Friday, March 25, 2011

The Road To Transformation

"Ruin is a gift. It is the road to transformation." ~Julia Roberts in Eat Pray Love

I watched this movie the other day and that quote stuck out to me. Is this really true? I have been through ruin. A horrible ruin. All I can hope is that she (well really Elizabeth Gilbert, the author) is right in that it is the road to transformation because I am in desperate need of some kind of transformation. In some ways, I have been on that road of transformation in a literal sense with all my reconstructive surgeries but what about in a non-literal sense? A road to transformation with my life? A road to transformation with my acceptance of myself? These non-literal ways are much harder. Or are they? Every time I go through a surgery, my body is beat up, battered, in pain and scarred. Though I have been through 27 surgeries so far, it has yet to get easier. My father said he had a dream the other night and though he cannot remember the whole dream, he said that we were talking and he looked over at me and suddenly my face had changed to almost the way it was pre-burn. My lips were back to normal, the skin around my mouth was a normal skin color and the skin around my cheeks were not scarred. I had my face back. What a wonderful dream to have. I wish that physical transformation would come true.

Though the transformation of my body, fixing my face and the rest of my body is highly important to me, it is the road to transformation in my life and self acceptance that I think is what troubles me the most. How do I get on that road? Or am I already on it and aimlessly wandering? Why is this so hard for me? Maybe it's because I don't believe that this ruin I have gone through was not a gift. It took so much from me and I'm so angry about it. I am lost on this road to transformation. I have been through the ruin, now please God, help me find the road to transformation. Please. I don't want to be lost anymore. I don't want to hate myself and my life anymore. I want a new, better, fuller life. I don't want to feel alone anymore. And most of all, I want to be happy again. Please, God, help me find this road to transformation.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


I was thinking, you know when we were kids and we had "do-overs?" Well I was thinking, as I said, that I wished I had a major do-over for my LIFE. So much I wish I could do-over with my life. I wish things had turned out differently in the end in New York City. And most of all I wish I could do-over the major event that happened three years ago that changed my life forever. But this is a kind of do-over that I can't have.

I had a doctor appointment yesterday and I always have a lot of time to think on the car ride over and back. And so many thoughts were swirling around in my head, as always. And that's when I got to thinking about do-overs, among many other things. I'm tired of wanting things to be different in my life, to HAVE been different in the past. I just want a do-over, like we got to have when we were kids. It doesn't seem fair that as we get older, we no longer get those do-overs cause it's not that simple anymore. It's f'ing complicated and do-overs do not do complicated.

So, is there anyway that I can fix this life of mine? I don't know what to do anymore. There are days when I feel good and think I can do this, make it through all of this. And then there are the days when I don't know how I'm going to make it through all of this, when I'm closing my eyes as tears run down my hot cheeks wishing desperately for that do-over that I will never get because do-overs are for children playing games.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Third Year Anniversary Party

Yesterday was my 3rd year anniversary of my accident as I talked about in my last blog post. I woke up in the morning immediately thinking about it because it happened at 1am so when I awoke, I was thinking, just a few hours ago, I was on fire, paramedics were at my house trying to intebate me but couldn't. I was burned so bad that I had to be life flighted out to Portland and the paramedics had to pump air into my lungs by hand the whole way, which is nearly impossible to keep someone alive that way. I nearly died on that flight. Then I nearly died on the operating table. So by the time I woke up yesterday morning I was by then through the first of many surgeries and in a coma, in the ICU in critical condition three years ago.

As the day progressed, I began to feel more and more depressed, upset. I was just thinking that three years ago, my family could have been going to go visit my grave, place flowers on the grave site perhaps and maybe say a prayer. This is what penetrated my thoughts all day long yesterday. That is until 6:30 rolled around and the party started. A party that was set up by two of my absolute dearest friends to celebrate my survival, my life. And so many people came. It was absolutely wonderful. I just couldn't comprehend that they were all there for me. Toasts were made...and so were great homemade buttons that everyone wore. One button said "SBW3" for Sarahbeth Watterson 3 years and the second button, which I have to say was the best, was "FYF" which stood for Fuck You Fire. Ha ha ha!! I wore both :)

Instead of a night full of moping around, my friends helped me get through it with toasts to me and loads of laughter. So much fun and laughter that my face hurt from smiling and laughing. I am so blessed to have the friends that I have to have done something so wonderful for me last night. But I also must not forget my family either. They may not have been there last night but they have been there every step of the way. I may not have been lucky in life, but I have been lucky to have the friends and family that I have. Thank you so much to everyone in my life that has given me love and support through all of this. I would not have made it without each and everyone of you. I love you all. Here's to another year....

Friday, March 11, 2011

Coming Up On Three Years

Many of you may not know this and many of you may but my 3rd anniversary of my accident is coming up on March 17th, St. Patty's Day. A day that is supposed to be celebrated with fun and laughter with your family and friends. It was a day that I used to love back when I lived in New York because where I worked was a real Irish Pub, owned and operated by pretty much all Irish people. They were my dearest friends and boy did we have fun. They showed me what St. Patrick's Day was all about. But now it's an agonizing memory, even though I don't remember the accident. It's still a memory that something awful happened, that something happened that changed my life forever.

I am having conflicting feelings. The first anniversary of my accident was bad. A lot of crying, a lot of pain, a lot of guilt. The second anniversary was better. I tried to look at it as the day I survived instead of the day I almost died. And it went ok that year. This year, I'm not sure what I'm feeling. I feel almost nostalgic, maybe even almost numb. But then I had to take a bath last night to cleanse some of my wounds and as I lay there soaking, my finger tracing scars, particularly the big chunk that has been taken out of my right leg, the big chunk that will always be there, always an ugly disfiguration that if I ever wore a bathing suit would scare people out of their minds. I continued tracing other scars and then my eyes welled up with tears and then it hit me, and I started crying. I was no longer numb. And it began to hurt so much in my heart. My past came flooding back at me, my present depressing me, and my future one big question mark in my head. The scars that covered my body from head to toe angered me. I was flooded with all sorts of emotions that I couldn't process all at once.

So what am I feeling on this 3rd year? Maybe it is anger. I am hurt and I'm so angry about it. All the time lately. And my anger is aimed at two people and guess who they are? yup, you got it! Myself and God. the usual suspects, right? I'm tired of thinking that events in life happen for a reason because after three years, I still can't figure out the reason for the life changing event in my life. Why? If there was a reason for my life needing to change, something I needed to learn, why almost kill me? Why use a terrible weapon like fire? Why torture my family with all of this? Couldn't there have been another way? I just don't understand! I don't get it! After 3 years I still don't get it! When will I figure out why this happened to me? What I am supposed to get? What was this supposed to change about my life?

Friday, March 4, 2011

My Scars a Result of God's Grip On My Life?

A friend of my mothers and also a friend of mine shared a wonderful story with me that really hit me right in the heart and I'd like to share it with you. So here it is:

Some years ago, on a hot summer day in South Florida, a little boy decided to go for a swim in the old swimming hole behind his house. In a hurry to dive into the cool water, he ran out the back door, leaving behind shoes, socks, and shirt as he went. He flew into the water, not realizing that as he swam toward the middle of the lake, an alligator was swimming toward the shore.

His father, working in the yard, saw the two as they got closer and closer together. In utter fear, he ran toward the water, yelling to his son as loudly as he could. Hearing his voice, the little boy became alarmed and made a U-turn to swim to his father. It was too late. Just as he reached his father, the alligator reached him.

From the dock, the father grabbed his little boy by the arms just as the alligator snatched his legs. That began an incredible tug-of-war between the two. The alligator was much stronger than the father, but the father was much too passionate to let go.

A farmer happened to drive by, heard his screams, raced from his truck, took aim and shot the alligator.

Remarkably, after weeks and weeks in the hospital, the little boy survived. His legs were extremely scarred by the vicious attack of the animal. And on his arms, were deep scratches where his father's fingernails dug into his flesh in his effort to hang on to the son he loved.

The newspaper reporter interviewing the boy after the trauma asked if he would show him his scars. The boy lifted his pant legs. And then, with obvious pride he said to the reporter, 'But look at my arms. I have great scars on my arms, too. I have them because my Dad wouldn't let go.'

You and I can identify with that little boy. We have scars, too. Not from an alligator, but the scars of a painful past or situation. Some of those scars are unsightly and have caused us deep regret. But, some wounds, my friend, are because God has refused to let go. In the midst of your struggle, He's been there holding on to you.

The Scripture teaches that God loves you. You are a child of God. He wants to protect you and provide for you in every way. But sometimes we foolishly wade into danger filled situations not knowing what lies ahead. The swimming hole of life is filled with peril and we forget that the enemy is waiting to attack.That's when the tug-of-war begins - and if you have the scars of His love on your arms be very, very grateful. He did not and will not ever let you go.

You just never know where a person is in his/her life and what they are going through. Never judge another person's scars, because you don't know how they got them.

Isn't that a cool story? Thank you Lisa for sharing it with me. I can't decide what kind of scars I have according to this story. Are they scars of the fire or are they scars of God holding on to me, refusing to let go like the daddy in the story. I wonder because I never cried out for help. I just folded over, fell to the floor and let the fire burn. And then there's the question of why the smoke alarm did not go off quicker. So was God there with me, holding on to me? Do I wear these scars today as a testament to the tight grip he had on me that night, not willing to let go because the doctors say it's a miracle I survived.

Stories like these always make me cry for one, but they also make me question a lot of things, questions that occupy my mind every moment of every day. Questions like where was God that night? But then a story like this comes along and it makes me wonder if He actually was there and these scars are a result of His presence, a result of His grip on my life. After three years of cursing God and wondering why me and why He did this to me, I'd really like to believe that He was there, gripping on to me just like that little boy's daddy, trying to save my life.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Daydreams and Fantasies

I have recently come to the conclusion that I daydream and fantasize all too much. And I'm not sure if it's worse or slightly better than it used to be. See, I was not one of those students who daydreamed during class, I payed attention which is why I got a full ride scholarship to college and graduated with honors at college as well. It was the inbetween time that I daydreamed and fantasized about a life that I desperately hoped to live someday. And now since the accident, but only three years later have I begun to daydream and fantasize again about a life I desperately want again. But there's something different about it this time.

The first two years of my accident I really didn't daydream or fantasize about anything because I was so stuck in my depression of what happened to me that there was no room in my head for anything else. But now, three years later space has opened up in my mind and I find myself lost in daydreams and fantasies about a life I have always wanted to have. You might be wondering, what the hell I'm talking about and why.

Every time I watch a TV show or a movie or an awards show, I find myself conflicted between fantasizing/daydreaming about wanting that life of an actor, to be in front of the camera again and acting a part and being angry that I may never have that opportunity again because of my accident. Like watching the Oscars the other night. Many people just watch it, distanced from it but me, I watch the whole thing from the red carpet entrances to the very end fantasizing the whole way through it wishing I was one of those actors. And those fantasies only bring on a great feeling of despair in my whole body because I'm scared my dream of actually getting there one day has been demolished by the accident. So all I have left is my daydreams and my fantasies of a world I have dreamed about since I was in the 6th grade and the star of the musical that year.

And then I get angry and depressed that that world that I feel in my soul I belong in will never be mine. Will I ever be repaired enough to be in front of a camera again? And what if I am by some miracle? Will I be strong enough to go after my dream again after being so damaged? I'm so tired of daydreaming and fantasizing about my dream career. It's only making me angrier and angrier because I'm so far away from it. When I lived in New York City, I was near the action, I had an agent and a manager for crying out loud! Not to mention I wasn't disfigured and scarred. So when I daydreamed and fantasized back then, it was fun because it was at my fingertips, I could do it, I knew it in my heart. I knew it was my path. But now, living in little old La Grande, Oregon, I'm so far away and now scarred from an accident that has put me now three years behind has only ignited anger and depression.