I understand being upset is normal, so I won’t punish myself for my low moods and rollercoaster of emotions recently. But I’m sat here depressed about my face: Wondering if my eye will ever get back to normal. If my eyelids ever close again. What my skin colour will be. Where my scars will show. If my face will remain slanted. If I’ll ever manage a full smile. What to expect and when to face the public.
I was too scared to look up other acid attack victims, too scared to face what my reality could be. I clung onto hope, hope I’d be different, unlike the stories, unlike the famous Katie Piper. I clung to hope I wouldn’t need multiple surgeries, I wouldn’t need a surgeon to reconstruct my face, I wouldn’t need any of it.
Today I was too petrified to walk to my local shop. Too scared to face the world. Too scared of the looks I might get. To scared to tackle the question “how are you”. Just too scared. That’s all I’ve been. Terrified and reluctant. My life on pause, frozen with fear. After a day of staring at my reflection on my phone cameras, pulling and tugging my face, I finally put the google search in ‘Acid attack survivors’, which later went to ‘acid attack survivor photos’. What I saw changed my outlook completely.
First of all, I was reading about women all around the world, finding out about their stories, and how common sick people can carry out such cruel acts, even twice in some cases. I saw the photos, I saw the physical damage, and I shared the psychological damage. But after seeing these women overcome the pain, seeing them smile, be confident and move on with their lives made me so happy for them. I knew what real courage was.
I wasn’t courageous, I was just blessed with help, support, prayers, positivity, friends, family, media and even campaigns. These women had no or little support, yet they got through. I had spent, and still do spent hours down, and bursts of breakdowns, but I know my face is mainly intact. No ‘melting’ of features, no facial surgeries so far and my senses in tact. When comparing my injuries to other survivors, I reflected and was suddenly so thankful.
I feel like I have had the luckiest acid attack in the world.
Reading up on other survivors. Not victims, but survivors, gave me so much determination and strength. These women took on the world and its fate, and tackle each day like any other. My respect for these woman fuelled anger and disgust. I don’t understand why attackers use acid, but what I do know is that it deserves the harshest punishment. All over the world, this should be outlawed, this should be stopped, condemned, banned, punished, anything to make sure no other man or woman ever suffers. I want to just stand up and say to the nations of the world that they need to come together and work for the people. I want to do a lot of things. I guess it will just be one step at a time.
I still cling to the hope. Perhaps my features will be exactly the same as before. Perhaps I won’t have any scars. Perhaps my skin will go back to its rightful colour. Perhaps I’ll look exactly the same and no one would be any wiser. Or perhaps I’ll have to live with the differences burned into me back on my 21st.
*Wrote over two days, started on 23/7/17, finished on 24/7/17 (sorry I got distracted!)