Her only known offense was her beautiful face. Still, that is exactly what the jealous wife who set her on fire wanted to erase. Her beauty. Poor woman, she did not know that Dana held within her the secret weapon of a powerful internal beauty, fighting on her side.
Dana Vulin had only recently met her would-be assassin’s husband, but his wife’s desperate jealousy had been triggered. First she left Dana threats, saying she wanted to “ruin her pretty little face”. On February 16, 2012, she broke into Dana’s home, doused her with a flammable liquid, and set her on fire. She laughed as the flames caught, and left Dana for dead.
Dana knows what it is like to become a human fireball. She knows the agony of a body burned beyond her own mother’s recognition. She knows what it’s like to have countless reconstructive surgeries — just to try to get back something she was born with, her own face. And she knows what it is like to wear a protective mask for years, making you feel like a faceless nobody.
On my birthday in October 2014, Dana publicly removed her mask and strutted proudly down a catwalk. She let her courage and internal strength speak for themselves, forever encouraging countless women like myself. Thank you, Dana! 😀
Sometimes the more unspeakable traumas you’ve endured, and the harder you fight to rise above the effects, the harder it can be to find a truly inspiring story. Without role models you can look up to — people who have not only suffered events comparable to your own, but meanwhile have maintained a heart of compassion and integrity — it can be too easy to stumble into an embittered pity-fest of “Is that ALL that woman went through? And she gets all that recognition!” You even start to wonder if there is anyone out there who HASN’T become bitter and hard by what they’ve been through.
So when I happened upon the story of Dana Vulin, it was like a breath of fresh air. Here is a story I can remember when I want to throw an emotional temper-tantrum and blame it on the cards I was dealt. Here is a woman I can look up to, be inspired by — even if she is much younger than myself. Here is someone I can respect because when the media spotlight is on her, she doesn’t use the opportunity to point out how unfair life has been to her (Hello! ALL abuse is unfair by nature!), but instead she uses herself as a model of courageous vulnerability for women of the present and future — look at my scars, I show them plainly to you, and I have not let this beat me! I just love people like this, and I am happy to live in a world where such self-compassion and acceptance is now encouraged and respected.
— I am in no way affiliated with Dana Vulin and have not received any compensation for this post — I just sincerely enjoy spreading the word about awesome people and resources! —
Here’s a link to my own story of recovery from severe trauma.
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