About Me

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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.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Surreal Video Shoot

I have had some wonderful opportunities since I began this blog. I have been featured on television shows, interviewed by reporters from CNN, MSNBC and FOX news, and had my image used in numerous ads as well as on the cover of Ossurs prosthetic catalog. I have tried to embrace each opportunity because I know that these are once in a lifetime experiences.  On Sunday I was able to add one more event to my list: participate in a music video shoot.

Sunday was a blur starting with my waking up early to catch a train to New York City. Unfortunately I was on the train for 10 minutes when the conductor announced a one hour delay. I tried to plan for everything, but I couldn’t have predicted a tree falling on the tracks.

Other than the delay, the trip to the city was uneventful. I tried to use the time to relax and calm my nerves. Neither worked, and I was a jumble of nervous energy when we pulled into Penn Station.

By the time I hailed a cab and arrived at the studio I had rediscovered my “game” face. I am never confident going into new situations, but I have become adept at faking it. I did my best to hold my head high and exude self-confidence while inside I felt like hiding in the corner of Junior’s Cheesecake shop, gorging myself until it was time to go home.

Walking into the studio felt like I was walking into a different universe. A lovely man who introduced himself as Clover greeted me. Clover was wearing fishnet stockings, a black leotard, and a feather boa strewn with rhinestones. He completed the look with a platinum blonde wig and gorgeous fake eye lashes.

Beside Clover was a beautiful African American lady who was wearing a leopard bra and panties. I am sure my jaw dropped in the most obvious way when she stood up. Normally 6’7”, the 12 inch platform shoes had her standing nearly 8 feet tall.  I was impressed with the grace that she could maneuver around the studio because I would end up face down in the platter of olives if I tried.

Next on the couch was a young man, probably close to 21, wearing a black bustier, thigh high fishnet stockings held on with a garter belt. He was sporting a police cap and velvet gloves while clutching a riding crop.  I couldn’t help but think the choice of maintaining a beard was odd.
And then there was me, a pregnant middle aged amputee from Suburbia. The song “One of these things is not like the other” kept looping through my head as I tried to take stock of the situation. I was most certainly out of my comfort zone. I felt like a country bumpkin who had just swept off the farm and into Oz.

After my initial shock, I was surprised by how quickly I began to adjust. The make-up artist did my make up, and my wardrobe was selected. Thankfully they thought better of putting me in risqué lingerie. After all, nobody wants to see that! I was put in a demure lace-like long top which I would have considered to be racy mere hours earlier. I guess everything is relative because compared to my counterparts, I looked like a Puritan.

The video was explained to me and, although I can’t go into too many details, the theme is focusing on unique types of beauty. I understand that other individuals with disabilities were scheduled for later in the day. The song is lovely and the theme for the video is personal empowerment despite being viewed as a societal outcast.

My portion of the filming occurred first because I had a tighter schedule than my cast mates. Initially all  I had to do was stand and look at the camera. I felt confident that I could handle that directive. Everything was going smoothly until the music was cranked up. I was then asked to dance, and all hopes of me leaving the video shoot with my dignity evaporated.

Here is a little known fact about me:  I have absolutely no rhythm. None. The only dance I can do reasonably well is the Chicken Dance at weddings. Putting on music, shining bright lights in my face and surrounding me with cameras resulted in my looking like a fish flapping on the dock. Recognizing my poor dancing skills only served to intensify my wretched movements.  They kept telling me to loosen up and move. They apparently didn’t consider my jerky, unsightly and uncoordinated movements to be dancing. They tried to dance in the background. I tried to mimic their movements, but I think my efforts only worsened my performance.

After moving (I won’t insult anybody by calling what I did dancing,) the director asked me to lip synch part of the song.  Here is another little known fact about me: I can’t lip synch. Every time I try I end up singing. I only know how to sing one way:  loudly and with a lot of enthusiasm. Considering that I was asked to keep quiet in my mandatory 5th grade chorus, it is safe to say that my inability to dance is only superseded by my enthusiastic, yet painfully off-tune singing.  

A whirlwind of an afternoon came to an end, and before I knew it I was riding the train home. I have decided that I love traveling by train. Between the roomy seats, the electric outlets provided and the free wi-fi, I was able to get more work done than I would have at home. Although it was a public space, I was not constantly hounded to find items, cook a snack or help with a game! I was able to log onto my Hotspot VPN, play on Facebook and get considerable writing done. Normally I would not have felt comfortable logging into my accounts on a public network, but with the VPN I knew I was secure!

Yesterday was certainly a day to live outside my comfort zone. I wore clothes I would never wear, met unique individuals and humiliated myself numerous ways on camera. Needless to say, I am expecting much of my role to be taking up residence on the cutting room floor.  Despite the self-inflicted embarrassment, it was an experience I will always treasure. I may not make the video, but I certainly did my best, even when I knew it was going to be woefully inadequate.

The lady taking the pictures was not on a chair... she was just this tall when wearing her heels!

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