When I first opened my business, I was advised that it is a great idea to team up with a charity and offer some of your profits that way.
Not only are you giving something back, but also you are adding another incentive for clients to choose your business. This made sense, and although isn’t based on total philanthropy, at least it’s helping a little.
The problem was, I couldn’t find a charity I felt passionate enough about where I would put energy into it. I give to charity fairly often, I shop at op shops and I like to donate.
I do have a huge amount of care for the charities like Cancer Council, RSPCA, Oxfam, Unicef, etc. But these didn’t seem that personal. I have been affected by cancer in my life. And I’m sure I will continue to do so, but I didn’t have a story really to put behind it as I haven’t been closely affected enough to really tell a story.
What I did have however was a story involving domestic violence. I felt this really hit home, and I wanted to support a charity that would help those affected by DV. I searched for a while, but although found some, I also felt that because I was in the wedding industry, it would be a huge turn off for my clients. Here they are, thinking about their amazing future together involving love and trust, and I’m then bringing up the idea that it may not work out like that. I didn’t feel it was the best for my business.
But I’ve changed my mind. Domestic Violence is on the rise, this week (the week I write this blog) an entire family was burnt alive by the estranged partner and I just felt, stuff it, I’m going to help this cause, even if it is a huge juxtaposition.
Domestic Violence affected me in a big way. I moved to Australia in 2008, backpacking with my then partner. We had a great time, but our relationship grew stagnant and I eventually moved on. I met a new guy, someone I worked with and our relationship went from 0 -100 in a matter of months. He charmed me, and I fell hook, line and sinker. I was young, 26, and totally naive to what could possibly happen. I had been with my previous boyfriend since I was 19, and he was nice. I thought everyone was nice. Wrong!
The relationship got serious fast, he moved in with me, I got pregnant, moved down to his hometown and then married in under a year! During this time, I noticed things change. The anger rose, the drinking was no longer just partying, but a daily thing and I felt so isolated.
The control started financially, as I was unable to work. It was also quite verbal at this point too. This slowly increased and then objects became punching bags. Holes in walls, etc. It spiralled to a point where it did get physical. Eventually I ended up with a broken nose, bruised leg and other less obvious signs. I honestly got to a point that I was convinced I would either leave this world through murder or my suicide.
I was lucky though. I had support over in the UK with my mum being very instrumental in pushing me to get help. I went to the doctors, opened up and began that journey of leaving and healing. It was scary, as I wasn’t a resident of Australia, I had no family here and was pretty much alone. But my therapist pointed out that the longer I stayed, the more I was teaching my son that it was ok. I bolted. No way was that happening and I moved out on my own. It was so hard, mainly due to funds. But I managed. In fact, that is why iampoppy was born. Out of necessity to provide for us both.
Another thing my therapist said. It would take 5 years for me to heal. Mmm… I didn’t really believe that to be honest. I was so happy to be out of there, I felt I would heal much quicker.
I did end up meeting Shane, my current partner. I did make ALL the same mistakes again though, we met, got pregnant and moved in together in less than a year. I really struggled with this. But I let it happen. I hadn’t yet learnt my boundaries, and so went along for the ride. I am so LUCKY and thankful that history didn’t repeat itself, and Shane is a loving partner and father. He has taken on my son, and everything works.
But, last year, something clicked in me. My previous partner threatened me again (this has continued the whole time, albeit much more subtlety) and I was done. I cut him off. I cut off his whole family and everyone he knew. There was no contact, nothing. I was over his BS and wanted to move on. It was a year of lawyers, cancelled mediation due to hostility, and so many tears for my son. But funnily enough, it was one of my best years. I felt so calm, so at peace and happy by not having him in my ear, or on my phone. And weirdly, it was 5 years after the initial event. My therapist was right! 5 years of continuing to allow subtle control, and then one day, I got over it and was able to say no. enough!
Fast forward to this year, 2020. We do have contact again, through a government app called Talking Parents. This eliminates the bad language and threats and is traceable. You cannot delete anything once written and is accepted in courts. He has met a new partner and seems to be happy. I know it’s a cycle; we’ve been here before. But I don’t worry about it now. I’ve shaken it all off, and take him on face value, and don’t worry about the what if’s, the replaying of memories. If shit hits the fan again, I can shut him out, no problem, so it’s relatively stress free. I am still very mindful with my son though, and he has help when needed, as he will need to learn how to negotiate the battlefield of living with a narcissist. But for now, it’s a happy ending.
And this is why I’m sponsoring a wonderful lady, Simone, who owns a refuge near where I live. In fact, she helped rehome my gorgeous sheep Oridax when we suddenly had to leave our home and found ourselves homeless in 2018. (That’s another story!!) I sponsor them every month, to help them stay open, offer a safe home to women and children who are fleeing violence. To help fund the animals she homes, and support others in need. I didn’t end up in a refuge. I was lucky. But I know people who have, who have even needed Simone’s help.
So every sale, every design of wedding stationery, custom portrait and illustration will help these women and children. The ones who haven’t reached their happy ever after yet and need help shaking off that toad.
I have popped her details and how you too can help, and thank you for reading my story.
Head over to their page, @RetreatForKids on Facebook to learn more about this amazing place!