Just a normal guy, among normal guys
December 15, 2016 3:30 PM   Subscribe

Man with burn scars goes out on Halloween (SLYT)

A promotional short film by Burns and Smiles, a French organization for burn survivors. (Via Osocio)
posted by sively (20 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
Wow. Very moving.
For a short time in my life I had severe jaundice from liver damage. I would occasionally get stares from people in stores and in public. Once, I was walking home from the convenience store in my neighborhood. It was the end of the school day and I happened to be walking behind two junior-high-aged girls. I was alone. I'm a man. I'm 6' 5". At that time, a 30-something. These two girls looked over their shoulder at me several times. I could always tell when people knew something about me was 'off.' They would always start whispering to their friend. By coincidence, I was just walking the same way they were. But I can imagine they thought I was following them. After a while, they looked over their shoulder one last time. Then they ran away from me.
It was heartbreaking. My life was already a wreck because of a potentially fatal disease. When people stared at me it just hit home that I was not normal.
It's no fun to look different. Or to feel different. It's no fun to be an 'other.'
posted by hot_monster at 3:48 PM on December 15, 2016 [48 favorites]

When I was 14 I had jaw surgery, and my face ballooned for several days. When I left the hospital people stared at me. I haven't forgotten that.
posted by My Dad at 4:16 PM on December 15, 2016 [2 favorites]

I have had brain surgery. I prefer to shave my head, but I now have a huge scar across my skull that causes people to either stare or come up and share unwelcome confidences, so I grow my hair out. Compared to this guy, that is a really easy road.
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:34 PM on December 15, 2016 [4 favorites]

I have that scar as well! Ear to ear across the top of my head. It was after I was hit by a car. Depressed skull fracture. I shaved my head once. Just once. Never again. Especially because the lack of hair also exposes the huge divot on my right temple. GengiandProust I feel ya buddy.
posted by Splunge at 5:07 PM on December 15, 2016 [3 favorites]

I'm someone with severe facial scaring as a consequence of an accident with fire. Love this. Look, those of us who don't blend in have good days and bad days just like everyone else. We walk out into the world on an average day and simply don't remember we are burn victims. Those are great days.

Then there are the stares or the glances that last a bit too long on the train or the elevator. And we remember. Break over.

Depending on how I am feeling my favorite thing is to exclaim loudly "HI. I'm a bit embarrassed. Given the way you are staring at me, surely we know each other. I must be the rude one here." Stare don't break eye contact.

Yep it's not particularly mature but I always think of it as giving the next person who looks different a little break.
posted by pipoquinha at 5:12 PM on December 15, 2016 [71 favorites]

I want to be this guy's best friend. Not out of pity, but because he seems like a real decent, fun-loving guy. Amazing.
posted by Quasimike at 5:31 PM on December 15, 2016 [9 favorites]

Glad I saw this. Thanks.
posted by sockermom at 6:25 PM on December 15, 2016

I coomented, "Your eyes and your smile make you very attractive,"

I hope it's him posting the videos...
posted by bendy at 6:34 PM on December 15, 2016

Totally dateable. I hope he is able to give someone the chance to tell him that directly.
posted by amtho at 7:05 PM on December 15, 2016 [2 favorites]

I did some Googling, and the guy in this is an actor named Boris Ravaine. Unless he had a horrible accident, those burn scars are makeup, and the whole film is not "real." Still, it was moving. I had a sister with a rare skin disease, so I got to see people look askance an awful lot when we were growing up.
posted by old_growler at 8:19 PM on December 15, 2016 [6 favorites]

For Halloween I Am Going As Myself, but more heartbreaking.
posted by nicebookrack at 9:01 PM on December 15, 2016

Hey, hot_monster, that sucks and I'm glad you're much better now (I gather? I hope that's true). The junior-high girls might well have been running away from a very tall man who was behind them for too many blocks. That gets into patriarchy stuff and it's not your specific fault. I come from a family of tall humans. My little brother is 6'6". But if a dude is following me for a few blocks, I'm apt to cut and literally run, too.

Anyway, that has little to do with this video, and again, I hope you're doing well on the health thing. Please don't, if you can be bothered, take this pair of young women's fear of you as some sign that you specifically were weird. Men hurt us a lot, and they were just probably preventing that. It wasn't that you looked weird, almost surely. It was that you were a tall dude and were constantly behind them. All love.
posted by lauranesson at 11:50 PM on December 15, 2016 [3 favorites]

(Like, we female humans legit do get followed after the age of about nine or ten sometimes, and it's almost always a threat when it happens. If you want a way to fix this, it's cool to cross the street so people don't feel followed, even if you might have to cross back to get home.)
posted by lauranesson at 11:52 PM on December 15, 2016 [3 favorites]

Chiming in, hot_monster, young women have lots of reasons for running away from people, many of them quite legit, many of them silly. Try not to let that one incident haunt you.

Anyway I've had liver issues and they are horrible and I really hope you are doing okay. It does suck to be "other" regardless of reason but when it's a health thing that feels particularly cruel.
posted by kinnakeet at 4:23 AM on December 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

old_growler, the final paragraph in the via link says:

"The actor is not a burn victim himself. Makeup, especially on the treatment of the ears which is particularly successful, makes it very close to reality. All reactions of the characters in the film are authentic, it reflects behavior that have nothing to do with the daily reality of burn victims. Apart from this special evening."

Personally I think they'd have been better off telling a true story by a real burns survivor rather than whatever this manipulative fictional equivilent to white-washing/blackface thing is.
posted by goshling at 5:23 AM on December 16, 2016 [14 favorites]

Fuck, I am so disappointed to find that was a wind-up. I was going to comment that his joy was palpable. I'm with you, goshling.
posted by oheso at 6:05 AM on December 16, 2016 [5 favorites]

Regarding real burn survivors and their stories: Jacqueline Saburido is a woman who, where many people would want to hide themselves away, has put herself very much in the public eye to raise awareness about the possible effects of drunk driving [YouTube]. Obligatory Oprah Winfrey interview: Jaqueline talks about the emotional and social impact of her injuries [video].
posted by Secret Sparrow at 6:38 AM on December 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

Faked. Awesome. I don't feel personally hurt but my heart cracked a little for those who may have felt inspired by this. Those that left their homes after watching and and for the first time in a long time didn't walk face down or close their eyes on BART for a bit of relief from the stares. They walked with a bit more confidence. Ugh. I'm hoping that they never learn it was fake.

Fortunately I have a heavy bag at my gym. A few roundhouse swings are surprisingly cathartic.
posted by pipoquinha at 7:54 AM on December 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

I'm sorry guys, I had no idea when I posted this that it was an actor wearing make-up, otherwise I would have definitely included that information.

I figured the film was heavily edited/fictional, but I completely missed the fact that the scars were fake, too. Should've done a bit more reading before posting, obviously! Anyway, I feel really bad about misleading and disappointing you all.
posted by sively at 9:10 AM on December 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

Oh sively don't kick yourself. My first reaction was oooookkkk so the message is that people won't stare if you look like a monster because it's expected you look like a monster on Halloween. Color me initially offended.

Then I remembered the sweet relief we aren't aware of but that happens when you forget. This video gives the viewer a taste of that.

There's a ton of food for thought here. Not all bad.

sively, I'm so glad you posted this. Please don't let this dissuade you from posting in the future.
posted by pipoquinha at 11:04 AM on December 16, 2016 [11 favorites]

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