Part two: One Breath at a time..
“The mask. I wish it was as cool as the mask Jim Carrey got to wear. Because I had 3rd degree burns, I had to wear pressure garments on my legs, torso and hands…those were uncomfortable, hot and so tight. But the mask I had to wear on my face. It was uncomfortable, hot, tight, hard to breathe in, looked awful…and I hated it. I was stared at so much for the years I had to wear it. I felt like it put me on display. The freak. I remember my parents using it as a reward if I did well in school or other good behaviours. I worked towards not having to wear it for half an hour. Half an hour. That’s not a long time. But when you’re having to live life in that mask, a half an hour without it was the best reward ever. I had 4 masks in total. Made specially to fit my face as I grew. When I was able to eat more solid foods a new mask was made to make the mouth opening a little bigger. I don’t remember the day I was told I didn’t have to wear it anymore. But I’ll never forget how wearing it made me feel. The mask and garments were necessary to make sure my new grafted skin healed properly and as smoothly as possible. I’m grateful to my parents for seeing the big picture and knowing that even though I was miserable with the mask, it was helping me in the long run. If they had let me take it off and not wear it, I wouldn’t look like I do today. I’m afraid I’d still look at myself and see a freak. I wouldn’t be who I am today. I most definitely wouldn’t have the self esteem I have today. Or the love for my scars I have today. Sometimes those things that you hate in life, can be the best thing for you. One breath at a time.”