I AM AN AMPUTEE. I AM ME.

I AM ME.

I have 3 years experience as an amputee. It seems like only yesterday I was trying to figure it all out, whatever “it” means to be an amputee, physically, psychologically and emotionally. Still, I can’t say I’ll ever get it entirely. I lead my life helping others discover and believe in who they are: “Don’t be afraid to simply be the REAL, TRUE You.” It’s a gift, as I am able to learn, grow and discover through so many miraculous stories, all uniquely our own yet just as significant. Although I feel compelled to inspire hope and expose the light in the darkest situations, it’s definitely not only about those who have been or are going through horrific, life changing events. We all struggle every day to some degree. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t be growing and evolving as the creative, capable beings that we are. We all have the strength to smile through the pain but sometimes that can create a facade rather than facing struggle up close and honestly. Perhaps, NOW may be a good time to face our battles directly and live a Truthful life! We may just find break throughs to new enlightened ways of being without perpetuated complexes and fears that have been inhibiting us for years, only getting in our own way of being the realest we can be.

I am aware as well as honest with my own insecurities, struggles and personal battle to live a TRUTHFUL life. This brings me closer to knowing my True self within and closer to that within others. To BE someone people with or without amputation, disability, “deformity” or basic “flaws” (which we define for ourselves) can look up to sometimes feels overwhelming … as I look down at my arm thinking, “WHAT & who makes me qualified?” I was recently approached by a blogger stating, “If you are an amputee why do you hide it so often in the photos? You should be proud of who you are. I would think being as pretty as you are you would not be afraid to show the real you making it easier for others who are similar to you to not be afraid to to show their missing limbs. You NEED to be a role model for people to look up to.” At first I felt a little taken back by a stranger who has made assumptions and judgments on how I live my life or should as a “disabled” person. In fact, anyone who interacts with me doesn’t quite understand how I’ve come to be so self sufficient and confident : rocking my cutoff jean shorts, sleeveless shirts, tanks…..oh yeah, and prosthetic-less!


However, this woman’s judgement on how I preceive myself as a one handed woman did make me take a closer look at how I perceive life as the one-handed woman:)

I rarely, almost never, wear a prosthetic because, one: it’s weird. Two: it can be painful at times. Three: it’s not me…literally πŸ˜‰ It’s almost as if it creates another facade implying that I am “normal” like the rest of the world with 2 hands. When I do decide to wear it (auditions, a couple times to work or out on the town for fun) I don’t believe it’s for ME. So is it for others? So they don’t feel uncomfortable or saddened or confused by me? Now don’t get me wrong, I love having the option and I am sooo grateful for the generosity that blessed me with my cosmetic hand but I generally choose to just be the realest me. I run around town with one hand. I walk into casting rooms weekly with one hand in a town and industry where image and asthetics are everything. There will always be discrimination or judements on how we live our lives “whether I’m right or wrong I just got to be me.”

This brought up a wonderful topic: How often do we hide, mask the real us? Sometimes we aren’t aware how we may come across to others but it made me think, perhaps I have subconsciously photographed on my right side. Maybe it alleviates the initial shock when people see a “normal” looking photo then, “Woahhhh does that chick have one hand? Crazy!” Or maybe the response is, “that’s….inspiring.” Sometimes it may freak people out till they meet me and realize oh, she isn’t crazy or awkward or depressed, she’s human just like the rest of us. Whatever the interpretation is, I wonder do I subconsciously hide? If so, is it for other people?? Nooooo. Wait. Do I? Perhaps I feel more confident hiding the small, atrophy left arm with no hand attached? Well, anonymous blogger may be on to something…if I do not truly accept all that I am and look up to myself how could I expect others to? 3 years later, I’m still “figuring it out” I guess you can say πŸ™‚

I live a life to serve and remind others to #BelieveAndBecome all you can be, and I want to live up to those standards. I believe I am able to teach because I understand the battle and still find myself confused, unsure, scared at times but I understand we create our own life experiences and when you simply redirect your focus to all things loving and giving for the better of humankind, it miraculously conquers fear itself. I trust and know this to be true based on a series of rewarding events in my life when I simply changed the way I perceived the Universe as generous and giving rather than conflicting and restricting. Trying to BE HAPPY for so many years, yet feeling defeated, empty, lost or scared as I searched outside myself to bring me happiness. The New direction I was lead to, through my “amputation” I guess you can say, showed me I was already happiness because I learned quickly that the people, possesions, status, job, relationships, could not define or be my happiness. #PERSPECTIVE. NO ONE or THING can establish or chemically produce Love, Peace or Happiness within ourselves but ourself. No one gave me the ability to embrace and accept my accident for that matter. It is ME and only ME who gets to create my own life! It’s my choice to not hide and be a positive example for others facing image disorders or a little thing I like to call, the “not enough” syndrom. Nothing can BE HAPPINESS within you but YOU yourself.

I always say, I don’t have the answers, and I learn from all of you. Especially questions I am challenged with daily on the way I choose to live because it absolutley opens door to new ways of thinking and evolving to be the best me I can be! So for better or worse, what are you hiding? Masking? I just happen to have a physical reminder but what in life could we all be more honest with, REAL about? I redirect all negative stories and people to focus on the beauty and blessings we receive daily that give us all a personal purpose. It is the light peeking through the darkest room … excitement to live every day to it’s absolute full purpose. That’s what I believe. Hope through the pain, faith over doubt, Love (God) over everything…..inevitably this creates a loving life and brings us that much closer to conquer fear, anger, hate and sadness. By living this truthful life, we become aware of our weaknesses, offering healthy challenges for ourselves. We can always ask for guidance to change the things that we can and accept all that is that makes us pure and uniquely beautiful. Let’s know and love ourselves and live a Truthful life together! God* Bless.

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8 thoughts on “I AM AN AMPUTEE. I AM ME.

  1. Hi Chauntal, I learned a lesson many years ago that we are all human and as a human we all have our flaws. Having had the wonderful experience of getting to know and date a girl in high school who was an amputee, I learned many important lessons that what matters is what is on the inside. You are a very beautiful woman and if somebody can not deal with you as you are it is no reflection on you. Keep living your life the way you want and not as others think you should. – Dave

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  2. So beautiful and powerful. I always love reading your blog. Love that you put pictures up of your arm, so empowering πŸ™‚

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  3. I went through a questionnaire recently that our Swiss national insurance included in a review paper addressing “disability”. They said there were no good statistics because “disability” is such a vague term. So, answering all their questions (do you work? do you have income? can you clean yourself? ..) as a below elbow amputee I found that I was not really disabled as in “dis” “abled” and not in any clearly functional definition. Much rather I find that I have two different issues – one is orthopedic in nature and it has to do with preventing or dealing with asymmetry and overuse prevention and treatment – not a disability per se, more an anatomical condition. The other issue is the issue of “disfigurement” which I would not per se call disability. – – – – So, since four years I am chasing after the overuse and asymmetry problems on one hand (which is what I use a super high performance cable / body powered arm for that we built / designed ourselves) and obviously after the disfigurement issue as well. The thing is that while for myself I do not overly concern myself with the disfigurement issue it very much is an issue when it comes to dating et cetera – simply because men today are highly symbolized and must present (at least visually) a potential tiger killer, a dinosaur hunter, and men today far more than even 30 years ago are valued by their visual anatomical fitness and completeness. It is that visual impression that counts and I am never going to be able to fulfill that. Which in a funny way makes any attempt to camouflage, overcome or otherwise mitigate the impact of my disfigurement entirely futile. With the effect that I don’t care about it. I wear no prosthetic, or, quite often and for symmetry / overuse prevention reasons, a prosthetic arm with a grip device, some prosthetic hand or a hook. – – With a number of folks that I had deep discussions with about what / how a prosthetic arm should look like, I told them years ago already that the ONLY reason to go after such an arm was if that arm was able to lift and shove tons, not grams. I was only after anchors, not puppet appearances. All of these about 3-4 people I had discussions with some 3-4 years ago now have serious overuse problems. Some people take 5-12 years until their other arm starts to crap out. I assembled some details about this subject here: http://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=507 – – I mean, I agree completely with your assessment saying that you are you, and it is OK to run around with half an arm rather than conforming to people’s expectation to wear a cosmetic arm. All I am saying that BOTH options are alright but do not forget there is THIRD option – that of making your body symmetry, your grip loading (left / right count statistics at the end of a day) a bit better since effects of these tend to add up over years.

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  4. For me, It’s always been an issue of first impressions. If your hand is the first thing people see, It’s the way they’ll remember you most. I never liked the thought of being described as, “You know, Jay, the guy with one hand.” I think that’s why I chose to hide my arm in so many pictures (and when meeting people for the first time). The older I get (the less I care what people think), and the more I want to embrace who I am… I’ve been trying hard to break that habit. I’m even making a documentary about t all! Cheers! – Jay

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  5. Hi I lost my left arm in an accident on an outing with my best friend we were happy until I tripped and fell on the ground, there was a landslide and a large rock smashed my arm to leave it hanging. after hours of operation the medical granves saw in my left ankle injury and decided to amputate my left hand and my left ankle, so I dedicate to visit other people’s web pages similares.Me love your stump reminds me of mine. Greetings.

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