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Self-Esteem: The Constant Struggle

I can only think of a maybe a handful of times that words have really cut me to the core in my life. Where I was struck completely speechless and stunned, as the person verbally assaulting me continued to speak on and on, that I couldn’t even defend myself. It’s this odd feeling of are they really saying what I think they are saying, surely I am imagining it, it almost feels out-of-body.

I supposed I need a little back story on my life…. I wasn’t sure I was even going to share this with the internet, but when I was 4 years old I was burned badly in a gasoline fire. I had 3rd-degree burns on my face, arms, and back and I spent 4 months living in a hospital bed and 8 years having non-stop surgeries to repair the damage.

It is something I have lived with my entire life and honestly I never let it slow me down. I wear tank tops and open-backed shirts, I try to tell myself every day it’s Alabama, it’s freaking hot, and if someone doesn’t like seeing my scars than screw them. I feel that my scars aren’t an issue, I am a beautiful woman, and I am not afraid to be seen. I have bright red hair for gosh sakes… I don’t mind being noticed.

Now back to my story… I was sitting down having lunch with my co-workers, laughing and having a good time and this guy who is a photographer in another studio in my building approached our table to talk to us. He is known throughout the building as a perv… he has a photography package where he teaches girls how to become models, which we are all convinced that’s code for he gets underage girls in “barely-there” outfits and takes pictures of them bending over. As he was in the middle of a shoot a few weeks ago he shouts to me, I am going to take your picture next….my thoughts “yeah sure, I don’t think so”. Back to what happened, he approaches our table, points to me and says “I’m serious, I want to take your picture, I know you have, you know, scars and stuff” gesturing in a circle around his face. “I was thinking we could use a mask, and sort of go with the Phantom of the Opera theme”………… me and all of my co-workers are just sitting there stunned. Now I really don’t think he truly grasped the full impact of what he was saying to a person who has had to endure what I have had to endure in my life and I don’t think his intention was to hurt my feelings, I really just think he is that stupid. He continued on talking but I couldn’t tell you what he said because everything from that moment on was just a humming in my ears. I was shocked at how that made me feel…. I am the first person to defend myself and to defend others and, believe me, I don’t have a problem stating my mind, but I was truly stunned and unable to respond.

I was stuck on what he said and what his intention for saying it was. When he left, the only thing I could say to my co-workers was “did he really just compare me to the Phantom of the Opera?”, they were shocked as well and I was forced at that moment to talk to them about personal things that I didn’t think I would have to mention in a group work setting, the tears started to flow and I was so angry that stupid asshole made me cry. Of course, me crying made my co-workers start crying which oddly enough made me feel better. They truly are my friends and they care.

I have had to work so hard…. soooo hard my whole life to have self-esteem. This isn’t like a scar on your stomach or a scar on your leg. My scars are covering my arms and hands and over my entire face, neck and back. Most, I do not have the ability to hide at all unless I wear long sleeves and gloves in Alabama summer heat. It is impossible for me to cover my face! I went through elementary to high-school with these scars. Started dating boys and eventually getting married with these scars and building enough confidence in myself that I am desirable and I am sexy and I am beautiful. I was so stunned that this man… this insignificant ass of a man could make me feel so ugly in all of about 5 seconds. I just kept thinking he thinks you need to wear a mask…. I know he’s stupid, but it still hurt.

Will I let this affect me?… Well maybe for a day or so… yes, I am still mad! But I will move on and I know he is wrong and I know that even if I wasn’t burned there would be jerks who said something to hurt my feelings. I will push his words aside and know I am the sexy woman I am and screw him. It also feels kind of good that every man I know wants to kick his ass….

But you think you have such confidence, but it is amazing how fragile self-esteem and confidence really are.

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  1. Wow. Men like that are the ones with the self-esteem issues not you. They feel like they have to belittle and abuse women to make themselves feel big and powerful. Men like that have zero to no self-esteem. You are a beautiful woman and you need to stand and be proud of your scars. You are a survivor and your scars speak volumes to your perseverance. Forget him he is a nothing and a nobody. Oh and please read my blog post Don’t Cover It Up, it applies here.

    1. I read your blog and you are so right. You can not be ashamed and you can not hide. My scars have helped mold me into who I am and I am proud of who I am…. I will not hide any part of me.

  2. What an ass! I tried to comment the other day when you first posted this. I think it’s very brave of you to put your story out on the internet. You are a strong and beautiful woman. I’m so grateful to have met you on twitter. Your scars are part of you and obviously you have learned to embrace them. Ignore that idiot and remember how gorgeous you are, inside and out!

    1. Thank you! You are so sweet and your support makes me feel so much better. I definitely feel that my scars have helped make me the person that I am today. I just think he didn’t understand that I don’t view them as something that should be hidden.

  3. I honestly think he was assuming you wouldn’t want your picture taken due to your scars, so he mentioned covering them up. You were right, I don’t think he had I’ll intentions, he’s just a complete idiot!

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