Eventually, as I learned to accept my new body, I began to embrace my differences. I vividly remember the afternoon I spent ripping off my cosmesis. I don't know what 'clicked' that morning, but suddenly I was ready to become my authentic self. I am an amputee who uses a prosthesis. My leg doesn't look like a biological leg, but it no longer needed to be hidden in the shadows.
Just to be clear, and before the emails start being sent, I don't condemn or judge those who opt for a cosmesis. Everybody has a unique perspective and needs. Just because I opt to go 'full robot'does not mean that the look feels right for everybody. I want every individual with a disability to feel comfortable being authentic, regardless of what looks like.
As time has passed, what began as self-acceptance has morphed into a desire to help the greater community. Advocacy has become my passion, whether it be helping the individual speak up for themselves, writing appeals for a needed device or lobbying elected officials. Advocacy comes with small victories in many forms, but collectively they make a huge impact.
I was delighted to be among those interviewed for this fantastic article projecting advocacy issues after the mid-term elections. The pedigree of interviewees within this article is outstanding, and it is an honor to be included with them.