By: Juliana Paucar
My life and my beauty standards changed on August 17th, 2012. I was helping my parents with some assignments in their office, when I took a break and my skirt caught the flame of a candle. A candle. Something as absurdly small as a candle changed my life forever. It only took two minutes for the fire to consume my skirt and my legs, leaving me with 3rd and 4th degree burns. Right then and there, I became a burn survivor and I also went down an overdue journey of self-love that I didn’t expect.
For five months, I stayed in the hospital, isolated from everyone except from my mom. I was lucky to be at a private hospital that allowed my mom to be in the room with me. I have heard that this is uncommon for other burn patients in Colombia. Although my family was my strength and support, it wasn’t enough for my doctors. They constantly said: “It would be better if you had a boyfriend, someone special by your side”. But, why? Being single at that moment made me focus solely in my recovery. So one day I decided to ask the doctors why they thought it was so important to have a boyfriend. The answer was straightforward and without any painkillers: “It is necessary for you to have emotional stability,” the doctor said. “After this accident, it will be really difficult for you to find someone to love you or accept you.” It was hard to hear, and I didn’t accept it at first, but then reality hit me.
Six months out of the hospital, halfway to my full physical recovery, my emotional journey began; low self-esteem, recrimination, and rejection started to appear. At that point my thoughts were unclear and what the doctor said echoed in my mind. I felt lonely and single, more single than I had felt when I broke up with my ex-boyfriend 3 years before. 50% of my body are only scars, HUGE ones, there is no hope for me, I thought. So I started covering myself in every way I could; I was afraid to show my self. I was determined that everything had to be fixed in the outside; that I had to return to my “normal” self and my “normal” skin.
What had happened to me was unfair. I thought people would only accept me if my scars disappeared but I was wrong. Soon enough, I understood that the change had to come from within. I realized that I had to change the way I saw myself to change my life and for others to accept my new beauty. I realized that empowering myself with self-love was necessary to change my sadness and to find someone to love and love me back.
At this point, @Bellezaabsurda, or Absurd Beauty, was born. I created my own Instagram initiative to empower myself, and other women, with self-love. Although I am based in Colombia, I hope to reach the world. My message is about love; I want all the women to accept themselves and to define their own concept of beauty, just like I define my scars as absurdly beautiful. I want women to realize that they are perfect just the way they are, even if it sound like a song, it is totally true. Thanks Bruno Mars.
Now-a-days, I feel as a super woman. I love myself over anything and I chase my dreams. I found love, not only in a partner, but LOVE in its purest form. I have built myself strong to become the very best version of Juliana Paucar.
You can follow Juliana on her path to self-love @bellezaabsurda