My name is Amber! I’m the founder of I AMputee and this is my story. 🙂
Fall semester of my freshman year of college I was a tutor at one of Wesleyan’s many after school programs.
During the winter, we sat down to make paper snowflakes to decorate the windows of our center—an activity that I thought would be the perfect end to a fun-filled afternoon. Oh, how I was wrong .
As I’m sitting at the table, there’s this one five year-old girl going on and on about something. I mean she was really letting someone have it….that someone just so happened to be me.
“Someone here doesn’t belong,” She started.In an effort to stop her in her tracks, I ignored her. That was a FAIL.She continued, “Everybody knows One-Armed people can’t make snow flakes.” *Mind you, I was indeed making a snow flake, and an impressive one at that.*Again, I ignored her.Then the s*** hit the fan.She looked at me and said, “Everybody knows, God doesn’t make One-Armed people!”
Initially, I wanted to rip up her snow flake, blow the confetti in her face, and tell her mama I did it. Now, in retrospect, I actually still want to make it rain pieces of her crooked little masterpiece, but I also want to ask the others around me why they didn’t intervene. Why didn’t the other 7 or 8 people sitting beside me join in with me as I told this little girl why her words just weren’t okay? Was it because deep down in their subconscious minds that somewhere they believed the same thing?
Now, I know that no one in their politically correct minds would own up to thinking something like that, but consider this: When someone encounters an amputee they usually ask
“What kind of accident were you involved in?”
Because an accident, karma, some force we can’t control had to have intervened with some divine creation. Being that I was actually born an amputee, should my answer then be
“Birth. Birth was the accident I was involved in, it was all so tragic.” ???
Throughout my mother’s entire pregnancy, everything was normal. Ultrasounds, tests, other blah blah scientific stuff-it was all normal. So who’s to say I wasn’t supposed to be born this way?
American society says so all the time through the media. I’ve never seen a mainstream fashion ad with an amputee. No amputees on mainstream commercials. No dolls or amputee toy soldiers for children (even with pregnant Barbie and Transformers). The only time we usually make it in movies is for something zombie ridden or gorey.
Why is that?
Because, the greater public believes that people aren’t supposed to look like me. They believe that amputees are the broken toys of society that should be hidden from view unless there happens to be some special occasion. For instance, you’ll often see some amputee running a marathon, winning a wrestling match, driving with no hands, or defying the odds in some way. While these are all wonderful accomplishments, they don’t allow room for the expression of our humanity.
In starting I AMputee, I hope to create a safe, healthy environment for people who identify with such experiences. For once, I want to be part of a community that promotes positive, sexy, adorable, hilarious, eccentric, and other images of people who look like me. I want to help connect amputees with people, so that together we can laugh, cry, or scream through the tough stuff we deal with every day.
I AM Human. I AM Inspired. I AMputee.