Using a prosthesis, I am used to garnering stares and unwatched attention when I’m in public. When I was a newbie the second glances and stares used to bother me. As I’ve adjusted to my disability, embracing my potential and rediscovering my self-esteem, my feelings towards the gawkers have tempered.
A prosthesis is not commonly seen, and it is normal to look at anything that is unusual. I have come to realize that the visual interest I receive is not derogatory but is simply an unintentional reaction. The majority of people probably don’t even realize that they have turned their heads for another glance. Accepting that it is my prostheses-and not me-that has become a lightening rod for stares has been empowering.
Over the years I have become oblivious to the looks and second glances when I’m in public. (I suppose when you experience something multiple times on a daily basis it becomes second nature.) My little boy used to cheerfully wave at every onlooker, which was perhaps the best way to bring attention to their staring. As soon as my little guy started waving, the look of shock and embarrassment wafting on the faces of the offenders was utterly priceless!
Although most of the time I don’t notice the attention, every Spring it becomes magnified. Wearing jeans during the winter, I gradually adjusted to blending in with everybody else. Returning shorts and knee length dresses to my wardrobe expose my prosthesis. Anytime my leg is visible I receive more looks in public.
I know that people are going to look, so I want my leg to look as clean and neat as possible. The socket itself is easy to clean, I just wipe it down with a damp towel. My foot shell requires more effort, but removing the scuff marks, stains and caked in dirt is not impossible.
I’ve learned that a Magic Eraser can save me a lot of time and elbow grease when I want to clean my foot shell. Most of the marks can be scrubbed away with minimal effort, leaving the foot shell clean and ready for Spring. I find myself walking with new confidence when my prosthesis is sparkling clean. I tend to hold my head up higher and walk with more purpose which is a good thing, because I know that people are watching!