Over the last few weeks, I’ve been sharing about Annie’s Hope Center for Growing and Healing. While it’s always good to give back to noble causes, I believe giving back to a cause that speaks to your heart is even better. That’s why I support Annie’s Hope because the Center will provide a safe place for emotional healing from domestic violence.
I’m grateful to know the Reverend Abby Catoe who is the founder and creative force behind Annie’s Hope Center for Growing and Healing. We met several years ago when she was just beginning her journey to provide a safe space for survivors of domestic violence. The Center is nearing completion at this writing and is scheduled to open in May 2021.
Abby is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to realizing a vision.
Especially when that vision includes helping a segment of society that is often maligned and shamed – women who have been or are being emotionally and physically abused.
Yes, domestic violence still takes place and the pandemic has actually made life worse for many women in this specific context.
**takes a deep breath**
And yes, it happened to me.
Which is why Abby’s vision of a safe place to heal and grow speaks to me so deeply.
Many times, women don’t have the resources or space for emotional healing from domestic violence because they have children to care for; she needs to get away from her abuser; has to figure out how to support herself and her children.
It’s a gut-wrenching process – I know first hand – with no time or safe space to heal from the emotional trauma.
I love Abby’s passion for her vision of Annie’s Hope Center and her beautiful heart for giving to those who need a helping hand. She and and I talked over Zoom so that I could introduce her to you; I want you to know her vision like I do!
Domestic Violence is Nothing New
**takes another deep breath**
I haven’t talked much about this particular period of my life (my early 20’s) because I wasn’t ready to share this part of my story.
But I’m ready now.
And I hope I can help Abby spread the word about this wonderful center and help another woman heal from this horrible trauma.
I was in a tumultuous relationship with someone I really should have never married. As a matter of fact, the night before my wedding, my stepfather said he and my mom would not be mad if I didn’t want to go through with it. (I should have listened.)
We mixed like oil and water.
I was 21 and it was a time when all my friends were getting married and having big flashy weddings and I didn’t want to miss out on the fun!
We argued about money, we argued about me driving the car (he didn’t like that!), we argued about seeing/not seeing family – honestly, we argued about everything.
The first time it happened, I don’t even remember what the argument was about but it got heated and he punched me. And then he punched me again and a third time to the point I was doubled over and couldn’t defend the punches. There may have been more punches – I don’t remember because I’ve blocked it out – numbed it out, if you will.
Of course, he didn’t punch me where the bruises would show and I was fiercely sore for nearly a month. That leads me to believe that he did some real physical damage – maybe he didn’t break my ribs, but there was physical bruising and trauma.
Of course, it was my fault. We fought about that, too. I apologized, he apologized and said it was an accident – it would never happen again.
Until it did.
Again, I don’t remember what we argued about, but it was heated and we both blew a gasket. I tried to leave (and take my son with me) and that’s when he grabbed me and pushed me down on the bed and put a pillow over my face.
I couldn’t breathe and I fought like crazy.
Finally he came to his senses and stopped pressing the pillow against my face.
I was terrified. Sobbing. Weak. Couldn’t take a deep breath.
This occurred in May (I think – I just remember it was getting warmer outside) and I had to live there in fear until June when I found a tiny house that I could afford to move into. My parents helped me move – that’s all the help I had.
No Battered Women’s Shelter. No Annie’s Hope Center. And no one to talk to or help me.
I was emotionally exhausted. I unpacked everything I could and did my best to make a safe space for my son and me.
I had to go to work and put on my happy face. I had to fix meals and wash clothes and take my son to school.
There was no time to heal the trauma – like most women, you simply get through the day and take care of what’s in front of you.
Trauma of this nature colors your worldview, it colors your decision making. That changed worldview brought on some really bad decision-making that haunted me for quite a number of years.
The Serendipity of Aromatherapy
About a year ago, I was asked to present Aromatherapy for Emotional Healing to a group of lovely ladies – now isn’t that some serendipity? That’s the story behind the Emotional Healing Synergy Blend Rollerball.
The wheels started turning and fast forward to now when Abby and Annie’s Hope Center kept crossing my mind and my path.
Yes, aromatherapy has the power to help you heal from trauma to your body, mind and spirit. It has the power to help you if you are willing to do the work.
As my way of giving back – paying it forward actually – for every Emotional Healing rollerball purchased, one will go to a woman at Annie’s Hope Center for Growing and Healing.
BOGO – Buy One – Give One.
If you would like to get in touch with The Reverend Abby Catoe, here’s her contact information:
The Annie’s Hope website: AnniesHopeCenter.org
Also – Abby is opening up Par Les Femmes Boutique at 1622 S. Hawthorne Road in Winston-Salem, NC to not only support the Annie’s Hope Center but to provide a place for survivors to learn new skills and work toward their independence.
Thank you so much to Abby for making this vision happen and to you for being kind enough to stop by today.
Please take a moment to share this post on your favorite social media platform – I’m very grateful for your help.