To the unawakened eye our own imperfections appear as limitations, but age always brings perspective. We are naturally attracted to those who realize that kind of growth, and we immensely respect their exprience.
I am a burn survivor, burned over 35% of my body in an accidental gasoline fire, at the age of 9. I suffered 3rd degree burns on my chest, stomach, under both arms and my sides. After undergoing 2 skin graft procedures, where they removed good skin from my back, rear, abdomen and sides — I was left with scars on nearly 70% of my body.
Like most people with scars, I was very self conscious about them. I saw them as flaws... I wouldn't even take my shirt off at the beach. I wasted many years of my life, keeping myself in a "box", not feeling comfortable in my own skin. Fortunately for me, I discovered art at an early age. I began drawing seriously in high school, and I attended my first figure drawing classes in college. It was there that the idea of modeling for art first struck me.
I had always been fascinated by the human figure, and I can remember thinking that were it not for my scars, I could imagine myself modeling for artwork. But I still wasn’t quite confident enough at that point in my life to actually do it.
Fast forward several years…
One day while thumbing through the want-ads for part time work, I came across an ad looking for people of any body type to model for figure drawing. Without overthinking the idea, I just picked up the phone and called. Before I realized what had just happened, I had committed to posing nude for a small group of professional artists. In the days leading up to it, I was on the verge of calling and cancelling several times. Somehow, deep down inside, I knew I had to do this... I knew it would be good for me. As terrifying as the idea seemed, I KNEW it would be good for me.
So I fought off the urge to find a way out of it, and I went, and I did it. I was very nervous at first, but I soon managed to relax, and I received many compliments on my ability to remain still. Nobody seemed bothered in the least bit by my scars. That is when I made the realization that the insecurities I had with my scars were mostly self-inflicted. I spent so many years focusing on my scars, that I assumed everyone around me was just as focused on them. The reality is that people really do see beyond the surface in most cases. Most people take very little notice of my scars actually.
I have now been posing for figure drawing, and sculpture for over 10 years. I hope that my story of transformation will inspire others to climb out of their own box. Scars are just strength marks!