1989. Disney released a movie that, little did I know, would be the first movie that I could relate to. It was a movie about dreams and the lengths some take to see those dreams become reality. I’m sure there was lesson in there somewhere about being careful what you wish for…and consequences but, really…I wasn’t paying attention to that. That movie was The Little Mermaid. Read the rest of this entry
Category Archives: Life
Last December 2015 was the first time my household celebrated Kwanzaa. It was a week where my boyfriend (yes, still boyfriend status) and I spent some time each day to discuss the Nguzo Saba (7 principles), have we upheld them, and what we will do to uphold them. Read the rest of this entry
The last Saturday in April is “Show Your Mettle” Day. It is a day set aside to encourage amputees to show their devices like wheelchairs and prosthetics.
I was 4 years old before I took my first steps. I was 4 years old when I got my first pair of legs. My grandmother wanted me to be just like everyone else, as much as I could be. She wanted me to walk and well, she wanted me to just not be so disabled.
Over the next few years I would get my legs replaced. I had the best “leg technician” (I know that’s not what it’s called, but it’s what I called it) ever. His name was Andrew and he works at JK Prosthetics and Orthotics. My grandmother absolutely loved him! I absolutely loved him. I may or may not have had a small, tiny, long-term crush on Andy. Andy gave me my first and my last pair of legs. I specifically remember Andy would design my legs to look like real ones, toes included. I always painted where I thought the nails would be. I always got in trouble. My point is that I had these legs so I could fit in.
So I said that my grandmother wanted me to be less disabled. She didn’t want the kids at school to stare at me or make fun of me. This persisted even when I was in college. She would give me blankets to throw over my legs when I used my wheelchair. Hide them. Cover up. Don’t let my nubs show. When I did wear my legs I had to always where pants because they’d show. She wasn’t embarrassed. She just wanted me to be like everyone else. I can dig that!
But here’s the thing: I didn’t care! I welcome the stares. I welcome the questions. I want you to see my metal. My metal is how I get around. My metal legs covered in “brown skin” is how I walked the hallways of K-12. My metal wheels, now complete with a motor, is how I gained more independence. I chose to use my wheelchair fulltime when I got to college because, it was easier (go figure) and I wanted people to see me as I was. Take me as I am. I did not want to go another 4 years trying to explain what that weird bar near my back was or why my foot was able to turn backwards (the screw was loose). I just didn’t wanna! It was then that I began to embrace me as me.
It was then the world could begin to embrace me as me.
If you are an amputee, then realize that is a part of who you are! Even walking of metal legs I still had a point in school (5th grade) when I got teased…and not even because of my legs!! We were born without limbs or had them removed. But then, we became bionic men and women. We became shatterproof!
I am not afraid to show my mettle! Will you show me yours?