Sunday, November 29, 2009


There are times where beauty surrounds us.  And there are more times where there is little beauty to be found.  I grew up in a cold, dark, and ugly museum.  Those who know me and know even a snippet of my past seem surprised that I grew up in a wealthy family.  For some reason, abuse is often perceived as a lower class problem.  Child Protective Services visited my family on a few occasions and they were met with a facade of beauty. 

Abuse could not be happening here... not in such a beautiful home... not with such a beautiful family.

Bullshit.  It was happening and I believe that our money made it worse.  There was a perception of beauty; a deceitful view.  Beauty really is skin deep.

There is false beauty and there is true beauty.  True beauty is hard fought.  It is foraged from ruins; from devastation.  When beauty does not surround you, you become creative.  You are forced to.  Some of the most gifted and creative people came from despaired lives.  They were forced to become creative; a compensation to survive.

I have a hidden talent.  I am creative.  People are always surprised when they find this out.  See, I am logical and analytical.  So much so that I solve math problems for fun.  Yeah, I know.  But I have a whole other side to me; a side that draws, sews, quilts, crochets, etc.

I discovered my love for quilting a few years ago.  There is something fascinating and soothing in taking fabric, cutting it into pieces, piecing a quilt top, quilting it, and then making something useful out of previously cut apart fabric.  I create my own beauty.  I have had to do this my entire life; previously out of necessity and now because I love it. 

Much like a quilt, I have been cut to pieces.  I will never be the original fabric I was created to be.  But now I have the chance to piece my life into something beautiful and useful.  It is an amazing opportunity.  Quilting is a painful process; needle pricks, calluses, and punching through multiple layers make the process hard.  It takes patience.  And love.  The thread pulls and holds everything together and what else could that be other than love?  My thread is those in my life who love me, contribute, stabilize, encourage, inspire, and create a beautiful and intricate quilting design. 

I could not do this without my thread.


Deborah said...

Oh Jennifer, this is a beautiful analogy. You are a gifted writer, and a wise woman, and I agree with ER that perhaps someday you will help others, perhaps not as a motivational speaker, but by using your eloquence with the written word.

This is what you're already doing, of course, but the combination of what you have suffered and learned and overcome combined with the way you write makes me believe that something bigger is waiting for you. Not because it will make you 'successful' but because you have so much to say and you do it so very, very well.

I'm glad to have found you.

Shattered said...

Deborah, thank you. As much as I fight it, I sometimes do think about how I could use what I have been given for good. I feel like much of my life has been wasted; not by me but rather by the abuse. I don't like attention and I have always been ashamed of my life because of my fears of what people would, could, and/or should think. It is a big hurdle to step over when I have always been told that these secrets are my fault. I will say though, that the hurdle is getting smaller...

Deborah said...

Jennifer, in a dim way, I can understand that you have been taught to be ashamed of your life. In fact, you have tremendous courage and are reclaiming your life by your honesty and integrity, among other things. I very much doubt that the general reaction to you and your story would be any different than what it has been here on this blog.
I hope you don't interpret what I said about helping others as pressure of any kind at all. It's just that your voice is so compelling and strong that it does suggest the potential to reach a much wider audience.

Shattered said...

No pressure felt at all. :)

This blog has taught me a tremendous amount about what kind of people really do exist. Am I willing to tell everyone I know what has happened to me? No. But I do have a better understanding about the good in people in general.

Ruth said...

I'm a quilter too, and I've often thought how strange that we would cut up perfectly good fabric to put it back together and make a new piece of cloth. I guess in the old days only remnants and clothing would have been used, and so the recycling was more meaningful.

What a perfect metaphor a quilt is for you.

You write beautifully.

Shattered said...

Ruth, how neat that you are a quilter too! I try to quilt from scraps as much as I can but it is so hard to resist all the beautiful fabric lines that keep coming out!

Journal of Healing said...

thank you for putting a new image into my head for survival. Thank you.