I started my blog 14 months ago with the goal to reach out and network with other amputees. My intentions were genuine. I remember how I felt as I prepared for my amputation. I was desperate to connect with another amputee woman, to find a mentor, so to speak. My search yielded nothing.
I vowed that, when I survived the surgery and figured this whole limb loss lifestyle out, I would offer myself as a support, a sounding board and a resource to anybody who followed in my footstep. Throughout my blog I have been honest with myself, sometimes to the point of embarrassment. Until today, I have been excited about my blog and sharing my life with my readers.
Today, for the first time, I don't want to write. Yesterday, for the first time, I temporarily removed a blog post. I feel as if my words and my experience has been hijacked. I have been slandered, but it hurts more that harsh and demeaning slurs were thrown towards Robby.
I agreed to work with the Amputee Coalition of America to help gain publicity about the treatment of amputees by TSA. I have flown a lot since my amputation, but I have never had a uniform experience going through security. As any amputee who has flown can vouch, TSA does not seem to have a cohesive, standard approach towards dealing with amputees. Simply put the process varies greatly among screeners and is demeaning.
My horrific experience last month is merely an example of what happens to amputees every day. I agreed to do some television interviews in order to spur reform. My story was picked up and the situation has imploded.
Initially I was thrilled with the support that I was receiving concerning my blog post. I learned that many Americans are unhappy with TSA. I have also been contacted by numerous amputees who have been subjected to similar abuses of power. I thought that the ACA message was being received. I felt as if we were having success.
I was appalled when I read the comments and emails Sunday afternoon. All of a sudden the messages of support and of similar stories changed. I received hateful and highly personal insults. I still do not understand why my blog post, detailing my experience, would cause somebody to write to me calling me a "one-legged whore who should have died from natural selection."
My sweet Robby was referred to a "the retarded kid" and my parenting skills were questioned. I was told that I was "too ugly for a devotee" and that "amputees are freaky ugly." One particularly hurtful comment questioned whether Robby was my child because "who would want to f*ck that freak."
I was tired of reading the comments. I was tired of crying. I felt as if I was fighting a losing battle. My blog post, which earlier this weekend was received by supportive groups, has been turned into fodder for those who just want to insult others. My experience, my message, has been turned into a joke. I have taken down the post in an effort to "cool the waters" and to drop off the radar of those who merely want to hate me because I am an amputee, because I am a woman or simply because I exist. I will continue to write, and I will continue to speak out about amputee issues. I will not be abused on my own blog!