I became disabled long after the ADA was passed. Thank goodness.
I’m a confident young woman, who happens to be missing part of my left leg. Sometimes I need crutches, sometimes I need a wheelchair, and sometimes I can cover my prosthetic leg with a pair of jeans and pass as non-disabled.
The inherent ableism in our society makes me feel ashamed when I’m not able to wear my prosthetic leg, like it’s my fault that I can’t get to work on the subway anymore. Like it’s my fault that the elevator is broken and the subway cars are always jam-packed, so forget about finding a seat for my one-legged butt. Like it’s my fault that Access-A-Ride won’t cross the river to Jersey City, and Access Link won’t bring me to NY.
Without the ADA, would it be my fault?
Goodbye access. Goodbye transit. Goodbye employment. Luckily, it’s not my fault. Just ask the ADA.
I’m a confident young woman, who just happens to be missing part of my left leg.
Channeling Nessarose's angst during the pandemic! I'd love to be the first disabled woman to play this disabled role.
What better time to start a vlog than during a pandemic after a leg surgery! Join me on this wild ride:
Why Daisy Ridley Shouldn't Play Virginia Hall in jj abrams' film "A woman of no importance."
My article about inclusion in the arts was published on backstage!
I went to college for musical theatre and voice performance. I graduated and worked at regional theaters and did a few Off-Off Broadway productions. And then I lost my leg when I was driving to an audition.
I’m an actor/singer/dancer/musician/comedian. And I happen to wear a prosthetic leg. Does that make me a disabled actor? I don’t think so. It makes me a more knowledgeable human being. The experience of losing a limb and living with a body outside the norm will certainly influence my choices as an actor, but I think that’s actually an advantage. Not a disadvantage.
Technology has come so far, when I walk sometimes it almost feels as natural as my real foot and ankle. Sometimes it hurts like hell and I curse the prosthetic leg torture device! I’m ready for technology to catch up with me completely, but we’re not quite there yet.
This summer I have the joy of being part of a new musical, The Bipartisan. I was cast not despite my prosthetic leg, but in part, because of it! This director knew how to think outside the box and saw the opportunities in utilizing my “fake leg” for comedic purposes and to catch the audience by surprise.
Audiences always enjoy a good inspiration story about someone living with a disability. I prefer that audiences be inspired by my performance or skills, not my disability. Nicu’s Spoon Theater Company is spinning that notion on its head with their new production of Richard III. All of the actors in the show have some sort of disability - except Richard III.
As a society we are so afraid of disability. Consciously or subconsciously we all know it can happen to anyone at any time. Richard III is evil because he was born with a disability and it made him hungry for power. Not it this version.
On this 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, please join me in embracing this notion that there are no disabled people, just disabled technology. Our world is beautiful because of its diversity, the arts are the best outlet to explore that beauty and promote inclusion for all.
As someone who has had to use crutches for almost a year of her life, and will now have to use a prosthetic leg for the rest of her life, I think I can safely say that there is one phrase we crutch-using folks or prosthetic leg wearers really despise. That phrase is a simple, two word question that will make us want to punch you in the face. “What happened?”
Let’s think about the possible answers, 1. I fell down stairs. 2. I hurt my knee dancing. 3. I just had surgery. 4. I lost my leg (to cancer, diabetes, traumatic accident). Notice what all of these answers have in common? They are not fun events! They are actually pretty horrible times in a person’s life. In my case, you are asking me to tell you about the worst, scariest, most painful day of my life. So why in the world would I want to talk to you about that? Especially when most of the people asking this exact question are strangers or mere acquaintances that I will never see or speak with again.
If you see someone on crutches, I think it’s safe to assume that they are not just using them for fun (unless they are my brothers who like to steal my crutches). So please, never ask a person using crutches or wearing a prosthetic leg, “What happened?” unless you are good friends with them. Even in that case, it’s really better if you wait for them to offer this information. Instead of letting your curiosity get the best of you, why not just say, “I hope you feel better” and let that lead to a conversation about what happened if the injured person takes it there.
I’m no Miss Manners, and I can’t speak for everyone on crutches, but please spread the word, it is rude and inconsiderate to ask someone on crutches (or in a wheelchair, or wearing a prosthetic leg, or someone who has anything different about them!) “What happened?” Let us offer you the information when we’re ready. I’ve started charging people for my leg story, no joke. I’d rather say, “Leg story will cost you $20” than punch a person in the face (which is how my body wants to respond after being asked this question by 50 strangers in one weekend).
Next time you trip over your own shoe, break your ankle and have to use crutches, think about how annoying it will be to have to tell that story to every Joe Shmoe who opens a door for you. “What happened?” Now imagine how much harder it is to answer that question when you don’t even have an ankle to break!? Save yourself and everyone around you from a very awkward, uncomfortable silence and refrain from asking these dreaded two words, “What happened?”
I decided to try a VLOG instead of a BLOG. I'm not sure how I feel about VLOGS. I think they come off as a little cocky sometimes. But I wanted to try it because I thought it may reach more people than most of my other blog posts. I think a common misconception about amputees is that once we've healed from the initial surgery, we can walk with a prosthetic leg and be done with the struggle. This could not be farther from the truth and I hope society can watch my video and understand the depth of our challenges. When you see someone walking with a prosthetic leg, be impressed! But don't be surprised to see someone with a leg amputation in a wheelchair. We all have different paths in life, some are full of more twists and turns than others.