My Domestic Abuse Story | Post + Video

MY DOMESTIC ABUSE STORY: Because I want to help others escape, heal, and live complete lives without the terror of domestic violence.

I am telling my story because I am a single mother of 3, trying to enjoy life, continue to raise and nurture my kids, be a strong addition to my family’s badge jewelry business (, and also feed my own personal and professional goals.

I am telling my story because I don’t want to be a negative statistic; I’m trying like hell to live and succeed without government assistance and it’s hard and I’m tired.

I am telling my story because abuse doesn’t have just one look. It happens in the midst of beautiful, middle class families with their beautiful homes and nice cars and family portraits framed on the walls. It happens to even the most optimistic among us.

I am telling my story because I am so angry. I’m angry with myself for living that life for 12 years of marriage, and I’m angry because he still continues to have a hateful foothold in my life with his drunken texts in the middle of the night and his angry cussing screams. I’m angry at him for being this abusive man instead of the man I fell in love with. I’m angry at myself for not leaving at the very first incident. And I’m angry because my children are–in turn–angry with me for staying with him as long as I did, and they may never forgive me.

Abuse is a funny thing. When someone you love and vowed to cherish forever vacillates between loving and loathing you, it becomes difficult to tell where the solid ground is. When things are good, they’re GREAT! When things are bad you never know how bad they could possibly get and you ride out the storms in complete survival mode.

When I retrace the steps of my story, I remember that the abuse began subtly, emotionally, in the form of control. It began with statements like, “We don’t have to kiss every night,” and “We don’t have to have sex so often.” That withholding of intimacy was a great blow to me, as a woman, and as a newlywed.

We had blended our families and my children were four and five years old at the time his were teens. He began having very strong opinions about my parenting positions, which he had claimed to agree with when we were dating, and would be argumentative over parenting choices even when we were actually agreeing on the course of action. The partnership we shared when dating quickly revealed itself as a façade to hide the control hungry person who would stop at nothing to win.

The first time he hit me, he was drunk. He was often drunk, but I do not allow the alcohol to take the blame for the person consuming it. He was mad–at something, at anything!–and he started punching me. As he punched, I was getting pushed back nearer and nearer to a window. I was in such shock that this was happening, and in complete fear that these iron fists were going to punch me right through that window behind me.

There were times when he would punch. There were times my big, strong husband would pick me up and literally throw me across the room–into walls, through doorways, onto furniture. There were times he would pin me down to the ground, holding my hair in his giant hand and slam my head down on the hard wood or tile floors.

It is hard for me to look at pictures from our life. I love family photos and I see all of the little faces of my children and step-sons, and I see his and my faces. I love the pictures and they make me smile, then I remember… ‘That was the time he got arrested for public intoxication at my high school reunion then spent the next three weeks taking it out on me,’ OR ‘That was the anniversary when we went away for the weekend to celebrate and as soon as we got home something triggered him and he shoved my face into the door and my jaw was bruised and sore for a week.

I have had injuries. Physical and emotional scars. So many excuses and cover ups. So many tears and apologies and nights and days of hate and seething and kindness laced with the stench of vodka and regret.

But never change!

Apologies and promises but never change.

More anger but never expressed in a healthier way, only escalated abuse.

That’s the thing about abusers–if they do something and get away with it, you can bet they’ll go further next time, and further still the time after that, and the cycle will continue until (1) you’re dead, or (2) you stop allowing them to get away with the abuse.

When he turned the abuse onto my children I realized this was never going to end and it was never going to get better. No couples counseling was going to start working longer than a few days. No promises of change were ever going to kick in. No half-hearted attempts to quit drinking were ever going to make me more valuable to him than the vodka bottle. No number of times when I would literally be screaming at Satan to let loose of my husband would ever make him a genuinely kind, non-abusive man, husband, and father.

I felt because my babies were now teenagers and they had begun to loathe this man who had been the only father they had really had, yet he wasn’t much of a father to them at all.

I left him because I was tired of being awoken from sleep in the middle of the night to seething rage, triggered by who knows what, and directed at me.

I left because I realized I had given this marriage my ALL and yet all of the hope and optimism and love and prayers in the world weren’t going to save me, I was going to have to step out. I had to realize I was worthy and strong.

I can’t say that I saved myself, however. Family members, dear friends, professional abuse counselors and ministers have helped me along this journey. And it is a journey. It’s not over but it’s well underway.

It has been over two years, now, since I left my husband. He still loves and loathes me, depending on the hour. He still offers to help me or do things for me when he’s happy, and then flips the script on me and blames me for accepting his help or gift or whatever.

I share this with you today because if you are reading/watching this, you or someone you know is very likely in a dangerous situation involving domestic violence. So, here’s my simple advice for leaving, but I recommend seeking professional help in whatever way possible as soon as possible, for tomorrow may be too late.

1. Come to terms with the FACT that no amount of stuff or money are worth your life. If you can’t get out with them, leave them! There are friends, family members, churches and organizations, shelters and outreach programs that can help you.

2. Get professional help! If you can afford to pay a counselor (preferably one who specializes in domestic abuse) and can do so without your abuser finding out, do that! If you can’t afford this or cannot do it without your abuser knowing, there are free counseling resources in your area! Call from a friend’s phone, do whatever you have to do to get this service. These professionals will help your transition out of your abusive situation as safe and well-planned as possible. They are amazing life savers!!!

3. When you are ready to leave, let the local police know! Domestic violence calls are the most dangerous that any police officer can ever go on because they are so unpredictable. As dangerous as they are for the men and women who are trying to help serve and protect, these sorts of situations are exponentially more dangerous for YOU! Alert them so they can be on call and hopefully closely patrolling your neighborhood in case danger escalates.

4. Know that there are going to be days when even the most brutally victimized will regret leaving their abuser. Nights will be hard. You need a support system around you to hold your hand at times, and drag you kicking and screaming at other times. Get your support network ready because you are going to need them not only today but for years as you continue to adjust and journey forward.

5. Also know that this transition is going to hurt like hell, BUT it will NEVER hurt as badly as the abuse and betrayal hurt.

This is only the beginning. If this speaks to even one person and saves even one person from an abusive relationship, then this heartbreak I have felt is worth it!

I would like to follow this video/post up with another centered on moving into new relationships once you feel ready, and what constitutes “ready” because that’s going to be different for everyone. Not just a “how to date” but a true moving on and continuing the journey story of encouragement and hopefully some helpful tips, as well. Please let me know if this sort of follow-up would be of interest to you or someone you know.

Thank you for your attention. I hope this has been meaningful to you and that you feel it’s been time well spent.

Until next time, my friends…

Make it a GREAT day,

Your Opinion of Yourself Matters MORE!

There is no human being living today who’s opinion of YOU should be of higher value to you than your own!

This is such an easy trap–for men and women, alike!

Be your best self for you, and if others embrace you at your truest, it’s a win!

Likewise, do not expect someone else to change for you; allow them to be their truest version of themselves and either choose to embrace that person or move on.

Until next time, my friends…

Make it a great day,


Enjoy the video; I have it set to begin at 9:11 so you see the conversation that truly spoke to me this morning and precipitated this post.

PRODUCT REVIEW: Benefit BADgal BANG! 36 Hour Volumizing Mascara

I am SUPER loving this mascara!!!
It makes my lashes long, and is buildable!
So good. So, sooo good!!!

GET READY WITH ME! Let’s try out this awesome mascara I just picked up AND talk about my 10 best tips for staying youthful looking and aging gracefully!!! It’s a power packed day here with me, so let’s get moving!

1. Maintain a healthy weight
2. Use sunblock
3. Moisturize any and all skin
4. Hydrate with non-caffeinated, non-sugary drinks, as well as water packed fruits and veggies
5. Take care of your teeth
6. Have sex!
7. Eat a colorful diet
8. Sleep
9. Don’t do drugs
10. Always wash your face before bed

Make it a great day,

PRODUCT REVIEW: Mushroom Coffee!

Um, hello! Could anything sound more disgusting but taste more delish? Answer: NO!

First off, let me say I’ve never been much of a fan of the ‘shroom. The texture, the taste…the smell. However, I know that certain varieties of mushrooms are incredible from a health standpoint, so when I heard about this awesome thing called “Mushroom Coffee” from Tim Ferriss’ podcast, I was just too curious to resist!

Four Sigmatic is made up of some buddies from Finland who have developed easy, tasty ways to enjoy mushrooms, the “super food” that was a super food before super foods were all the hype 🙂  After perusing their website, and trying to decide what to try first, I saw an awesome sampler box that held everything I wanted, one dose at a time!

20160922_104315.jpgSo, although I originally thought I would put together a video about these goodies, I decided there are plenty of awesome videos if you get on YouTube or the Four Sigmatic website and check them out. However, I would like to share my take on each of the “flavors” I got to enjoy…and the one that I didn’t. Here’s my spin on things, in order from my most to least favorites:

  1. Mushroom Coffee w/ Cordyceps: “Stimulation without jitters” Guys, this stuff tastes amazing!!! It smells like coffee, tastes like a zesty instant coffee, and made me feel ohhhh so good! The company promised this good stuff as stimulation without the jitters and that’s exactly what I got! I didn’t feel a jolt or a crash, just a nice, steady, delicious ride through a sea of productivity.
  2. Mushroom Hot Cacao w/ Cordyceps: “Energize & feel good” I don’t know that this would pass as hot chocolate with my kids, but it’s still a truly tasty, chocolaty treat without the choco guilt, milky mucusy gross, or heaviness of the real deal. This hot cacao has a spiciness like a fancy Mexican hot cocoa, and is rich, delicious, and still gave me an awesome pick-me-up on a cool autumn morning!
  3. Cordyceps Elixir: “Energy boost & recovery” So, clearly, I like the cordyceps! I didn’t even know what it was before this sweet sampler box, but I’m officially a FAN! Apparently, this magical mixture helps support adrenal glands and maintain constant energy levels…no wonder I love it so! All I really know is that this elixir tasted as good as the mushroom coffee and hot cacao recipes which include the cordyceps, and it offered a great boost for my day.
  4. Mushroom Coffee w/ Lion’s Mane: “Increase productivity” This coffee, while still delicious, smelled like mushrooms…or feet. I still got all of the feel-good benefits from drinking this cup of hot deliciousness, but enjoyed it much more once I put it in one of my lidded to-go cups so I wouldn’t have to smell it. I know Lion’s Mane is a great addition to my health regimen, and I love the nutty flavor of this ‘shroom coffee…as long as I don’t have to smell it 😉
  5. Mushroom Hot Cacao w/ Reishi: “Melt away stress” There’s just something special about hot drinks; they’re cozy, they’re soothing, they’re something to be savored, they’re meant to take a little time to enjoy. This mushroom cacao is soothing like that. Also nutty with a creaminess that hints at chocolate, this is just a really wonderful, hot cup of yummy.
  6. Chaga Elixir: “Bulletproof immunity” With this elixir, I begin the downward slope of my list, but I do it with this caveat: I drank these on their own, mixed only with hot water. I understand that there are many wonderful ways to enjoy these elixirs, herbs, mushrooms, etc. that may taste more delicious, be more palatable, and even boost the nutritional pow…but I wanted to find out my thoughts on the individual packets before venturing down that path. The chaga was good, and I knew it was good for me, so I enjoyed the warm cup and dreamt of future cuppings which may include some coconut oil, almond milk, or some other variation.
  7. Lion’s Mane Elixir: “Brain power” I even referenced drinking this in one of my “Get Ready with Me” videos! I enjoyed the flavor of this elixir, but similar to the mushroom coffee that included the lion’s mane, it definitely has a distinct odor. Tastes great, made me feel good, but gives my teenage son’s feet a run for their money!
  8. Reishi Elixir: “Relax & sleep deeper” Guys, gotta be honest here. I couldn’t even finish this one. It tasted so bad to me…I don’t know if I got enough into my system to help with sleep or relaxation because I likely only swallowed about three sips. If I ever have an opportunity to try this one again in a different form, or added to some base that would mask the reishi taste, I would like to. I could definitely use the hormonal regulation and lowering cortisol levels that reishi is known for, but straight with hot water isn’t happening again.

There you have it, folks! The quality of all of these handy-dandy packets was so great! Each powdery mixture dissolved like a dream in my hot water, without chunks or anything gross. The packaging is so creative and top-notch, and the natural elements of knowing this is an environmentally friendly operation made me feel extra good purchasing and drinking their goods. When consumed as I did, all of these dual-extracted mushroom mixtures are vegan and paleo-friendly. For every box, Four Sigmatic will use part of the revenue to donate mushroom kits to cancer patients! AND, as an added BONUS, HERE IS A $10 COUPON FROM FOUR SIGMATIC TO USE TOWARD YOUR FIRST/NEXT PURCHASE!

If you have tried this or similar mushroom super food products that you love (or hate, for that matter), I’d love to hear about them! What should I try next? Do YOU love Four Sigmatic??  What helps give you a pick-me-up that also is doing good things for your body? Thanks for sharing!!!

Until next time, my friends…

Make it a great day,


BOOK REVIEW: 2 a.m. at the Cat’s Pajamas

I’m writing this review in the middle of the night, by the bright glow of my phone screen in the otherwise pitch black room, sipping on an imaginary glass of whiskey to properly set the tone for 2 a.m. at the Cat’s Pajamas, by Marie-Helen Bertino. It just feels like the only way to do this book justice.

Books like this are among my favorites in the fictional writing category; the tale of several characters where the lives and storyline intertwine in the most eloquent of ways. Centered around a young girl and the many people (and animals) that she interacts with, this book is delightfully entertaining for a quick and easy read.

Set in the crisp of the winter season, this brash girl is left to fend for herself after her mother’s death and the resentful disconnect of her father. It takes a village, however, and Madeleine Altimari has a village! The hair dresser, the little old cafĂ© owner, the concerned teacher, Madeleine is surrounded by people who love her special type of person in their own special way.

This book would be a particularly great read over winter break from school or work, and would be a fun gift for the reader in your circle.

{Mari!yn Rating: 4 out of 5 Rock Stars}

FTC: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Daily Cheer For ALL To Hear

Happy Monday, my friends! I’ve been allowing myself to be super distracted lately, and the result is that I’ve missed this website a great deal! Here’s a taste of a new thing I’m launching over on my YouTube Channel ( /marilynhortondotcom ) entitled #DailyCheer. It’s going to be a daily dose of encouragement and support to jump start your day (and MY day!) so jump on over there, please subscribe to my channel if you haven’t already, and enjoy daily OR save them up for a lousy day when you need some extra pep in your step.

Until next time, my friends…
Make it a great day,
(YOUR #OptimismGuru)

Do Something Once, Do Something Well

We all heard it countless times from our parents as we were growing up…”Either do it right or don’t do it at all.”

As adults, either at work or in our home life, not doing something at all is usually not a very realistic option. So, instead, we rush through the chore or the project or the task on our way to doing something we actually want to do and want to put our whole efforts into.

Let’s take our parent’s advice this time, though, and DO IT RIGHT THE FIRST TIME.

On this Motivational Monday, I want to encourage you to take so much pride in yourself and your abilities, and value your time so much that you put 100% effort into everything you do.

Do the task, do it well, do it fully and correctly the first time, and put your stamp of approval on the project, knowing it’s something to be proud of.

Thank you for joining me on this and other Motivational Mondays! Until next time, my friends…

Make it a great day,