read the full story
read the full story
I am Asadeem Johnson, born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica. I have third degree burn scars which I got when I was younger. My head and both arms are where I sustained all my burn marks. Growing up with these marks has been challenging. But I have learned to handle each day a little better.
After the incident where I sustained my scars, I spent 6 months hospitalized. At that time in my life I did not think too much of it. Maybe it was because I was young then but everything still seemed normal to me. It was after I went back to school that reality kicked in. Going back to school at the age of 6 with burn scars was challenging. There were kids who made it their point of duty to always point out that I had scars, either by physical bullying or constant mocking.
This became the “norm” in my life and it affected my mental health. As I grew older I became someone that kept to himself, always stayed in and wore hats and long sleeved shirts that covered all my scars. I had low self esteem and bottled up my emotions. I never spoke about what I was going through because I did not think it was okay to burden anyone with my problems.
I could only think about what I could do to make myself fit in, what changes I could make to my appearance to conform to society’s standards of beauty. I would always second guess myself. These scars controlled me and made me think less of myself for years. But little by little, by starting to talk to friends and family, I was able to overcome those insecurities and do things that make me happy.
My mother and I always had a close relationship and it was with this mother/son bond that eventually I felt safe enough to open up and let her know what I was going through. Being a mother she always had words of encouragement and uplifting speeches that would click in my head and these were words that helped me a lot. Having someone who I could express my thoughts with pushed me to try new things. Along my journey, I met someone who I considered a close friend whose encouragement helped me to enter the modeling world.
I had always thought about it but felt it was out of my league until he pushed me to join – from there, life seemingly became easier with each step. My family showed me support in my goal to be a model and having them at my first runway show was the icing on the cake. I was trembling all the way down the runway. However, by the end of the night, modeling felt right and I can honestly say I’m on my way of overcoming all that once held me back mentally.
Being open, expressing myself and learning to accept my scars is one of the best things in life I have done and now I am in the process of chasing my dreams of being a fashion model.
I would advise anyone struggling with any mental health issues due to physical differences is to find at least one person to talk with. Confide in that person and let them know how you are feeling and you will be able to express yourself more. With each day you will be more open and that could lead to you doing things that you were once too afraid to do.