I wrote about facial disfigurement on this blog on Saturday, January 25. 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 and still the feedback poured in. The blog was “powerful” and “inspiring” to some; others said they had 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 tomorrow, Wednesday, February 5. And I’ll be talking on the John Murray Show on RTE Radio One tomorrow too, so it’s a big day.
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 those sometime. You may not being 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, Trish, and have two amazing kids who love me unconditionally. I am not alone anymore.
This blog has had a cathartic effect on me, and reignited plans for that book I kept putting off for so long. I intend to post much more material and insights. There will be much pain, anger and despair, but also lots of joy and hope. I also intend to add transcripts of interviews, plus other articles I wrote two decades ago, photos, etc.
Thanks for your encouragement and praise. And keep reading