You Can Handle Anything- Just Try!
I am an amputee, missing both hands and my right leg above the knee. I know what you’re thinking, “How is she typing this?”
Well, it’s easy. I simply bash my head against the keyboard until the right sentences string together.
Okay, okay, just kidding. But you should have seen your face.
I was born with my amputations, so I have lived my entire life being “different” and learning how to become an independent person. As you can imagine, there have been many challenges to face as well as many funny experiences. My family raised me with a healthy sense of humour and so I have always felt comfortable with my disability. However, that didn’t change the fact that other people weren’t so comfortable, and that I had to find ways to deal with strangers asking me questions on a daily basis. I have heard everything from “What happened to you?” to “Can I touch your arms?” so by now I have a decent variety of responses to be ready with at all times.
When I went off to university, I had no idea just how different my life would be. It was my first time living by myself. Even though I knew I was completely capable of being independent, I still had a few concerns. What if I couldn’t do laundry? What if I needed help with it? It’s normal for students to feel nervous about moving away from home, but I felt especially anxious considering that I had a lot to deal with that other kids didn’t. I made up my mind to not be discouraged by ‘what if’ and instead be as confident as I had always been. After all, if I could live independently in my hometown, I could live independently anywhere!
Things went well during my first week of university. I lived in residence with a roommate and it didn’t take long for me to get adjusted to student life. All my insecurities went away until one day a professor called me into his office to meet with him and a special needs advisor. I had never really used special needs services before, but have always appreciated that they are available to me. At this meeting I was told that with the semester getting underway and workload starting to pick up, I should probably use a scribe to take notes during my lectures because there was no way I would be able to keep up with my peers. Now, most people wonder how I write or type – it’s not very exciting; I just use my arms. I’ve learned to be very crafty and resourceful with what little I have, and I type up to 100 words per minute!
I knew that I didn’t need a note taker. I could do this myself. But I let people who thought they were helping me get in my head. I started to panic thinking that maybe they were right – maybe I wouldn’t be able to keep up. Just as I was about to give in, I reminded myself of my decision to be confident. I spoke up and said, “No thank you! I’ll be fine!”
And I’m proud to say, I was. Not only did I complete the semester taking notes on my own but by the end of the semester I had actually volunteered to be a scribe myself and take notes for other people!
If you are struggling with insecurity, just remember that you know yourself better than others. Be confident in your abilities, take a chance, and show people what you can do.