Meet our February Scarlight, Shannon! I met Shannon in my Scars to Confidence Facebook Group where she is an active participant. In the group, I put out a notice to those who wished to share their story and provide inspiration to others. Shannon gracefully accepted the call and signed up! I am so appreciative to her for opening up and sharing her story.
Here is her story below:
“My scars came from domestic abuse in 2001 at the hands of my children’s father. We were together for about 6 years and most of that time it was violent. He had a very bad temper and was very aggressive. He had no problem fighting me or taking his anger out on me when someone else upset him. I got tired of fighting and being abused. My babies were too little to really know what was going on, but they knew when momma was sad or upset. I didn’t want my two boys growing up thinking that was how they treated a woman, and I didn’t want my baby girl growing up thinking that was what she was supposed to accept. I got a restraining order and I moved out and got my own place with my babies.
At first, I didn’t want their father to know where I moved to, but with the restraining order, he was allowed to get my babies and spend time with them. But he wasn’t interested in that – he wanted me. When it was his time to get them, he would drop them off with my grandmother at the time and try to keep up with me. I used to park blocks away from my apartment and walk back so he wouldn’t know where I lived.
One night, I went out with a friend and my children’s father followed us. I hid my car and my friend walked with me back to my apartment because I didn’t feel safe. My children’s father figured out which apartment I stayed in. He climbed onto my balcony and started beating on my glass sliding door when he couldn’t get me to open my front door. When he realized I wasn’t alone, he flipped out! While on the phone with police dispatch, he began yelling though the door. I remember him saying, “If I can’t have you, no one else will!!”
As I’m standing in front of my balcony glass sliding door, yelling at him to leave, he turned and ran just a very short distance on my balcony and jumped through my glass sliding door! He landed on top of me, knocking me down. I remember putting my hands up and getting cut on both hands as I was falling. While he was on top of me, I felt a cut and burn on my face close to my neck and right ear. I was dazed. My friend that was with me tackled him off of me and to the ground. By the grace of the Lord, I was so happy that my friend was there with me that night, he saved my life! I was rushed to hospital and ended up getting several stitches that resulted in the formation of keloids.
Since 2003, I’ve had over 12 to possibly 15 surgeries on multiple areas all over my body. After surgery, because I couldn’t tolerate the injections, it took about 6 – 8 months before the keloids began to grow back, and 8 months to a year before they completely returned. I wasn’t as confident about my scars at first. I used to do whatever I could and needed to cover them up which at times, was very uncomfortable. After a while, I got tired of being sick and tired and worrying about what anyone thought. I focused on what was best for me and made me comfortable. Wearing too many clothes causes a lot of irritation. That was one of the reasons I made the decision to stop covering them up.
Instead of feeling sorry for myself, I continue to keep smiling. I live life and move like I don’t have any flaws at all. Because of my strength, I’ve been told I was an inspiration to so many others! I loved myself more, held my head high, and walked with confidence and pride. People that knew me said they didn’t see my scars. My personality and love for everyone is what they felt and saw, right along with my smile. They were amazed that I was always so happy and smiling – always encouraging and uplifting those who needed it.
Making others smile and feel good, makes me feel good. That helped me be myself and feel comfortable with others seeing my scars. I was taught a long time ago that there are so many others that have more scars on the inside than I do on the outside. That’s why I love to give hugs, because a small gesture of love can cure a lot of those inward scars.”
Questions for Shannon
I asked Shannon a few questions and this is what she had to say.
- Why do you want to be featured in a Scarlight?
“I believe my strength and confidence can and will be an encouragement to so many others that battle with any type of scar who may feel they can’t still be beautiful or fear the judgement of others.”
- How has your story shaped your life’s perspective?
“It taught me not to give up, not to dwell or hold on to the past and the hurt or pain that came with it. To lean on God’s unchanging hand for continued strength. That I can keep smiling and loving who I am because of God’s grace and mercy. I am still here because of that. I want to be a continued encouragement to all that suffer from whatever insecurity they may have and teach them to love all of what the Lord has given them! Because someone, somewhere else has a worse situation than the next person. Despite the pain I do suffer from my scars daily, I stay positive and keep pushing.”
- What steps did you take and/or tools you used to overcome how you felt about your scars? If you have not yet, why?
“Prayer, getting proper medical care, learning and listening more to what my body tells me. Having supportive family and friends.”
- What is the most important thing that you have learned about yourself through your journey?
“I am stronger than what I thought. And I am an encouragement and inspiration to others.”
- What is one lesson that you can share with others that will inspire them?
“Learning to forgive and letting go of any bitterness can and will free you to be happier in life. Let Go and Let God do the rest!”
Thank you, Shannon, for your courage to step out as your authentic self and be an inspiration to others!! There are a lot of situations that we can’t control in this life, but we can control ourselves and how we react to those situations. I am so glad that you’ve chosen not only to embrace your scars, but to use them in a way to empower others!
You are amazing!!