I am going to tell you a secret – I’ve been an amputee my whole life, and I still can’t stand when people stare at me or my prosthetic legs. And, it doesn’t help when my prosthetic legs draw the stares of complete strangers. So, here are some of my tips on how to deal with that sort of attention from strangers.
1. Don’t take all this staring personally.
Most people probably aren’t staring because they think you’re some kind of freakishly deformed monster. Rather, it’s a human nature to stare at something that is unusual or out of the ordinary from what they normally see. I mean, I am sure you stare at someone who has a funky hair color 😉
2. Have a response ready – preferably a nice one.
If the staring is obvious or aggressive enough, you can stop it by having a ready response. For example, you could acknowledge the stare with a “Yeah, 2010 was a rough year.” This lets them know that you know they’re staring, and can help shut down an unwanted gaze. Another strategy is to use humor. “I’m still waiting for it to grow back. I suspect that I may not be part gecko after all!”
3. You are in control of yourself – I know, right?
LOL. We’re all familiar with this statement of wisdom about learning to change what we can, and accept what we cannot. The same goes when it comes to other peoples’ behavior. You cannot control their staring, but you can control your reaction to it, as well as whether or not you allow it to bother you.
4. My favorite reaction is to stare back.
If engaging someone in conversation is too uncomfortable, you can always give them a smaller acknowledgment by locking eyes and giving them a friendly smile. They may not realize they’re being rude, and drawing attention to their behavior could be enough for them to break the stare.
5. Finally, just do nothing.
You’re not obligated to cater to someone’s curiosity or lack of manners. It’s perfectly acceptable to pretend that you don’t see their stares and continue about your business.
Getting used to your prosthesis is going to take some time, and coping with attention from strangers is a part of that. Fortunately, you are not alone. All amputees deal with this. J Find your best solution and enjoy life!