and you absorb it. And then it took courage to get on your knees and say, I do not want to be that person, because, like you said, I could have easily said, okay, well, well, they deserve it. You know, I could have put up a wall and say, okay, well, that's just who I am. Now, people ought to understand all those years I went through and they hurt me. It's about time some people got hurt back, you know, let me pay the world back for all the bad that it's done to me. It took courage and it's hard. It is. And it wasn't an easy journey, I would tell anybody is very difficult because now you you're struggling with two people. When you get in a situation or or a place, you know, you have to make a decision. You know, sometimes I'm in a room full of people in the little girl is back there. She was like, come on, just don't say anything. Be quiet. But then you're like, No, I don't want to go back to being her. But then you have the customer out on the other side is like, Well, if anybody say anything to you, you just cuss them out or you just lay them out. And then it takes courage to make the decision to say, You know what, I'm not going to be either one of you, because that was the old me, the new me. I'm going to love on these people. I'm going to joke around. I'm going to use my humor. I'm going to be the person who I am today, the person that God created to be to day. That's who I'm going to be. And then it takes resilience. You have to constantly. We go over and over it. And just keep pushing yourself forward. Just keep pushing yourself and saying, you know what? I am resilient, you know, and that that brings me back to the first one when when I look at the show, Finding Your Roots, those people went through hell to get here. Those people they fought. You know, you know, my history, you know, being partially African-American, you know, I my I know my family's roots, but I know what they went through to get me here. So every time my great grandfather, I love him. He was an entrepreneur. He had businesses. He owned land. He was he is like my hero. And I always think about his resilience, how he just kept pushing forward no matter what happened, if some trouble came in one business, he had other businesses that he could fall apart. And he just kept going. He had goals, and that was another way of being goal oriented. He had goals that him set for himself. And now I have goals and I'm like, No, I'm not going to set a goal. Could be a simple is a goal is this today I am going to love on three people. I'm going to say three nice things to people. And I remember doing it just the other day at the doctor's office. I took my mom to the doctor and one of the nurses came out. It was a male nurse and he looked like he was having a hard day. And I literally walked up to him and I said, You know what? I like your hair. You know, it looks really nice on you. And he threw him so far back because, you know, that's not the norm in this world. Right? Nobody wants to you and give you a compliment. You might catch it maybe once a month, if that. And I said to you, I said to him, I really like your ponytail. I like that it looks really nice on you. And he was like, thank you so much. And I said, Can you do me a favor? Can you pay it forward? Find somebody else today and give them a compliment. And he said, Ma'am, I can do that. He messed me up when he said, Ma'am, because I'm like, Look. But no, he said, Yes, I would do. And I was like, Thank you. But it that's that could be a simple goal. You know, for me, like today, a simple goal would be you're going to make it through the day and you're only going to think positive thoughts. Mm hmm. Being goal. And, you know, people think when you're goal oriented is basically, you know, oh, in five years, I'm going to own a company. Well, let's get through today. Let's make a short term goal. Let's get through the day without throwing your kids out the window, you know, without messing about the car, you know, without yelling at your husband, you know, let's make a shot at. Let's try to. 

Keri [00:30:41] Yeah. I would say to when I listen to your story, there's so much humility as well that you are humbled to God. Right? You're like, you know what? I need some answers. I need some help. I need to talk to people. It's kind of bigger than I am. Like, that's what I hear through. You didn't mention it, but I hear that when you talk and just like, you know, I've seen the teakettle filled up with negative and now you're flipping it to fill up everyone's teakettle with positive, right? So, so when they kind of when the tea kettle goes off with the people who have interacted with you, it'll be positive, like the the nurse with the ponytail. So he'll go out and he's going to put positive into the world. And so it's just so it's so beautiful. Your story on how you have taken all the negative and didn't become a bully and said, I'm going to become something different. And I was just thinking of Kelly when, when we were talking about the the cancer out outer, that's for sure. Not Kelly Guenther. 

Kelly [00:31:44] Not ever. 

Keri [00:31:45] Ever. She doesn't even understand swear words and she's never said one and she doesn't know what you're talking about. So I think this podcast was very hard for Kelly because she doesn't understand that. 

Kelly [00:31:56] I keep a very even keel. So I, I have no idea. Yeah, such a beautiful story. And I think for, for me when I hear it, it's the intentionality that you take every day. Once you made the commitment that you saw the version of yourself that you were when you were six and growing up through 23. You knew you didn't want to get to that place or you didn't want to go back to being that person who didn't have a voice or chose not to use your voice. And then when you found your voice, you didn't want to use it for ways that were negative or not helpful for you not serving you. But the intentionality, the work that you did, how did you find God? Were you were you a family that was religious?

Valeria [00:32:46] Yes, we were. We were raised in the church. My grandmother, even though my parents may not have gone to church, my grandmother would pick us up or my parent, my dad would drop us off and we would go to church with my grandmother. So God has always been a part of my life. But, you know, when you become teenagers or when you become young adults, sometimes you stray away from it or you just want to live your own life or whatever. But I believe that God has always had his hands upon my life because I look back in so many situations that I know it was nothing but my angels and God that got me out of it. And I'm so glad that God gave me good vision to see it. Good ears to hear it, because oftentimes we just blow off. That was great luck. No, it wasn't great love. Your angels was protecting you. You know, there was a time when I was at a beach and it was a private beach. I had no business being there. I was the only black person there. And so, of course, you know, they would have seen me out of everybody. They went, Oh, yeah. And but honestly, the angel, you know, was like, You need to leave now. You need to leave now. And I'm grateful that I heard it. I got up as I was pulling out. The police was coming in, and by the time I got home, it was a news story. It was on the news. And there was no way I would be able to tell my parents while I was down there. First of all, I was under age and there was underage drinking and partying going down there. I had no business down there, but that's what I'm saying. I'm grateful. And sometimes you have to be in tune. You have to be open enough to listen and not push those voices and those things away because you don't want to deal with life is hard. And I'm not saying that my life was easy. And even now, you know, I do struggle. I struggle with the six year old. I struggle with the are out I struggle with them sometimes depending on the situation where I am. I struggle with especially when I'm driving, oh, my God. You know, because people in a row are crazy, you know, they just crazy. So when I'm driving, I'm like, okay, okay, a short term goal today I'm going to drive and I'm just going to let the people in, you know, if they do something wrong, I'm just going to turn a music up. I'm going to smile and let it go. Now, that don't happen every day, but I make it I make it a goal to set for myself that, you know, that's what I'm going to do. But I'm learning to deal with it. And it's like anything that you go through a long term, it becomes a part of you. That's a part of me. It's not going to go anywhere, you know. But what I choose to do with it is up to me. I make choices every day. I'm not going to be the six year old. I'm not going to be the cuts are out. You know what? I'm b I'm gonna be a great representation of God. That's why I'm having the best version of myself. 

Kelly [00:35:32] I mean, that's so beautiful because it is like you said, it is a choice and we make a choice of how we want to represent ourselves. In your case, how you can represent God as well. And I think you're such a good I think for women in particular, Valeria, you represent just the power of belief in in in ourselves as women, especially now, because we live in such a difficult time. And I think for women, a powerful voice like yours is so incredibly helpful. And so I love the words that you're sharing and the intentionality behind them and the hope that you give to because you have a distinct desire in your heart that you know the difference of what you were and how you were living when you were younger. And you also know that you've made choices that you weren't necessarily proud of. But when you make the right decisions for yourself, that you live a life that allows you to live in truth. And so for you, that's what's most important. And as a representative of God, that's what makes you the happiest. And so we're so thankful that you were able to be a guest in our podcast to share your incredibly poignant and inspirational story. We will incorporate all your all your information into our show notes so that everyone has an opportunity to connect with you. And I hope that everyone will. So Valeria, thank you so much for being a guest on our podcast. We're just so humbled that you were able to join us and share your story with us. 

Valeria [00:37:14] Thank you so much, Kelly. Thank you guys for just allowing me to have a place to share my story because I want to help as many people as I can. I want to help women especially to get their voices back and to use it for a positive. So thank you for giving me this platform. You know, Kelly, I know you don't know about the customer outer, so maybe, you know, your sister could share with you. You know, here I can share with you about the cusser outer. 

Kelly [00:37:47] Especially on the road. I have no idea what that looks like either.  

Valeria [00:38:05] I need to just sit right and just pull it all. Can I get that?  

Kelly [00:38:11] We should have a reality show. I think it would be quite lovely and quite hilarious too, but we're just so grateful. Thank you so much again, Valeria, for being on our podcast and for sharing your story. We're really honored that you were able to join us. 

Valeria [00:38:25] You're welcome. Thank you.  

Kelly [00:38:27] Thank you. Thank you for listening to the Recharge Your Life podcast. Please sign up for our newsletter at Abbracci Group.com And follow us on social media. You can find us on LinkedIn at Abbracci Group. Instagram at WarriorsofHR and Twitter at Warriors_HR. Remember to subscribe to our podcast. Leave a review and please tell a friend and be sure to drop us a note on how you are recharging your life. We can't wait to hear from you.