Out of place?

Tell us about a time when you felt out of place.

This probably happens a million times a day. What I am learning, is how to ignore it- or at least not let it negatively affect me as much as it used to.

Every time I go to the pool.

Usually I am the only amputee there at the time. Definitely the only amputee with an AmpFin. Most public swimmers assume I’m slow, or incapable. They only think this until they have tried to race me a few lengths (unofficially mind🙄). Until the life guards got used to me it was always assumed I always needed physical assistance. If I needed it I would ask. (I know they mean well).

Then there’s getting access to the disabled shower / changing room. Because most of the time it’s been left unlocked and is close to poolside so some other lazy person has decided to use it instead.

When I have to walk past the school groups to get to the swim lanes.. and invariably at least one kid has never seen a prosthetic leg before and makes a big deal about it.

When some random stranger decides it is ok to ask me what happened (no you can’t ask.)

When I am in a strange city.

To some degree a lot of people THINK they know me locally, I am not shy about my disability and I make myself seen. So when I am in a strange city I forget that every person and his mate has to rubber neck like an alien just walked past them or something.

When I’m in a wheelchair

And specially when I am with someone able bodied. Suddenly I’m deleted like I am invisible, or deaf and dumb. Suddenly everyone starts talking slower or talks straight over my head to the person I am with like I am not even there.

When I’m out on a bike ride

Because any passing motorist who is observant enough to notice my peg leg SURELY has never seen anything like that before.

When I’m out in my wheelchair and get out of it and walk a short distance

I’m suddenly called a fraud. Like who makes this shit up. Someone at Parkrun one week ACTUALLY said that to me when I got up to walk and push the chair through a particularly muddy section.

It seems wheelchair users must be wheelchair users because they are completely paralysed, how ignorant people are. Even people with SCI aren’t always a complete paraplegic.

When I’m called out for cheating when someone sees me swimming with my AmpFin.

So, tell me, when did it ever become an advantage to chop your left foot off and replace it with plastic?

That’s apparently the case when it comes to paratriathlon rules. 🤷🏼‍♀️

When I try to buy shoes

Because, well, have you ever considered how tricky it is to buy a pair of shoes when one has to fit your foot and the other you have to be able to get onto a rather inflexible foot shell – that has no muscle power to hold shoes on?

When I try to buy trousers

Fact is, now I just don’t. It’s too hard to get ones that fit, that look right over an artificial leg, that are easy to get on and off. So I gave up on that and switched to dresses

When I try to book hotels online

Because none of them ever tell the truth about their disabled access and often try and charge you more for the privilege.

I’m sure you get the idea. I could go on and on.. 😆 but I think I’ll stop there. 🤭

Author: Melanie

I am a massage therapist and part time athlete, blogging life thru a disability lens. On wheels, with flipper and occasionally on feet.

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