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Twenty-five years ago, I was badly burned in an explosion. And I am celebrating! Why, you ask?

Flashback: I was fourteen and a bit spoiled, hanging out with the kid my mom warned me about. His dad had gunpowder. We played with it. A lot of it blew up and my life changed dramatically.

I was burned on 80% of my body, 25% were third degree burns. I was life-flighted out of my small town in Wyoming to a regional burn unit. Six weeks of intensive care and three skin graft surgeries later, I entered a season of self-doubt, shame (about my “disfigurement”), and self-loathing.  

So why the celebration?

It was during this wintry season of tribulation that I became resilient. I was confronted with the choice to continue feeling sorry for myself, to receive all of the jeers at my compression garments and to hate who I saw in the mirror. Should I remain a victim? OR,

I could say “F THAT!” and create someone NEW.

I chose the latter.

It wasn’t a quick fix. That process took nearly 3 years, but by my senior year of high school I was confident, accepting, and I allowed people to see the burn scars on my legs.

I let people see… me.

I understood that we naturally look at what’s different. People looked at my scars with curiosity, not with judgement (well, most of them). So, that’s why I celebrate the memories of pain, shame, and self-loathing. It’s part of my wonderfully imperfect life story.

My hope is that you don’t wait until your “explosion” event to realize that you CAN let go of the past. Maybe you’re reading this with the weight of your past pressing down on you. Maybe you’re in your own wintry season.

Brothers and sisters, it’s time to let that shit goooooo.

Maybe now is YOUR time to say F THAT and release the burden of the past. It’s time to create the best version of you! I know it’s not easy – I promise that it isn’t. But it’s worth it. And, so are YOU. I’m in your corner!

To your success! 

Derek Ketelsen

Hi, I’m Derek, but most call me DK. I am a life and leadership coach to High Achievers and Difference Makers. I help professional men and women like you who are striving for a life of success, happiness, fulfillment, and balance – and I help you create it!