Share Your Story
Save a Life
Use this page as a guide when writing your story
The Power of Your Story
“Share your story… change a life.” -Andrea Casteel Smith
When we share our story in an empowering way, our own story not only brings hope and healing to others, it also is healing to us. There is a lot of good advice out there, but there is nothing more impactful and empowering than a personal story that has a message. Using your own experiences, the lessons you have learned, the hope you have discovered through those experiences opens doors into hearts and breaks down barriers to even the hardest of people. It also brings us together.
The Benefits of Sharing Your Story
While sharing your story does inspire and comfort others who are struggling and facing heartache, it also benefits the storyteller in so many ways.
Sherry Hamby, Ph.D., in an article published by Psychology Today, described the top benefits of sharing your story. They are:
- Helps another. There is power in our words. When sharing your story, you give positive power to your own words. This includes positive power to your past, to your present and to others who through words, your story, find their own personal healing.
- Find your voice. What this means is to learn how to think about what has happened in your life in a way that makes sense. Developing and organizing your story in a traditional story structure, with a beginning, a middle, and an end, helps us understand that the various events, even the bad, were the building block, a part of the journey- to the person you have become.
- Re-affirms Your Values. Many times we learn so much more about ourselves by putting our story together. It allows us to really dig deep into our values and priorities. This is a great benefit as we establish these values in our story and in our heart.
- Finding peace, finding hope. Those that have found their voice, shared their story, and reaffirmed their values find a sense of peace and hopefulness that they did not have before
To get started, identify one major scar in your life
It is important to edit your story to something that is clear and focused. Although many of us have many stories to tell, we need to focus your story so that it does not lose its power. If we try to bring in all our scars into one story, we dilute our message. Focus on the one scar.
What Is Your Scar?
Below is a list of scars that represent many of the women who have come forward to share their story. Do you have the same scar as one or more of these women?
Custody of Children
Do you have a scar(s) not listed? What are they?
Of the list of scars, what is your most painful scar:
Scripting Your Story
In preparation for a video interview, we send six questions to the Scarred Beautiful women to consider and be ready to answer for their taping. The following questions we ask are in this order. As you consider your story, answer the following questions to help organize your message:
- What was your life like prior to your “scar”, or what led up to it?
- When did things change or what happened to cause that “scar”?
- What was your moment that you felt was the hardest, when did you hit your greatest point of hopelessness or was there a time you felt you couldn’t go on?
- When did you feel you were able to overcome, find triumph through this journey, or when/how was your hope restored?
- What advice would you like to give someone who may be going through what you have been through?
Bring it All Together
That it! That’s your story. An amazing testimony to share. Now take every answer and put it together.
If you are still unsure, below we have provided an example testimony that we have taken and will remove personal areas you can fill in, to give you a great opening for your story. This can be the beginning of a conversation, to begin writing and expounding upon this beginning, middle and ending, or even to share in public on the stage. Its your story and your story is powerful, relevant and needed.
My name is Andrea Casteel Smith and I grew up in Tucson, Arizona. Before my scar, my life was perfect. I had two beautiful children, a loving husband and everything was great. That was what I wanted everyone to believe. But I had a secret.
I believed I could be happy if I just did everything right and could put on a façade of being happy and beautiful with a beautiful family. Yet the truth, there was nothing beautiful about me.
For example, it would not be uncommon for me to present myself as confident and self-assured to fill the emptiness in my heart. Then it happened. I was arrested. I saw that deputy’s car outside my sister’s house waiting. I must admit, I had a couple glasses of wine, but I didn’t think I was doing anything wrong. So, I got in my car and drove home… only 2 residential streets away. I didn’t see the deputy following me. Just as I was pulling into my driveway, he threw on his lights and siren. I was arrested, feet from my children’s bedroom window. I was then sentence to 20 days in the Pima County Jail of Tucson, Arizona.
I felt like my life was destroyed. My perfect image of the perfect family and the perfect mother and wife shattered. Yet there was more to my humiliation. See my secret was I had scars. Terrible, ugly scars that covered my body. I was able to hide them, live a façade, pretend and cover up.
See, I was born with a large birthmark that was precancerous. At an early age the skin on my torso had to be surgically removed. After my surgeries 40% of my body was severely scarred. This was my secret I carried and hidden since I was a little girl.
Being incarcerated was the end of the façade of living a perfect life, but having to be strip searched every day, sometimes twice a day, making every scar I had worked so hard to hide completely exposed… to unkind eyes was shattering. See, I carried shame my whole life, so afraid the world would find out how ugly I really was. The shame, humiliation and the unveiling of my truth and my lies broke me.
Then it all changed…
It all came to a head. I needed to face this and change everything. So, I laid on that jail issued bunk bed, broken, demoralized and exposed. It was then I looked up to heaven and asked God to help, “I can’t carry anymore shame!” I called out.
It was then this great warmth filled my body and these words came to my heart, “Scarred Beautiful.” How I asked God could my scars and this DUI be anything but ugly.
I proceeded to understand that Scarred Beautiful gave me a choice. I could be forever sentence, ashamed of every scar or see my scars the things I have endured through God’s eyes.
Afterwards I didn’t view my scars as ugly but recognized that God saw my scars as a healed wound. Even the DUI had its value, because with God, I could see this moment for the lessons it taught, the wisdom now earned. What’s more I had the power to decide to never put my family or others in harm’s way again, changing this DUI from a symbol of my fall, to the moment I rose again. God also showed me that my physical scars have beauty too. For each is proof that I survived and the disease that intended to take my life didn’t. My scars are proof I am alive, and that God truly heals.
For anyone who is facing what I faced, my encouragement is to stop living in shame and start looking through God’s eyes. Every scar, whether they be on your body or in your heart is part of your story, part of who you are. Your scars represent your lessons learned; your wisdom earned. Every scar is a symbol of survival, struggle and change. Our scars are not about the pain, but a wound that once was, and is now healed. More importantly, it’s time to see yourself as beautiful, not in-spite of your scars, but with and even because of them.
You are not alone. I have come out of my pain and tragedy but have found hope and healing. Hope and healing can be yours too. I am sharing my story, so you too can live healed.