On April 3rd, 2009, I was in a fire that left me severely burnt on my face, arms, hands, chest, and legs. I recall the first instance that I saw my reflection; my heart stopped. It was as if I had woken up in a body I did not recognize. My face was so badly burnt and deformed that I'd resolve to live in my parent’s basement for my remaining days. And I hoped that they were few.
As you can see, I healed. At least physically, thanks to countless doctor appointments and scar therapies. Time passed, my scars faded and "the fire" became less of a conversation piece. I naively anticipated this to be the end of my recovery. I couldn't have been more wrong. Instead, I continued to feel completely disassociated and mentally disconnected. It was with this realization and the struggles that followed, that my journey to recovery became a journey of self-discovery. I've learned that it is the psychological scars of past trauma that take the longest to heal. All too often, we get tunnel vision on the path to recovery by focusing on time-frames and the end product. The path of recovery is unique to each person. For me, there is no finish line signifying the end of recovery. Yet, I know that the end is near (if I hadn’t passed it already) because I have found closure and confidence in knowing who I am, where I stand, and what I’m capable of enduring. I am a product of recover - recovery from trauma, recovery from ignorance and recovery as a catalyst for self-awareness.