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What it’s like to live with a difference

It’s hard to explain something that we’ve never experienced. We can research things and think we have an understanding of them, but until we have actually experienced them, we can’t even begin to understand the true feelings and emotions. When I first started writing, I heard over and over from other writers — write what you know. That’s why I try to write with sincere authenticity. It is my heart’s desire to give others a glimpse of my life and what it’s really like to live with scars. In doing so, I also reveal the mindset that it takes to overcome our circumstances. Most of the time, when I go beyond the surface, I write with tears. When I can feel it as I write it, then others can feel it when they read it.

Most portrayals of scars are negative. Society can’t fathom that anyone would be able to accept and even be thankful for their scars. They try to portray differences as a grave sin and the person who bears the scars as a monster. That type of judgment breaks my heart.

So let me tell you my story….

My mom may have struggled with my birth and my scars, but she never let me know that she was struggling. I attended public school, had friends (that I made on my own), and was forced to adapt to the school. No one gave me any extra help. My mom wouldn’t allow it. She knew I was capable of doing it all, therefore she forced me and the school to look beyond my scars and uncover my full potential. I was NEVER the special child or the different child — I was always just Candida. While there were a few kids who were mean to me, the majority of them loved and accepted me right away, and never even asked me what happened to me.

Unconditional love drives out all shame. My family loves me unconditionally, therefore there is no shame. To insinuate that shame would be associated, just because a child or sibling is different, is heartbreaking, to say the least. My husband didn’t marry me because he felt sorry for me. He married me because he loves me. Every day he tells me that I am beautiful, and he makes me feel beautiful. Pity or shame has no part in our lives. In fact, he never even mentioned my scars before he married me. To date, he has never brought up the subject. My children follow in their daddy’s footsteps. They have never asked me about my scars. It just doesn’t matter.

Regardless of what some might think, I love and accept myself, as well as my scars. I am grateful that God blessed me to live. The enemy attacked me in the womb and my God intervened and blessed me to live. Nothing is missing in my life. I am alive to love and be loved. I have everything that I need and sometimes my heart overflows with the abundance of it all.

As long as people just focus on my scars, then they will never truly see me. Whenever I notice someone staring at me now, I just give them my best smile — the one that reaches my eyes and portrays kindness — and hope that they can see a little glimpse of God through me and my life. In God’s eyes, we are all the same. He loves us all unconditionally. And that is how He wants us to love others. As long as we look for the differences in others and constantly point them out, then we will never be able to see the person beyond the scars.

If given the choice, I would not trade my scars. They have taught me so much about overcoming, perseverance, strength, compassion, and the love of God. These scars have given me wisdom that I wouldn’t have obtained otherwise; as well as a closer relationship with God. I have met people I wouldn’t have otherwise met, and developed immediate bonds with strangers through our experiences of pain. The hardships my scars cause me is not worthy to be compared to the joy.

Candida Sullivan is an author and inspirational speaker. She lives in New Tazewell with her husband and kids. For more information about her books or to schedule her for your event, email her at candidasullivan@yahoo.com.