ve thoughts pull of the Earth. Worse, by not acknowledging them, I was unable to examine them and gently let them go. The original title proposed for this article was “Go Ahead - Commit a Murder Today! Kill Those Destructive Thoughts That Are Holding You Back.” While I liked the catchiness of the title, I had just finished listening to a talk on self-love and how love begins with acceptance. We don’t do battle with ourselves. We accept it all and then gently introduce a desire to change. I like to practice a meditation designed by Belleruth Naparstek that has this wonderful affirmation: “More and more I can acknowledge whatever I feel as my inner truth of the moment.” This isn’t wallowing; it is validation. To further explain this shift in thinking, I’ll address five common thoughts that have the potential to obstruct our growth and happiness as amputees. If you’ve ever had any of these negative thoughts, you’re not alone. Like the famous quote about courage not being the absence of fear, positivity is not the absence of doubt. We feel the fear and pain before we choose to think differently.
1. “I’ll never be attractive again. No one will ever want me.” I put this thought at the top of the list because it is the one I struggle with the most and refused to acknowledge for the longest time. We live in a culture obsessed with youth, sex and airbrushed images. Trust me, no one feels great about his or her body all the time. Advertising is designed to make sure we feel like we are not enough. As amputees, we have the added challenge of being “other.” We are rarely represented as sexy in the media. Here is what I finally realized: There are people who will find you unattractive. Sometimes, it will be because you are an amputee. At other times, it will be because of your hair color/height/weight/skin color/laugh/whatever. Attraction is a strange force, governed by many factors. If you are holding out for universal approval, you are going to be miserable. I
love the Dita Von Teese quote “You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be somebody who hates peaches.” I remind myself of this quote when I know I am holding on to a romantic relationship out of the fear that no one else will come along. Due to cancer, my leg was amputated right before my 16th birthday, and I believed that no one would find me attractive as an amputee. Although it took me a decade, I finally discovered that the only person I needed to change was myself. I didn’t think I was attractive, and, at the end of the day, my opinion was the only one that mattered. I shut down when people flirted with me because I told myself that they wouldn’t find me attractive the minute they saw me walk. No one had a chance to reject me because I beat them to it. So I began to stop hiding my leg and prosthesis. As an actress and writer, I decided to take on this healing through art. I wrote a screenplay about a female Marine returning home as an amputee and posing nude for a photographer. Wanting to experience the same journey as my character, I’ve since posed in limited clothing for photographs for various publications. I also shot a short film with swimsuit and lingerie scenes. Now, I am considering modeling for a formdrawing class. Take time to really look at yourself in the mirror. Listen to the thoughts that arise and allow them to be. Ask yourself what you need to do to feel attractive and lovable. You don’t need to pose nude for local artists, but take risks to break up old thought patterns. Also, find pictures of smokin’ hot amputees. I follow the fan pages of several amputee athletes and models as a reminder of how I shape my own concepts of beauty. I keep pictures of Aimee Mullins and Amy Purdy on my Pinterest boards, and I’ve watched both of their TED Talks several times. We all know that the most attractive people are those who radiate self-love and confidence. The right person will see you as more amazing because of your journey. Do you want someone who wants you only if you fit certain criteria or can you wait for those soul mates who see all of you and love you MARCH 2013 Amp it up! magazine
The Health & Lifestyle Magazine for Amputees Who Want to Live More Fully