Thursday, June 24, 2010

on being modular, II

(on being modular, I)

I'd answer "It's complicated," if someone were to ask how I felt about my own body. There have always been "I love you, but..." and "You'd be prettier if..." conditions on the relationship. I get angry at parts of my body as if they were separate from me. I feel betrayed by pain. As a result, the word "whole" is confusing, and I've never known how to use it. Does my prosthetic make me whole, or am I whole without it? Or perhaps, somehow, it can be both at once and I am truly more than the sum of my parts.

Amputees are so obvious in our asymmetry. I've always seen myself in halves - the sinister left and the just good enough right - and I've never known what it is to have one side mirror the other, either in appearance or sensation. I know what sand between my toes feels like, but I don't know it in stereo.

But despite a lifetime of feeling a bit like a puzzle missing a piece, I'm learning that negative space offers limitless potential...and it can be beautiful.


CircuitGizmo said...

You are whole, always.

Right or left - nothing sinister.

Tim said...

Fancy legs aren't just for people. Check out Bionic Kitty.

Mike W. said...

Screw asymmetry. You're whole with or without the sinister parts.

Whether parts are missing, defective, or one side suffers from painful & annoying gremlins is irrelevant.

It's the total package that counts. Even with a piece missing I'd say you're more whole than many folks are right out of the box.

Hell, I can relate and I have all my parts.

David said...

I would imagine that this is something that has bothered you much more than your friends. To me you're a whole friend. Nothing else matters.

Oh and you're one of the few women I know that can have a 'short leg' inspection.

Mike W. said...

I would imagine that this is something that has bothered you much more than your friends.

This is generally true of most people with any kind of physical disability. We tend to be harder on ourselves than others are towards us.

I'm not really sure why that is.

David said...

And after I posted with my little "joke" I remembered that the expression is "short arm inspection". So not only am I not very funny but dumb too.

PPPP said...

Breda -

You'll always be whole to me. When I first "met" you, it was as an articulate blogger, whose words struck a bell and resonated soundly.

Only later did I learn you were an amputee. It was a kind of "oh, that's interesting" factoid. It didn't change who you were to me one bit. (Not meant to be dismissive or anything. I dated a lady years ago who had a strawberry birthmark on her face. I literally couldn't see it, most of the time (colorblindness has it's plusses). When I finally did notice it, it was more of an "oh, really, I hadn't noticed" moment. And we went on from there. It affected how she viewed herself much more than how I viewed her.)

As time has passed and you've had occasion to remark on some of the challenges you have to face, my respect and admiration for you has only gone up. You rocked before, and you rock even moreso now.

McLuen said...

As a guy in a wheelchair I understand your frustration. I work hard to be as strong as I can. Sometimes it seems like my body lets me down, Nothing to do but work harder.
If you haven't seen this video yet you will enjoy it.

Overload in Colorado said...

Sexy? What about the double amputee runner?

Or, the one on the cover of ESPN magazine?

Aaron G said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aaron G said...

Everyone is missing something, sometimes it is their brain. I have not met you, but know you are a fellow shooter and all around good person, I think you are great.

BobG said...

Being whole is a state of mind. I've know a lot of people who were completely intact physically, but their souls were fragmented.