Feeling Comfortable In My Own Skin and Having Faith

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Photos Courtesy of Jeairy
Written By: Jeairy
I'm a 34 years old Latina, born and raised in Puerto Rico. During my school years, I was bullied for several reasons. Thankfully, my parents taught me at an early age not only to believe in myself, but also to stand up for myself, and never allow anyone to belittle me. It helped me grow humble, develop a tough skin, and be confident about myself and have strong faith.

Latin Americans celebrates Quinceanera, as it marks the transition from childhood to young womanhood in a girl's life. It is a big deal for our culture. Instead of choosing to have a traditional "fiesta; I opted out to go on a trip with my family and one of my best friend.

A couple of months later, hurricane George crossed Puerto Rico, in September of 1998. Due to the hurricane impact on the island , some municipalities where without electric power for over a month including where my parents live. A month after the hurricane, I had several seizures and I experienced amnesia. I didn't have any have any memories of who I was or those around me. It wasn't pleasant feeling lost and powerless, but now I see that it helped me practiced to believe in life with faith.
My mother and I visited different doctors and went through several health and neurological studies the following week. A week passed and I done a 24 hours EEG (neurological study), I was told at the doctor's office to remove the glue of the electrodes from my scalp at home. It was a rainy evening and my mother was exhausted from all the doctors visits and worrying about my health all week. I remember my mother telling me that she would remove the glue herself, just to wait for her to take a nap while my father would make the generator work. I wanted to allow my mother to get some rest, and I decided to remove the glue myself.

     Since, we didn’t have electricity at home, I looked for a candle stick and gathered all the supplies I needed to get it done. I could barely see myself in the bathroom mirror with the candle, I leaned closer to the mirror but on that moment, my hair slipped over my left shoulder and touched the flame of the candle. It all happened so fast, from a second to the other, I became a human torch. Instantly, I screamed as I tried to get out of the bathroom calling for help. I tried looking where I was going, but my body would roll my eyes upwards trying to protect themselves. Thankfully, some how I was able to get out the bathroom. My mom woke up to my desperate call for help and without hesitation, she grabbed me by one of my burning arms and pulled me back into the bathroom, pouring water all over my body.

    On the exact moment when my mom extinguished the fire, my father was able to get the generator working. My mom was trying to grasp the event she just witnessed. Seeing my entire head, face, chest, back, shoulders, and both hands, completely burned made her worry even more if I would loose consciousness right away or go through another seizure. Seconds later, she remembered my father being outside.
    My faith kicked in right away, I reassured my mom that I was in a stable condition, and that God wouldn't allowed this event to happen if He didn't know that we would be able to handle it. As soon as she called my father under the heavy rain they both came into the house. Mom tells him what just happened. I could hear his desperate cry to God asking why this happened until he approached the bathroom....there I was. He went into shock for a brief moment until my mom made him come back to his senses. I talked to him reassuring that God was in control, regardless of what I was going through I was fine, I wasn't feeling any pain, and I was at peace.  At that moment, I wanted us to pray together. My mom had a quick prayer and asked God for guidance. 
      After calling the nearest hospital, the best course of action was to drive ourselves to the hospital or I wouldn't be able to survive. Before my parents covered me in wet beach towels, I decided to take a good look at myself in the mirror against my parents' will.
     I couldn't recognize myself physically, I was completely disfigured. Big part of my memory came back on that instant, my short life flashed through my eyes in seconds, but also I could see my true self. This was my metamorphosis. I could feel the strength growing by the second within me. I knew my life would be completely different that I would have more challenges ahead, but I was up for the challenge. I learn that my body or skin does not determine who I am. I could see and understand that my true essence is in my heart and soul, that my body is just the carrier of who I am.

     We had another prayer before we left the house, but I had the need to tell my parents that I would be fine, that all this happened because God knew we  would be able to handle it, to please remember my favorite verse from the Bible at all times:  "I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me". - Philippians 4:13 [KJV].
      I was placed on a medical induced coma for a couple of weeks. Everyday I use hear the doctors betting on how little I was going to live, those words lit a stronger fire in me that pushed me to fight more for my life. I ask God to give me a second chance of life. I got stronger and I began to have a speedy recovery.
  After I had my first three surgeries in Puerto Rico, I was able to fly on commercial flight to Boston where I was being transferred to the Shriners Burns Hospital for Children.  I traveled back and forth to Boston for the next five and a half years. This hospital became my second home, where I received 175 surgeries and intense physical therapy in a loving environment. The doctors, nurses, therapists, and even the janitors became part of my extended family.

  I'm still facing challenges in life like many of you probably are as well, but I make sure I count my blessings everyday. God blessed me with my own family. I have two amazing little girls that brings new experiences and unconditional love to my life.  Thanks to social media I have the opportunity to reach out to others around the world. Sometimes I'm able to help my followers emotionally through their difficult times, put a smile on their faces with a single post or help others through my komokoco products bringing wellness to their homes.

I may never know why I had to live through all these experiences, but one thing I am sure about, I don't need to get caught up on the why. I need to have faith in God, knowing that He is always in control no matter the severity of the situation I am in. Every experience is a lesson to be learn. Even though I might feel that I'm not in control all the time, it is up to me rise above. I have learn to find the positive in every situation and the importance to keep your heart and soul pure. I have found a certain freedom being comfortable in my own skin, accepting, embracing , and loving myself unconditionally. I encourage you to do the same. This is the feeling of true beauty, allow this beauty to be expressed through your eyes, smile, and everyday actions. 

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