"Oftentimes, when a woman leaves an abusive husband, she narrowly escapes with little more than her children and the clothes on her back. We desire to do all we can to help specific mothers who are living in very poor conditions."
I would like to take a break from skin care to tell you a story. It's a story that is very near and dear to my heart.
Three years ago I became involved in a community of survivors of domestic violence. I spent time learning their stories. I came to respect and admire these women as the brave, resilient, amazing heroines that they are. One of most tragic parts of the stories of these women was what they endure after they finally find the courage to disentangle themselves from their toxic relationship. That is where our story picks up.
***Trigger warning*** While this story is fiction, it is also very realistic to struggle of escaping and recovering from a toxic relationship and may be triggering to survivors.
Note: the details of this specific story are entirely made up, but they reflect the very real stories of the women that it represents.
Julie (made up name) sat the fast food restaurant watching her two small children play on the play ground. She had ordered the largest box of chicken nuggets on the menu for them to all split. It was all she could afford. Her son had protested pretty stubbornly, he wanted the kid's meal with a toy, and having to tell him no heaped another burden on her already heavy heart. Where should she go next? Her friend, Beth, had told her to go the domestic violence shelter and ask for help, but George had never hit her. He had rarely even raised his voice to her. As she sat in these thoughts another giant wave doubt washed over her. Was she doing the right thing? She pulled out her notebook to read through her reassurances.
Psychological abuse the counselor had called it. He explained to her that even though she had never been hit, the emotional, financial, and spiritual manipulation in her relationship definitely qualified as abuse. He told her that psychological abuse left deep scars that were often much worse than those of physical abuse, and that most physically abusive relationships rely mainly on emotional manipulation to keep their targets in check. He then told her that emotional violence was precursor to physical violence and the longer she stayed the greater the chance of George turning to physical violence. She knew he was right, she had noticed George was becoming more difficult to predict, and she had been genuinely afraid a few times recently, especially since she had started seeing that counselor.
Her counselor was teaching her about proper boundaries; he was helping her learn how to take care of herself and she was finally starting to feel like a real person again. The problem was, it seemed like the happier and healthier Julie became, the more violent George became. She couldn't understand it, he had been so attentive and caring when they were dating, what had happened?
Oh well, it didn't matter right now. Right now what mattered was what to do next. She needed a job, and soon. George had cut her off from their funds the day she left. She had been able to withdraw some cash first, but that was all she had. Thank God her car was in her name. His credit wasn't good enough for a loan, so they had put the car loan in her name, she was thankful for small blessings. But she needed to find a job, and she needed some place to stay until she could afford an apartment. Her family wouldn't help, they love George and couldn't understand why Julie couldn't just be content with him.
"How did I get to this point?" she thought with a sigh. She had a master's in business management, she had a great career when she met George, they had actually met at the office. People respected her, and she was the youngest person in her position at her company. She was strong, independent, successful woman. "I have the credentials, I just need to find the right job," she told herself with confidence.
Weeks went by, and then months. Julie had taken a small retail job to make ends meet until she could find a better job. She needed to find something else soon. The apartment she was renting was damp, cold, and filthy. She had cleaned it as best as she could, but it wasn't much. Beth would have let her stay at her house longer, but she didn't want to be a burden, and she was terrified of losing the one friendship she had left by overstaying her welcome. She wasn't sure if she would be able to pay the electric bill this month. George's attorney had contacted her yesterday. She had applied for a credit card to pay for a lawyer herself. The thought of more bills to pay terrified her. If she had known how insanely expensive childcare was she would have prepared better. Hindsight is like that. She wasn't sure how to afford more childcare hours even with a better job. She hadn't wanted all this. She just wanted to be free of the pain, she wanted to get her life back. But she was stuck.
This is where I'll leave this story. This is a story I made up, but it could easily be the story of countless women who have left abusive relationships only to face even more struggles and hardships. These women are often well educated, and very capable, all they need is someone who will come along to help pay for child care, buy their children some warm jackets and shoes that don't have holes in them, or help out with school supplies and meals. These women also need emotional support, they have lived in a psychological battlefield for years and are often traumatized.
What does this have to do with a skincare business?
When I started my business someone asked me what my "why" was. What did I want to accomplish with my business. I wanted to provide all natural, safe and effective skin care for people, but what did I want to do with the money I earned? In the short term I was only focused on being able to support myself and my two precious boys, but I have a bigger dream. I want to give these women the helping hand up that they so desperately need. I am now getting to take my first step towards this goal.
My new Heart & Wings logo is featured on two of my products, my Lip Balm, and my Tattoo Aftercare Balm.
$2.15 for every H&W lip balm, and $2.60 from every Tattoo Aftercare Balm sold will be donated to Give Her Wings, an organization that supports survivors of domestic violence.
"We want to give these brave ladies a chance to get on their feet . . .
to breathe . . .
to heal their broken wings and fly free again."-Giveherwings.com
How can you help?
1) The Lip Balm is available on my website. I have also included my lip balm in a number of gift sets that make perfect gifts for the holidays. Click here to see the gift sets.
2) My Tattoo Aftercare Balm is only available through Tattoo Artists and their studios. If you are a tattoo artist, manage a tattoo studio, or know a tattoo artist share this article with them and send them my way. My Tattoo Aftercare Balm is all natural, handcrafted by me, and yields amazing results on a tattoo. It facilitates fast healing, can be used throughout the entire healing process, and preserves the integrity of your artwork.
3) Lip Balms are also available in cases that can be placed on you retail counter. Contact me for case size and pricing information. These cases are a great way to let your customers participate in this cause.
Thank you for allowing me to share my heart with you today.
Do you have a story to tell? I would love to hear it in the comments below.