A New Leg

I am being fitted for a new leg. I hate it.

I hate the process and, after two trial runs with the leg, I hate the leg.

I don’t use the word hate lightly. I save if for special occasions. Like this.

I won’t bore you with the details about how vastly different this leg is from the one I’ve been wearing for five years, about how every movement I make is different because of how different this leg is, about how I have to make new brain pathways in order for this leg to become my new normal, about how my good leg feels like it’s breaking down on me, too.

“Mark, come here!” I demanded one of the first mornings I put on the new leg. “Watch how difficult it is to put this stupid thing on!” I grunted and groaned. “Isn’t this stupid? Doesn’t this suck?” I didn’t give him time to respond. “I hate this!”

Yes, in that moment I was that woman with an extreme need for validation. I needed my husband to see my pain. I appreciated his “Oh, yes, that is terrible.” He has learned not to give needless advice. He has learned that I need tender cooing. “I’m so sorry, honey.” That made it a tiny bit better.

Worst of all is that I’ve written in my newly published book about going through this process and a part of me feels like, now that I’ve gotten that off my chest in the most public of ways,I should be enlightened and chipper. I should skip through the daisies and sunshine on my new leg and be joyful in my acceptance.

But that’s not the case. I’m not enlightened; I’m sad and angry. I’m not chipper; I’m a bitch. I’m not accepting this new leg; I’m resisting it.

The truth of the matter is, just because I wrote about my process of getting fitted for new legs in my book doesn’t mean the process doesn’t still happen. I’ll be getting new legs for the rest of my life. Try as I might to be loving and accepting of the process, I absolutely need to acknowledge and accept my ugly feelings as well. If there’s anything I’ve learned about life, love and happiness it’s that avoiding and denying sadness and anger only makes them bigger.

I have learned how to express my anger more appropriately and, when I do erupt, I apologize more quickly and sincerely. I’ve learned how to sit in a puddle of my tears and not judge myself as weak.

Buck Up and Be Strong has been my unconscious mantra for so long. Being strong is a value I’ve been striving for since I lost my leg.

I’m redefining what it means to be strong. Now I see that strength comes from that vulnerable place in my heart that squeaks to be heard, that begs to be known. Giving voice to that vulnerability makes me feel strong in a whole new way.


An Invitation

What are you resisting? What expectations are you putting on yourself? What would happen if you allowed yourself to feel exactly how you wanted to feel about it?