February 15, 2017

With her own wings



A lot has changed since I last blogged. It took a while to feel ready to come back here and speak about it frankly, with honesty but without rage. I'm divorced now, a choice I made following a time of great confusion and hurt. I made the feather above from a chunk cut from my wedding dress; a little artistic vision that wouldn't leave me alone. When I see it I think "alis volat propriis", the motto of my state, Oregon, which, translated in the feminine means "she flies with her own wings".

So. It was rough. The last years of my marriage were a tangle of lies. It may, in fact, be that the lying started before the marriage itself, I acknowledge that I have no way to know. Realizing you don't even know what the truth was, when the lies started, is terribly disorienting.  I read an article recently that spoke to this. The liar knows the truth, even if they don't share it, and there are no holes missing from their story.  If you're the one lied to, however, how do you even begin to reconstruct your story? How do you learn from it when you're not even sure what actually happened?

The most important thing I've learned is that it doesn't hurt some people to lie. For some people it's simply a tool. They can lie to friends and counselors, they can lie with tears running down their face, they can lie while pretending to confess.

I've learned never to ignore my gut. Even, no, especially, if the person it's telling me to get away from seems to be suffering.  "But I love you so much" will never, ever, be a reason for me to go against my own wise instincts again. Because while people lie, my gut seems to be pretty good at her job.

I've also learned that there is normal hard for marriage, hard where the natural incompatibilities and misunderstandings and developments that happen between two individuals need caring for, and there is improbably hard. Improbably hard is where there are endless no-win situations created. Where problems are discussed and agreements found but nothing feels better. That kind of hard is the kind of hard that I had and I didn't understand. Now I understand. If a person has done immoral things but wants to see themselves as a good person, they will need for their spouse to be their enemy.  And no marriage can succeed where one person secretly treats the other as their enemy.

I wish someone had laid this out for me. All the marriage advice I took to heart was the stuff about  patience, accepting your spouse the way they are, and not harboring resentment. That only works, though, if both partners are doing it. If your marriage feels improbably hard, take stock of your situation.  Get an individual counselor (in my experience marriage counselors aren't great at detecting lies either) to give you some perspective. And if there is ever a whiff of infidelity, even if it was "only a kiss" (ask me how I know) get the savviest kind of help. For me, I found a lot of good advice at www.chumplady.com. She showed me, systematically, what I was dealing with and helped me move away from it with grace and certainty, so I didn't need to waste any more years than I already had.


It took so much energy to go through that process. And all the dominoes that fall after it: the legal stuff, the money stuff, the kids hurting as their world splinters in two. Life even gave me a few extra dominoes (like my car getting totaled) allowing me to see without a doubt that I've got this. Well, got this with the help of family and friends who I will never be able to repay for being there with humor and compassion and downright hands on help when the chips were down. And thanks go also to you lovely quilters for all the words of encouragement you gave me way back when. You have no idea how often I re-read your kind thoughts.

So, things are better. I'm getting back to living my life. The kids are bringing their bravery and big hearts to adapting to living in two houses. I just finished writing my third book. I feel like I've put myself back together pretty well overall, but... I haven't regained my center as an artist. It's intriguing to me that that's the tenderest spot left. I'm ready to nurture it, and to share with you the fruit of the few seeds I managed to plant during the last year. I'm relieved that I can be honest about my world here again, in the way that I used to treasure. So that's where I've been, and where I am. Thanks for letting me catch you up on the story, and I'll see you soon!



66 comments:

Gene Black said...

Sometimes I don't have a clue what to say. This is one of those times.
May peace be in your heart and soul. May you find strength beyond measure to carry on, survive and thrive. As you said - you've got this.

Liz said...

So sorry to hear what you've been going through, but glad to hear you're moving on from it. Congratulations on your 3rd book, though. When will it be published?

Jean said...

Christina Thank you for sharing your story. You have been through a huge loss and trauma, so take the time to grieve. I know not divorce, but I know grief being a widow for over 16 yrs. having been married 44 yrs. Alzheimer's disease and pneumonia the culprits. Take one day at a time and keep moving forward. I've found by helping others I help myself. Blessings.

Jessica said...

Xoxo
(I want to say more but the words don't flow so well these days)

A Left-Handed Quilter said...

You've got this. Been there - done that. You did what was best for you and your kids - that's the important part. And - through it all - you found out who your friends are - ;))

Terry said...

I just got divorced after being with my ex for thirty years. His behavior wasn't as bad as what you described but it was still wrong and hurtful. I too am getting on with my life now, and trying to learn how to be single again. Sending hugs and prayers for you.

SerendipitousQuilting said...

Welcome back, Christina! You've been missed, but I'm ever so happy to hear that a new book is on the horizon. And congratulations on getting to where you are in this last year - you'll be all the stronger and wiser for it.

Joanne said...

First of all, congratulations on the book. I can't imagine that I would have been able to write while I was going through my divorce. For me, my divorce was so encompassing that there were times that I just didn't know how I would ever survive. The pain I was feeling had to be dealt with, but so did that of my children, and that came first. At times, that was torture. I felt anger, disgust, guilt, fear, and so many other emotions that I just wanted to yell from the rooftops that life is not fair and I didn't deserve to be treated like this. I never did do that yelling, but I survived anyway and so did my children. I've become a stronger person and even found love again. I still have issues with trusting people, but I don't think that is entirely bad. Like you, my creative self took the longest to heal and resurface. In retrospect, I think that's because it is such a personal and intricate part of me that I was afraid to allow myself to share it with anyone for fear of being hurt. I've grown a thick skin and can pretty much deal with whatever comes my way. Good luck to you! I am certain that you too will be stronger and even more creative. I look forward to your posts and your creations. Thanks for sharing your story and your talents. :-)

Wendy said...

My heart goes out to you. I too am about to go through divorce after enduring too much from my husband. Luckily we don't have kids so i'm enjoying putting my life back together. It does get better. I promise you.

Christine Barnsley said...

So sorry that you have had to suffer like you have and very glad that you are able to have moved on and start to put things back together. These things take time... give yourself that time but, don't consider the years you devoted to your marriage as a waste of time.... you have beautiful children, you have learned invaluable lessons and are in a stronger position now than you have ever been. Although this has been a horrible, negative time for you, leave the negative behind and move on with the positive. You are young, clever and talented and your future is bright! Hugs to you for your honesty and for sharing your hurt. Can't wait to add your newest book to my library! May your wings let you soar! Christine x

Julie said...

I've wondered about you because I love your creativity and talent. May your spirit be renewed and peace and happiness surround you and your children.

Wintersqlts said...

This is powerful reading, and I am so glad you were able to get thru this horrible experience with a sense of your "self". Please know that there are a lot of women out here who share your feelings.

Shelia Wood said...

I'm sorry for all you've endured. Prayers for you and your children. I too am learning to be on my own, but with different circumstances. My DH passed away in Sept. from colon cancer. We were married 34 yrs. I was 17 when we married and had never been on my own, it's a whole new experience. The Lord guides me each day for that I am so thankful.

Jeanine said...

Welcome to the other side! I can say from experience that time and distance have away of blunting the jagged edges of the pain and trauma you have endured. And, even though the scars never fully go away, they become less sensitive, and serve as a reminder of how strong you really are.

madhappycrafter said...

So glad to see you back - "With Her Own Wings" is beautiful - what a symbol! did you burn the rest of the wedding dress? (evil grin).

Delighted that you are posting again, that you felt comfortable enough with us to share this story. Lies and betrayals from a cheater can set you back and the things dearest and closest to you suffer the most - in your case, and in mine, that was my creativity. The sense of betrayal is so complete. You doubt your own sanity - "how could i have not seen this for what it is? can i trust my judgment about people?" ETC.

But you are an artist, and you will fly again with your own wings, and I can't wait to see what evolves with your art, because creativity is something that is at your inmost core. Love ChumpLady, BTW! Sending much love from up north! xoxo Sadie

sew katie did said...

You're an inspiration to all of us, but most importantly your children. xo

Barbara Beyun said...

Beautifully written and I commend you on your strength and your bravery.

Roseanne said...

Welcome back, Christina. You will find you have huge reserves of strength to draw upon and you will find exactly who your friends are. {{Hugs}} a bunch. How brave of you to share your story - there is no one here that will judge you. You have many friends that will offer you a hand, an ear or whatever it might be that will help you. People are basically good (at least those that find blogs like this!) and are willing to step up. So, what is your first project going to be now that you may find a little time for yourself? I can't wait to see what you share with us first. ~smile~

Nancy @ Grace and Peace Quilting said...

So sorry you had to go through that. That feather. Perfect. Love that you are taking wing and flying again. I'm excited for your next book.

Debbie said...

I was recently called a "freaking warrior" for fighting thru my health issues. It sounds like you have been fighting a good fight and we do understand and hold you up.
Yes, trust your instinct/gut and know it is there for a reason. Those wings may fly soon!!

artsycraftsyivy said...

I am so sorry--sorry you've had to endure. Sorry (for myself) that I can relate. But you seem to be doing so well. Welcome back, Christina. xoxo.

Jane Maddin said...

I'm glad to hear from you again. I was worried about you.

Rosemary B❤️ said...

I am so sorry you had to endure this struggle in your life. There is nothing worse than being betrayed.
Your story is heartbreaking.
The good things:
1. you are not alone- you know that. Divorce is never easy, especially with kids. So, welcome to that club.
I wish you all of the best as you make these changes. Be sure to seek advice and encouragement from those you trust.
#2. Your news. It is terrible and tragic.. Remember, you could be suffering a worse ordeal. God is on your side and I know you are grateful for that.

Rosemary B❤️ said...

^^^There is no edit feature, but I should add that I am not in the club. Thankfully I married a guy who is honest and steadfast.... and learned as a child never ever lie. I thank his mom for that.

Cheryl Hammond said...

You're coming in hot in 2017, and things will only get better! Hoping you find your happy place.

Pat said...

With friends and family at your side you have weathered the storm. Now keep walking into the sunshine. You have earned it. Looking forward to your return.

Charlotte said...

Sorry to hear that you and your family are having to deal with this. It sounds like you are coming out the other side now and things will only get better for you and your kids.

All the best and I hope that you will feel absolutely fabulous real soon!! Take care

Happystitcher said...

Oh Christina ! I have thought of you many times, and prayed often for you and your family. So I was very pleased to learn that you have come through, as hard as it has been, with the unwavering support of your family and close friends, you are through it - now the sun is shining brightly, the dark clouds have dispersed, and the new horizon beckons for you and your beloved children - and you will all thrive. Life is not always as we plan it, in fact it very seldom works out the way we think it will, but sometimes God has a special plan for us and often the path to that plan is very bumpy and testing, but in time, we learn that there was no other way to reach that destiny but to travel that road.(Read the poem "Footprints"). Your wonderful and unique artistry and creativity will return - in bucket loads. We are all eagerly awaiting publication of your new book (how on earth did you manage that at a time when your world was crumbling!!) and your blogs, and your Craftsy classes (I hope there will be more, I have all your others). So,Keep smiling, and may a fair wind always be beneath your wings. Much Love, Sheila, UK.

Ophelia said...

Does it comfort you to hear that my parents' divorce after an abusive relationship was life-shaping for me? My mother's strength and honesty throughout that two or three year ordeal meant that I would never be fully dependent on someone else for my safety and security. Let life's lessons be a blessing for your and your children's futures because there is joy ahead for all of you. Thank you for all you share with us. You are my favorite quilting teacher, ever!

nestki said...

Thank you for sharing your painful story. There is no doubt in my mind that your story will help many people clarify questions in their own minds about relationships with spouses, family, or friends. Honesty whether positive or negative prevents insanity! Congratulations for handling this and blessings for your new authentic life. I look forward to hearing more from you, creativity optional.

Donna said...

Your post brought back many memories but, 17 years out, I am thankful. My children are grown, hurting made all of us strong and better. I admire your strength and your heartfelt words. I did find a book, Spiritual Divorce, that helped me to cope with the early struggle. You will fly again. Sending love and thanks, Donna

Vicki in MN said...

I was afraid this was what was happening in your world. My daughter went through a divorce a couple years ago and it was really hard for everyone. So you truly have my sympathy about it all. I am so very glad you were able to spread those wings and fly again. I know we have never met in person but you seem like such a sweatheart. Congrats on getting another book written! If you are doing a blog hop about it, I'd sign up in a heart beat-you know how much I love your work! Hugs.

Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting said...

Just know that not everyone is like that. I've been married for almost 30 years. He is honest and trustworthy. Many times, getting to know the family, shows you how a person was raised, and what the family values are like (*sometimes the person isn't like their family, too, the family can be great, and the person not great, unfortunately). Take a break from men for a while, and recover. Get your new normal, not only for you, but, for your kids, too.

Barb Neiwert said...

What Gene said. (((Hugs)))

Nanci Swaim said...

Thank you, Christina, for sharing your story so honestly. I've thought of you often and missed your posts, so it's wonderful to see you've made it through such a difficult time. The feather you created is a beautiful symbol for your metamorphosis. You have no idea how many people you have inspired to spread their wings & fly! Your blog and first 2 books are what gave me the inspiration to start FMQ, and I'm forever grateful. Congratulations on your third book and for reclaiming your life!

Jenny Lyon said...

I have no wise words. I enjoy your work and carry your book in my retail for my classes. I think you are a unique voice, a great writer, artist and person. I admire your honesty and I'm so glad you have the courage to get out of your situation and share it with others. Blessings.

Yanicka said...

I am so sorry. Nobody should get trough that. The only thing I can say is that you will somehow find yourself "on the other side" stronger, better, happier. The transformation is so painful that we can only get better from it. Hugs

LuAnn Kessi said...

You have been missed.....welcome back!
Wishing you continued success in all you do,
LuAnn in Oregon
luannkess.blogspot.com

Sandra Walker said...

Awww. Know that I have some tears in my eyes for you, for your hurt, and that I am sending you healing light and love. It takes GUTS to be this raw and honest, so thank you; maybe you will help others. Big hugs from little me to you, and thank you for still sharing your healing artistic soul with us in QBL. :-)

oldlady quilter said...

I'm so glad you have found your path, where your journey begins to feel right. Always remember you are stronger than you think you are you in fact are awesome! Happy trails girlfriend!

Lucie Wakefield said...

Thank you for sharing your story. I'm on the same road you were on. It's the most difficult thing i've ever had to face. You've given me hope that the struggle will end and we will survive. I look forward to purchasing your third book when It becomes available in the UK. Be happy Christina xx

liniecat said...

Hard to believe but there will be light at the end of the tunnel, you have travelled the hardest part already now. Wishing you and the children well health, happiness and much laughter on the road ahead. Love that feather LOL maybe a whole bag full of feathers will bring out that creative core and be the perfect thing for a dress with painful memories ..

Patsy said...

I took your Craftsy class last year and thoroughly loved it! I am a long time FMQ'er and it's rare that I find myself so invested in a class, but I relished your class, party because of the joyful spirit in which it was presented. Shortly after that, you stopped blogging and I've been sending positive thoughts your way ever since your post about your personal struggles last spring. I am so glad to see you are on the "other side" of the struggle now and able to see some light moving forward. Not only are you a wonderful artist, but you have a lovely spirit that shines through and touches all of us. Welcome back and I'm looking forward to hearing/seeing more of you!

Angie in SoCal said...

I'm sorry. Holding you in a gentle hug.

Kathy said...

So good to hear from you! Believe it or not, I was just thinking of you yesterday. Sorry for all the mess you've been through. Take time to get back to your creativity. You've been through a lot. Another blogger I follow (called 13 Spools) actually took time away from being creative on purpose. Maybe you need that kind of time now. Gob Bless.

Quiltdivajulie said...

Welcome back. One thing at a time . . .

Midge said...

Keep putting one foot in front of the other and you will get through this. My heart just clenched when I read your post, because the words could have come from my own lips. It has taken years to emerge, although changed now, from the full stop of ending a marriage and beginning to realize what I was in all those years. I settled for being glad I was no longer there being lied to, demeaned and my soul poisoned. You will too.

beefi8 said...

My heart aches for you and your children. Prayers!

Jud ee said...

Oh Christina, I'm so sorry to read about the heartbreak of what you've been going through. I've only come to know you through your Craftsy classes and books. I just recently signed up for your blog. I believe that you have a beautiful spirit and must have great inner strength. Stay true to yourself and your kids. Prayers and hugs to you, Judy

Sarah Craig said...

Welcome back, Christina! You have been missed as a wise and creative voice and I look forward to hearing more from you. I've been praying for you and will continue to do so as you negotiate the days to come! Can't wait to see you IRL next week!!

Paula DiMattei said...

Christina, you are such a strong and resilient woman. So sorry for all you've been thru but so glad to here things are looking brighter. Sending hugs your way.

Christine said...

Bless you.......when you look back you will truly realize how strong you are ....yes....always trust your gut.....be proud of yourself.

Jackie said...

Been where you are and was able to travel to the other side. You are a strong, vital woman how was smart enough to do what was and is best for yourself and the kiddies. There will be good days and bad moments but you'll pick yourself up, lean on people when it's hard and carry on. We are always here for you.

yvonne jenkins said...

You are a strong and talented woman, better to be divorced in truth and honesty than married in falsehoods. Your children are the treasures that your marriage has given you. Fly high and free xxx

Lisa J. said...

I wish you the best as you travel on this new path in your journey.

momhulk said...

You are a very brave person. God has your back!

Outback Crafter - Debra said...

Wow. Thank you for sharing.

I love your feather.

Outback Crafter - Debra said...

Wow. Thank you for sharing.

I love your feather.

Life Scraps and Patches said...

Your feather is an amazing symbol. Thank you for telling your story.

Marla said...

Thanks for sharing your story so eloquently. Take care of yourself as you find your new path. Nurture that creative outlet as part of your self care. Your Craftsy classes and first book are used daily as I work on my free motion quilting, and I very much appreciate the ways you've helped me on my creative journey.

Donna said...

You are brave and strong to share your story and I feel honored to read it. Sending love from my heart to yours.

Unknown said...

Oh, Christina! As I read your post I almost felt as if someone was speaking as me 17 years ago. Every word is exactly right. Believe me, after the nightmare of my divorce I healed and grew and got better every year. You're going to fly! (And believe me, it's so much easier when you drop the anchor you've been dragging with you.)

Karla Santoro said...

This is such a beautifully written piece. It took courage to even pen the words--and more to share. All I can assure you of is rainbows happen. And another--if you write it, I will buy it. A quilter I admire so very much. Hang in there. Pamper yourself.

Denise said...

I have been where you are. It does get better. It is a process and it may take years to completely recover, but it does get better. I believe in you. Believe in yourself.

Sewwhat6 said...

I am so sorry to hear about what you're going through. As a counselor AND a quilter, I hope that you will find, as I have, healing through your art. When I feel the most down, I find it helps change my focus to do something for someone else, ANYONE else. Your kind, patient encouragement through your Craftsy classes has helped me use my sit down long arm to make philanthropy quilts for the local children's hospitals. Your generous spirit sends ripples of good throughout this world, some of which you will never know about. Please keep creating and inspiring us all.

Liz Hereld_Bettie's Mom said...

Ahhh! Christina! You have joined an army of women who have gone through this, and more. Betrayal in marriage is one thing, but when betrayal involves an innocent child it seems the train wreck is bigger than we can manage. Only God can untangle the carnage, and give us the strength to walk through each day. LOOK for the beauty in each day!!! In each moment!!! LOOK for God! Even those days you don't feel like it! I won't give details, but I have one in heaven I can't wait to wrap my arms around, again. Until then, I know she is in the Best Place possible - In our Heavenly Father's arms. We wrap our arms around you in prayer, love, and support.
(she is standing next to me in my upload). From Bettie's mom
p.s. - I can't wait to purchase your new book!

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