I wrote about facial disfigurement on this blog last Saturday. I expected a response, a few words of encouragement, an “I never knew that” comment from others who thought they knew me. So when the reaction came it really stunned me. So many, many comments that trying to juggle Twitter, Facebook and the blog to respond as honestly as I could eventually became too much. That was Saturday afternoon.

My phone beeped constantly all night and the following day. The sharing on Facebook and RTs on Twitter maintained the traffic over the weekend and still the feedback poured in. The blog was “powerful” and “inspiring” to some; others said they never noticed my scars;  relatives and friends said they never knew the full story and were reluctant to ask. An updated version of that post will appear in the Irish Examiner on Wednesday, February  5.

We can be quick to judge people on their looks, or define them by their disability, mental or physical. What I perceive as a trivial defect is another’s life inhibiting scar. It can and does lead to social ostracisation – fear of being seen in public, of being stared at. You feel a loss of self-worth and self-esteem, believe you are a failure, despair and can endure loneliness. I called them the Silent Years – and yes, there’s a blog on that sometime. You may not be able to eradicate the scars, but there is hope, and I’ll write about that too.

Most of all, as you’ll see, this is a story of redemption, love and acceptance. If I can share my experiences and help others so much the better. I have been married for 28 years (29th anniversary in March) to the most wonderful woman, have two amazing kids who love me unconditionally. I am not alone anymore.