I was attacked twice in 2006. The first time I was attacked by a group of guys while in my parking garage. They beat me and stuffed me into the trunk of my car. Fortunately I was able to escape by jumping out of the trunk while the car was in motion. The second attack came just two months later when I was held at gunpoint by two women and assaulted with acid. Unfortunately this attack left me with third degree full-thickness burns to more than 30% of my body. As a result, I spent six and a half weeks in the intensive care burn unit at University of Chicago Hospital and I’ve endured over 15 surgeries. I came to find out that all of this because of the guy I was dating at the time. He was involved in the streets and instead of whoever was upset with him retaliating against him they retaliated against me. It was devastating and incredibly traumatizing to say the least.
My journey has been a long and arduous one. While I’m in a much better place now it took me a long time to find happiness, peace, and to truly embrace my identity as a burn survivor. At first I didn’t know how I would go on. I couldn’t see a future for myself and the loss of my identity was unbearable. I literally went to sleep one person and woke up another. Over time, I embraced my scars or “flaws” (as some call them) as something that make me uniquely beautiful. They are a part of who I am and I almost don’t remember life before them. Instead of viewing them as something negative, they are a constant reminder that I am a survivor and that I’m incredibly blessed to be here.
I developed a t-shirt to make a statement about how I feel about myself. I call it my MORE beautiful tee.http://www.burnedbeauty.com/
about-karli/more-beautiful/ I am always thankful when people compliment me by saying, “You’re STILL beautiful despite your scars,” but I think my ability to overcome adversity, my fears, and my past make me MORE beautiful. And that applies to all women. I actually have a greater sense of self and more self-confidence with my scars because they aren’t an insecurity. And I think it surprises people that I am happy and confident. If I can show just one young lady that you can be burned and beautiful and confident, then I’ve fulfilled my purpose. Despite it all, I find comfort in knowing that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be and I wouldn’t change a thing.
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