When I was two years old I got third degree burns, the event at hand was a freak accident. I was enjoying an afternoon at home with my mom and brother. Although my memory of that time was naturally foggy I seem to recall there being a palpable sense of happiness, security and safety in the room. My mother was making a rare treat of Ninja Turtle Kraft Dinner, which I believe has sadly since been discontinued. I was sitting on the counter beside the stove, simply observing life as a two year old does. My mother picked me up with her delicate and gentle hands, as she was doing so my elbow hit the pot of water and scolded my young, fragile and impossibly fair skin. Chaos ensued and we immediately rushed to the hospital. As my mother was carrying me into the emergency ward I was listening to her profound heartbeat; this is my first cognitive memory. Her beating heart was fast, powerful and devoted; much like the woman herself. This memory of her heartbeat comforted me for the entire month we spent in the hospital together. I learned very young that one moment could change your entire life.
That stated, this experience was merely a part of my wonderful childhood. I have a great family, got to know all of my grandparents, played liberally, laughed relentlessly and learned keenly. The sharp and vibrant scars covering 30 % of my body seemed to bother those around me more than myself. This was made fiercely clear when I became a teenager attending high school. Many of my peers told me my scars were ugly; they alienated me for having them as if they were contagious and made me feel as though I should be ashamed of my body. I recall lazy nicknames such as “chicken skin” and “scar girl”. Evidentially people that treat others this way are punished in their limited vocabulary. Luckily, this didn’t get to me, I waltzed around my high school proudly knowing that I was gifted with an accessory that these kids didn’t have:confidence.
Many people have scars that represent something heartbreaking like a house fire or violence and every morsel of my heart goes out to them. Some people have scars because they transitioned to the gender they were born to be or won a battle against breast cancer and that can represent strength and bravery. For myself, I have been able to transform the traumatic experience of my burn into a celebration towards my beautiful relationship with my mother, my acceptance of being different and the opportunity to share my experience. To anyone out there that is treated poorly by others based off of your physical differences just remember that’s their struggle not yours. You can continue to be a whole person in this life despite any hardship you have experienced. I live a good life, completely unburdened by my scars and I choose to not have people in it that make me feel bad about myself. Life is short; we may as well love our bodies no matter how they look through the whole godamn ride.