Imagine...you’re a fourteen-year-old girl finally growing into young 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 an intelligence that is mature beyond your years. People aren’t making fun of you anymore; they are admiring 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 your gear that has no place else to fit. You are sandwiched in the middle of your two best friends in the back with skis and poles precariously perched between the front and back seats while the snowboards rest on your lap. 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 increase your bravado. Despite the pleas to slow down, Superman is indestructible, until the oncoming truck becomes your Kryptonite.
The skis, once nestled on each side of your head, now become weapons of mass destruction upon impact. Sitting in the middle of it all, they find your eyes and face as the only refuge to stop their momentum. Crushing your orbital bones with such force that your right eye is now protruding and severed, you reach up from your blood soaked clothing to hide it from the other passengers as they pass out one by one leaving you with full consciousness until being placed in the ambulance.
At first, you are a medical miracle. The ski’s hit you an inch higher and you have brain damage, an inch lower and your head is decapitated. Initially you are blind and after months of numerous reconstructive surgeries you lose your right eye and regain sight in your left eye…only to see a person you do not recognize…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 came in the form of your mother and a bag of sunglasses. Delighted that 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 become the one thing that makes you feel like ‘you’ again. Though they hide the physical scars, they never really healed the pain. How many of us hide behind masks of hidden sexuality, booze, humor, identity and 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, pretenses …just truth…enough 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 the grace and courage of the girl you once were, you take off your glasses and reveal for all to see…true beauty.
Thank you Patrycja Domurad. Your truth set us all free.