‘And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.’ Anais Nin
I can still remember the feeling. I had just left my husband and was standing outside my studio at Old Beldam Farm. A wave of warmth rushed through my center catching my breath. My stomach flipped with excitement. I was finally free. Free to make my own decisions. Free to choose what I would do and when I would do it. Free to do what I wanted instead of what other people thought I should be doing.
For the first time in my life, I felt completely responsible for myself. It was something I used to fear so much that I compromised myself to the point of living someone else’s life. But at that moment and ever since then, I have embraced taking responsibility for myself. And I have found that doing so actually makes me less fearful not more.
All these thoughts and feelings came back to me as I watched the video that Gail sent me along with the photo of my quilt “Place of Calm” hanging on the wall at Hubbard House.
Hubbard House is a center for women and children who are victims of domestic violence. They can go there to be safe and get help to move on with their lives. In the video, Marie, a survivor who stayed at Hubbard House for four weeks talks about her experience there.
I was not a victim of physical abuse. But the emotional abuse I experienced in my family growing up continued into my first marriage. My self-esteem was so diminished I had become almost voiceless. And although I didn’t realize it at the time, I married when I was 22 years old as a way of getting out of the house. I believed it was the only option for me.
It took me another 22 years to admit to myself that I was afraid of my husband. Not that he would physically harm me, but that I would do something to make him angry enough to leave me.
By the time we separated, I no longer believed that I could survive on my own. Even though I had worked my whole life, I didn’t know I could find a job outside of the work my then-husband and I did together. I didn’t believe I could rent an apartment. I didn’t know that I could make good decisions about how to live my life.
It was in my conversations with Jon, when we were just friends, that I began to awaken.
He was the first person in my life that I could talk easily to, that I felt safe being honest with. I trusted him more than anyone else I had ever known.
And when he spoke about the importance of creativity and gave me a studio to work in, I began to see the purpose of my life as an artist. Eventually, I came to believe that the pursuit of a creative life was not something to be dismissed and ridiculed but to be encouraged. For the first time I came to see that my identity as an artist, who I really was, was valid and worthy.
I cried when watched the video and listened to Marie talk about enjoying a cup of coffee and making herself a sandwich without fear for the first time in years. Our experiences are very different, but like Marie, I will always be grateful for this new life I’ve made for myself and to the people who helped me get here.
And also like Marie, I will never go back.
When Gail sent the photo and video she wrote… “I waited over 4 years to find the perfect art for that wall and this is it! Everyone who sees it loves it.” Now that I know more about Hubbard House and Gail’s work there, I’m even more touched and honored that she chose my quilt to hang on its wall.
When I started the quilt I had named it “Center Of Calm“. But as I worked on it, the name changed to “Place of Calm“. I wasn’t sure why the words changed until Gail bought the quilt and hung it at Hubbard House, which surely is a Place of Calm for so many women and children.
Below is the video from Hubbard House. Visit their website hubbardhouse.org. You can donate to Hubbard House here.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline is 1(800) 799-SAFE
9 thoughts on “A Place Of Calm…Hubbard House”
Powerfully moving, Maria, both your story and the video. It brings up many memories of my own; so many years ago, before the term ‘domestic abuse or violence’ was coined. When police refused to get involved because ‘family issues’ were not something they could respond to. I literally had to be ‘disappeared’ and thought to be deceased by everyone I knew, to escape someone who “loved me so much that he’d never let anyone else get near me”. I spent years looking over my shoulder until I got confirmation that my abuser had died by his own hand. That was the first time I could exhale and begin to live again. I haven’t thought about that time for years now but it’s so important to remember that survivors now have options that I didn’t have—thank goodness!
Cheryl, I never would have guessed that was a part of your past. But that’s it. We often have no idea who is living this way. Thankfully there is so much more understanding and action taken to help victims of abuse now. I’m so glad you got away. I’m so glad to have the opportunity to know you.
Maria, you are a beautiful, talented, and sensitive Artist! I cried reading your story. You, along with so many other women, got married to ‘get out of the house’. My Mom was one of them. I am honored to admire and own your ‘Pink Moon’ quilt. Kimberly
THank you Kimberly.
Art has the power to heal. You are an artist. Therefore, you are a healer. And a powerful one, at that. Just feel your strength.
Thank you Jill.
Thank you SO much for sharing my story. This is a wonderful platform to let women know that they are not alone and can receive help! I may need to order my OWN quilt with the simple word SURVIVOR on it. Thank you again snd God Bless.
Bless you Marie. Thank you for telling us your story,I know it will help so many people. You inspire! And I’d be happy to make you a Survivor Quilt if you decide you want one.
Wow. NEVER forget that you and Jon (the Boots Man) are SO special in all you do to make this world a better and more beautiful place.