April is Limb Loss Awareness month in the United States. This month, I have been celebrating by making a point to include my right arm and my prosthesis in as many pictures as possible. I’m taking a stand to my own issues with body image, and I’m doing it now.
Enter the world of selfies. The world of you assuming people want to see your face as much as you do! I have lived and flourished in this world for quite some time. Why? Because I love my face. I think I’m down right adorable. The glasses, the bangs, the winning combo in my book. But what am I losing? I’m losing the confidence in the rest of my body.
I’ve talked about how covering up my right arm bothers me, but I haven’t mentioned anything about my right leg. The way I have built my prosthesis (that brings me optimum comfort, Mom) leaves me with a weird muffin top on my upper thigh. It looks down right strange. When I wear pants, the rest of my thigh is so skinny that my pants are baggy on my right side. It used to bother me tremendously. I’d dry my pants so they’d be tight enough to look okay. I even asked two different prosthetists to make me a cover for my thigh, but it never got done. So I combated this issue by wearing dresses. I love dresses. Always have and always will. I love them because they are extremely forgiving in the thigh department!
Still, to this day, when I know I will be meeting someone new either on a date or at work, I make a conscience effort to wear a dress so that my thigh is hidden.
Now my arm. I have had small children straight up terrified of my right arm. It’s different, no way around that one. The trick is, that I can hide it. I can hide it with my left hand. It’s not a full proof solution, but it seems to put people at ease. Ease of staring that is…
One time, I was meeting up with a new man friend at a restaurant. The entire time during the date, he kept stealing glances at my right arm. I say “stealing” with humor because if it’s obvious enough for me to notice, it’s pretty darn obvious! So I covered it up. I keep my left hand on my right arm the whole rest of the night. (In hindsight, I won’t be doing that ever again.)
The complete upside to these problems is that I have hardly any body images issues with the rest of me. I can’t even think of the last time I worried about my left thigh, my boobs, my stomach or my butt. They are just non issues for me and I think that’s really kind of cool.
So what’s The One Handed Trick to Body Image Busting? Having one hand means that when I take a selfie, I have no available hands to cover up my flaws, therefore I get to share them with the world and learn to be oh so very proud!