THE BLOG

I Suffered Third Degree Burns But Rose From the Ashes

05/02/2014 14:31 GMT | Updated 06/04/2014 10:59 BST

When it comes to the way that we look, most of us have our issues right? We might be carrying around a few extra pounds, not feeling comfortable about the way our butt looks in skinny jeans or the way our thighs meet in the middle.

Yet deep down, we know that these things are just surface, the extras, the bonus tracks. We know that beauty is just skin deep, so why do we forget so often?

Underneath all of the hair, make-up, clothing, skin, fat and muscle...we are just who we are. Yes, it's cool to pretty things up, put your best foot forward and all that, but not if we are going to be blinded and distracted by it all. The StyleAble team spoke to Karli about her experience of being a burn survivor, coping with the loss of her old identity and welcoming in the new:

"Before I was attacked, I was a happy 23 year-old who was enjoying life. I had a good job, I lived in a great apartment and I had just started graduate school. I was young and free. I was also dating and travelling a lot, so I really felt like the world was mine for the taking.

It was in 2006 that I was attacked with acid and as a result suffered 3rd degree full-thickness burns to more than 30% of my body.

I required over a dozen surgeries. That was the first time I'd ever stayed in a hospital, so I was mortified. I was scared for my life, and even though I was in denial I knew that my life was going to be forever changed. I woke up from my first surgery with my head completely shaven and I remember accidentally seeing my reflection in a mirror and it was ghastly. I didn't recognise myself. I immediately burst into tears and spiraled into a depression. I remember my family members removing all of the mirrors in my room and surrounding areas because every time I looked at myself it was an emotional setback.

Having them remove the mirrors was actually a blessing because I became more focused on feeling better than looking better. I actually feel ashamed at how superficial I was. I was grieving the loss of my identity and my life as I knew it, as a part of me had died. I literally woke up as a new person, a burn survivor. Yet, this journey has helped me to realise that I had put too much stock in my outer appearance and I'm glad that I have been able to work on my inner beauty.

Oftentimes when I am out in public, strangers will approach me and ask me about my scars. For a long time, I lied and told people that I was in a car accident or a house fire because they seemed to be satisfied with those answers. But when I tell people that I was assaulted with acid, the response is almost always, "But why?" It's almost as if they want to know if I did something to provoke my attacker or gave them a reason to hurt me. It's unfortunate, but there is a stigma attached to my situation; and I still don't know why it happened. It's taken me a long time to realise that bad things happen to good people everyday. Today I am smarter, stronger and better than ever.

Although I am, in fact, a burn survivor, my scars do not tell my life story."

Read the full article on the StyleAble website: http://bit.ly/1b5fqGf