I have been revisiting the TV show E.R. (thankyou Hulu)- One of the episodes has 2 Dr.s talking about if they would ever date a woman with “missing parts”- This brought back memories of my adolescence. Yes, I know most everyone was insecure in their youth. We all had issues, whether it was bad skin, frizzy hair, we were too short, too tall, too heavy, too skinny, etc. and I often tell people my issue was not any different, but in truth it was. I don’t want to minimalize it now- because although I am through it now, I still get curious and even rude looks it hurts less than it did when I was young and I know others with limb differences might feel that now as well. So I wanted to talk about it.
I was, in my opinion, an average looking teenage girl (my dad would say I was pretty!:))) lol , pretty smart, I was active in sports, soccer, cheer, volleyball, tennis (Jr High)- in High School we moved to Tahlequah and I did not participate in sports – it was VERY difficult to make friends in this small town but I made a few) I always had friends growing up but very few “boyfriends” My friends all seemed to have crushes that were reciprocated but not me- I had a few but not really. I have dated basically 2 people I felt really never gave my missing a hand any thought. My high school boyfriend I started dating the summer between my Jr. and Sr. years and my husband I met when I was working with him at Wal-Mart. Granted, I am lucky and I know it that both these men were and are very caring and compassionate people. I know in my heart that I was overlooked and dismissed as “dateable” in high school and it hurt pretty badly- I was made to feel different and ashamed of the way I looked- but there was nothing I could do about it so I created an armor of sarcasm and self-depreciation. I also started “partying” pretty hard- drinking and being somewhat promiscuous to try and be accepted. I do not like to admit that and I told my friends at the time that was my choice but I know I did these things to try and belong. I don’t know if it would have been different if we stayed in the same school district more than a few years so I didn’t have to keep proving I was just a normal kid.
I don’t think given the chance I would change the fact that I was born with just one hand because honestly, I partly credit the person I have become (a strong, self confident, socially responsible woman) to facing the challenges of having just one hand. BUT, I would not wish it on anyone- it took a long time to become the person I am and with a lot of heartache.
Anyway, I know I am rambling – I just felt the desire to put some of this down. This might help understand me, maybe it will help the way you interact with someone with a disability. We are not any less or more than anyone else because of our difference- We are just Human.