Tuesday, July 13, 2010

100 Miles!

I did it. I walked my 100th mile!

The Prosthetics Outreach Foundation's Walk-a-thon on Saturday was a wonderful event. My team of family and friends joined me for my 100th mile.

As I've mentioned before, this whole experience of taking a daily mile walk has been a quiet one. There's no fanfare at the end of each day; walking is just what I do. But I have to say that at that 100th mile, I felt full. While my team and the POF staff and volunteers cheered for me, there was a party going on in my heart. Fireworks were flying, streamers were popping and a marching band oompahed it's way through my chest.

I took that moment to reflect back to January 10, exactly six months earlier. That was the day I took my first walk, my first attempt to regain my strength. I felt overwhelmed. In just six short months of taking a daily walk, I changed my life.

Sunday, the day after my 100th mile, was a busy day. I had a one hour window to take a walk, but I was exhausted. I was so tickled with myself. I took a walk anyway. It wasn't a full mile, but I got off the couch and I walked. I will continue to walk. Not because I have to. Not because I must. I walk because I want to.

It's so easy for me, in the midst of this success, to look at all the areas of my life that aren't working, where I am not excelling. I hold inside me an intense perfectionist. She expects a lot from me. I told her to just pipe down for a few days while I bask in my moment of personal glory. Right now I just want to be proud of myself, something I don't do very often.

I can't end this post without a huge THANK YOU to everyone who supported me, in so many ways. In the past 100 days I have received so much from family, friends, acquaintances and people I don't even know. I bow before you in gratitude.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Small Change

It's day 99 and I'm reflecting on the last 3+ months. One aspect of this campaign that blows me away is the power of the individual.

It's easy for me to think that my small part doesn't matter, so why bother doing something in the first place if I'll have such a small impact. I'm glad the 130 people who donated to my campaign didn't think like I do. That so many people have stepped forward to support other people around the world touches me deeply.

The world has become quite small. For as much as I can say that an amputee in a developing country matters, I can say that about any one of us. We all matter AND we can all make a difference. In this world of violence on the evening news, tabloids and Reality TV, it's easy to lose sight of the fact that people all around the world are doing their part, every day, to help make the world a better place, just like every person who donated to my campaign.

So, thank you for renewing my hope in the world. Thank you for your support. Truly, every little bit does help.

To see Evening Magazine's coverage of my campaign, click here

Monday, July 5, 2010

I Don't Blend In

Every year the day comes when I need to don my shorts. Today was that day.

I have mixed feelings about the first day I wear shorts. On the one hand it means the weather has finally warmed up enough to warrant shorts and I love warm weather. I simply hate being hot. A sweaty leg is icky to me. Really icky. The weather warmed up for my walk today and I knew my leg (yes, my long one) would overheat in jeans. So it was time to put on the shorts.

On the other hand, wearing shorts takes away all of my anonymity. I need to brace myself for the stares. It's human nature to be curious, especially now that I wear the techno C-Leg. All of my previous legs before this were shaped like my other calf and painted to resemble my skin color. Not the C-Leg. This thing is gray and looks like something from Star Wars. Yea, it's the kind of leg that draws attention. With my previous legs, they looked fake enough to make people stare, really stare until they figured out that, OH, it's fake. Now people take notice and look away more quickly. It's obvious I'm wearing a prosthetic leg.

I'm used to the looks and stares. I appreciate that, regardless of people's personal feelings about my body, they usually always smile at me. I just wish I could blend in. Since I was 17, I've never blended in. As a child I always considered myself a wall flower. After my accident the attention took a lot of getting used to. Every year on my first "shorts day" the little girl in me is still just as uncomfortable being noticed.

What's hardest about the looks and stares is that I assume with each one a judgment is attached. Anything from "Oh, isn't she amazing" to "Ew, icky." I'm not like just anyone walking down the street. I don't remember most people I walk by and, unless they are trying hard to get my attention by how they dress or pierce or tattoo, I don't notice most people who cross my path. But when I walk down the street in shorts, I see a lot of people look at me. I know I'll be forgotten soon, but I've been noticed.

They say the grass is always greener. I realize, now that I stick out like a sore thumb, how my anonymity has been taken from me. I'm grateful for the days when no one noticed me at all - or so I thought. I blended in with the crowd and didn't stick out.

Today wasn't so bad, really. Lots of people looked; I didn't notice anyone who stared.