Does an amputation define you?

My amputation is certainly a part of who I am, although I can honestly say that it has never defined me. Am I disabled? Sure I am but that has never stopped me from doing anything I wanted to do in life. As a matter of fact, up until I got involved with Osseo a few years back; I never even considered myself an amputee. It just wasn’t something I focused on or even had any dealings with unless it involved an occasional appointment with a prosthetist over the years.

I know there are a lot of amputees out there that don’t consider themselves disabled but the fact is we are. We have a physical impairment and that simple fact defines us as disabled. Although that certainly doesn’t mean we are some sort of invalids. It simply means we have to find different ways of doing the things we want to engage in; as there are a lot of amputees who enjoy a variety of activities.

Personally, you would never find me engaging in any type of activity that involved running or jumping, even if I could. I left that in my teenage years and I am fine with that; as I can’t stand sports unless it involves boxing or mma. Sports in general, simply bores the hell out of me and I can care less who the players are. These days I’m content simply chilling with a Cuban in one hand and a Jack on ice in the other but to each his or her own. In the end it’s whatever makes one happy.

There are a few things I just can’t wrap my mind around since finding myself involved with the amputee community though. One of which involves this whole, hey look at me I am an amputee mentality. Awareness and acceptance has come a long ways since I became an amputee in 1985; which is a good thing. As there is no need for people to hide the fact that their missing a limb but I really don’t see any need for people to be so obtrusive about it. Whenever I see those t-shirts that say something like, “what are you looking at you two legged freak” or something similar; I literally cringe. That kind of mentality is certainly something I don’t wish to align myself with. Why can’t people just be content with who they are? There really isn’t a need to push it in everyone’s face. Show off the leg/arm or don’t show it off but it shouldn’t be some kind of statement. Just be who you are and enjoy life as it is.

This one goes out to my amputee brothers who constantly complain about how they can’t find a girl now that they are an amputee. Seriously fellas, grow a pair and take some responsibility instead of putting if off on a woman by saying their shallow or something. If you were really honest with yourselves, you would realize there are a lot of women you wouldn’t date for purely physical reasons as well; no matter how cool they were or what kind of connection you had with them. Just because a woman isn’t attracted to a man with a missing limb, doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with them; it simply means it isn’t their thing. Get over it and man up already. As there are plenty of women out there but not every one of them would be attracted to you even if you had a leg. Chill out and be yourself, the right one will come along one day.

Maybe it’s just me but I take at least some issue with non amputee’s advocating on my behalf or the fact that amputee athletes are what is presented to the general public the majority of the time. I have been an amputee for just over thirty years now and I can tell you, the last thing I want representing me as an amputee is a non amputee or athletics in general. We are all diverse individuals and being put in a box just doesn’t sit well with my personality but those are my issues to either ultimately accept or not.

There are different stages one undergoes with being an amputee but there is also a time for growth. Are you defining yourself by your amputation, or is it simply a part of who you are?

Comments (5)

  1. Amatullah

    I don’t define myself by just my amputation, just like I don’t define myself as being just a woman. An amputee is just a minuscule part of who I happen to be and I certainly do not let others define me as just an amputee. I am a tough scrappy kick ass individual who just happens to be a female amputee ?

  2. David Dobinson

    Good piece written on this Fred. I used to compete in many amputee golf tornaments all over the world I never felt the need to wear shorts to reveal I had prosthesis on. I had nothing to hide but nothing to show off either. I wore pants on the golf course because I never wore shorts golfing before my accident…why start now? As for the star athlete amputee that rep for the different manufactureres. Find real jobs. These super amps don’ paint a true picture for any average person in our community. They illistrate what the jocks can do. Period. Thanks for this article. It hits home for me. David Dobinson

  3. Maggie

    Well said. I’ve been an amputee over 40yrs . I thought I was just getting a bit crotchety. It seems that if you’re an amputee you need to do a mega challenge, prove your disability is not disabling, and be inspirational. As you say, it’s a bit of an in your face approach. Yes it’s tough adjusting to losing a body part. Everyone has to go through this. Thankfully today there is more support. But can we just get on with being who we are.

  4. Molly

    What a nice refreshing read! Thank you for writing that. A lot of what you said mirrored my own thoughts. I have been an amputee since I was 6 months old, therefore, my amputation has never had the chance to define me. It is simply a part of who I am.

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