Monday, February 28, 2011

Two Dear Friends Are Leaving

Two of my dearest friends announced to me yesterday that they were leaving to move to Hillsboro. One is the Pastor at my church, the other is his wife. I always knew this was going to happen because Clay was just too good of a Pastor to stay here in this small town.

Clay came over late yesterday afternoon to tell me himself before I heard it from someone else or somewhere else. And when he told me I cried my eyes out. I cried and cried and cried. And even after he left, I continued crying. I just couldn't stop. You see, these two friends were the rocks of my "friend life." My mother, of course, is my main rock, but Clay and Jen were the rocks outside my family. They were the ones that pretty much were the only ones who invited me out, to either just hang out, go to some kind of party, or something just to get me out of the house cause they knew how important that was to my recovery.

I can't tell you how important these two friends are to me. In fact, I consider them more than my friends, I consider them my family. When they leave, I don't know how I'll function and by that I mean, how I'll get out of the house besides on the weekend for errands with my mother. Now I know I didn't always go when I was invited because I'm often tired or on recovery from a surgery or just plain embarrassed to be seen by whoever is going to be there, but the point is they never gave up on me, they never stopped inviting me out and if I didn't go, they never got mad at me, they understood why.

And then there's the other matter, that Clay was my Pastor and we often had many conversations online about my troubles. Now I know I will still be able to do that but I will not have access to him in person. I'm so scared I will never see them again. I'm scared I'll never see their beautiful smiles again, hear their laughter, feel their heartfelt hugs and their soulful love for me again. I know I may be exaggerating there but I'm scared, that's how I feel. I know I'm supported by many of my friends and widely supported by my followers here on this blog so don't think I've forgotten about you or think you less important in my life. It's just these two were so special to me in so many ways. How does one get over such a loss of close friendship?

I will miss you, Clay and Jen, so very, very much. I love you dearly and you are near and dear to my heart and soul. Though I do not want you to leave, I wish you the best in this new adventure of your life.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Does Time Heal All Wounds?

"It has been said, 'time heals all wounds.' I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But it is never gone." ~Rose Kennedy

You may have noticed that I have been blogging about different quotes lately. Well, I came across this one and I found it most interesting considering it was used on a show where one of the main characters was a burn survivor. OK, I'll admit, it was Criminal Minds again and the "unsub" or "bad guy" was a burn survivor. But at the end of the show they read this quote. And it got me thinking about that old saying about time healing all wounds and if I don't agree, like Rose Kennedy. I actually think that she is right. Time does not heal all wounds. Those wounds remain. I, however, haven't been a survivor for long...only three years in March.

The next part intrigues me, "In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens." So, in other words, instead of time healing the wounds, the mind is what is responsible for the healing, covering the wounds with scar tissue. And in time, the mind will lessen the pain. And here is where I absolutely agree, "But it is never gone." It is NEVER GONE. Maybe others will disagree, other survivors of all kinds may have gotten past the pain. But I side with Kennedy here. I don't think I'll ever be able to get past the pain. I think it will lessen, but it will never be gone.

Time is not what will heal my wounds. It is my mind, covering it with scar tissue and lessening the pain that will heal my wounds. And right now, my mind is not healthy so my wound healing is a little messed up right now. So how do I right my mind so that it can protect its sanity and cover my wounds with scar tissue? Will I ever be able to forgive myself? Will I ever be able to forgive God? Maybe when my mind is healthy again, I will be able to forgive God but I worry that I will never be able to forgive myself. But then I worry that my mind will be able to forgive myself, but never God and if that happens, will I lose my faith? Which am I more scared of?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

A Feel Good Babysitting Job

I have been asked by two dear friends of mine to watch their three darling kids from time to time when needed. I hesitated at first, wondering if I could do this. I asked them why they asked me and the husband told me that they are very careful with who they ask to be around and babysit their kids and I came to mind, along with a couple others but they did ask me and that made me very happy to hear that I am trusted with their most precious kids. So I told them I would help in any way I could and whenever I could. I have so far babysat their kids twice, but last night was the best.

We watched Mary Poppins (I read my book during the movie every once in awhile) and then towards the end of the movie Aiden, the youngest, wanted me to help him read so Aiden and I embarked on a reading lesson while Morgan and Riley continued to watch the movie, wrestling each other every once in awhile (I had to interject once in awhile to make sure they weren't going to hurt each other or knock over Morgan's cereal that she was trying to eat). Bedtime rolled around so I assumed my authoritative role and got them all to brush their teeth and got Morgan to bed. Then I went with Aiden to his bedroom to get him into bed but he had a book he wanted me to read to him. Now I haven't babysat in a long time so I was a little nervous about reading the book right, ya know, like doing voices and things. So I did my best and he seemed to enjoy it very much so that made me very happy. You know what Aiden said to me earlier in the night though? He is such a sweet little boy and perhaps much too young to understand what exactly happened to me but he seems to because his parents are very good parents and they prepared him to see me when I first ever came over there. Anyway, my point is, at some point earlier in the evening, Aiden said, "Sarah, you look really good. Before you had like fire marks on your cheeks but now you can't see them." Oh sweet Aiden. I of course was wearing make-up but it made me feel good nonetheless that someone so young would make such a nice complement about something that may be hard to understand.

While I was down with Aiden, Kristen and Jon (mom and dad) came home and I didn't realize it until I came up from downstairs. Morgan had also picked out a book to be read to her before she put her head on the pillow to go to sleep and Kristen volunteered to read it to her but she told her mom that she wanted ME to read it to her! Awww!!! My heart melted! So I read Morgan a book and put her bed when I was done. I kissed all the kids goodnight and said goodbye.

Kristen and Jon said that they (the kids) really looked forward to me coming over to babysit them and that just truly made me so happy that these great kids looked forward to seeing ME, to have ME come over to babysit them. Let's just say it pumped up my ever so low ego a little bit, which is good for me because I don't think very well of myself as you well know. These kids mean so much to me. It's almost as if they are good for my emotional health. And I really need that right now. They make me smile and laugh in a way that makes me feel like I'm doing some kind of good for my life, like I'm helping not only myself but helping others. Of course those "others" I speak of are a small few, just the Larkin family but that family means so much to me. I don't know how to explain it. I feel like what I'm saying isn't making any sense. All I can say is, babysitting those kids for my two dear friends feels good.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

"Life Is..." ~Mother Teresa

"Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.
Life is beauty, admire it.
Life is a dream, realize it.
Life is a challenge, meet it.
Life is a duty, complete it.
Life is a game, play it.
Life is a promise, fulfill it.
Life is sorrow, overcome it.
Life is a song, sing it.
Life is a struggle, accept it.
Life is a tragedy, confront it.
Life is an adventure, dare it.
Life is luck, make it.
Life is too precious, do not destroy it.
Life is life, fight for it."
Mother Teresa

This is one of the most beautiful poems I have ever read. Of course, it comes from Mother Teresa but it is so identifiable to many people either by either the whole poem or pieces of it. Wouldn't you agree? For me, it is of course the whole poem but there are particular pieces that REALLY speak to me such as: "Life is a challenge, meet it," "Life is a duty, complete it," "Life is sorrow, overcome it," "Life is a struggle, accept it," "Life is a tragedy, confront it," and "Life is life, fight for it." See a theme for me there? All pieces that speak about sorrow or struggles or tragedy. But for me the piece, "Life is life, fight for it," really says something to me because even though I know that I am fighting for my life and I fought for my life when the accident happened but I don't FEEL like I'm fighting for my life. I feel like I'm doing nothing. What can I do to where I feel like I AM FIGHTING for my life? When will I BE fighting for my life? I'm tired of feeling like a loser of a burn survivor, or even just a loser of life in general. I know that this feeling is extremely unhealthy emotionally and can even start to take a toll on you physically. So how do I beat it? How do I fight for my life? Seems like I'm running in place, like I'm not going anywhere.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

"Something Beautiful About Scars"

I have an interesting quote to share with you: "There is something beautiful about all scars of whatever nature. A scar means the hurt is over, the wound is closed and healed, done with. ~Harry Crews

Now I don't know if this Harry Crews ever saw a burn survivor but our scars are somewhat different than other types of scars. Our skin has been burned by fire, electricity, chemicals, or scalding liquids and it is often over a sizable area of our body. My skin was all burned to the 3rd degree by fire which means it burned through all the layers of my skin down to the fatty tissue and the bone. Now I was lucky in the fact that I wasn't burned to the fourth degree which almost always requires amputation. But nonetheless, I was a 3rd degree burn survivor and I only consider myself lucky in the fact that I survived.

I don't see my scars as sexy or beautiful as some people say scars are. Those kind of scars, the "sexy" and "beautiful" scars come from knife blades, letter openers, scissors and even paper cuts. Then there is of course the scars we cannot see: emotional scars, which I don't think can ever be sexy or beautiful.

But let's get to what I have a hard time with. He says, "A scar means the hurt is over, the wound is closed and healed, done with." I completely disagree with that. And I'll tell you why. BECAUSE I HAVE SCARS ALL OVER MY BODY (not to mention the emotional scars) AND THOUGH THEY ARE CLOSED AND HEALED I AM MOST CERTAINLY NOT DONE WITH THE HURT OF IT!!! Just because a scar may be closed and healed does not mean it's over for the person who wears the scar. Everyday those scars hurt me. My scars have disfigured me, made people stare at me. My scars have limited my mobility and taken away my independence. Because of my scars I have to ask for help to get down a glass or dish from the cupboard because my "beautiful" scars prevent me from raising my arms high enough not to mention those "beautiful" scars also prevent me from being able to eat a sandwich or burger because the scar tissue around my mouth is so tight I am only able to open my mouth so far.

So, can you tell I don't really agree with Harry Crews? Can you tell it kinda pisses me off? I will say that I guess I do agree with him that all scars are beautiful. It's just the part where he speaks of the hurt being over that I do not agree with and I back that up with first hand experience. But I only speak for myself.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Placing Blame

My pastor and I were in a conversation about where I am placing the blame: God, me, other people, or just plain accident. I said I didn't know what order to place them in but most certainly God and myself and then just plain accident. I, of course, said God, myself and just plain accident but I wrestle with blaming myself and God almost equally every day. I blame God for reasons you already know and I blame myself for getting sloppy with my life. It's particularly hard blaming myself because I have to live with myself everyday. I can't escape myself. How do I forgive myself? How do I keep living?

However, I came upon an interesting quote that completely goes against everything that my pastor and I talked about: "Placing the blame is a bad habit, but taking the blame is a sure builder of character," ~Orlando A. Battista So since I'm blaming myself, I'm building character? But the way that the conversation between my pastor and I was going led me to believe that I need to stop blaming myself. I'm so confused. Does blaming myself hurt me or build character? Or both? But how could it be both? I can certainly see how it can hurt me, but I absolutely can't see how it can build my character.

Not a day goes by that I don't blame myself for bad choices I have made and of course, not a day goes by that I don't blame myself, and God, for the accident as well. How much of a role did I play in the accident? I also ask myself that question every time I think about the accident, which is every day. I don't remember the accident at all. Not a single moment. Not a sound, nothing visual. While my mother was downstairs calling 911, my father stayed upstairs with me and my last words before the paramedics got there and did their thing was, "I'm sorry daddy." So it's clear that with those last words that I definitely blamed myself for what happened.

But note the difference in the wording of the quote between "placing" the blame and "taking" the blame. Does it really matter if I place the blame on myself or take the blame? It doesn't seem so to me. Blame seems to be blame whether you're taking or placing it on yourself or someone else. Oh how I can't even count how many ways that I blame myself for so many things. The weight that I carry on my shoulders from this blame is so extreme, to say the least. The day that this weight is expunged will be a day of celebration and perhaps on that day, we'll see if I built any character from all the blame I have placed upon myself.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Anger Issues

I don't know what to do with all this anger that is trapped inside of me. Often it is released but then it is stored back up again and it only piles up like a stack of books in a library waiting to be reshelved. I'm angry at so many things, all pertaining to the injury and what it cost me. And I take it out on the wrong people: my mother and father. They don't deserve it. They take care of me. They are my caretakers and I have the audacity to let even a peep of a yell escape my lips at them?

I had an incident of that anger let loose tonight, which is why i'm writing again, even though I have already made a blog post for today. But who says I can't blog more than once in a day, right? And when I get angry like that, I feel so alone and immediately regret it. It only proves to my parents that I'm a ticking time bomb and that they have to walk on egg shells around me. And that pisses me off that they feel like that. But they just don't understand why I'm like that. My accident has made me this way and I've tried to explain it but it only seems like an excuse to them I think. I'm tired of being angry. I'm tired of exploding at the tiniest thing. I'm tired of raising my voice to the people who care for me everyday. I'm tired of being me. I'm tired of my life. This is no life that I want to live.

I wish I had the patience of my mother and the patience of my oldest brother Mark. I don't think in all my 29 years I have ever seen him angry, and I'm not kidding. Same with my mother. How do I get rid of this festering anger that boils the blood that runs through my veins? I want to be a peaceful, patient person. My father often makes comments about a temper tantrum I may have just had and then I just get even angrier with myself for allowing myself to have said temper tantrum because it was probably over something really stupid and made me look like that ticking time bomb I said I felt like I was. And then I feel like a child. This accident has just made me so angry at so many things for so many reasons! And I'm writing about this tonight because my temper took control of me and I was immediately then angry at myself for letting it happen. So here I am, writing about it to try and make sense of it. God, I am just so ANGRY! And almost all the time! I'm tired of it. I'm tired of this life that I'm living. I'm tired of you, God, if you really want to get right down to it. How do I simmer this anger when it stems from something so tragic and awful?

How does one survive a trauma like I have been through without being angry or moody all the time? I'm scared that this trauma will live on in me forever and thus so will the anger. How many people, including myself, will I hurt along the way because I can't let go? It's poisoning me and it's poisoning the relationships I have with people I love. I've got to let go. Just like that birthday card said, I've got to make peace. oh God, if there is even a God, I don't know where to start. I don't want to be angry anymore. I don't want my parents to walk on egg shells around me. I want to be a patient person like my mother and brother. By being angry all the time, I'm letting the trauma of my accident win. And to tell you the truth, I don't known if I'm going to win this fight.

Happy Valentine's Day

"Love is the true means by which the world is enjoyed: our love to others, and others' love to us." ~ Thomas Trahern

Well, Happy Valentine's Day everyone! I wish I had someone special for days like this. But mostly I just wish I had someone special for everyday. But I don't. And I'm afraid I never will. I don't know if the reconstructive doctors will ever be able to really fix my face enough as they say they will be able to in order for someone to look past the disfigurement in my face. Oh how I truly envy those that have someone special in their lives whether it's in the form of a boyfriend, girlfriend, husband or wife. It kills me inside. I mean I'm happy for them and I would never want that taken away from them, but I am so lonely for someone.

I did get a surprise today from someone I call my "luvah." But I do not call him my "lover" because he cannot be my lover. He is one of my dearest friends and also gay. So we call each other "luvah's." Anyway, he is always so wonderful to me. He always comes and visits me in the hospital, we often have dinner when I am in Portland and he sent me flowers today for Valentine's Day as well as for my belated birthday. So very sweet. So thank you, my luvah. You are near and dear to my heart.

So how does someone like myself get through a day like this? Especially during the days of social networking, like Facebook where people are expressing their love all over the place online where I can see it. I'm tired of being alone but I'm afraid being alone is going to be my relationship status for a long time.

But I don't want this to be depressing for all you love birds out there. Enjoy your day, enjoy your loved one and your families. Treasure them but do not use Valentine's Day as the only day to express your love. You shouldn't need a holiday to do that. It should be expressed everyday because we need to know that we are appreciated and loved. I know I'm not very good at expressing my love and gratitude towards my parents everyday because of my anger issues with the accident. That is something I need to work on.

But despite that you should express your appreciation and love everyday, it's certainly OK to let it go overboard today and have fun. Maybe that's the point of Valentine's Day. Not to just express love but to have fun with expressing that love. May all of you have a wonderful, loving and fun Valentine's Day.

"There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread." ~Mother Teresa

Friday, February 11, 2011

Advice from Johnny Cash

You build on failure. You use it as a stepping stone. Close the door on the past. You don't try to forget the mistakes, but you don't dwell on it. You don't let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space. ~Johnny Cash

Oh brilliant Johnny Cash, you couldn't be more spot on with every single word in this quote. I can't pick out a single phrase in the quote that sticks out more than any other. It's all so wickedly brilliant about our pasts. So how do I live by it? It's so hard for me to close the door on my past and not dwell on it; to not let it have any of my energy, or my time, or even my space. Particularly not dwell on it. I dwell on my past day and night. I let it take up my energy and my time because I'm constantly reminded of it with my inability to take a shower by myself, to not be able to reach up into cupboards to get my own glass or plate, to not be able to dress myself. How can I not be consumed by my past when all those things constantly remind me of the mistakes I made in the past, my failures?

He says, "You build on failure. You use it as a stepping stone." I feel so lost as to how I can do that. I feel so lost in my life. I don't know where I'm going anymore so how can I possibly use it as a stepping stone? I'm so angry about my past failures and I know that's not healthy. But I am. This is all so hard for me. I don't know when I'm ever going to get past my current situation: living at home with my parents, being taken care of. When will I ever be able to live on my own again, take care of myself, wash my own hair, cook for myself and put away the dishes, dress myself, DRIVE! I haven't driven a car in 3 years. Oh, how I miss driving. The freedom it gives you. Freedom, I don't even know what that feels like anymore. I do not say that as if I'm locked up in my home and not allowed to go anywhere, but I don't have the means to go anywhere so I stay in the house all day. There are also other reasons I stay in the house but not having a car to drive somewhere is a big reason I don't go anywhere.

Another problem is I let it have all my energy, which was eye opening for me when I read that quote because maybe that is why I am tired all the time. Maybe that is why I feel drained all the time. But it is all too easy to let it have all my energy. It's harder to fight it and I simply don't have that energy to do just that, fight it. I'm drained from my past and my failures. I'm also drained from fighting for a future. I don't know if I have a real future anymore and that truly scares me. I don't want to live some mediocre life and be unhappy. I'm tired of being unhappy. So very, very tired of being unhappy. I just want to be happy again. But I don't see that happiness anywhere in sight.

So where do I go from here? My mom asked me today if I really wanted to get better when I protested against taking a bath because I simply didn't want to take the time to go through all the motions of the bath and dressing my wounds and then dressing me. A surge of heated anger raced through my veins because why wouldn't I want to get better? Why would I ever, EVER want to stay this way? My mother didn't mean anything by the question but it was a reasonable question considering I often get grumpy when we have to do things that are for the betterment of my health. But I have my reasons. For example, I got grumpy about taking a bath because it means I have to see the scars that cover my body almost entirely and that upsets me. My body is not what it used to be, particularly my face, and I have absolute hate and disgust that run through my veins because of it. So, as I asked earlier, where do I go from here? How do I manage this hate and disgust or even better yet, get rid of it? How do I NOT let it take up my time and energy and space? And most importantly, how do I build on my failure and use it as a stepping stone? I'm completely lost in my life, angry, drained, and most unhappy.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Stephanie Nielson "I Am Not My Body"

It is Monday morning, the morning after Super Bowl XLV and it's very windy outside. I am having a really rough time with the port to the tissue expander in my neck. I awoke this morning around 4:30 and moved slightly and was shocked with the sharpest pain in my port area. The doctor says the reason I may have some pain in that port area is because they basically had to tunnel a hole area in the tissue that is unnatural to put the port in and stitch it in place. Super. So every once in awhile, when I move my arm in a certain way, sharp pains shoot through that port area, which is located up on my shoulder, kinda on the bone. And when that pain hits it is unbearable. I screamed out in pain at 4:30 this morning.

This is going to be a rough couple of months having this port where it is while they expand the tissue expander in my neck. I sit here in my new laz-y-boy chair wondering when the day will come when I WON'T be in pain or some kind of suffering? I know I complain about this all the time and you're all probably pretty tired of it, and to be honest, so am I. So am I. But it consumes me. I am not at peace, as I blogged about last week, so it consumes me. I saw an ad with Stephanie Nielson who was in a plane crash and burned, many of you may know her. But something in her ad struck me. She said, "I am not my body." WOW. Good for her. Now she has been able to make peace. But you know what's been a little bit easier for her? NOT that what happened to her was any easier than what happened to me because she had something horrible, unimaginable happen to her. But she already had a family. She already had a husband, someone wonderful who was not going to leave her because of her scars, and a family, wonderful kids that have stood by her side since the accident and have continued to do so. So she is lucky there. But I don't have those things. She is indeed an inspiration for me and I read her blog a lot but she does have things that I'm afraid I won't ever get to have because I didn't get the opportunity to have them before the accident. But I so admire her bravery and applaud her statement, "I am not my body."

I, however, still feel like I AM my body. I AM my scars. I do not have Stephanie's wonderful attitude about my body that is seared with scars. I do so aspire to someday be able to look in the mirror and be able to say that. To be able to look in the mirror and look past the scars and say those words, "I am not my body," and be ultimately happy with the life that I have. The mirror is my enemy just as is my body. I can escape the mirror but I cannot escape my body. It is my personal hell.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

White Stripes Break Up

I must address something that has torn me apart since the news cast a shadow over my life on Wednesday. Yes, yes, you all know what I'm talking about - The White Stripes break-up. I feel like I must shed some light on what their music did for my life.

The White Stripes and their music, and well, particularly Jack White, have been a constant in my life. The White Stripes were formed in 1997 in Detroit. I did not come upon the White Stripe scene until 2000 when they released their second album, De Stijl. Needless to say I fell IN LOVE!! Jack's incredibly unique sound on the guitar a
nd his voice, oh that voice! I couldn't get enough of it or Jack baby for that matter :) Before the White Stripes came into my life, I was mostly into pop and R&B music but the stripes changed all that. I slowly became an alternative-rock super fan.

And then my life was shattered by an incident which I shall choose not to talk about because it is too embarrassing and painful. My life was so perfect before this incident (which many of you know about) and it just rocked my a very bad way. I lost many friends due to this incident but who was still there? My music. And that music was the White Stripes. The music that Jack made. He didn't leave me. He didn't judge me. And
I know that sounds silly because he didn't know me, but Jack and his music was a huge part of my life that it felt as if he did know me and I knew him. I know that must sound crazy. I don't know how to make it NOT sound crazy. But I began to identify with Jack and his music because I listened to it everyday, every moment I could!

My life hasn't exactly gone down the easiest of roads. In fact, it's been quite bumpy and rough since that incident in 2001. But I'll tell you something, the music of the White Stripes, the music of my boy Jack, was always a constant in my life no matter how great and wonderful or bumpy and rough at the moment my life was. People came in and out of my life depending on what was going on in my life at the moment so it was easy to
say I didn't REALLY have friends, just drinking buddies and co-worker friends. I also had an incredibly emotionally abusive and cheating boyfriend. But who was always there? Jack and his wonderful music. He got me through everything.

Now I know you must be thinking, "this girl is CRAZY!" But have you ever felt so inspired, so emotional over a band and their music? Well, this was the band that did that for me. And on Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011 after being together since 1997 and releasing their first album in 1999, they announced their official dissolution of the band denying any artistic differences but stating their break-up for a "myriad of reasons...mostly to preserve what is beautiful and special about the band."

OH AGONY!!! The music that got me through every moment in my life, through my darkest of days and particularly the worst incident of my life when I got burned is now done. I would listen to Jack's music before every surgery to calm me. Now I know Jack's got two other bands so I'll still hear his music but I will miss you White Stripes. I will miss how unique you were and I thank you for getting me through my life, the good and the bad. I will miss your wonderful style in the White Stripes Jack. I will cherish the music you gave us. Thank you.

A Beautiful Quote From Kahlil Gibran

Kahlil Gibran once said, "Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars."

Now, how BEAUTIFUL is THAT! Now that is a quote that inspires me and makes me feel a little bit better about the suffering my soul has gone through and the scars that sear my body. How can anyone NOT be inspired by this quote? I heard it on Criminal Minds, which happens to be one of my favorite TV shows and they always have a quote or two on the show and this was one of them. It just hit me like a right hook from Muhammad Ali. I couldn't get it out of my head. I know that all this suffering I am going through only strengthens my soul and I want to believe that the most massive characters are seared with scars because that would mean that I would have quite a massive character and that is something to be proud of, I think.

Will my soul be strengthened by the suffering, the extreme suffering I have endured? Will my character be considered massive by others because of the scars, both emotionally and physically, that sear me? Or will I just be forever defined as a burn survivor?

I feel trapped in this scarred body. When will I be able to break free of those wrist and ankle shackles I once described feeling like wearing before and BE that massive character that everyone, including Kahlil Gibran in that beautiful quote, says I am? Thank you, everyone for saying such wonderful and beautiful and supporting things about me because I can't say them for myself. I look in the mirror and see nothing but a worthless, burned, scarred, scared, and lonely girl with tears running down her cheeks because of those things that she sees in the mirror. It's horrifying from my point of view. I used to love documenting my life and my friends with pictures and now I hide from the camera. And I look back at old pictures of me before I was burned and I just cry my eyes out. I looked happy in EVERY picture. And why wouldn't I? I was successful in school, had tons of friends, loved myself and my life and the prospects of my future. Now what do I have? I do have a wonderful family who has supported me through all of this and the most wonderful friends but I don't see those friends enough because I board myself up in my house and that whole, "loving myself and my life and the prospects of my future" part? Yeah, that's out the window because I certainly do not love myself anymore nor my life and have no prospects of a future right now, not that I can see.

So Kahlil Gibran, tell me, please tell me that your beautiful and inspiring quote applies to me because I need something beautiful and inspiring like your quote to help me look in the mirror, to help me face my days, to feel the strength building in my soul and to not let the emotional and physical scars hold me down but to let them build that massive character you talk about.

Friday, February 4, 2011

A Good Message From A Birthday Card

I wanted to share a birthday card I got for my 29th birthday from my mother because it has a beautiful message that touched me. So, here it is:

"Love yourself.
MAKE PEACE with who you are
and where you are
at this moment in time.

Listen to your heart.
If you can't hear what it's saying
in this noisy world,
MAKE TIME for yourself.
Enjoy your own company.
Let your mind wander among the stars.

Take chances.
Life can be messy
and confusing at times,
but it's also full of surprises.
The next rock in your path
might be a stepping-stone.

Be happy.
when you don't have what you want,
want what you have.
That's a well-kept secret of contentment.

There aren't any shortcuts to tomorrow.
You have to MAKE YOUR OWN WAY.
To know where you're going
is only part of it.
You need to know where you've been, too.
And if you ever get lost, don't worry.
The people who love you will find you.
Count on it.

Life isn't days and years.
It's what you do with time
and with all the goodness and grace
that's inside you.
The kind of life you deserve."

Now I know that was kind of long but I think it has an incredibly beautiful and important message, particularly little messages inside the big message itself. The first that catches my heart is right away with, "MAKE PEACE with who you are and where you are at this moment in time." Don't get me wrong, that's simply beautiful, BUT I'm struggling with this right now and I mean REALLY struggling. Making peace with who I am and where I am at this moment in time means accepting the accident and what happened. I simply cannot. Especially when I look in the mirror or when any of my scarred skin is exposed or when I try to do a simple task such as putting away dishes in the cupboards and I can't reach. Or each time I go in for yet another surgery. This moment in time for me is daily struggles and almost monthly surgeries that usually result in some kind of complication. So what do I do instead? I curse God. I cry daily. I sleep almost every other day, all day just so I don't have to face my life. But I so desperately DO want to make peace. I constantly feel like I'm a bomb about to explode at anything and I hate that feeling of having no control. My mother has made several comments about my temper since the accident and I feel like she doesn't understand why my temper can be so touchy. It's because I feel like the accident stole my life, my body, my future so it's so easy for me to get angry and not be able to make that peace. I don't understand! I don't like people feeling like they're walking on eggshells around me. But I'd also like them to understand WHY. So I've resolved to making a resolution for this 2011 year and that is to work on my temper and to TRY and make that peace that I so desperately seek.

What also stuck out to me is, "Try. Take chances." I feel like I try but do I really? I spend most of my days in the house ALL DAY LONG. I don't see my dearest friends who support me most lovingly as much as I should. I shut out any and all chances at having a life again. All I can see is living at home being cared for by my parents. I often talk about feeling lonely ALL THE TIME but do I really try to do anything about it like seeing those friends or even, shall I dare say it, going out on a date? NO WAY to the latter. Who would want me? I'm a disfigured mess. I'm ugly and scarred. It's hard for me to even see a FRIEND who I knew before the accident but who hasn't seen me since the accident and he/she is just a FRIEND! There's no pressure there. But I still can't bring myself to do it. God, WHY ME!! I had a life!

I know this is getting long, and perhaps maybe a little boring, but this also made me think, "There aren't any shortcuts to tomorrow. You have to MAKE YOUR OWN WAY. To know where you're going is only part of it. You need to know where you've been, too." I need to MAKE MY OWN WAY and I need to know where I've been true. I truly believe this, however, I often forget it. But I'm having a hard time now since the accident making my own way. I don't know what way that is anymore. I'm lost.

And lastly but certainly not least is, "Life isn't days and years. It's what you do with time and with all the goodness and grace that's inside you." What brings tears to my eyes is particularly the last part, "...and with all the goodness and grace that's inside you." I don't know how much goodness and grace I have inside me anymore or what if I don't have any at all? I'm scared I've been hardened by this accident.

So, I'm finally done. Sorry for this extremely long post, if you even made it to the end. You may have bailed halfway through this blog post because it is not so exciting, and that's ok. I'm just scared, struggling, and lonely and needed to talk. So thanks for listening at all. If you took away anything from this post I hope it was simply these three things: 1) MAKE PEACE with who you are and where you are at this moment in your life, 2) Try and take chances and 3) Life is what you do with time and with all the goodness and grace that's inside you.

I also wanted to say one last thing real quick. I got a comment, a very long but very well written and inspiring and heartfelt comment on my last post from a Bryan Black. To you, Bryan, if you're reading, I wanted to say thank you so much for sharing your story. Many of the things you said are exactly, EXACTLY how I feel almost everyday. Sharing your story was very brave and I applaud you. But I thank you most of all for helping me to feel not so alone in my struggles. I hope you are doing well and thriving. I wish you the best. Please become a follower and keep reading. I hope to hear from you again but most of all, I hope you are happy and well.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Turning 29

I recently had a birthday - January 23rd. I am now 29 years old. Only one year away from being 30. This is harder for me than I thought. Not only am I only one year away from being 30, but I am living at home with my parents, being CARED FOR BY my parents and turning 29 knowing that my next birthday when I turn that big 3-0 I will probably still be living at home and being dependent on my parents for care.

I get a sick feeling in my stomach when I see or hear of young, successful twenty-something's living their own independent lives. It makes me extremely jealous and jealousy is poisonous. There is no reason why I should be ashamed of my situation. Everyone knows what happened and why I'm living at home so why then do I feel such shame and embarrassment? Because IT IS! No matter what the good reason there is for it.

You wanna know what I did to celebrate the last year of my oh so glorious twenties? NOTHING. I can't have people over to my house to have a party. Now don't get me wrong. My parents were wonderful that day and treated me very nicely but it's not the same as having a good day with family and then having your dearest friends take you out for a night on the town. I did get a little birthday party hosted by my a couple of my dearest friends a week later and that was very, very nice of them and it was good for me. Everyone who was invited actually came! And I hadn't laughed as hard as I did that night in a long, long time so it was good. Actually, it was great. So thank you Jen and Clay for hosting and to all those who came.

But what will I do with this new year for me? Not only do I mean it as a new year because of the new year - 2011 - but also the new year in the sense that I am now 29 years old. I'm scared it will be no different than 2010. And I so desperately need it to be better than 2010. How can I better myself and my life? I am 29 years old!!! And what have I done with my life? NOTHING! I have no career, no husband, no family of my own, not even a boyfriend. All I have is my own immediate family and two dogs. When will my life begin? If I let 2011 and my 29th year of life pass by like I did in 2010 with my 28th year of life, I might as well throw in the towel.

I'm so tired of the daily struggle of life. I'm 29 years old! I should be out there having the time of my life! But I'm not. I'm inside here, inside a scarred body, trapped inside a scarred body that I find so ugly that I'm embarrassed for people to see me. Even my dearest friends it's still embarrassing. I don't want to be a victim but I feel like I am. They say to say "burn survivor" but somehow I don't feel like I have quite survived the accident yet, even though the accident itself is 3 years ago in the past. Does that make sense? I'm still living it. I can't let go because of what I see every day in the mirror. It's too hard to forget such a horrific accident. Will I be able to get through that anniversary date a 3rd time? You'd think it would get easier as the years go on but it hasn't yet. I try to survive that day by thinking about it as the day that I survived when I was so close to losing my life. But it's not that easy. It's just not that easy. The scars are too powerful. The scars that mar my body are like the hand and ankle shackles a prisoner wears. At least that's how they make me feel.

So 29, here I come. So far, it has been uneventful and I have been struggling day to day with pain and loneliness.