The feedback I get from other people is interesting: most people don’t see or think of me as disabled.
There’s a huge part of me that appreciates that and prides myself in that. I don’t want pity; I don’t want to be treated differently. I remember what it’s like to have two legs and I know that having only one leg does not make me different than other people.
Then there’s a part of me that is confused by all of that. I deal with my leg on a daily basis. It is clear to me that my body does not work the same as two-legged bodies. It takes me energy to accommodate the loss of my leg in my life, if not physically, then emotionally. Not in a huge way, but the loss is there, everyday. I don’t mourn it daily, I deal with it daily. I don’t bemoan the loss, I’ve accepted it. Since I remember what it’s like to have two legs, I also know that having only one leg does make me different than other people.
It’s a hard line to balance, recognizing my limits and not being defined by them. That’s easier for me to do when I’m alone, but once I’m reflected by other people, the tune changes.
When I hear from other people that they see me as normal, after the initial glow, it seems to minimize what I deal with. Being labeled as normal fails to recognize all that I do to manage living with one leg. Another hard line to balance – the need to be recognized for dealing with a difference and the need to be recognized for being normal.
I think what I understand now is that there’s a tug of war between my spiritual body and my physical body. My physical body is challenged and as it ages, it’s challenged even further because of the loss of my leg. Physically I don’t feel exceptionally normal. It’s my spiritual body that feels normal. The rest of my limbs could be cut from my physical body, but that won’t cut out my spiritual body. My essence, my true nature, the part of me that transcends the physical is rich and deep.
I’ve become acutely aware over the years that there are so many hidden challenges that millions of people deal with on a daily basis. Perhaps what makes us all truly normal is having our own private challenge in life, accepting it as our own, and learning to grow from that challenge. I know that I’ve grown as a result of being an amputee.There is a plethora of lessons I’ve learned in life just because I don’t have my leg. Has the loss of my leg been worth it? Absolutely. Would I change how my life turned out? Absolutely not.