Man judges the appearance while God looks at the heart of men. This scripture couldn’t be truer in the case of Harley Dabbs. She has been a victim of bullying for the most part of her life and the reason is simple: she looks very different from the average person.
“At 14 I started getting depressed – I hated the way I looked and wanted to die. I contemplated suicide numerous times. I couldn’t stand looking in the mirror at myself. At the time I didn’t feel okay with myself, going to school or just out in public was very hard for me. I would even wear coats and pants during the summer. I just didn’t want to be seen. I couldn’t handle the stares and comments people would make.”
In spite of all these happening around her, Harley was always trying to find a way to make her life happier. She got tired of feeling the way she did about herself and realised this negative person wasn’t her and what happened to her, happened for a reason.
“God allowed me to live and I believe He allowed this – I’m supposed to help others, burned or not, realise they’re beautiful regardless of what society portrays.”
“June 5, 1997, I was 2 1/2 years old. It was just another normal summer day. I was taking a nap in the back room and my little sister was asleep in the living room. My parents were outside with some friends. One of them had just happened to see smoke coming from the house. She ran in to get us but could only get to Sierra due to the smoke and fire blocking her from getting to me. My dad had to pour water on himself and knock in the back door to get me. He ended up throwing me out the door because the floors started to cave. My mama gave me CPR until the medics arrived. I was sent to two different hospitals before I was airlifted to Shriners in Cincinnati, Ohio where I spent at least three months, including my third birthday. I was burned over 80% of my body and have gone through numerous surgeries and I still do at the age of 21. The cause of the fire was aluminium wiring from the washer machine and dryer. I battled with my physical appearance starting at the age of 14 and was picked on all throughout school. I still am through social media from time to time but now that I’ve accepted myself, I only let the negative feedback I get build me up.”
“I want to be a burn survivor model; I want to be an advocate for all who face some kind of insecurity, disorder, etc. I want to be a spokesperson, a motivational speaker. I want to spread burn survivor awareness, my story. I want to start a campaign, a charity. I want to reach millions and millions of people who need to know that it DOES get better, that they WILL survive. I want my voice to be heard. One day, I hope to be all of these things and start all of these things. One day, you’ll see my name in lights, you’ll see a difference I made in this world, even if it’s small. One Day.”