Here’s my story. I’ve been an amputee my whole life, which means I’ve been dealing with staring all of my life, too. I used to do everything I could think of to avoid the staring by covering my legs and hands. It was my way to avoid the public eye and for others to not feel sorry for me. After all these years, I overcame the idea of hiding and now I proudly show off my disability. However, the idea of people staring will never go away because people are always curious. As much as I am comfortable in my own way, I still get uncomfortable from others looking at me.
Photo courtesy of Memes&Gifs.com
Today, people strive to be different because being different is in style. We might dye our hair – sometimes even unnatural or bright colors. We might straighten our hair if it’s curly or curl our hair if it’s straight. We get a tattoo to express ourselves. We get implants or other cosmetic surgeries to help us feel more comfortable in our own bodies. Often times, this is to get attention, at least in my humble opinion. In my case, I was born different and I strive to blend in. That is why I used to wear pants, so that nobody would stare at me and ask me questions.
As I got older and more comfortable in my own skin, I realized that the main reason people stare is because they haven’t seen anything like this before. I just have to respect that. If you see anything different, it is a normal human instinct – to look! Of course there’s that one person who just feels sorry for you, but fortunately there are only a few of those. Many people are just fascinated by the idea that non-human parts doing human movements.
Before & After
My advice for amputees – people will stare. It will never go away because most people haven’t ever seen prostheses in person. Embrace it! Be confident in your own body and educate people around you about it. Remember, your education of others will only expand their minds and the next time they see an amputee or a person with some differences, they’ll probably be more mindful of it. It’s not easy, but not impossible.
And some advice for my non-amputee friends. Be mindful when you see a person with a prosthesis or another disability. Staring at them makes them feel uncomfortable. Don’t feel sorry for that person, because I bet they don’t even feel sorry for themselves. Don’t assume what happened to them. If you are really curious, just politely ask. You’ll be surprised what they are capable of despite their disability!
This is so well written & explained in a way so as to educate & inform in such a friendly manner, that it makes even me , feel free to ask questions. Thank you Tanya!!!
Remember when we first met and I didn’t know…because you were wearing slacks… and we walked up the stairs instead of taking the elevator! You’re such an inspiration to me… and a help!