From very early on in my life as an amputee, I’ve loathed using crutches or a wheelchair. I am a very autonomous person. I have blue hair and tattoos. I don’t think too much about the opinions or stares of others, but put me in a wheelchair and all that rebel-heartedness melted into shy shameful nonsense. I felt so suffocated by the shame that I couldn’t enjoy myself at all. But years of wearing my prosthetic for everything except sleep was literally wearing away my health and happiness. Prosthetics are hard on both limb and mind — most people don’t realize that it takes a lot of focus and strength to walk with a prosthetic on a tender limb.
As I learn to navigate my life and its specific abilities and possibilities, I’ve come to realize that time not wearing my prosthetic is essential. Downtime allows my limb and my self to rest and keeps me from living in the hazy gray fog that overdoing can cause. While using my wheel chair or crutches used to feel like failure, I’ve discovered that once I let go of the (unnecessary) shame, it gives me an amazing freedom.
I am the girl in both these images, which were taken a day apart. I am equally joyful in the gif of me dancing as I am in my wheel chair. Learning to have fun in my chair, on crutches, or while wearing my prosthetic leg, set me free.
gif from Girl Knew York Instagram