I’ve never actually written a blog before, so I’m not sure how it all goes down but I’m going to give it a go, so please bear with me…I suppose I should start with some quick facts about myself, so you can get to know me. My name is Brittany, I’m nineteen, and I was born and raised in Melbourne, Australia.
I live with my best mate and hero, which is my stepdad (who I call Dad), who has been there since I was pretty much born, and my two younger sisters. They both send me absolutely crazy at times but then again, they are a huge part of my life and if I had the chance, I probably wouldn’t swap them for the world.
My mum moved out about five years ago, so I had the experience of a mum and dad home life until i was about fourteen. Unfortunately, I lost my biological father a year before that when I was thirteen years old. I have three grandmas and three grandpas (who are all still with me) and a dog, Boofah. I know I don’t have your average family tree but to me, my family, no matter how wide it spreads or how many adopted family members I have it is one of the most important things in my life.
I like to pride myself on how much of a happy go lucky girl I am. I always like to look at things in the most positive way that I can. I’m your typical nineteen year old girl. I like to party, I love to shop, spend time on my hair, I’m crazy about the sport of boxing and new shoes (sneakers and the occasional pair of heels are always a winner with me!)
Things haven’t always been that way though. On the 17th of March, 2014, four years ago now, my life changed forever. I found myself waking up out of a coma around eight weeks after that date fighting for my life and refusing to face the world with my new face. I was fifteen years old when I went from having not a scar on me, to becoming what I sometimes see myself as (which is a page in a Melways – Melbourne book of all the road maps).
For those of you who don’t know my story, I was fifteen when I pretty much “set myself on fire”. To be honest, I hate putting it that way, I feel like it makes me sound like a suicidal maniac, but at the end of the story, each person has their own opinion and many people see it differently. I know deep down what I feel, so I’m not going to try to explain myself to you all, i’ll leave it up to you to make up your own mind on the situation. So, it pretty much started when I was fourteen, I began dating a twenty-two year old. it was my dad’s worst nightmare, but every teenage girls dream to have an older boyfriend, especially with a cute little baby, you feel like you can be the one to step in and fix things.
So, I began to rebel against my parents by running away from home, staying out days and weeks at a time until there were warrants out for my arrest, because i had been missing for so long. I dropped out of school halfway through year 9, so I only have a year 8 pass. I moved in with him and I dedicated my whole life to becoming what I thought was the “perfect girlfriend”.
I had somehow dedicated my whole life to him before I knew it. I didn’t speak to my own friends anymore, only really his, I didn’t have my own phone for a long time, and he became what my whole world revolved around. I believed I was the happiest girl alive, I thought I had it all – a boyfriend, independence, a stepchild, good looks – and of course, the dribbling and dribbling in drugs that I started to do with him only made things seem more of a thrill. Of course, all of that is a recipe for disaster.
Things went really well for the first year. We hardly fought, I won his family over the best I could, and his son loved me, but then things started to spiral. He started to hang out with his mates and drink a lot, and when he would drink he would become aggressive, not physically aggressive but verbally aggressive. Back then, I thought that was okay but now I see that no woman even deserves to be verbally abused by someone who is meant to love her, especially for no reason.
He began fighting with me over nothing really and accusing me of cheating all the time, even when he would be the one coming home all hours of the night with his friends. The more and longer he kept accusing me, the more I started to think about it and him being the way he was didn’t make him too appealing. I’m not making excuses what I did next was wrong, but I am only fifteen by this stage, remember. I cheated on him with someone he knew.
He ended up finding out the next day, and when he asked me, I denied nothing. I told him the truth no matter how bad it was, and after a few hours of him telling me off and making me feel guilty for what I had done, he then tells me that when we first got together he had been with one of my best friends at the time, and then it all made sense. He had been accusing me all this time because the guilt had been eating at him, and he needed me to do wrong to make what he did right.
After we both found out and got over the initial shock, we tried to make another go of things but it wasn’t the same. He was always drinking and getting angry until one morning at around 11am, I decided to call him. He had been drinking with one of his friends again and was saying the usual horrible things to me, but this time it was different. This time I just wasn’t the strong woman that I usually am, and I broke. I went outside to try find something to hurt myself with just to get attention.
I remember looking at the brick wall thinking, “I can’t hit my head on that, it’s too hard”, then I looked over and seen the red and yellow petrol container. I thought, “if I just pour it on myself while he can hear me, he will realise I’ve had enough and I can’t take this anymore”, so that’s what I did. I picked it up and poured petrol all over myself while asking him if he could hear me, he said that the next call he wanted was for me to be dead and he hung up the phone.
I didn’t set out to set myself on fire, I have the balls to do many things, but not that. I wasn’t in the mood to have a nice relaxing shower, I was too stressed, and before I knew it the petrol was dry. I was crying talking to my grandma in my bedroom with a lighter in my hands, and I turned the round circle on the lighter. When it sparked, my life flashed before both mine and my grandma’s eyes. We both just looked at each other, it was a delayed reaction, but sure enough, before I knew it my arm was on fire and within seconds I watched it travel to my whole upper body.
I was running around my house frantic, my grandma was ringing emergency services, and my poor younger sister Brielle was freaking out. I ran to the bathroom where I thought of jumping in the shower, but I saw our plastic shower curtain and thought, “that will melt on me, I can’t do that” so I kept running around frantically. Something told me to go outside, so I ran out my front door where my neighbour at the time saw me, and ran over to try and put me out. He was tapping me and tapping me, but it wasn’t helping at all and it was too hot for his hands, so he moved away and said he was sorry. For a split second I thought I was dead, but then he yelled stop, drop and roll, so I jumped into my garden bed, rolled once, and the flames went out.
As I stood up, police had arrived to the scene and got me to stand with them. Within moments, the ambulance and fire brigade had arrived and I was walked into the ambulance, where they lay me down, put a jelly suit on me, and put me to sleep. Eight weeks later, I woke up, and my family were saying Happy Easter, which was crazy because I didn’t even realise how long I had been out.
My first thought was definitely, “Wow, I have f****d myself grand”, and that’s where i started to discover how painful it was to move well actually how painful it was to do everything. I had to learn to walk, talk, and eat again. I had lost all muscle mass, so i couldn’t even use my arms to do basic things like pick my nose. 60 percent of my upper body suffered third degree burns, and I lost the face that I had for fifteen years.
Rehabilitation was hard at the start. I hated the physiotherapists, I used to yell at them and almost try kick them to keep them away from me because when the touched me, it hurt too much. I decided to pull my head in and stick with it, because I knew I needed to come out even stronger. The silly exercises and all the gym work was what was making me better and what was giving me movement back in my body. I spent all up three months in hospital, and did about six months of rehab after I came home. When I came home, I couldn’t even close a full fist and I used to tell all my specialists that it was dream to make a full fist again, and that was before I discovered the sport of boxing which saved my life and got me to make fists again but that’s another story.
I know a lot of you reading this probably have many thoughts, but what I hope many of you are thinking is what I had to learn the hard way. That no matter what happens in your life, or no matter what your story is, there is always light at the end of the tunnel and no one should take their life over someone or something so silly.
Four years on, I’m kicking goals. I am proud to be who I am, I am embracing my new face, and I wouldn’t change my life for the world because being here with my family and friends for a few more years means more to me now then it ever did before.
If you would like to discuss our mentoring program, please feel free to contact us.
Leave a Comment