Browsing Tag

accident

An Unlikely Friendship

Everyone, meet Francis Wallace (pictured below). Francis read my article in The Washington Post back in April 2014 and found me through Google. It turns out he didn’t have to do much stalking as my name and pictures are very searchable. Haha. Yey, what every person wants– personal stories and hideous photos blasted all over the internet for years to come! ; )

Anyway, back to my story. Let’s flashback to not even 2 weeks ago when I received an email on my Linkedin page from Francis. His message wash short. “Hi Cristina. I read your story in The Washington Post. I am also a burn survivor. Can you give me a call, please?” You know me, whenever anyone writes me after knowing about my fire accident, I immediately write back. This time, I gave Francis a call. Upon completing the phone call, I learned a few things about Francis. Francis sounded like a gentle man who happens to live right outside of Washington, DC– very close to me. He read my article in the Post a few months back, lost the article and went on a frantic search to find me. He just felt like he needed to meet me. For anyone to want to meet me makes me feel special. Why me you ask, right? Well Francis has written a book called, A Will to Live and was in the final editing stages before production. He wanted to meet me because my story in the Post resonated with him and he felt that I had a story to tell and he wanted to hear it. Being the trusting person I am, I made an appointment to meet with Francis at a coffee shop in Washington, DC. Of course once I told my sister I was going to meet with a man alone whom I had never met before in D.C. during the the early morning hours, she freaked out. I however didn’t. Remember when I told you that Francis sounded like a gentle man over the phone? He also made sure to tell me that he was married and has daughters. He then added me on Facebook so I knew he was a real human being with a life of his own and I gathered that he was a religious family man. He wasn’t a cookoo for coco puffs who wanted to use my hair as tooth floss and my skin as a door mat. Well at least that’s the vibe I got. So last week I met up with Francis.  We both happened to arrive at the same time, park, and walk while talking to each other on the phone. As soon as I turned a corner to head to the entrance of the coffee shop, there he was– Francis Wallace. As soon as we saw each other, we gave one another a big hug.

francis and crissy 1

Francis Wallace is a 75 year old black man who was burned on over 85% of his body at the age of 25 in a fire that stemmed from an outdoor BBQ Grill. Then there is me–a 30 year old, white female who was burned at the age of 10 on less than 5% of my body in an accident that stemmed from a garage fire. Francis and I connected over a sweet tea and cappuccino. We spoke for almost 2 hours. He told me that his book has been years in the making, but it wasn’t until 2 years ago when he really got serious about finishing his book. The stories that Francis told me about his life not just about the fire, are INCREDIBLE. Real, raw and they made me yearn to want to know more about his life. I shared some of my stories to Francis and he said to me, “Cristina, you have a story to tell. There is a reason why we both survived. Let’s share our stories together.” Francis is right. I do have stories to tell and have written around 20 pages of a book that I began a few years back. I just keep putting it off. I was hoping that this blog would suffice, but Francis pushed me and said that I needed to finish my book.

Francis doesn’t know me well but he knew that we were meant to cross paths and work together. After meeting Francis though, it seemed as though we had known each other for years. How can two completely different people feel a connection? How could one person who is very religious and the other person who considers herself more spiritual than religious have a deeper connection? Francis and I share a significant experience in our lives that dictated the rest of our lives. Francis and I may seem like we are from two worlds apart, but we aren’t. We are both living, breathing humans that believe in a greater power that somehow allowed us to keep on going and live the best life we could live despite falling down several times throughout our lives.

Francis is my new friend and will be my friend for life. I cannot wait until Francis’ book comes out and I get to go hear him speak and do book signings. I wish a ton of success for him and I know he wants the same for me. Francis and I decided last week that we are going to both begin speaking at events while he promotes his book and I finish my book. Francis and I have an unlikely friendship, but underneath it all, we are the same. I cannot wait to share more stories. I’ll get Francis to do a video blog with me on my Youtube Channel and we will continue working together and pushing together to be the best people we can be, because after all, we made it out of those fire accidents alive. We are so damn lucky to be alive.

 

 

blog post

When People with Differences Hate on People with Differences


Hello!

I hope you are enjoying life right now. I am glad it is sunny and around 72 degrees outside in Washington, D.C. today. Of course, I am stuck at my desk. But at least I can look out of the window. Haha. Anyway, I had trouble falling asleep the past 3 nights. When my mind won’t shut off, I medicate myself. I know– so not healthy to do, but I’ll either take Tylenol PM or Mucinex 12 hour syrup. Those 2 medications work wonders. They worked so well though that I ran out of them, dammit! So there I go at around 10:00pm the other night scrambling to find something that would put my mind at ease and allow me to sleep in peace. The only thing I found crowded in with all of my health and beauty products was NyQuil PM. So I took a shot of NyQuil. Well that worked until 4:00am the last two nights. Then from 4:00am on, I was wide awake. Which is fine. I got to record my video for Youtube without my dog, Belle, or my fiance, Jason, walking around in the background. Last night however, after I tucked myself in to bed with a shot of NyQuil, I lied there thinking about the most random things. A memory from when I was 10 years old popped into my head. I actually think about this memory more often than I ever thought I would and I feel compelled to share it with you. So the story goes like this…

It’s early afternoon, I am getting back into the swing of things at school after my fire accident. I have 3rd degree thick red burn scars all over my chin and part of my cheek and 1st and 2nd degree burns on the rest of my face. I don’t exactly look like your average happy 10 year old kid. I got that. I understood that I was different looking. I expected adults to treat me better, but in most cases, they were the absolute meanest people to me. Well, little did I know that I not only had adult haters, but I also had adult haters with disabilities! Every other month, my school would gather in the gym to watch a performance of some sort. This time around, a team of handicap basketball players came to play basketball and show off all kinds of neat tricks. They were trying to teach kids that you can do whatever you set your mind to and that in the end, regardless of how we look, we are all in fact humans and ultimately the same underneath. What a sweet lesson to teach, right?

Thirty minutes into the game, the Manager of the team went around to pick students to volunteer and play basketball with the team in wheelchairs. I saw all of my fellow classmates raise their hands so high for the chance to play, so I then thought I would raise my hand a little. Of course, the Manager found my slightly risen burned hand in the air and chose me to get out there into a wheel chair and play with the team. I shyly went out onto the court, and when I got into my wheel chair I noticed some of the guys on the team looking at me with disgust on their faces. I ignored it and began rolling around in the chair. The game began and everyone was rolling around and the ball got tossed to me. I got excited, placed the ball in my lap and began rolling around in the wheel chair looking for a person to pass the ball to—the person I wanted to pass to immediately rolled away from me. I then turned to my left and tried to pass it to someone else and this guy still had a weird look on his face from even the sight of me, so finally I decided to just make a shot—- and of course, as my life goes– I threw an air ball. I was immediately then escorted out of my chair and told to go back to my seat with the other students where I proceeded to get made fun of by a few male classmates.

This memory makes me laugh now, but also has me confused. Why in the world were handicap people disgusted by me? Shouldn’t we all be on the same team? Team Different! But the truth is, we are all human and there are certain things that gross us out and sometimes, we only think about how grossed out we are, and sometimes we show it on our faces, and even sometimes we have verbal diarrhea and say something completely messed up or inappropriate out loud. I try to be as non judgmental of people’s physical traits because I am in fact a burn victim. I’m sure when I say something, people are probably thinking, “umm you are one to talk, Crissy.” So I prefer to keep my opinions to myself and remind myself that we are all human, we all judge and we all react in different ways. It’s okay. But please when you catch yourself showing your facial expressions of disgust or saying things, think about the people around you that you affect. While I am so used to people staring at me, saying things, etc, I can’t help but let it affect me for a minute before I move on to the next thought. But that memory will be implanted in my head. No one is perfect. No point in being mean. All it ends up doing is making yourself look bad or insecure. So moral of the story– there is no Team Different. We are all human underneath. I guess the basketball players were teaching the right lessons after all.

 

Love my Readers! Have a great day!!

Let’s Throw it Back to 1994-BEFORE & AFTER

Hey All!

I figured that I would post a throwback Thursday picture from one month before my accident and right after my accident. As I have mentioned before, I was burned in a freak garage fire accident at 10 years old. You know how a lot of people who get into accidents say, “if I could rewind time and have the accident not happen, I wouldn’t because this made me a better person…blah, blah. blah?” Well you know what? I don’t agree. There, I said it. If I could rewind time and hide all of the kerosene cans and matches so no fire could happen at all, I would. If I could rewind time and then come back to present day, I wouldn’t have this blog right now talking about me being different and having a more difficult life than my not scarred friends— and trust me when I say that I would be totally okay with that. Haha. I would be out traveling the world with my husband, right? Isn’t that what all non scarred people do? JUST KIDDING! I do understand that everyone has a story to tell and my goodness, there are far worse stories than mine and there are far braver people than me. Buttttt since we are talking about my experience as a burned victim right now— then there you have it– my truth. I wish my accident never happened. It didn’t make me a better person. I would still have been a good person with or without a scar. I have really good parents. So if Oprah (wishful thinking) ever asks me that question, then my answer to her is, “hell yes I would rewind that clock so fast, you wouldn’t even know it got rewound!”

Happy Thursday sugars! I shall return with another post shortly. xo

10 years old ACCIDENT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh yeah! Check out the Botched commercial. Seeing my face for even that second, scares me. It’s hard to believe how swollen I was after surgery. You don’t really notice until you see pictures and videos of yourself.  I’m so nervous for the episode to air but I did it not only for myself but for other people out there who feel like they are alone. You aren’t alone! You have me!!

http://www.eonline.com/shows/botched