A few months ago I was reconsidering my legs. For a few years I’d gone ‘robotic’–letting my prosthetic leg show rather than wearing a cosmetic covering over it to make it have the same contours as an organic leg. It was an empowering experience, but also hard sometimes. I don’t mind being stared at–I’m used to it now, after having had that happen for nearly 30 years. I don’t mind discussing my disability–I’m used to that, too. But I do mind when that tends to eclipse everything else that is important and interesting about me. So I started feeling like it was time for a change (that, and I started wearing knee-high boots, which looked REALLY WEIRD with one skinny leg and one normal-sized one).
As a temporary measure, I put some old cosmesis on my leg to see how it felt and looked. I showed my kids and their jaws sort of dropped. They were so used to a Mom with asymmetry–they didn’t seem to like it much. I mentioned it to some friends, who were supportive, but not really opinionated one way or another about which looked better. And after a few weeks of using that old cosmesis (which wasn’t actually fitted to this prosthetic leg so it didn’t look quite right around the ankle or knee), I submitted the insurance paperwork to get some nice cosmesis made for this leg. And, months later, it was approved and I got my new skin about a week ago.
At this point, I’m still not sure which look I prefer. I see positives and negatives to both. But I like that I now feel comfortable wearing my leg either way–I experience no shame in showing my robotic innards, and I also enjoy ‘passing’ as a biped and having my tights and boots and slacks hang symmetrically on my lower body. Perhaps what’s most important is knowing that either works fine for me, and I can change my mind about my ‘look’ at any time without feeling the need to justify or explain it to anyone.
(Pic to the left is me last Halloween with stripey tights and a tutu. Pic to the right is me today at work (with my skirt hiked up a bit to show the vintage-lace edge of the slip that I’m wearing underneath my sundress)