Dear Nicole . . .

Dear Nicole . . .

Prison

Dear Nicole,

I have contemplated writing you for a while now, but I could never bring myself to do it. I suppose that this letter could either positively impact you or negatively impact you, but I’m hoping that it brings you as much peace as it brings me. I am not writing you out of ill will or with any negative feelings. Instead, I am writing you because I have freed myself. When I was first burned, I thought my life was over both literally and figuratively. That night, I thought that I was going to die and I almost died while in the hospital. A part of me did die that day, but I am grateful that I am still here to enjoy this life. I had a very difficult time accepting what happened to me and initially, I was very angry and bitter. That anger and bitterness was holding me hostage. It changed me for the worse and I began lashing out at my family and friends. I was angry with the world, but I was most angry that my life had changed so drastically. I did not deserve what happened to me.

One day after crying and having a pity party, I decided that I did not want to live like that anymore. I made a choice to forgive you (and the others involved) for harming me, and I made a choice to forgive myself. I do not know if my words bring you any peace, but I really need you to know (for my own peace of mind) that I forgive you wholeheartedly. You are worth so much more than your actions. As sad and as hurt as I was about what happened, I would not change a thing. My experiences have afforded me opportunities that I could never have imagined and I thank God for all of my blessings and lessons. I’m not celebrating the trauma and the sadness. I’m celebrating the transformation and spiritual growth.

There is still a lot of speculation about what happened and the motive behind it, but I’ve accepted the fact that I may never get answers. During the trial you never accepted responsibility for your actions, and that’s fine, but I still needed to write this letter. I did not want to let another day go by because I did not know if I would ever have the opportunity to tell you this. I hope that you are well and I hope that you will see better days.

Sincerely,

Karli

 

“If anyone has caused you grief, he has not so much grieved me as he has grieved all of you to some extent—not to put it too severely. The punishment inflicted on her by the majority is sufficient. Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort her, so that she will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for her.” 1 Corinthians 2: 5-8

Body Love

I was honored to be photographed by my friend and former classmate, Laura Lopez, recently. She is extraordinarily talented and is producing a series called Body Love, consisting of photos featuring individuals with scars or a physical feature that they’ve learned to love and embrace over time. The photos will run in Halfstack Magazine’s summer issue.

Needless to say, I was both humbled and excited to be chosen as a participant. Below is one of the moments she captured. She never disappoints.

Tune in! Saturday 4/11 at 11 am CST

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Hey guys! I know that I’m so late posting this, but please turn in of you can. I will be on Matters of the Heart Radio sharing my story and how it’s shaped my confidence.

“Confidence is owning who you are
and feeling good about it. It’s believing in yourself and allowing that to shine through in the choices you make and how you present yourself to the world.
It’s recognizing your weaknesses, but playing on your strengths. It’s
acknowledging flaws, but owning
them as the very things that make you special. My confidence comes from knowing that despite having my self- esteem challenged over and over again, I AM STILL HERE … and for a mighty reason. I know to whom I belong.”

-Karli

Why did she assault me with acid?

“Life becomes easier when you learn to accept an apology you never got.” -Robert Brault

(but it doesn’t mean you won’t have questions)-KB

She’s been on my heart and mind lately. Sometimes I want answers, sometimes I don’t. Some days I think about her, some days I don’t. But today I can’t ignore this feeling. Have you ever been hurt by someone you don’t know and wonder why? I know that my destiny is not tied to her, and despite everything I wouldn’t change a thing, but I can’t help but want to know WHY. (She’s locked up, but in many ways I’m locked up, too).

And if you’re wondering whether or not I’ve forgiven her . . . Yes, long ago. The moment I chose to forgive her and the others involved in my attacks my life improved dramatically. However, I wonder how she’s faring in prison because I know she’s not being rehabilitated. For a while I didn’t need answers, but I’m at a point where I want to know why. Forgiving myself for my choices was harder, but when I say “locked up,” I’m referring to my scars and the ambiguity around what happened. I’m not searching for an apology, just answers.

Prison

Burned Beauty

Let me explain . . .

First, who says you can’t be burned and beautiful? Certainly not me. I want the world to know that you can have scars and be beautiful—and be confident.  More importantly, I wish that I’d known this 8 years ago after I suffered 3rd degree full-thickness burns to more than 30% of my body. While recovering from my injuries I experienced depression and self-esteem issues.  Needless to say, adjusting to my new life as a burn survivor at the tender age of 23 was a difficult process. Yet, here I am 8 years later loving the skin I’m in and loving every moment of this journey.

poli4678

 

Here I will share my love, my passion, and my life as a burned beauty.  I use this term (burned beauty) as a metaphor for my experiences. While I was recovering from my injuries, I had to accept that I would never be the person I was before, and at first that was devastating. But so many blessings have come from my physical, emotional, and spiritual transformation.

During my transition process, I had to burn all of my previous notions of what beauty meant to me (among other things like success, love, wealth, and failure). I liken that transition to the life cycle of a phoenix, the mythological bird that every so often throws itself into fire and arises from the ashes a newer, better version of itself. That’s me!

Because after it all I arose from the ashes a stronger, better version of myself. I did not know what was to come, but I am thankful for it all.

Thank you for joining me on this awesome journey.

x,

Karli

“Burned Beauty” <3IMG_2850

 

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