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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.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Spring Stares

I haven't worn a cosmetic covering on my prosthesis for almost a decade. Although I wore it dutifully during my first few tentative months after my amputation, I quickly decided that it wasn't for me. My cover resembled my biological leg from a distance, but upon closer inspection it was obviously a synthetic reproduction. Covered with stains, small holes and fabric runs, I am obviously not tidy enough to wear a cover on a daily basis.

After I removed the cover, it took me awhile to feel comfortable with the stares I garnered simply by walking through a store. I am rarely offended by the second glances and attention that my prosthesis receives. I am wearing something different, and it is human nature to look at things which are out of the norm. I know that the majority of the stares and glances are instinctual rather than malicious, and I have learned to ignore them. 

Most of the time I am oblivious to the onlookers. But each spring, I become acutely aware that I am different and that I am being watched. Wearing jeans and pants in the winter, most individuals are unaware that I am an amputee. When I switch to shorts and dresses, my prosthesis is visible and the interest returns. I know that it will soon become second nature, but it always takes me a few days to acclimate to the staring.

Yesterday afternoon Hamlet and I went shopping for Robby's birthday present. (Incidentally he was of no use when trying to pick the perfect present.) As I was happily pushing the stroller through the aisles, I noticed that we were receiving an inordinate amount of attention.  At first I thought that everybody was looking at Timmy.  After all, he is absolutely adorable! However, I quickly realized that the glances were bypassing the stroller entirely and were focused on my leg. 

I immediately began to feel uncomfortable in my own skin. I had gone from happily shopping with my newborn to feeling like the spectacle at a freak show. Trying to feign confidence, I continued to casually shop pretending to ignore all of the stares I was receiving. Inside I wanted to shrink and run away as I desperately tried to settle on a gift. 

I have been an amputee for more than a decade, yet moments like these continue to take me off guard. I detest feeling self-conscious because of my leg! Thankfully I know that my acute awareness of the stares is temporary.  The looks never go away, but in this situation becoming desensitized is a beautiful thing.

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