Imagine...you’re a fourteen-year-old girl finally growing into womanhood as a pretty, tall, blonde model. After years of feeling awkward, inadequate and a bit gangly, you break out of your shell and gain a confidence that is like the elixir of life. Once a quiet child and avid bookworm, you become popular, get good grades and have intelligence beyond your years. People don’t make fun of you anymore; they admire your grace, beauty and newfound self-assurance.
One day, you and your best friends decide to take a ski trip. In classic teenager style, you cram as many people as possible into the car and include all your gear. You’re sandwiched in the middle of your two best friends in the back with skis and poles precariously perched around you and snowboards resting on your laps. Though no alcohol is consumed, an even more dangerous cocktail is being brewed…youth, inexperience and invincibility. Flying through a couple of stop signs unharmed increases your bravado. Despite pleas to slow down, Superman is indestructible, until the oncoming truck becomes your Kryptonite.
At first, you are a medical miracle. If the skis hit you an inch higher, you’d have brain damage, an inch lower and you’d be dead. Instead, you’re initially blind and after months of numerous reconstructive surgeries, you lose your right eye and regain sight in your left …only to see a person you do not recognize in the mirror…at all. Once a camera’s muse, all you see now is a one-eyed Frankenstein.
On the verge of giving up hope, knowing life would never be the same living with a face that not even the doctors could reconstruct, a savior comes in the form of your mother and a bag of sunglasses. Delighted the glasses would cover up your unsightly eye and have you look almost normal again, they become your mask. Wearing them morning, noon and night, they are the one thing that makes you feel like ‘you’ again. Though they hide the physical scars, they never really heal the pain.
How many of us hide behind masks of hidden sexuality, booze, humor, identity or fear because we don’t feel good enough about ourselves to reveal who we really are?
Seven years later, surrounded by a group of strangers on the surface but family beneath, you feel a love and acceptance almost forgotten. No facades or pretenses …just truth…and enough of it to reveal yours. Stepping out on faith and supported by love for the first time since your accident, you dare to release the pain and remove the mask. After seven long years of hiding from the world, the real you aches to come out. With grace and courage, you take off your glasses and reveal for all to see…true beauty.
Thank you, Patrycja Domurad . Your truth set us all free.