Today is International Day of People with Disabilities. Apparently it is a UN sanctioned designation to increase awareness about the estimated one billion people around the world living with a disability. In researching this holiday, I learned that 15% of the world's population is disabled, making us the largest minority group.
learned about this holiday through a friend, who sent me an email
wishing me a happy International Day of People with Disabilities Day. To
be honest, I was initially taken aback by being included under the
disability umbrella. Although I have no problem identifying as an
amputee, I don't consider myself to be disabled. I always considered my
inclusion under the disability label to be a technicality rather than a
The only times I feel disabled are when I am
experiencing socket issues or limb pain. Having to modify my activities
because of my amputation both annoys and frustrates me. I resent having
to accommodate because of my limb loss, and during those times I
identify most as disabled.
When my prosthetic is
fitting correctly and my limb is healthy, I feel completely able-bodied.
My prosthetic allows me to function and feel like my bi-ped friends.
Being considered disabled just because I can take my leg off feels
unnatural. My inclusion under the umbrella makes me uncomfortable.
know that my friend sent me the greeting with kind intentions. I am
sure that I am overthinking the issue, but for some reason this has
really struck a chord with me this morning. While I don't consider
myself to be disabled, I received the label when I became an amputee.
For most of the world, being an amputee and being disabled are paired.
Perhaps they are only separate in my mind.