A few times a week when I'm at the gym, I'm approached by another patron who feels compelled to tell me that I'm an "inspiration." I always thank them, smile, and continue with my work-out. I do not consider myself to be an inspiration, but I do have to admit that the compliment always makes me feel good.
I was initially surprised by the sudden onset of
praise from my fellow work-out warriors. I am still on the pudgy side,
my shoulders are so weak I can't press more than 10 pounds, and I am
fairly confident that my dancing on the steppers provides comic relief
for many. I do nothing that could be construed as attractive or even
remotely impressive when I am at the gym. I've come to the conclusion
that my form or the size of the weights I
am struggling to lift are both inconsequential. Apparently my simply
trying to lift weights to become healthy impresses people!
not just flowered with praise at the gym. I had a lady tell me that she
was "so proud of me" when I was ordering ice cream at McDonald's. Why is
ordering my own ice cream something worthy of a compliment? Granted, I
was proud of myself for opting to go for the vanilla cone in lieu of the
hot fudge sundae, but she could not have known that. I know she meant
well, but her compliment was simply misplaced.
The bar for amputees is set pathetically low, so it is not difficult to
leap frog towards "impressive" or "inspiring." So many citizens hold such low
expectations for anybody with a disability that by simply participating
in life we are considered to be achieving something incredible. I am
hoping that time and exposure to individuals with disabilities in the
mainstream will help to diminish this perception.
have learned to accept the compliments the same way I accept the
naysayer's stares. I try not to take my bi-legged peers well-meaning yet
condescending praise to heart. I'm hoping that by seeing me, and others
with disabilities, actively engaged in the community, the level of awe
can be diminished.
In the meantime, I will accept the
compliments and praise at the gym. Even though I know it is unwarranted,
I certainly need all the help I can get in that arena! My fellow gym
members should not be impressed or inspired by me. If they knew me, they
would quickly realize that I am uncoordinated and probably would not
even be at the gym had I not overindulged in cookies and cupcakes during
the past winter.
- I am a below knee amputee. More importantly, I am also Mommy to two boys, a very active 10 year old (Robby) and an mischievous toddler (Timmy). I have learned that being a parent with a disability can create some unusual and sometimes humorous situations. This blogger is available for hire! Let's talk and learn how a blog can expand your business.