Tuesday, August 25, 2015

On Losing My Anonymity

We were in the car, all six of us, a few girls that I knew and a couple that I didn’t. We had been in the car for a while when somehow the topic of Botox came up, which immediately segwayed into the topic of plastic surgery. As the girls were commenting on what they considered would be "going to far," eventually the conversation turned to me. I laughed and then said “well hell, I don’t know what kind of judge I would be, I’ve already had a nose job!”


I then braced myself because I knew exactly what was coming next.

Every single head in the car, with the exception of the driver, turned around in their seat to get a better view of my nose.

They all do it, every single time; anyone who has just learned that I had a nose job. They want to see exactly what it looks like — judge the work if you will — and in doing that they most often judge me. I can see it in their eyes before the words even start to stumble out of their mouths. It usually starts with something along the lines of “…..oh… well… wow. I mean it looks great! You can’t even tell… I never would have guessed. I mean no one would ever know.”

And that is just it.

When it comes to nose jobs, people assume that you would never want anyone to know. They assume that having plastic surgery on your face is something that you would be ashamed to admit, that maybe you don’t want anyone to know that you are now “fake pretty” — that you paid to look like this.

There seems to just be something inherently shameful about admitting that what people see might not be the “real” you.

Plus, there’s something culturally shameful about admitting to being vain and that’s the only reason people have “nose jobs,” right?

I get it. I 100% get it.

If you remember, I had the surgery done to correct a nose that was first broken when I took a knee to the nose as a child — a break that literally shoved my entire nose upwards and instantly created a large bump. It was broken several more times over the course of my lifetime and eventually settled leaning off to the left side of my face.

Surgical "before" picture

Not only was it crooked and bumpy, but I had a sinus infection that had literally been hanging around for years. Yet even though I was the perfect candidate for surgery (and why my surgeon took me as a patient even though I couldn't afford him), I had all these ideas in my head about how I would hide the procedure from everyone; how I would just sort of disappear after the surgery and then reappear once I had healed. I didn’t want anyone to attach my face to the shameful stigma of plastic surgery and I was determined to keep that from happening.

But when I had complications after the surgery and realized how much longer it was going to take me to heal, I faced the harsh truth that whether I liked it or not, everyone was going to know what I had done.


It was more than slightly uncomfortable — literally and figuratively.


If you remember from the post “My Ex Is What Happened To My Face,” I ultimately decided that I had nothing to be ashamed of in my reasoning for having the surgery; that I had been abused, it wasn’t my fault, and my surgical bruises were evidence of healing in the wake of trauma.

When people looked at my face in horror, I told them the truth.

Nostril stitches, fun times

I was proud of myself for sharing my story and I stand by my decision to allow myself the dignity to wear the face of truth.


I wake up every morning, look in the mirror, and I’m happy with what I see. Surgery wasn’t the beginning or the end of my healing, but it was a part of it. I have scars that I emotionally bear on my heart, scars that I physically wear on my skin, and scars that I was lucky enough to have surgically erased from my face. I know what I did, I know why I did it, and a year in a half later that’s enough for me. It’s enough for me to look in the mirror and for once in many, many years, see myself.

Surgical "after" picture. Excuse the pores lol. You try wearing a glued on cast!

And yes, some people judge me for having "plastic surgery," it happens, but I don’t care.

Their feelings on my life choices do not affect my feelings on my life choices.

I made the decision to do what I did and I’m happy that I did it.

Over the past year I’ve been busy working on my nonprofit and in doing so, I’ve been forced to share my life story with the public. I say “forced” because it wasn’t something that I initially wanted to do. I remember sitting at dinner one night with Mr. Attorney Man and another person on our board and saying “I don’t want to be the face of abuse. I want to run this organization, but I don’t want to be the story behind it.”

The other person looked at me and said “but this is why I joined on. You are the story behind this organization. It’s your face that carries this story, it’s your face that people need to see.”

And she was right. Surgery or no surgery, my face is linked to my story whether I’m OK with that or not. I’ve now spent the last year on a tour of public speaking dates where I stand up and publicly admit that I am the face of abuse.


When I started this blog two years ago I made the decision to remain anonymous because at that time I was struggling with the shame and stigma of past. I was desperate to find others out there like me, but I wasn’t sure that I would find anyone at all. I wanted to know that I wasn’t alone, but I didn’t necessarily want anyone to attach my story with me.

I was afraid to be judged by the choices that I had made and where those choices had led me. People judge what they don’t understand.

As the blog grew and my readership base exploded, I became even more fearful of what might happen to me if I were exposed. Mr. Attorney Man and I had many conversations that involved me asking him what he thought might happen to my professional life if my blog were exposed, and in the end I realized that everything I write on here is already part of my professional life (I’m one hell of a shocking public speaker due to my complete and utter lack of a filter, just in case you were wondering).

There is absolutely nothing on here that would shock anyone who knows me, professional or otherwise, and as of late, my anonymity is actually holding me back.

I was telling Mr. Attorney Man the other day, “I started this blog so that I would have the freedom to be myself without the constraints of having to adapt to what society expected of me. I wanted a place where I didn’t have to be two people all the time; where I didn’t have to be one person at home and one person in the real world. Like most victims of abuse I constantly had to hide away my secrets and put on a different face for the world, so I wanted the blog to be the one place where I could just be unfiltered, but now I’ve come full circle and the problem is reversed. In an effort to maintain my anonymity I can't talk about some of the things that are most important to me, like the nonprofit. I can't talk about the places I like to go, the events that I'm working at, and I spend a ridiculous amount of time editing photos. I have these two really awesome careers and I can never let them meet. I wanted to be anonymous so that I could be free, but now I’m trapped by it.”

That is how it feels. I feel trapped here.

I have this wonderful nonprofit organization that I would absolutely love to share with you, but I can’t. I'm missing out on the chance to further my writing career because I can't tell anyone who I am. I’m turning down talk show TV requests and live news interviews (in relation to this blog and the nonprofit) all the time in an effort to maintain my anonymity. I'm missing out on so many opportunities to link my worlds, bring a ton of awareness to my cause, and really help people, but I can't

And sure, right about now you might be thinking “well gee Eden, then just tell us who the heck you are and be done with it,” but it’s not that simple.

First off, I’m not unaware of the fact that I have a small readership base of rape fetishists reading this blog. Mr. Attorney Man and I have long talks about my safety, and openly revealing who I am has some obvious safety drawbacks.

Secondly, my ex. He isn’t a pleasant guy and linking my real life name or nonprofit to this blog would open up a whole new way for him to stalk me and my children; especially after he made Mr. Attorney Man and I well aware last time we were in court, that is watching what is going on with the nonprofit.

Third, my family. I’ve always known that if they found out that I was writing about them, that the consequences would be dire. They are a big group who does a wonderful job of sweeping their dirty little secrets under the rug and throwing the “traitor” out to the wolves.

They spent my entire lifetime burning all the evidence of the injustices against me and an even longer time perfecting the fa├žade of my happy existence. If you look back today, you aren’t going to find a stack of social work paperwork, you are going to find an album full of photographs: pictures of me smiling on vacation — a vacation that ended when I was abandon at a hotel. I’ve always known that if this blog came to light, that they would take me down.

As hard as I’ve worked to be heard, they’ve worked even harder to silence me.

We’ve both been fighting for our survival, but against them I’ve never won.

A few weeks ago my children and I were in the news for an unrelated subject. The media outlet quoted me saying that I was estranged from my family.

My parents found out.

They were not happy that I had “shamed” my family’s name.

I was firm that they had put themselves in that position.

We had the longest conversation that we have had in 18 months.

It was not pretty.

It felt great.

After that happened I had a long conversation with Mr. Attorney Man where I basically told him, “I’m going to tell my parents that I’m writing about them. I mean it's not like anyone who knows me and comes across this blog can't easily tell that it's me, it's going to get back to them sooner-or-later. I know they are going to flip out, call me a liar, gang together and claim that the abuse never happened, but I don’t even care anymore. Not only do I not care what they think, but I’m so tired of hiding from the explosion that I'm sure will follow, that I’d rather just get it out in the open and face what I’ve been hiding from. If the fallout is going to be huge, I'd rather just deal with it now, in private, without the entire world watching.”

He wasn’t so sure about that idea, but I'm not so sure that it's a bad idea.

I love this blog, I’m not going anywhere, but I’m tired of living two lives and being in fear of the day they might meet. For obvious safety reasons it’s still not a great idea to go all “here I am world!” but I’m taking steps to join my two worlds together.

I’m not totally sure where those steps will lead me yet, but I’m tired of standing still.

I had a nose job and it hurt. It was complicated, ugly, and showed the world what abuse looks like in ways that many people can never imagine.

But I healed, I’m happy I did it, and I wake up every day feeling thankful for the choice that I made in not only having the surgery, but in allowing people to know why I even needed it.

Despite what anyone thinks of the choices that I've made, I am the face of abuse.

I just need to figure out how to let you all really see that face.

I'm not sure how, I’m not sure when, but my first step in allowing you all to see who I really am, is letting my parents know about this blog. They need to truly see the face of the child that they “raised.” Not because I think they will suddenly have remorse, not because I think that it's going to change our relationship, not because I even care what they think, but because I'm tired of having to protect their secrets.

I am the product of what they did to me and I refuse to hide anymore just to protect them.

I refuse to live two lives in an effort to better keep their secrets.

I'm OK being the face of abuse… because I also get to be the face of recovery,  and if they don't like it, too bad.

I never cared much for what they did to me and that didn't stop them.

This is my life now.

My one and only.


Post op surgical appointment


****Stay tuned guys, the ride is about to get bumpy.******

***********************


If You Liked That, Read These Relevant Posts



41 comments:

  1. This could be a very cathartic thing for you. Plus maybe its time they did know so they could face the things that they did /allowed to happen to you. We all sin and we have to face it sooner or later.
    Good for you to make the decision to face it head on and deal with however they react.

    I'm praying for a positive out come.

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  2. Good for you, Eden. I can't imagine how hard it is, but this really is the ultimate F-You to your family. You're finally not only telling them you don't care what they think, you're showing them!! You are using the things they use to keep you down as a weapon against them, which is amazing. Best of luck, and if you need backup, let me know. *HUGS*

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    1. My mom is going to FLIP out.

      I'll take a picture.

      Delete
  3. It is better for you to "out" yourself than for someone else to do so. I think you have posted enough pictures that someone could easily put a whole photo together of you or your kids. Doing it on your own terms is the best scenerio! Best of luck to you! I am now, and always, praying for you and the kids!

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    Replies
    1. I agree with this, it may be better to write the story yourself. So worried for you, though!

      Delete
    2. True. I'd rather "come out" in my own way, I just need to figure out when/if the time is right. I'm sure you will all be seeing another update on this soon.

      *hugs*

      Delete
  4. Yeah! So I will able to send you our guinea pigs for real! This makes me so happy! But seriously, you go girl! Be loud and proud and don't let anyone stop you. :)

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  5. I can't believe no one is commenting on how AMAZING your nose looks. Your doctor did a remarkable job of giving you a nose that fits your face and doesn't look fake. I remember you saying from previous post that you wanted a nose that looked like the nose you were supposed to have, not a new nose, but an unbroken nose. He seemed to hit the nail right on the head because that looks exactly like your old nose minus the bump. I'm happy that you had such a great result!

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    Replies
    1. Haha, well thank you! My surgeon did an AMAZING job, I'm very blessed.

      :D

      Delete
  6. Are you asking for advice? Probably not...but here's some anyway - sorry. Just my opinion but: don't do it. Maybe let your parents know about the blog, but putting your real name with this is going to open a can of worms. People on the Internet are horrible. I mean there was already a link on an article you wrote to a forum that had your real name - it's gone now (trolls, relax) but I can't imagine how much grief you will get if you just put it out there. Additionally, people in your real life can use what you write/post against you. They can take snippets out of context. You should start a new blog under your real name for public consumption. Just one opinion but I had to post because I feel strongly that this is truly a dangerous move.

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    Replies
    1. Emmy is right on point! Also remember your kids are still young and need anonymity

      Delete
    2. That's where I'm thinking of starting, with my parents. That would be my first step anyway :)

      Yes, people could definitely use it against me, but I'm not sure I care anymore. Hum, like I keep saying, there's a lot to consider!!

      *hugs*

      Delete
  7. I think you should do whatever feels right, but to agree with others, you must expect that the shit will hit the fan. It's not cool that we, as survivors of abuse, must be silent because we are afraid of being targeted, but you will absolutely be in danger if you release your identity. I really feel for you! I want you to do whatever you need to, but I also want you to be safe. I'm honestly so afraid that you would get raped again!!!!! Sending all of the positive vibes your way. Much love and big hugs from a fellow survivor. With you all the way!!!

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    1. Thank you. Safety is my 1st priority, that's why this is so tough!! You are right though, I'm tired of being silent. So much to think about!

      *HUGS*

      Delete
  8. I don't even know why you think you're still anonymous. Google your area and your nonprofit and you name pops right up.

    You really should be more careful Emily.

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    1. So ket people google it and guess but to throw her name out there, totally uncalled for. If she wanted it out there yet, she eould have done it.
      Totally an ass hole move. Put yourself in someone else's shoes. Oh wait, you cant cause your too busy judging others for how they live
      THEIR lives.

      Delete
    2. Well then she shouldn't have been dumb enough to use her face as her Facebook profile picture. If you want to be anonymous, be anonymous, but don't wine to the internet that "oh, look at me, so famous, much hardship, everyone will know me" if you don't want to be known.

      If you don't want to be known, then don't get yourself a career where you need to be known.

      Delete
    3. Everyone deserves some measure of privacy no matter if they have a job that makes them known or not.

      Delete
    4. I agree with anonymous. Little by little, you have posted more exposed photos of yourself and the kids. I chaffed at that but said nothing. I figured you knew what you were doing.

      I mean no disrespect; I'm an abuse survivor too, I'm in your camp. But I do think you're a bit of an attention seeker.

      I'm a regular to your blog and I'm sorry for what you've been through. But you have children in the mix. You have exposed their photos, far too much for my comfort.

      I wish you well. But anonymous is 100% right. You are not anonymous and haven't been for quite some time. If you do the full monty exposure, it won't matter because IMHO, you are already there.

      Delete
    5. Eden knows what she is doing and I fully understand her point of "anyone who read this blog and knows me would already know it's me." My understanding is that she doesn't want her name searchable, not that she cares about the photos. I'd be willing to bet that if she's in the public eye for her non for profit, as she says she is, then her kids have already been exposed.

      Attention seeker?

      This is her blog. We come here to read about her. Who else is she going to talk about? You're responding to a troll who is trying to out her as if they make valid points

      Delete
    6. Attention seeker? THIS IS HER BLOG. You choose to read here about her life. Her job as a writer is to write about herself. How you cannot see that is beyond me.

      If eden has proved anything in this blog it's that she is very self reflective. I think she knows what she is doing by now. Yes she shows pictures of her kids but she is FAR less invasive than what most mommy bloggers post. Her posts about her kids are mostly generalized updates, funny mishaps, and a brief overview of children grieving in the wake of loss. She isn't giving us an invasive view into their lives like most mommy bloggers do, I think she has great boundaries for their privacy and perfectly balances the difficulties in helping children grieve without embarrassing them. Good grief she won't even tell us exactly what's wrong with her son and I'm dying to know but can respect that her kids medical conditions are not fully hers to share.

      Delete
    7. Hahahaha I'm a different anon and just noticed that I wrote almost the same thing as the person above me.

      Delete
    8. Her name is not Emily, FYI

      Delete
    9. I don't get it, is someone like waiting for an award for figuring out who she is? Perhaps a trophy for your little troll self?

      "I have nothing better to do with my life than read a blog of a person that I hate,watch her try to come to terms with abuse, track her identity down online, and then expose her before she is emotionally ready, even if it might risk her kid's safety. But the important part here, is that I'm the winner!! I'm more than the nothing that I am in real life because I found her first! I win everyone, look at me, I WIN!!"

      Delete
    10. But she isn't a "mommy blogger" and has made that very clear so comparing her to others whom openly post about their kids is irrelevant.

      Delete
    11. It's not at all irrelevant when you look at the larger picture. She is a full scale, broad spectrum blogger. She blogs about her entire life, including parenting (unlike mommy bloggers who blog mainly about parenting). She blogs about her kids with modesty and respect, unlike the bloggers who basically whore their kids out for clicks.

      Delete
    12. Exactly why I stated that she isn't a mommy blogger. She blogs about many different topics which sometimes include her kids but not always. When she mentions them its in a positive way and doesn't reveal anything majorly private like many mommy bloggers who describe every detail of their children's lives.

      Delete
  9. I am really scared about you going public because of the safety reasons you mentioned. Since your parents kept up a good facade, they could absolutely sue you for slander and defamation and libel and all that ick. Years of expensive, stressful court issues that would boil down to, "prove it!" And I'm scared your ex would try to get in on it, too, or one of them would start making phony reports to DCFS because of the strip classes or the one time you accidentally got drunk while you were alone with the kids.

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  10. As a fellow blogger I understand Eden's dilemma in "how much do I expose?" Our readers want to feel like they know us, it's why they read. It's why I read Eden's blog, because I like to read about her life. If she wasn't talking about her life, I wouldn't have anything to read here. She makes a living off talking about her life with the sites that she writes for, and as we've seen on this blog, she had a hard time always providing for her family so this is probably much needed income for her.

    So what are her options? Let her kids starve or let a few people into her life? What will her kids worry about more as they get older, that other people knew about them or that they went hungry and lost their home?

    She doesn't have the perfect answer but we all know how much Eden loves her children, so Eden I support whatever you decide to do for you and your children.

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  11. Oh wow. I knew something was up when you said you had an actual conversation with your parents, but goddamn. I want to say go for it, but I worry about what they might do, or if they would get your brothers and your extended family involved. But living in fear of the pretty good chance they could find this if they looked hard enough, that's no way to live. Ugh...

    Either way, you are the one who knows your family - if you think at this point that you could survive whatever shitstorm they throw at you, THEN YOU CAN. And know that a bunch of internet people with crazy families too are behind you 100%.

    Oh, and that whole "shaming the family name" is so bullshit. They think just because they have money and good jobs that everyone knows who they are and thinks they're SO COOL. Newsflash: THEY DON'T.

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    Replies
    1. What is it with the family shaming!? Dudes, you SHOULD be shamed!

      Delete
  12. This is such a tough decision. On the one hand, I think it'd be better for you to out yourself on your own terms rather than have someone do it for you. Especially since that someone doing it for you would not likely do it in a kind and graceful manner. On the other hand, you have to keep yourself and you children safe.

    I wish I had some advice or words of wisdom I could offer you, but I don't. All I can do is offer virtual hugs and the assurance that I and a bunch of other internet "strangers" will still be here come whatever happens.

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    Replies
    1. I'm still deciding...

      Thanks for your support!

      Delete
  13. I'm proud of you, this day was coming (as you well knew) but IMO it's something that needs to be done for you to truly live. You're not Batman who can hide behind money and clever disguises. Some battles need to be fought in the sunlight, not the darkness of night. I hope and suspect it will turn out in your favor in the end. It's not like you're talking to your family anyway.

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  14. Read comment below but think that you've talked to Attorney man about the legal ramifications of 'coming out'...

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  15. Quite honestly, the reality is, I'm surprised that you haven't been 'outed' yet. Your looks are unusual and I don't think you live in a super large metro area..

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