By TAYLOR HARTZ
As Casey Morley looked into a mirror in her cozy, purple painted salon on North Main St., she recalled how standing behind the salon chair and looking into the mirror as she spoke with clients helped her find the voice that she had lost in a lifetime of abuse.
Her new-found voice has helped her not only flourish as a small business owner, but embark on a new career as a writer and public speaker.
This summer, Morley will celebrate both the 25th anniversary of her salon, Casey’s Image Consultants, and the first anniversary of being a published author.
Morley’s salon has been a part of the Southington community since 1990, offering full hair and nail services, massage, and Reiki for nearly 20 years. Now in its third location in town, the smaller, three-station salon now provides her loyal client base with perms, cuts and colors, detox counseling, and ion foot cleansing.
Morley turned her full-service salon into a one-woman business eight years ago, right around the time she decided to put pen to paper with her personal story.
On July 3, 2014, Morley published 305 pages documenting the physical, emotional, and sexual abuse she endured from age four into adulthood. Her biography, “Crawling Out,” tells the story, not of a victim, but of a survivor. She shares the methods, tools and struggles she encountered as she began the process of overcoming the abuse.
Amidst her memories, Morley’s book includes diagrams of physical and emotional pain cycles, illustrations of women in fight-or-flight mode, and descriptions of medical conditions such as battered women syndrome.
By sharing her experiences with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, loss and what she describes as the “long, slow, process” of recovery, Morley said her goal was to be the voice of a woman who lived through it, for other women in her shoes.
Handing over a letter signed from a male senior citizen in Southington, Morley shared that she has a whole folder at home filled with letters from men and women of all ages, sent from Southington, surrounding towns, and even neighboring states.
She has been written to and visited by several Southington residents, including men who said they were inspired by her courage, men who said her book helped them see their own role in abusive relationships, and women who said her story gave them permission to feel the pain of their own abuse.
That response is exactly the reaction Morley hoped her story would trigger in her community. She hoped that by sharing her story without a filter or fear of a stigma surrounding domestic violence, her book would act as a permission slip for others to share theirs.
In a further attempt to share her process of healing Morley has recently begun public speaking. She first spoke in Southington last October, at Branford Hall and the Southington Rotary Club, and has since shared her story with hundreds of others. In April, she Spoke at Anna Maria College in Paxton, Mass., for their 13th annual Domestic Violence Conference. She shared her story with her congregation at Mary Our Queen Church in Southington, and just this month spoke with a University of Connecticut group focused on near death experiences.
Morley hopes that by sharing the statistics of domestic abuse, communities will be more vocal and active to end the cycle of violence.
Her goal is that more men and women in the area will come forward with their own battles, and the community will be receptive to hearing their stories.
“You walk with us, you go to church with us, eat lunch with us, and nobody knows it,” said Morley, “I just want to help my town.”
Morley plans to continue speaking publicly, and is hoping to organize charity events and non-profit fundraisers in the community she praised for its support. Helping her endeavor from day one, clients from her Southington salon offered to edit and transcribe her book, and she has personally sold more than 500 copies in town and donated copies to many local churches and shelters.
She has been hosted for book signings and sales in the area at The Waverly in Cheshire and the Apple Harvest Festival, and she has upcoming signings scheduled at Vintage from the Heart and Paul Gregory’s.
Morley’s book can be purchased at local businesses such as Tops Market, Dr. Carroll Grant’s office, Play it Again Sports The Chamber of Commerce, and of course, Casey’s Image Consultants salon.