• blog,  dealing with life,  divorce,  marriage,  new life,  Thoughts

    Journal Prompt #1

    As I’ve written previously, I started on a creative journey pretty soon after the pandemic hit and we all went into lockdown. (I also turned to gardening, so I’ll probably write about that on here as well. Our tomatoes went crazy and I’ve also turned to canning in order to keep up with my crazy tomato plants!)

    Like crocheting, I have found painting to be a very meditative process. It allows me to focus on something other than the many thoughts swirling in my head. A high school friend had painted some whimsical insects and I commented on them. She told me about Tamara Laporte at Willowing Arts who had just launched a taster session called Kaleidoscope, which offered about two weeks worth of free art lessons. Obviously, the hook is to get you interested in the free lessons in order to hopefully get you to sign up for the full course, which I subsequently did. From Kaleidoscope, I heard about Lifebook and it is there that I heard about Effy at Effy Wild. She offers weekly journal prompts and so all of the above is to say that today’s post is answering her journal prompt.

    Week #46

    Prompt:

    Explore hope in your art journal. What are you hoping fo right now? How can you represent that? What does hope feel like in your body? How can you express that?

    (So obviously, I’m not doing this in an art journal (I plan to buy one or a few for next year), but thought this would be a good topic to explore.)

    I’m going to take this to a micro then macro level. Hope feels me with wistfulness. It means to me that I long for something to be true even if it may not materialize. The sensations I feel in my body can be described as an anxiousness that is not necessarily the bad kind of anxious. I also feel optimism that what I hope will be true because most of the time, my hopes are the things that are generally within my control. Right now, what I hope for is that I will get to see my grandkids over the holidays. This should happen as we try to take the necessary precautions to keep everyone safe. Even though my husband and I travel, when we return from traveling, we automatically self-quarantine for the requisite fourteen days. We also wear masks, observe social distancing to the extent possible, use hand sanitizer religiously and don’t hang around in large crowds.

    I also hope that my parents continue to remain healthy and don’t come down with COVID. Their age and their health puts them at heightened risk if they were to get it. My mom had to be tested this past week as she had some of the symptoms (which are also typical of a cold), so we are waiting for the results of that. I just want all of those that I love from my parents, kids to grandkids, to friends to all remain healthy through this crisis. I don’t want to lose anyone and so this hope is one that creates anxiety because I cannot control what happens to my loved ones.

    On a more macro level, I’m hopeful that we will have a vaccine sometime next year. That with the election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris that our country will start repairing itself from the damage created by the current president and his GOP enablers (he who shall not be named on this blog).  I’m hopeful that we will return to a more loving country and return to the ideals that have been set forth in our constitution. (Unfortunately, we have never, even gotten close to achieving these ideals.)

    Ponder:

    What is your relationship with hope? Do you embrace it, even when what you hope for seems impossible? Or do you reject it for fear of being disappointed? If you let yourself fully hope for something, what would that feel like?

    I’ve been one who most people view as optimistic and one with a can-do attitude. I’ve always tried to approach life from the viewpoint that I could achieve anything that I set my mind to. Hope is what drove me to go back to school with three young children, it is what drove me to pursue each pathway in my career, it is what drove me to try to save my marriage, it is what helped me through the dating process and finally, to say yes to marriage to my new husband (even though I was really, really scared about being hurt again). The biggest disappointment was the end of my marriage and yet for six months, I had hope that it would work out in the end. The fact that it didn’t was a huge learning process for me because it taught me that as much as YOU may want something, sometimes it doesn’t happen and while you may have scars and emotional bruising, in the end how you choose to deal with that disappointment will define how you deal with any major disappointment in life.

    So what are you hopeful for?

  • blog,  dealing with life,  divorce

    You did something you’re not proud of

    (This may trigger some who are new to this journey of a run-away husband or a cheating spouse.)

    Does the title of this post make you think of maybe someone who did something embarrassing in a kind of “ha, ha, I can’t believe I did that,” kind of way?

    What if I told you it was from someone who labels herself as a “divorce coach” who helps people who cheated come to terms with cheating? And wants the person who was cheated on take some responsibility for the actions of the cheater?

    This is her exact quote as shown on Instagram:

    “You didn’t plan on cheating. Your marriage was in a shitty place and one thing led to the next, and you did something that you’re not proud of.”

    I didn’t realized my marriage was in a shitty place at the time he chose to cheat. I would not have just bought a house with him, taken a loan out against my 401K to help purchase the new house and to help furnish it, had I realized my marriage would essentially be over (for him) two months later.

    I will always, always maintain that I did not cause my ex-husband to cheat on me. Were there things I could have done better as a wife? Absolutely. I take responsibility for being human. I take responsibility for any of my actions that may have caused him to be unhappy with me and with us, but I refuse to take responsibility for him involving a third party in our marriage. It was the cowardly thing to do. It was something I beat myself up over and over again as I tried to do and be the wife (for a hellish six months) he all of a sudden wanted as he had one foot out of the marital door.

    It occurred to me today that through our three decades together, he was unhappy many times. He was unhappy with the first job he quit, and I was there.  He was unhappy with the second job he quit, and I was there. He was unhappy with third job he quit, and I was there. He was unhappy when he was fired from the next job, and I was there. And, I was there for the next and the next and the next job. I was always there to assure him that WE would get through it as I typed up and printed out resumes for him, as I took over the bills so as not to stress him out. I was there when our kids were small and I was trying to go to school so he wouldn’t feel all the pressure. I was there when our house was almost foreclosed upon and trying to not panic because my income wasn’t enough to cover a house payment and we didn’t have health insurance to cover a family of five.

    I was there because I thought we had a partnership. I thought we had an agreement that when things got tough, we would figure out a way to work through them together. When things got tough for him, I was there. When things got tough for me, he was there for another woman.

    He apparently didn’t have the same idea. So when I was unhappy with where we were headed as a couple about two years before our marriage ended,  and expressed my unhappiness to him, instead of him trying to work it out together, he turned to another woman. Not my fucking fault.

    People have choices to make. One of them is when you are unhappy with your spouse, you fucking talk to them. You don’t talk about your issues with someone else, like a co-worker, who has no relevant information about the history between the two people intimately involved.

    Can you imagine being a counselor to a rape victim and asking her what she did which caused her to be raped? It’s the exact same thing when you ask a person who has been cheated on what they did to cause their partner to fuck someone else who is not your spouse. If this is your way of thinking if you are marriage and/or divorce counselor, I urge you to leave this field of work before you cause irreparable damage.

     

  • blog,  Dating,  divorce,  marriage,  new life

    So yeah, I got married

    I literally found my match on Match – or rather, he found me. After spending about a year and a half on dating websites, I received a message from a man about 14 years older than me. The message alluded to the fact that he was out of my age range of what I had in my preferences, but he was hopeful that I would give him a chance.

    I took a look at his profile and what he had written about himself. (For anyone dating and on dating websites, writing a good profile is key to finding someone worthwhile.) The part that stuck out the most for me was that he had been married for 48 years and he was a widower. I wanted to find out more. I sent him a message back and after texting each other a few times, we agreed to meet about two days later. He earned even more points when he agreed to drive out to meet me, rather than me having to drive to meet him. I don’t expect men to do all the work when pursuing a woman, but admittedly, these small gestures add up!

    We agreed to meet at a local bookstore/coffee shop that was close to my place. It was on a Friday afternoon. Another dating tip that I learned was to set a time limit on the first date and have plans lined up so you can end it. This works for two purposes: 1) if it’s a bad date, you can leave and 2.) if it’s a good date, he/she won’t mind and will most likely want to see you again. Also, if they get upset that you have plans, it serves another purpose, you know early on that this is a person you may not want to spend more time with (because we all know that we put on our best fronts when we first meet someone).

    He arrived first and was sitting near the back at a table. I walked in and my first thought was he looked better in person than his pictures. He has really beautiful blue eyes and salt’n pepper hair. I walked to where he was sitting, introduced myself and sat down. We talked for a straight two hours. Time flew by, but in those two hours, I learned so much about him and I knew that I wanted to see where this would go. I had plans to meet a girlfriend afterwards, so I ended the date. He was very gracious and he walked me outside.

    About fifteen to twenty minutes later, I received a text from him. He said in the text that he wasn’t sure about the proper protocols and that he was hoping he wasn’t breaking any of them, but that he wanted to see me again. I was going away the next day for an overnight trip with some other girlfriends, but I told him we could get together again when I returned on Sunday. That Sunday we met again and we have not been apart since then.

    I moved in with him about three months later and exactly one year after our first date, he asked me to marry him. We got married on October 16th.

    I truly never expected any of this. I am thankful that he took a chance to message me

  • Adventures,  blog,  Dating,  dealing with life,  new life

    Moving on

    I don’t think that anyone with true, deep feelings for someone else, ever stops loving them. I know that for some getting to a place where you stop caring for the person who betrayed you is the end goal and I’m here to tell you that it’s okay if you never stop caring. I think what is important is acknowledging the feelings and working to a place of acceptance. My ex will always be an important part of my life because of how he helped me to become the person I am today. And the fact remains (as I’ve said before), I could not have asked for a better dad for our kids.

    I often told people I would never marry again. I never wanted to experience the intense pain that I experienced at the end of my marriage. I’m also a person who enjoys companionship, intimacy, being in love and having my person. I had to be willing to move forward and be willing to risk having my heart broken again. And it was more than once during the time I spent dating. I would have my hopes built up and then dashed over and over again. It was necessary for me to go through it because each time I experienced a little heart break, it showed me my resiliency.

    In my head, I would tell myself have fun with dating and maybe I will be one of those women who has a lot of fun being single. For the most part, I enjoyed dating and getting to meet new people. I truly tried to look at it as an adventure and not to take it too seriously (but I also catch feelings pretty quickly) and just have fun. Live a life I didn’t get to experience when I was younger because I married so young.

    I didn’t expect to meet anyone that I would want to spend the rest of my life with and yet I did.

  • Adventures,  blog,  Dating,  divorce,  new life

    A little bit about dating

    In the summer of 2019, I was dating and talking to a few men. I actually started dating soon after I asked my ex-husband to leave our home. While dating soon after the end of a long-term marriage/relationship may not be the recommended thing to do, it is what I felt I needed to do to help me move forward. A year and a half into the dating world, I was getting discouraged. I really wanted a relationship where we both wanted to spend time together, go on dates, and just have some companionship. I had met one man fairly soon after I started the online dating apps. We would reconnect off and on, but for whatever reason, he wasn’t really ready to offer what I wanted.

    So summer of 2019, I was trying to decide if I wanted to continue to date or just give it a break for a while. Dating can be both encouraging and discouraging. I think the biggest thing I learned about dating is that you have to be open to possibilities, you can’t get your hopes up too soon, and you have to figure out what your personal boundaries are and be okay with the decisions you make. This is your life after all and if you choose to sleep with someone on the first date, just know what the risks are and take the proper precautions to stay safe.

    One of the pitfalls I ran into is that I would start connecting with someone and then I would start building future plans in my head with this person. Then when it didn’t work out, either because we met and there was zero connection, or I would get ghosted (which is very painful when you’ve been abandoned and/or betrayed), or for any of the various reasons it didn’t work out, I would spend some time mourning that “loss.” Depending upon how long I was talking to that person, it might be a brief sadness or it might be spending the day in bed crying.

    As a 50 something woman, I really had no idea if I would find someone again. We are often told as women that as soon as you hit forty, you are no longer viable to the other sex. We are told that men want younger women because it helps their ego. I ran into some of that in the sense that the options available to me of men within my age range was somewhat limited. Then you run the other end of the spectrum with really young guys being into the whole “MILF” and/or “GILF” fantasy. I went on a few dates with men much younger than me just to have the adventure and (probably) to boost my tattered ego. None of these younger men though were what I would want in a long-term relationship.

    That’s why it is so very important to look at dating as a way to find out what you want and don’t want, have fun and not take yourself and the men you date too seriously. It really is a numbers game. The more people you date and the more you expand your scope in dating, the more likely you will end up finding someone you really connect with. You can still be picky and stick with what you want in a partner, but you also can’t be so picky that you end up not dating at all. Dating helped me determine what I both wanted and didn’t want in my next relationship. I became more willing to let someone go if I didn’t see it working and not worry about bruising their male ego. I always tried to be honest with my intention and tried to never lead anyone one if I didn’t think it would work for me.

    Even though I was having fun and not trying to take things too seriously, I was ready for a break.

  • art,  blog,  dealing with life,  depression,  mixed media,  new life,  watercolor

    Healing through Art

    she fell apart
    “It didn’t matter that she fell apart. It was how she put herself back together.” ~ Atticus

    When the pandemic hit and everything went into shut-down, it hit me hard. I’m a people person (an ambivert, actually) and enjoy going TO work and interacting WITH people. Being stuck at home in days that felt like the movie “Groundhog Day,” left me very depressed for about six weeks. My poor boyfriend didn’t quite know what to do with me in this state because of how upbeat I am most of the time.

    I started writing a book, but it wasn’t what I needed. I continued to sing on the “Smule” app, which filled a little bit of my creativity muse, but not quite. I crocheted a hat for myself, which was fun and I still need to finish the one for my boyfriend. Then I saw a post on Facebook about the art subscription box “Let’s Make Art,” which promised to teach me how to paint (at least that’s how I interpreted it). So on a whim, I went with it. My very first painting was of a peony and my first attempt, sucked. However, what I noticed immediately is that it felt like meditation. Like seriously, meditative to the point that I lost time during the process and when I emerged, couldn’t believe the time that had passed. I re-painted the peony and this time, I paid more attention and was able to create something that I was pleased with. It felt like release. I ended up painting a few more things through the tutorials offered and I really enjoy the banter of Sara and her husband and the easy-going way Sara has about teaching others to do art.

    Then my daughter tagged me to an artist on Instagram named Allison Lyon. And I did a couple of her tutorials. Like Sara, she has a very relaxing way of teaching and drawing you in. A couple of weeks after, I saw a post from a friend who has always been a creative, artsy person. She shared a painting she had done of a kind of quirky insect. I commented about how I loved how it looked. She shared with me the website called “Willowing Arts,” and I literally felt the world shift. Willowing Arts is led by the absolutely beautiful soul, Tamara Laporte. When I first started following her, she was hosting an art taster session, called Kaleidoscope. After just doing a few session, I knew I had to purchase the whole course.

    The underlying theme through all of this is that each one of these artists have chosen to share their gift with the world and have decided to teach in order to spread the beauty. My plan is to share my art journey on this blog. I wish I would have found this outlet earlier, but am so glad I found it when I did and recognize too, I found it exactly when I was supposed to.

  • blog,  dealing with life,  divorce,  new life

    Where have you been?

    My friends who have followed me on this journey, I am so thankful that I had a place to share and heal. When I first started this blog, I was married, living in a rental house with my (then)husband. We were on our way to being empty-nesters and I knew that this might be a rocky journey for the both of us. My intent when I started this blog was to share my willingness to try new things, albeit I was hoping it would be with my (then) husband. We were looking at a place to buy, selling our home, and I thought, heading towards a life where we could enjoy/rediscover each other now that our kids were on their own journeys of adulthood.

    If you have followed my journey, you know that none of this happened the way I planned, but it happened exactly the way it was supposed to.

    Life is a journey and it is up to us to face each part of our journey head on, even though at times, the pain and sadness can bring us to our knees. Guess what? Joy and love can bring us to heights never anticipated, but I’ll get to that soon.

    Last year, I was doing a podcast which explored the break-up of my now ex-husband. As those who have listened to the podcast and/or followed my journey in other ways, you know that my ex-husband ended our marriage pretty abruptly. Yes, we “stayed” married for six months after, but I realize now that he was done with the marriage the minute he said the words, “we are done.” I wasn’t sure what my life could be like without him in it. And as a result, I did some very irrational things as I saw my world as I knew it to be, ending.

    One of the biggest pieces of advice I can give is PLEASE do not involve your children. It really doesn’t matter if your children are adults when your marriage breaks up. They love both parents and so, they should never be made to feel like they have to choose a relationship with one or the other. Let them figure out a relationship with both parents on their own terms. This does not mean you cannot disclose why the marriage ended, but try to keep it as non-emotional as possible.

    I needed to take a break from my podcast. I may return to it someday. Right now, I’m enjoying other endeavors which speak to my creative soul. My future posts will be about what I’m doing now and what has transpired over the past year when I left my podcast.

    Thank you for reading and thank you for following my journey.

  • blog,  divorce,  divorce,  Grief,  poetry,  Thoughts

    July

    It’s been two years since my life changed in a way that I never anticipated. I still struggle with being alone. I still struggle with this new reality. So much has changed over these past two years. I think it’s hard when you are forced to make a decision that you never wanted nor anticipated. And again, I struggle because I think I should be further along and that I shouldn’t miss my old life (and him) so much.

    So I’m kind of feeling stuck at the moment. Which means I probably need to do something to kick-start me in a new direction.

    I need to plan something to do for next July. Create new memories for July.

    Shifting World

    The ground shifted
    Under her feet
    Unexpectedly
    Forever changing
    What she knew

    Scared to cross
    the crevice
    Of the old
    into the new

    Uncertainty filling the chasm
    she steps across
    the space
    knowing the cost

    It is the loss
    of almost all
    that she holds dear
    in order to save herself

    ©christal july 2019
  • dealing with life,  divorce,  poetry

    limitations

    My brother called me stupid
    All the time when I
    was a little girl

    I now have a bachelor and a master’s degree

    My husband said he couldn’t
    stand the sound of my voice
    at the end of our marriage

    I now have a weekly podcast

    I refuse to let the limitations
    of others define my own
    limitations

    ©christal hall 2019

  • Adventures,  blog,  dealing with life,  divorce,  new life,  travel

    Change

    Sometimes change happens, even if you don’t want it. If you have been reading my blog for any length of time, you know that I was thrust into a change that I never anticipated, nor wanted. And I’m still working on what the change means for me and for what kind of life I want for the remaining days (and years, I hope) I have on this planet.

    Other change is what we want to see happen because we aren’t particularly satisfied with something. Right now, that’s the kind of change I’m seeking and I’m working on motivation. I do not like feeling fat. I do not like feeling lethargic. I get trapped though and part of it is because I have this constant voice in my head to NOT DO THE THING I want to do.

    This is the voice of self doubt and worry of what other people think. I hate fucking hate it.

    This is the voice that keeps me inside of my apartment instead going out and exploring. Living the life I want instead of the life I’m imagining.

    So I’m challenging myself right now. On this blog. Holding myself accountable publicly!

    This week I will:

    1. Take myself out to dinner on a date with myself
    2. Go jogging three times
    3. Plan a quick week-end trip to some place I’ve not been before.
%d bloggers like this: