Today I’m going to be talking about my own experiences of self acceptance while having a disability. I’m sure this is a post that many will be able to relate to as self acceptance can be difficult at times for lots of people.
Quick note: Again, these are my personal experiences only. I am not saying other disabled people feel the same way I once did! What is PFFD?
Proximal Femoral Focal Deficiency (PFFD), also known as Congenital Femoral Deficiency (CFD), is a rare, non-hereditary birth defect that affects the pelvis, particularly the hip bone, and the proximal femur. The disorder may affect one side or both, with the hip being deformed and the leg shortened.
Because of this condition, I personally have had to wear a prosthetic leg since birth, and have undergone operations to fix the deformed leg, including having my foot amputated. Self acceptance is just that – acceptance of the self.
It’s safe to say that life as someone born with a disability and then becoming an amputee at age 8, life has not been easy. I have had a mostly happy life in general, but that doesn’t mean I’ve always been happy with myself, my body or disability.
There have been times when I’ve truly hated myself and wished I’d been born into a different body. I’ve stared into mirrors and asked myself things like; What did I do to deserve being born like this? Why can’t I have two beautiful legs like all of the other women in my life? Why can’t I wear shorts without them riding up my prosthesis? Why can’t I wear skinny jeans? Why can’t I wear high heels like all the other girls? Why can’t I show my legs off in summer like all the other girls? Why can’t I walk in the sea without either having to balance on one leg or get my prosthesis ruined and drenched?
WHY ME? I have hidden away many times and suffered with crippling low self esteem until the day I decided to create my blog. I’ve finally found my therapeutic way of self healing and it’s by sharing these stories and experiences with all of you. I’ve been ashamed of my disability, avoided joining in anything that would draw attention to it and absolutely cringing while wanting the ground to swallow me up whenever someone would ask the dreaded question: “What happened to your leg?” Don’t worry..things are completely different now! Did you notice the running theme in my negative thoughts about myself? The word CAN’T..I was giving up before I had even tried to find ways that I could do those things! Let’s change that!
I CAN and DO have two beautiful legs like all the other women around me! I CAN wear longer shorts – just not super short ones! I CAN wear some brands of skinny fitting jeans as some are super stretchy, even better I CAN wear leggings in a jeans type colour or shade & be just as fashionable! I CAN wear a slight heel – high heels ruin your feet anyway, people! I CAN and SHOULD show my legs off in the summer without being shy! I CAN walk in the sea if I wear something waterproof to cover my prosthetic leg!
I believe that we can almost always try to adapt situations so that we are able to live our lives the way we really want to.
It is unreal how much my life has changed from doing simple things like this.. swapping the word can’t to can has given me a whole new and wonderfully bright outlook on everything! I cannot believe there was ever a point in time where I didn’t LOVE the body I was born with, to look back feels like I’m talking about & thinking of a stranger.
The girl that was too shy to walk in front of people because of my limp, the girl that wouldn’t join in with activities at school, the girl that would never even mention my disability at all is LONG gone & NOT coming back! I’m finally and truly in love with myself now.. I feel like a new woman, a woman that is proud to be born different! I hope to help others out there that may be struggling right now feel happy with themselves too. I’m at the point finally where I feel if someone said “I’ll give you 2 normal legs, and 10 fingers!” I’d say no thank you! After all these years my life is only just getting started and I can’t wait to see what the future holds. I’m looking forward to this summer and having the confidence to wear dresses; I won’t be hiding my prosthesis with my safety net of dark coloured tights anymore and I won’t have a care in the world about people seeing my leg! I understand that if you’re a parent reading this you may feel worried that your child will struggle with the same negative thoughts that I once did. My personal belief is that growing up (especially around the age of puberty) it could be quite difficult to be 100% body confident anyway whether you are disabled or able bodied – many people all around the world can suffer with insecurities.
I believe that letting your child know it’s OK to feel this way if they ever do is a great idea – because after a bad day, a rude comment, or even just having a period in time where they’re feeling less confident it will be helpful for them to know that MANY people right that second are in the same boat as them! It’s important to remember that we can all struggle at some point in our lives.
Every single one of us deserves to love ourselves and be happy with who we are. I have written this for all of you because when I was a child, I would’ve loved to have had the opportunity and resources to read online about self confidence and disability.. I would’ve been delighted to have had access to websites and articles that can help build confidence and better yourself! I would’ve loved to have known any tips about self esteem building & mindfulness from others in similar situations – I think that if we’d used social media the way we do today when I was a child I would’ve had a significantly easier time keeping negative thoughts at bay. Websites that may help you or your children with self esteem are listed below – one mentions PFFD! All of the below links will be sure to help with confidence or make you feel inspired:
Very soon I’ll be taking pictures with my prosthesis visible for the first time and I can’t wait to show all of you my new found confidence!
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