Hello, I’m Christine.
I’m not a victim, and I don’t like the term survivor. What I am is a fighter. I’ve had to be.
At the age of 20, lacking life experience, any sense of self-worth, and guidance, I entered into the first of two abusive marriages. One year in, I became pregnant with my first. The neglect started soon after that. Then the verbal abuse, and by the time my daughter was 3-years-old, the physical abuse began to sneak in. I left before she turned 5. At that parting, my soon-to-be-ex-husband hit so me so hard with a closed fist that I actually saw stars. But I was free of him, and I thought my life was going to be good from there on out. I was wrong.
While I was still reeling from the effects of my abusive first marriage, and struggling as a single mother, I met my second husband. My head wasn’t clear and I couldn’t see him for the narcissist he was. He was stealthy with his manipulations and in contrast to the “in-your-face” rage of my first husband, I believed things were going to be better.
As soon as my second husband and I were married, his need to control everything revealed itself and it slowly, steadily, inexorably escalated. He becameengaged in a relentless campaign of emotional and psychological abuse. The constant gaslighting left me in a place of fear and insecurity—nothing I ever did was good enough. I was never good enough. I was always being berated and browbeaten for everything I did. I learned to submit, to get small, to hide out in my corner.
There were no rounds in my second marriage as there had been in my first. There were no breaks in the fighting—just one long bout of unrelenting emotional hits from him with the goal of knocking me unconscious. I was down, but I wasn’t out.
It took a hazy and fearful period of soul-searching, when I felt psychologically and physically exhausted, to understand that I had no choice but to get out of that ring. I was even more at-risk than before, a single mother of now three children. But, freeing myself from my second disastrous marriage, breaking out of that terrible, frightening corner, I began to rebuild.
My professional and educational background is in art and graphic design. I had been casually freelancing under the name Clever Crow Consulting and Design. I knew that my only chance at success was to grow that business into something bigger, something I could support my family on. I carefully nurtured what networks I had to take on graphic design projects. One by one, this work let me update my work portfolio, and to expand it. And with each project I undertook, I grew more confident in the work I’d done, and I took on more.
With a passion for book publishing, I co-founded Nosetouch Press, an independent press, where I do book layout and design and manuscript review. In the rare moments when I have spare time, I also create artwork—creative expression has always been central to who I am.
I’m still a fighter, but life for me now isn’t a constant battle.
Imagination, hope, ambition, energy, and love strengthen me and have helped me become more than just a fighter.
I’m Christine, and I’m One Tough Muther.