Going Back / Moving Forward

During my recent trip to the Altitude Design Summit (as posted about here) one theme continued to resonate with me, and that was the theme of ‘telling your story.’ Much like anyone, I have a past…joys, sorrows, and everything in between, But my story is one that I’ve intentionally held back because much like a single weed suddenly takes over the entire yard, a lot of my past has deep and dark roots that I’ve felt I could easily be overcome by. I know I’ve shared briefly about my past history with depression and how blogging has been the place I’ve created to propagate beauty and joy in my life. But there is a lot more.

So why share my “story” now? Well. I guess it is in part because (even though the prospect is scary), for myself I need to. While I truly believe that for my own health it was necessary for me to keep certain things in the dark over the past few years, I know that I am strong enough now and am at a place in my life where sharing where I’ve come from will likely do me a lot of good. Of course I could do all this quietly in a journal and tuck it away where nobody would ever see it, but I guess I also have the hope that maybe my experiences will help one of you, or someone dear to you. Authenticity whether lovely or challenging is something that I so admire, and there has always been that niggling thought in my head that I’ve been inauthentic by not sharing sooner…but the time feels right now, so here we go.

Before I launch off into what I’m sure will feel like a nerve-wracking naked prance around my blog for all to see, I want to say that these experiences are my own. I’m not a medical professional or therapist and don’t pretend to have all the answers. My only hope is that if you or anyone you know has ever had moments (or long stretches) of despair, or share any of the same experiences as me, that you will know that you are not alone. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. There is a light of hope always worth reaching for. I didn’t always believe that, but I know now that it is there if you just keep looking for it (more on that in another post perhaps).

So where to start. I won’t give you my whole life story…heaven knows my fingers would probably fall off from typing by the time I was through. But I’ll start with a time before this blog began, with a part, THE part that is the hardest to talk about…My daughter and I are survivors of domestic violence. Even typing those words feels almost unreal to me. Like I need to check and make sure that I’m not mistaken. I think the most challenging part about sharing this part of my past is the social stigma associated with domestic violence. I don’t want to be seen as every negative thing that those two words conjure up. But I can’t shake them…only put them behind me and move forward.

Truthfully I don’t know how a marriage filled with fear became my reality. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure it out, read a zillion books on the subject, attended support groups, but the only thing that I know for certain is that it didn’t happen all at once. I think of it like termites slowly devouring a house unseen. By the time you realize you have a problem, it is probably too late. That’s what the relationship with my ex-husband was like…slow and insidious.

The majority of the abuse I personally experienced was the emotional/verbal kind (the kind that left me feeling worthless and without a speck of control over any part of my life) and then there was also the always present understanding that my failure to cooperate or make my husband happy would result in punishment towards our daughter. So I stayed quiet, and shut down until finally after months and then years I became barely a shell of a human with a painted on smile (the great pretender). Gradually I resorting to terribly unhealthy ways of distracting myself from my life and coping with the pain (much like a caged bird will often pluck out its own feathers), first with an eating disorder then with self-injury. I even tried to end my life. The numbing weight of depression was inescapable, and each day felt like an endless roller coaster ride that I could not step off of—filled with his apologies and empty promises for change, my desperate hope that he really would, a lull that would disarm me, and then the inevitable plummet back to reality.

I think that after a while you get so good at pretending and camouflaging the ugly in your life that you forget what it’s like not to make excuses for everything. Then before you know it you find that you’ve painted yourself into a corner, with not much more left than the overriding feeling that you cannot escape—that and utter numbness.

So how did I get out? How did that reality become a far distant past? The day I actually left will be seared into my memory for life. I had spent a solid year and a half in a nearly comatose state of depression and denial (again masking it all with smiles and excuses). My husband had been spending more and more time out at bars getting trashed and would fly into increasingly violet rages (both alcohol-fueled and sober). On that day, I said something that he didn’t like and he began screaming at me, then threw a few things at me where I sat on our bed not daring to move. Our daughter was in the living room and I willed her to stay away with every bit of my being, but the next thing I knew she was running around the corner with the television remote clutched in her hand. She immediately threw it at him (something she had never done before) and in a flash he turned on her and chased her down the hallway. I will never forget the sound of her screaming, or the sight of him tearing her out from under the couch where she had tried to hide…his hands pummeling her over and over again. Somehow I got her from his grip and he stormed out of the house angrier than I’d ever seen him. As I held my daughter in my arms something that had died over all those months (I think it was a belief in myself) came to life again and I knew that if I did not find the courage and strength to leave at that very moment, that my daughter’s life and mine would be taken from us.

What followed is truly a blur. I know I managed to call my step-dad for help. Thankfully he drove over and helped me to stuff our essential belongings and our dog in the car, and we drove to his place to stay until I could make sense of what to do next. A few weeks later we moved in with my grandparents, who gave us a safe haven and the sort of support and love that I had forgotten was possible (I am grateful beyond measure for this). Then we began the process of rebuilding our lives.

I want to say that finding joy and security in our life was as easy as flipping on a switch, but it has been more like rebuilding a shattered mirror, piece by broken piece. The guilt I felt was probably one of the most painful parts. In the months and years that followed there were more court dates than I can count, restraining orders and restraining order violations, supervised visitation, a custody battle (can you believe he tried to get full custody) which mercifully concluded with the system awarding me full custody (something that I have been told is practically miraculous considering that this took place in CA), and a lot of time to work on healing for both my daughter and myself. It has been a long process, some of the days have been very dark but I have learned to trust that the light will always follow the darkest moments. Several months after leaving, I stumbled across blogging, and while there was nobody reading in the beginning, my blog became a place for me to find and create joy and peace again. A little haven from the storm that had surrounded me for so long, and a lifeline through the fog of depression that I have worked to overcome ever since.

I am incredibly happy and feel ridiculously fortunate to be able to say that today our past no longer feels like the captain steering our life’s course. My daughter and I are truly doing well. And while depression is something that still waits in shadowed places, I feel excited more and more each day to embrace the joy that life has to offer us, and not hold onto the hurtful things of the past any longer. I learned that hope and beauty are stronger than fear…and they are always worth reaching for.

Thank you for reading my story. I know it was a lot and I brushed over some serious topics. I am more than happy to answer any questions you have in the comment section below. Thank you for being here and for brightening my day with your visit. xo Ez

P.S. Did you know that this week is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week! If you know someone who struggles or has struggled with an ED or with depression / mental illness, maybe today is the perfect day to give them a friendly nudge and let them know how important they are to you (it doesn’t have to be embarrassing…just a little “hello, you are loved”). You never know just how much it could mean!

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154 Comments

  1. bridget / / Reply

    you are SO brave. i am so glad your story has a happy ending and that you are sharing it here. you're a warrior! seriously!

  2. krista {urbanite jewelry} / / Reply

    I am speechless in so many ways. SO incredibly brave of you to share your story. No stigma, no pity–just pride. Thanks for being strong and brave and courageous enough to share your story with us. Completely and totally incredible.

  3. The Demoiselle / / Reply

    THis very much resonates with me. I applaud you for your honesty, your strength and your bravery. Speaking is one of the best ways to heal yourself and to pass that healing on to others. Wishing you the best. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Agnes / / Reply

    Thank you for sharing. It was a brave thing to do and it really moved me to tears when I read your story. Recently I shared the story of my repeat miscarriages and it felt frightening and freeing at the same time. You are an inspiration of what a beautiful, smart woman can be so just keep on doing the wonderful things you are doing and thank you for doing it in a way which shares beauty with everyone else as you go.

  5. Brooke / / Reply

    Wow. What a remarkable story. You should be beyond proud of how far you have come.

    All that aside, I too have struggled with blending my professional voice with my personal blog/stories. It's scary, but if it means anything, knowing a bit about the 'real Ez' makes all the beauty you provide us with daily, even more beautiful.

  6. Sarah / / Reply

    You are so brave: brave in the moment and brave to write about this here. As vulnerable as you feel having written this, KNOW that it will inspire someone to be brave, too. Thank you so much for this.

  7. silvana / / Reply

    Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. You are so very brave and your daughter is lucky to have such a brave and selfless mom! You are super creative and I love, love perusing your beautiful blog. Thank you for all the beauty you give!

  8. laura [prismera] / / Reply

    thank you for sharing your story; it can be difficult to get so personal so publicly but you did it- i have so much respect for you! xoxo

  9. Poochie / / Reply

    I'm sure this was challenging to write and terrible to live through. I'm so proud and grateful to have been able to read what you were open to sharing. I'm glad you got all three of you to safety and that things seem good now.

    I can understand how over time your belief and capacity to think would erode and that the ability to trust can be shattered. That it's hard to image that anyone would help or care.

    I don't know you in person but I would open my home to you, your child and your pets. I would do the same for anyone in this situation. I would like to think that anyone would.

    The unknown is scary for everyone but when you've lost faith in yourself I can only imagine that it's even more daunting. I'm glad you found your way through back to the light.

  10. Rashida Coleman-Hale / / Reply

    Oh Ez. I can only imagine the courage it must have taken for you to remove yourself from that life and to write this post. Thank you for sharing your story with us. You are truly and inspiration and I know your story will help others to have the same courage you've shared with us. xoxo

  11. jennifer / / Reply

    you are so brave to share your story. tears were flowing down my cheeks as i read it.
    i grew up with an abusive father and i will never forgive him as long as i'm alive. you
    saved you and your daughter's life by leaving your ex-husband. i wish you all the
    best.

  12. Jenny / / Reply

    I've been reading your blog for a very long time, and this is the fist time I've ever actually commented. I wanted to say this to you: This post was moving. Really and truly moving. My heart goes out for you. I know how painful abusive relationships can be (though my occurred in high school is honestly, no comparison of what you went through) and how hard it is to heal. I applaud your bravery and your honesty. You are an inspiration. Thank you. :)

  13. Debra / / Reply

    Your blog is a place I visit daily for inspiration and beauty. Thank you for sharing your story of hope and strength so honestly…

  14. lou / / Reply

    this post brings tears to my eyes. can't believe that this happens to anybody. i'm glad you are still alive and that you and your daughter are safe and sound. may god bless you and your kid.

  15. Carolyn / / Reply

    Ez, What an amazing survival story. I think it sometimes takes a mother bear's protective instinct to do what we would normally not be able to do. So glad you are both doing so well now.

    You bring a lot of beauty and joy to people's lives through your blog. Thanks for sharing your story.
    xxoo
    carolyn

  16. andrea / / Reply

    There is so much strength in sharing. My mother used to tell me that pain was like rocks that we carry around – when we tell somebody, they carry a few of those rocks for us, and the more people we tell, the lighter our load until it turns to sand, and then we're strong enough to take some rocks from others. I feel like when we tell people about depression, about sadness, about domestic violence, that sometimes they carry a few of our rocks – and sometimes they realized that that indescribable weight that has been crushing them.. can be carried by another for a while. My sister and I both carry pebbles in our purses, to shoulder each others load. Thank you so much for sharing – you are insanely strong and inspiring. Thank you thank you.

  17. VANESSA WARREN / / Reply

    Wow. Ez, I can definitely imagine how hard it was to press "post" but I know for a fact your story will impact & change someone. You are a blessing to so many daily with your encouraging words & sweet spirit. Thank you for sharing your heart & a part of your life story. I'll pray that you continue to feel the strength to keep telling that story … it will bring hope to so many. you are amazing. xoxo

  18. Jennifer / / Reply

    Thank you for sharing this with us Ez. You are incredibly brave, and your strong spirit resonates throughout. I am sure this will be an inspiration for so many who have been through this or are currently experiencing it. xo

  19. Molly - Vivi Dot / / Reply

    With tears in my eyes and a huge lump in my throat I want to say thank so you much for sharing this with us. You are so brave to be open about it and will surely help others see the light in dark places.

  20. Donna / / Reply

    As a long-time lurking reader of Creature Comforts, I was just about to leave a comment on that blog but then I saw your Twitter link to this. You are so brave for relating your story and you should be so proud of yourself and what you've done for yourself and for your daughter.
    I was originally writing to say a big thankyou for Creature Comforts and that your posts are like little rays of sunshine in my day. I look forward to them immensely. They are beautiful and inspirational – so, a big THANKYOU from me.
    Take care.

  21. Kristen / / Reply

    Thank you.

    Thank you for being brave enough to share your story with us. For persevering, surviving, and speaking out about mental health, abuse and courage.

    Your sharing may be the push someone else needs to seek help for themselves.

  22. Omoy/yourstrulyTTH / / Reply

    You are so strong and absolutely brave. Your story is an example of love and strength.

  23. Meli (Blush + Jelly) / / Reply

    Wow – I am speechless. All I can think of is how brave you are and what a strong mother you are. You are a true inspiration. I truly believe that this post will help many that have been in similar situations.

  24. karuski / / Reply

    Your story is tearing my eyes and making me speechless. I truly understand it feels scary to reveal so much about yourself and your life but for sure it is liberating all the same. Be assured your readers (just like me) are grateful for you sharing these memories. Saying this, they are just memories and not present in your life today. You have moved forward, congratulations!
    xx, minna

  25. terri belford / / Reply

    Ez, you are so wise and courageous to have left that horrid situation and also brave to tell your story. I'm sure it will help other women who feel trapped to know you survived by getting out and rebuilding your life.

  26. Ez / / Reply

    Oh my goodness…I am so overwhelmed (in a good way) by your love, support and encouragement guys. Each one of your comments truly means the world to me. Thank you for the personal stories and wisdom you've shared too. All of this is just so wonderful I can hardly put words to it. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! xox Ez

  27. Victoria Klein / / Reply

    For the few years that I have been reading your other blog, I never imagine that this was your history – and I mean that in the best possible way. You & your daughter have truly bloomed out of the dirt that was your former marriage. I personally suffered from crippling depression & anxiety for nearly a decade, seeking professional help & being on medication for nearly 7 years. It still echos in my life on a regular basis, but each time it crops up, I find myself stronger than ever before, fighting it off with a vengeance. My source of depression was different (just overall lack of self-worth instead of actual abuse), but the emotions were just as intense. There IS life after suffering, but one has to take that first, huge step to admit we are in a dark place & seek help.

    I believe the best thing I can say is this: thank you. Thank you for being yourself. Thank you for being strong. Thank you for being willing to share your story with others. Your willingness to share your personal truth with the world is heartwarming & a true testament to the complex yet fantastic journey of life.

  28. Jackie {sweetlittlethrills} / / Reply

    Thank you for being brave enough to share something that most people would never bring to light. It takes an incredibly strong person to get through what you did. What a tremendous mother you've been for your daughter and an inspiration to all who are reading this post.

  29. kelly / / Reply

    i wish i could shower you with hugs right now! you had me in near tears, and i think you're extremely brave for getting through that, and sharing it with all of us. you will definitely help others who are in the same situation, and i know they'll appreciate you for opening up to us like this.

  30. jena / / Reply

    goodness Ez, thank you so much for sharing! I know how incredibly difficult it must be to open up like that on truly personal topics in such a public space, but you're right- it could certainly help someone who's in that situation now, seeing that you got out and are on your way to a happy healthy life with your daughter. Just getting all that out is such a huge step and proves just how strong you really are!

  31. jodi / / Reply

    you are amazing! what an extremely difficult situation to deal with. i am so glad you and your daughter were able to escape from that nightmare.

    while my depression stemmed from a completely different point (chronic illness), i can definitely relate to the feeling of never being light and happy again. i am in a much, much better place now and am so glad to hear that you are, too. xoxo

  32. Molly / / Reply

    I've said this before, but I think it really bears repeating – you are so lovely and kind and unpretentious, Ez, which is why your blog is so wonderful and remains one of my favorites. It really reflects how caring and down to earth you are (not to mention your impeccable taste!).

    I found myself holding back tears reading this, because I have two daughters – one of them is the same age as yours. I also remember that you had a problem with bullies at her school in NJ, which, after reading this, I realize must have been especially painful for you.

    I am amazed at your strength and determination and your ability to find and share so much beauty. You're an inspiration!

    Thank you so much for sharing your story.

  33. Emma Angel / / Reply

    Ez, thank you so much for sharing such an intimate part of your life. I can relate to so much of what you have said, the domestic violence, court orders, custody battles, self harm, depression etc. It is difficult and you are so brave to put this out there for all to see.
    There is still so much stigma still attached to both domestic violence and depression and this makes it difficult for people to talk abut these things.
    Please don't ever feel guilty about your daughter. I have been reading your blog for a couple of years and you have shown your love for daughter many, many times. You have done the best for her and that shows.
    Thank you again for writing this post.
    x

  34. julia / / Reply

    thank you so much for sharing this, ez. your honesty and courage is truly admirable. i hope that your story can inspire hope in others who are struggling.

  35. abby / / Reply

    You are amazing, EZ.
    Thank you for sharing and being an inspiration to us all.
    Hugs and love to you…xxxooo

  36. Pati / / Reply

    Thank you soo much for your story. I don't know what to say….I will just say that abuse has touched my family too. My twin sister went through something similar. Was a very hard time and I feel for you. I am so happy you are on the other side now. Wow awesome :) You are strong and brave.
    Hey… "hello, you are loved"

  37. liane / / Reply

    i'm so happy you made it out. i'm certain your story will help someone else out there. thank you so much for sharing it with honesty. xxxx

  38. Mae / / Reply

    thank you so much for sharing. what strength it must take to write this and share it with others. i'm thankful that this story ended well and hope that it can help others to that their stories may end well, too. thank you.

  39. Susan Najarian / / Reply

    Thank you for sharing this difficult time from your past. I know it took tremendous courage to leave as well as write about what happend. Sharing your story brings light to a dark time. Thank you

  40. Claudia / / Reply

    Your story is touching and brave and I read it welling up. I can't imagine what you went through and though I don't know you personally, your blog reflects what a loving and devoted mother you are. You had the strength to get out and save yourself and your daughter. I truly admire you sharing your past, but I hope you take pride in what your blog brings to your readers. You are a creative woman and one that so many of us look up to. I'm rather new to the blogging community, but it's people like you who inspire people like me to keep up with what we love. So glad you are both doing well and are out of that danger.

  41. Claudia@StonehouseLove / / Reply

    ez-
    your daughter has a wonderful example to show her the way…and we get to share with you the benefits of your courageous struggle to move beyond your despair. I've never met you but now I know for sure that your beauty (and talent) is not skin deep. Only those of us who have struggled and persevered can truly appreciate how precious life and love is and how beautiful…thanks ez for sharing.

  42. kayla @ exquisite banana / / Reply

    My mother is a psychotherapist and specializes in working with victims of domestic abuse. Thank you for sharing your story, Ez. I am so thankful that you and your daughter were able to leave…and thrive.

  43. tea_austen / / Reply

    How very brave you have been—how very brave you are.

    I've struggled with my own life challenges, and I know the guilt and depression you speak of, but from where I stand I see only your bravery in stepping away from the dark and creating a new life for yourself and your daughter against the odds. That takes untold strength.

    Thanks for sharing your bravery, that takes strength too. And you never know who you might be helping.

    This is the first time I've been to your site (followed a link off Twitter). I will definitely be back!

  44. heather / / Reply

    Ez, You and your daughter are so brave and I feel honored that you've chosen to share your story with us. xoxo

  45. Alice / / Reply

    thank you for sharing your story. i can't even imagine what you've been through. you've come a long way and provide so much inspiration for so many of us now!
    hugs.

  46. Meghan / / Reply

    As someone who works with domestic violence survivors, I can truly understand your bravery in leaving this relationship and your courage for sharing your story. You are a strong and resilient woman. You have no idea how many lives you've touched and changed by sharing your story. You have made many feel less alone. xo

  47. amanda / / Reply

    Ez, you are an extremely brave woman for sharing this with so many. I think you always share your authentic self here on CC. I had tears in my eyes reading that. I can't imagine what that must have been like to deal with. I admire you so much.

  48. Ami / / Reply

    Ez, you are a truly remarkable woman – so brave and courageous. Thank you for being so open and giving us all a glimpse into just how powerful and wonderful you are.

  49. Amy --- Just A Titch / / Reply

    I don't have a child, but I also came from a marriage with slow abuse, attempted suicide, etc. I related to much of what you've written and I know how scary and hard it is to escape. I'm so happy you've found that love and safe haven. You're so brave.

  50. Bruna / / Reply

    Dear, I am very happy for you and your daughter. Brave history and for sure you will be even happier. I my self am struggling with a terrible skin disease, and am I also in a healing process of my body and my soul, I know how hard it is. But like you, I´m also learning "that hope and beauty are stronger than fear…and they are always worth reaching for." God bless you and thanks for sharing your history.

  51. cynthia / / Reply

    Dearest Ez, I'm am so heart felt by your past journey. I am truly happy and grateful for both you and your daughter to have pulled through that and are both doing so well now – look at the wonderful inspiring Blog you have created for thousands to read and admire. Life is a long journey but also a short one that would past us in a flash if you don't 'seize the day'…. life is what you make of it. Well done, I'm proud of you girlfriend!!! Go forth!

  52. Bri / / Reply

    I am sitting here with tears in my eyes, and all I can say is THANK YOU for writing this. Thank you for being so brave to share. While my circumstances may be a bit different from yours, the emotions are the same. I think the main thing is that you've encourage me to create a space for happy things… where that be quiet time for myself, a long walk, a blog, doodling in my sketchbook. To just create. To be. Happy.

    Thank you.

  53. Stephey : Marked by the Muse™ / / Reply

    Thank you for sharing your story. I read some parts through the blurriness of tears, having resonated with that sense of shutting down you spoke of. I experienced shutting down earlier in my life, until i no longer recognized myself or could sense life, yet alone feel the spark of inspiration. it was during that time, and perhaps it's in that place, that smaller than small place that solutions like suicide presented themselves to my mind. It was within the decision to end my life that my life actually began and somehow, through various serendipitous and coincidental events, hosted by many people who extended their hearts I'm still here. eighteen years later – wow. And not only am I here, i'm on the other side of that tribulation and desire to support others back into loving themselves as well. So you are right. we are never truly alone. we CAN over come even the darkest side of life and feel, well, love again. Thank you for sharing your story. It's given me courage to share more of mine w/the hopes of helping others the way you've helped me in this moment. thanks.

    All My Best,
    Stephey

  54. Mary-- The Yellow Door Paperie / / Reply

    Thank you for being so transparent, telling our stories is so important to healing and growth but also for those hushed issues that choke our community. I am so grateful you've stood up and told what makes you feel most naked.

    Thank you so much.

  55. ali / / Reply

    What a courageous thing to share all you did. You are strong, you are full of love, and you are a beautiful soul that deserves oh so much happiness. Because of what your blog has given to you, it now means more to me than ever! : ) XO

  56. Laurie / / Reply

    Thank you for sharing your story. You are really a brave woman! I grew up in a home just like the one you escaped from, and it took years of therapy to be whole again. You are amazing and wonderful to share your story.

  57. angie / / Reply

    thank you for sharing your story with us, ez. i can understand how hard this is for you, but it really is inspiring and touching to know we could be a part of your life in this way. i'm glad and happy to hear that you are now stronger than ever because of your past. way to go, ez!

    *hugs*
    angie

  58. marichelle / / Reply

    I know how difficult it was for you to find the right words, I'm so proud of you for sharing these pieces of your past. I hope you'll continue to share more about your day to day life/challenges. Hugs from me and Ems. xo

  59. Michelle C / / Reply

    Thank you so much for sharing. Your story will help so many people. Life will continue to get better. Good luck and wishes to you and your daughter.

  60. veronica tm / / Reply

    dear ez, thank you so much for sharing your story. i am absolutely sure that it has helped every person who read it, at least to look at their life with new eyes and be thankful for what they have.
    of course, i have never met you (but have loved your blog and your kindness at our few virtual interactions), but this post made you more real to me, like a friend with a painful secret, and i would love to give you a hug.
    thank you again.

  61. tammie / / Reply

    you are so very brave. for sharing. and for leaving. i grew up as the daughter in that story, but my mom didn't have it in her to leave (and almost lost her life) it took years for me to recover {still working on it}. your daughter {and you} are so blessed that you picked up and moved on. good luck on your journey as it takes you farther and farther away from that pain. and thank you, thank you for sharing.

  62. Chroma Lab / / Reply

    Ez, you amazing lady! I hope the life you're cultivating for yourself and your daughter just gets bigger and better and more joyful as you go along. I wish you both nothing but the best.

  63. Jan / / Reply

    Oh Ez, I'm so sorry you had to go through all of that, and too, for your daughter. It must've been very scary for you both.

    I'm so glad you found that this blog became your happy place – as it cleary shows you have so much talent and happiness to share.

    I'm sure you will touch and help many with your story.

  64. Megan Biram / / Reply

    So proud of you and so glad you are doing well now. Your story will definitely give others in similar situations the courage to leave.

  65. Lisa {With Style and Grace} / / Reply

    Thank you for sharing such a personal story and I acknowledge you for the strength it took to fight for your life. Know that you are surrounded my love and beauty, even behind the screens of our computers. Thank you for being you. xo

  66. Jenn / / Reply

    Ez,
    I am so glad that you shared this! You are beautiful & brave! Go You!
    Love
    Jenn

  67. Vicki / / Reply

    Ez, thankyou so much for sharing your story with us. I admire your transparency and feel so sad that you had to go through such a horrible experience. I was raised with an extremely verbally and sometimes physically abusive Dad and have had to work through a lot of pain (and at times depression), over the years, too. Blogging and photography have been so therapeutic and healing for me as well.

    In the past week I've been thinking about putting a post on my blog called "Heart to Heart". Along with my health issues (a recent diagnosis of MS) and my background of abuse, I want to share openly with my readers. I think people automatically assume that because you post beautiful things on your blog and are seeing some success with your creative goals, that your life is easy. So not true!

    Thanks, sweet Ez. I'm in your court if you ever need a friend who can relate. Big hugs and thankyou so much for sharing from your heart. We love you!

  68. Melanie / / Reply

    This breaks my heart that you had to endure this. Meeting you in person, you were radiant and joyful and I'm sorry that you had to go through something so painful in your past. Wishing you only the best in your continued recovery and regained strength.

  69. kara rosenberry / / Reply

    you are amazingly brave… I came over from your other blog and bravo to you for sharing this. One would never know you went thru this with all of the beauty and light you bring on Creature Comforts. What a transformation you have made in your life. It is pretty awesome. thank you for sharing.

  70. Vicki Archer / / Reply

    A very brave post…I cannot begin to imagine all those heartaches that you have not written about….I admire your honesty and courage…xv

  71. Lisa / / Reply

    I am so sorry you had to endure this. my heart breaks for you. thank you for sharing, you are an awesome person, a personal creative hero of mine and an great mom. please remember that when things get tough.

  72. Elizabeth / / Reply

    You're an inspiration- that someone would ever try to stifle your unique perspective astounds me.

    You've not only taken your life into your own hands, you've crafted it into something beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing about your struggle- your joy and accomplishments shine even more brightly in comparison.

  73. Shuyi / / Reply

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I'm still reeling from the reality of it all, and so inspired by your courage! You are definitely moving forward, and doing it so well too! Stay strong, and keep up the fabulously creative work you've been doing – because you have so much to offer! xxo.

  74. Ez / / Reply

    Hello everyone! I wanted to take a moment to share with you just how much each and every one of your comments and emails has meant to me today. I knew that I wanted to share this story for some time, but when it came time to finally click publish earlier today, I was pretty nervous.
    What you all have given me through your kind support and encouragement has been wonderful beyond my wildest hopes. Thank you a million times over for being here and cheering me on. It means more than I can ever say. xox Ez

  75. Diane Zerr / / Reply

    I'm sure everyone before has already said it, but I'm glad you shared your story. And I'm glad you took control for you and your daughter. I can't imagine what you've been through, but I hope that you continue on the much better path that you've been on. I love reading your blog, and thank you for telling your story.

  76. DIana / / Reply

    You are amazing. I am so impressed by your story, and am awed by your strength and courage. As Brooke said so well, "knowing a bit about the 'real Ez' makes all the beauty you provide us with daily, even more beautiful."

  77. OLD BRAND NEW / / Reply

    Ez, you melt my heart. Thank you for sharing your incredibly poignant story. It just shows how strong and courageous you were and STILL are. You are a talented and beautiful person. Never stop believing in the best is out there for you and your family. YOU GO, GIRL!

  78. Silvana / / Reply

    Ez, as a child of a mother who endured years of the same frightening abuse, I wanted to say that you have given your little girl a tremendous gift by persevering, protecting her and finding your strength. In these situations, children carry their mother's pain for years and the best healing balm is witnessing the resurrection of a mother's spirit and confidence. I truly appreciate you sharing the details of your struggle and healing journey with us. You are an inspiration. x

  79. kate / / Reply

    I'm sure you get told that you're brave ad nauseum (at least I hope so), but you really are. I could never open up like this on my own blog for fear of putting myself out there, and I so admire you for this. Blogging healed me as well, after a bout of terrible depression and a marriage that broke me, but nothing like what you went through. Thanks for sharing your story, Ez.

  80. jenna @sweetfineday / / Reply

    EZ. Thank YOU for brightening our day. I am so glad you shared your story with us. Sadly, I know all too well about domestic violence (not in my own marriage). It's a terrible burden for a child to bear. You are really brave to leave your husband and I am so happy to hear that there is so much joy and peace in your life now. xo.

  81. justagirlLaura / / Reply

    What a brave post. Thank you for sharing your story; it was incredible to read and inspiring in so many ways. As someone who has dealt with depression it's always comforting to recognize you're not alone in your struggle.

    You seem to be doing so well and I am so happy for your journey to recovery. I wish you the very best!

  82. jenna @sweetfineday / / Reply

    @Silvana. WOW, this quote – "children carry their mother's pain for years and the best healing balm is witnessing the resurrection of a mother's spirit and confidence" – I have read over about 15 times. There are no truer words than this! thank you.

  83. Mika / / Reply

    Thank you so much for sharing – I really believe that we can only make things better, for ourselves and for society as a whole, when we create a dialogue about the issues that matter to us. Your willingness to bring this into the open is going to help others. I'm so glad you've found joy in life and put some of that joy into your blog!

  84. Jan | Daisy Janie / / Reply

    Ez -
    I am so, so sorry this was a part of your life. On the day you left, you summoned the unstoppable, instinctive bravery of a Mother Lion. May you always appreciate and know your own radical courage. Your daughter will thank you one day, though you may not hear it. The line you drew in the sand that day will forever propel her forward – into the light.
    Much love to you both
    Jan

  85. jen / / Reply

    thank you for sharing. i'm so glad you and your daughter are doing so well now. this post may help save someone's life. very brave of you to tell your story.

  86. Deb / / Reply

    Way to go! You are such an inspiration! I'm so proud to call you my friend! xo

  87. Avital / / Reply

    Your story has given me the shivers. As someone who had gone through some horrendous things in life, involving sickness and murder and survival, I always took it for granted that amidst everything that had happened I could always count on my close family to embrace me and make everything better. I can only imagine how it might feel to have that close family member raise against you. To be berried in the terror and to live in terror, rather than just experience it and heal through time. You are a true hero and I salute you. I respect your strength, your ability to raise above and most of all the fact that even when you were viciously deprived of the self worth to stand up for yourself – you still had the resilience to stand up for your daughter. Thanks so much for sharing your story. You are inspiring not only in the creative realm…

  88. Suze / / Reply

    I'm speechless. Don't know what to say really. Just that I admire your courage in getting out of this (and sharing it too). Sending hugs your way (and your beautiful daughter).

  89. kiki / / Reply

    Thanks so much for sharing I am not brave enough to do what you are doing it takes incredible courage and strength and I can relate to a lot of it. I'm sure many, many, many others can as well!

  90. Inge / / Reply

    I'm so proud of you for sharing your story. I know it's scary to get so personal, but I've been thinking lately about why it's such a taboo to share who you really are and can't seem to find a good answer. We could all mean so much more to each other if we opened up and dropped the façade. So thank you for showing me that it is indeed a good thing to do and that people will only love you more for it.

  91. renna deluxe / / Reply

    I'm speechless! Thank you for sharing your story.
    And thank you for your inspire blog – I get always a warm feeling while looking at these beautiful things.

  92. brianna / / Reply

    Thank you for being so honest. It is such a scary thing disclosing all this to the anonymity of the internet. I'm sure it will help someone who is feeling alone and scared right now.

  93. Victoria Bennett Beyer / / Reply

    Bless, you, Ez, because the courage it has taken to reclaim your life and to share this will surely spread, like a beautiful vine spreading over a crumbling wall. We are what we put out into the world, and you are kind and thoughtful and honest. I wish you and your daughter all the best.

  94. Isabel / / Reply

    You are so courageous, not only to have survived that, but to be able to share it, and so publicly. That's really something to reach out as you have. I work at a shelter for survivors of DV and our organization basically stands on this quote: "If you have come here to help me, then you are wasting your time…But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together."–Lila Watson
    So thank you so much for sharing and encouraging others to seek help, to ask questions, because we are all here for each other.

  95. Trude / / Reply

    Such an amazing story. What is it about love that makes us do things for others we would never think of doing for ourselves? You've come a long way, my dear, that much is obvious. Thank you for having the strength to share your story! <3

  96. Samandra / / Reply

    I moved me with your story, and my eyes filled with tears when I read your story. Thanks for sharing. I admire you for being brave and still be creative in the midst of difficulties.

  97. Becka / / Reply

    so brave. i have not yet been brave enough to share my stories. thank you for being an inspiration.

  98. susy / / Reply

    once you have 'put the broken mirror back together piece by piece' don't forget to look in it now and then and see how lovely you both are.

    i can personally relate to what you are talking about. the important thing is that you are dealing with it over time, going easy on yourselves, savoring the beauty in life, and surrounding yourself with people who truly want you both to be happy and healthy. there is no better remedy.

    hold your head up high! you are brave, and you have many wonderful things to look forward to. : )

  99. christina / / Reply

    I just saw the link to your post~ and reading your story brought tears to my eyes. You should be so proud of yourself for taking a stand for yourself and your daughter. Thank you for sharing your story and for bringing a bit of beauty and happiness to your readers every day. You are a hero and an inspiration :)

  100. sheila / / Reply

    Ez, thank you for sharing your story. You and your daughter are so brave and so lucky to have each other – look at how strong you both are. I'm so glad your life is full of hope and light now and that you and your daughter have found a place of strength and happiness together. You know, you didn't let yourself or your daughter down, you had strength and courage inside you, it was still there and you did something about it. I'm so glad you did because I'm really glad to have met you, and your wonderful attitude towards life after what you've been through is a real inspiration, especially for those who have experienced similar pain or sadness in their lives. It is still hard for me to talk about my experience with depression but I hope some day to be able to get past it like you have and whenever I find out that other people who are happy and together have gone through it, it really gives me hope that I will eventually let it go and get past it, and that I'm not the only one who has struggled. So thank you, Ez, for your courage. Sending you and your daughter lots of hugs. xo

  101. Sarah_JulieAnne / / Reply

    There aren't enough words to say how brave you were that day when you left and saved both yours and your daughter's lives and how brave you are today for sharing your story with us.. You truly are an inspiration for many..Thank you xox

  102. Piper / / Reply

    you are SO brave Ez in so many ways. i'm so moved by your story especially since i'm a huge fan of yours and what you've done with your blog – and now to know the woman behind it – wow, what an amazing, courageous person you are.

  103. {gemmifer} / / Reply

    Oh Ez, I wish I could give you and your daughter a big hug through the web right now. It's so terrible that you had to go through what you did, but I am very thankful that the two of you made the decision to get out, as God knows how much worse things could have gotten. I am in awe of your strength and of how you have made a lovely life for you and your sweet girl. I can't stop the tears as I type this; you are an amazing woman. No one should have to go through what you did, especially a child who has even less power against it. I wish you both love and happiness as you go forward, and less and less dark times in the future.
    xoxo, Jennifer

  104. kara / / Reply

    Wow.
    Thank you for sharing- that is a really powerful story.
    You continually brighten my day with your beautiful blog and have been an inspiration to me since I found it….I am so glad that you survived a terrible situation and came out in a better place.

  105. Gina / / Reply

    I read your post last week and didn't sleep for two days…it's all very familiar to me. Your readers are correct, you are a very, very brave lady. I want to thank you for speaking up and telling your story it is so needed and intensely valuable for young girls and women to know how it starts, through control, manipulation and humiliation and then eventually, violence. Perhaps if more know the subtle aspects of how abuse can start…. then just maybe, there will be fewer who suffer. Thank you for sharing your story so honestly and thoughtfully. I admire you.

  106. Kristi / / Reply

    Ez, thank you so much for sharing your story. This was a brave thing to do and so helpful to many, I am sure. I truly have goosebumps still from reading this post. You are such an amazing and inspiring woman and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for letting us be a part of your life. ♥ xoxo, Kristi

  107. Ainslie / / Reply

    My goodness Ez, you are such a brilliant, brilliant person.
    I first discovered CreatureComforts in 2004/05? which was when I first started blogging. It was always a source of joy, positivity and inspiration for me. I understand how and why you created a haven for yourself in blogging as that was the reason I started blogging too. Before the end of 2005 I left my home and marriage after 8 years of living in similar circumstances. It was after an almost identical incident that I finally left with my 12 month old baby and 7 year old son. After that I stopped blogging because I couldn't cope.
    Your post has completely moved me. It is a testament to your strength and grace that all this time you have been creating the most beautiful work and page after page of joy for everyone to share and gain so much happiness from whilst enduring all of the horrors that come after leaving a marriage like that. You are absolutely amazing!!!
    Thank you for all the joy and positivity you have brought me through reading your blog over these years. Thank you for this post and I know you will encourage so many women to strive through the hard times, to expect more for themselves, for a happier life. I am sure you will be pleased to know – five years on I have come through the worst parts, have created a new life for the boys and I and have started up my blog again, {enjoying it immensely} and am being true to the person I always wanted to be.
    best wishes, Ainslie, an absolute fan.

  108. Lauren / / Reply

    I'm so glad you shared your story – you were strong taking charge of that awful situation the way you did. But mostly I am thrilled that you are in such a wonderful place now. It shows in your blog – with all of the beautiful things you are able to recognize and appreciate in life and share with others. You inspire me.

  109. amanda james / / Reply

    hello ez,

    thank you for sharing. i know it must be a very hard thing to do. but, as you said, it helps. i don't often read this part of your blog, for i think it is like reading a journal. which i think should be left un-opend, but often this part shows a lot more of yourself than the main-blog will do. but i am glad i read this entry. i don't have a eating disorder and i don't suffer from home abuse but i surel know how a depression feels and what's it like to feel so much pain that it literally makes you numb so you try to hurt yourself to feel again. i've been there and i know it is a struggle every day for the rest of our lives to not go back there. sometimes i wish i didn't need to fight any longer and it will all disappear but i know for sure that i am a stronger person and so are you. surviving what you and your daughter survived.
    i am still struggling with people telling that i had (and have) depression. for depression doesn't vanished like that although a lot of people might think so. but i think and hope that there are a lot of people who will understand once i start to tell my story. i thank you for sharing your story for it is the hardest and yet the best part you can do :)

    (i am sorry if something sounds 'wrong' but i am german and my english is limited :/)

  110. Cate / / Reply

    It has taken me some time to respond to your post. It struck so many chords with my own life journey – dealing with abuse and depression among other things.
    I think it is ironic that part of my dealing with the darkness was to visit your blog – which to me has been an oasis of tranquility and beauty. An endless cup of creativity from which I could drink, imbibing your inspiration and mustering the energy to put one foot in front of the other.
    In fact I was little awed by your professionalism and assumed your were an "IT" girl. Trouble free – boundless confidence and with all the other trappings of success I feel I lack in my own life. Barriers I use to justify why it can't be the same for me.
    Thank you for sharing this intimate detail of the girl behind smile. Your truthfulness has inspired me in a profound and fundamental way, because you have shown me that something I thought beyond my reach, is in fact possible.

  111. J Koes / / Reply

    Ez,

    i'm celebrating your wonderful life story with you. it's amazing how you managed to transform what many people put up with and hide from for decades on end. i've been reading your 'main" blog for a long time now, and i've always imagined the person behind it as someone whose life has always been perfect and who hasn't got a care in the world. now i've come to realize the beauty you see and share with your readers has a different source, and i see so much more humanity behind your stories and pictures now. all the best to you, your daughter and all the people around you who gave and continue to give you support. you are an inspiration!

    J

  112. Coley / / Reply

    You're story is so inspiring! It's wonderful that you took your life back and that blogging has been a source of joy in your life. I feel like it's such a great outlet even if no one is reading at first (I like to blog and don't have many readers but still enjoy it). Thanks for sharing and God bless! <3

  113. K / / Reply

    Thanks for sharing Ez, especially for the reasons that you did. I've become 'addicted' to blogs about two years ago and I've found that I mainly keep reading the ones that share more personal stories. There are so many blogs out there with authors that seem so perfectly happy. Not that I want them to be miserable but it sort of made me feel like I would never be able to be that perfectly happy. Its seems like a lot of bloggers were born into wonderful, caring, and loving families and found amazing husbands. Hearing about your story gives me hope that people can over come hardships. People can be happy even after bad things happen to them. Thanks.

  114. Charlotte / / Reply

    Wow. Dear Ez that is so brave of you to write that and I'm so glad you have found your own space for you and your daughter. Thank you for writing that. x

  115. sue b / / Reply

    I am so happy for you and your daughter that both of you are doing
    well…. and if I may quote you "not hold onto the hurtful things of
    the past any longer"… " embrace the joy that life has to offer us"
    and I think we all have " learned that hope and beauty are stronger
    than fear.." I like that.

    I have been reading your blog for a while, actually I found it looking
    for inspiration to decorate my daughter's bedroom… you had just
    decorated your daughters bedroom. Your blog is so beautiful and
    inspirational. Congratulations!

  116. Mariah Danielsen / / Reply

    Wow. What a miraculous story.. brought tears to my eyes! I can't imagine what I would do in that situation, and I am so happy that you are safe and happy now.

    I feel like when people know why we are doing something or where we came from, there is a stronger connection created. Thank you so much for sharing your story.

  117. Beth / / Reply

    Thank you EZ. I look to your blog daily to see the beauty that you see, and I stumbled upon this. I'm so happy that you've found your way out so we can all enjoy your vision.

  118. Rachel Alison / / Reply

    I know you wrote this awhile ago EZ, but I just saw the 'personal blog' part today. Thank you for sharing your story. Sometimes, as a reader, I forget that each of these blogs are curated by a person. A human. With all the lovely images and projects that blogs like yours so wonderfully give to the world, it's as if the person(s) behind them are beyond personhood. Like Martha Stewart. (Okay, I know Ms Stewart is a person too, but she is also known for unreal perfection.)

    I am not glad these awful things happened to you or your daughter. I am, however, glad that you are finding joy. Thank you for sharing your story.

  119. Ez / / Reply

    I just wanted to stop back by and thank all of you who have taken the time to read my story and leave such loving and supportive words of encouragement and kindness for me. Each one of your comments truly means the world to me. Thank you! xox Ez

  120. hannah singer / / Reply

    ez, this is beautiful and speaks volumes of grace. so grateful for your new life with your daughter. may you continue to create joy in your lives with each new day. much love to you, xo

  121. Ez / / Reply

    Thank you so much for your words of kindness Hannah! They brightened my day to day and meant so much to me. xo Ez

  122. Mel / / Reply

    I am so sorry for what you have gone through, but so glad to see you are healing. A million thank you's for your brave words and strength. Best wishes to your daughter and to you. xo

  123. Ez / / Reply

    Mel thank you so much for taking the time to share such lovely words of support! I appreciate it so SO much! xo Ez

  124. jackie / / Reply

    Thank you for your heart and courage. I have had abusive relationships (scary) and eating issues. That moment that we snap awake and our real selves take charge, and find safety is like having wings and no fear. The only fear is that you don't move fast enough, because you do not want to be filling up the car when he comes back. Out and away. Good, good, good for you and your daughter. May you both continue to grow and heal and find the love and support of family and friends always.
    I admire your honesty and thank you for your truth.

  125. Tin Roof Press / / Reply

    Thanks for sharing. This is a great post, really honest.
    I never commented before, because I must confess, all the posts were so happy-happy-pretty things. I liked them, but I had nothing to say really. I'm glad this blog is changing a little.

  126. Annette / / Reply

    This was heartbreaking. I so hope you can see what a beautiful, talented person you are and what wonderful and kind energy you are putting out into the world, as witnessed by the many who follow your blog. You and your daughter deserve nothing but the kindness and light the world has to offer. Keep shining bright!

  127. Ez / / Reply

    Jackie, Annette, and Tin Room Press – Thank you guys so much for your kind words. Your support makes my heart feel light, and I can't tell you enough just how very much it means to me. Thank you! xo Ez

  128. Anna @ IHOD / / Reply

    Hi Ez,
    I wanted to let you know I read this post, and sit in utter admiration of you. I have tears down my face. What a testimony you have to share, and what a gift you have to verbalize your story. I know this will touch many lives, and it was a reminder for me never to hold back from reaching out to a neighbor-everyone has their own sufferings.
    I am so happy to know you have peace now, and you and your daughter will live a beautiful life.
    Its incredible to see all the beauty you already have shared through Creature Comforts and know that God 's gifts that he gave you are shining through this space.
    Wishing you continued health, peace, and happiness!
    <3, Anna

  129. Prathi / / Reply

    Hi, may be some people have this problem. I also went through. all counselling, medication and things :( But i have learnt a lot from that too. i read book "feeling good, the mood therapy" by david burns. i think it helped me. But i really have to appreciate you. brave !!! Congratulations for this new beautiful awesome life. Live in Present… enjoy the Power of NOW :)

  130. Megan (Honey We're Home) / / Reply

    I just found your blog and am in love with your beautiful designs and have quickly realized what a beautiful heart and energy and intent you have. I appreciate you sharing your story. You are so brave to leave and save yourself and your daughter. I'm sure you have helped many other women by sharing your journey.

  131. Laurie / / Reply

    Hi… I'd like to simply say, "me too". Five years ago, ended a 30 year marriage… and it was after realizing I was at the end of a "slow death"… so gradual, you don't know it's happening, till it's almost too late. My situation however, never got physical. Yet, the mental, emotional was enough to almost physically kill me… years in a depressed state, that I also was not fully aware I was even in. Thank you so much for sharing you story. Your victory and abilityt overcome it is of great help and inspiration. I share, as I'm sure many other have also… siimply to let you know you are not alone. (Learning about "narcissism", and "personality disorders" is what changed everything for me after the divorce) I'm so very glad you found your way to being able to live a happy life. God bless you and your daughter!

  132. Natalie / / Reply

    You are amazing Ez. You inspire me beyond words. Thank you so much for sharing.

  133. Audrey / / Reply

    I’m so sorry for your past and those bad memories, but also glad that you have healed so well and are so strong now. My story is very much like yours and I know how it feels. One important thing that I learned, is that you can’t understand such violent people. I also tried to figure out, why my ex-husband acted like that, but it was a relief to find out, that I don’t have to understand it. Just leave it behind. I think those kind of bad things in the past are like bad books, just close them and leave them somewhere wherethey can just gather dust…

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