Assuming that someone outside of my mother is going to read this blog, I guess I should start by introducing myself. My name is Amy Bream, and I am 25 years old. I grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania and moved to Nashville 3 years ago. I’m the youngest of 4 kids in my family, and I love sarcasm, coffee, and music (I studied saxophone in college - betcha didn’t see that one coming). Also, in case the name of the blog doesn’t showcase it enough, I also happen to have one leg.
Obviously, the most natural follow-up question to that statement is, “How did you lose your leg?” I can’t even lie, I’ve been tempted many times to answer that question with an incredible story that makes me sound like a total bada**. However, the real story is pretty basic: I was born, and it just wasn’t there. A birth defect caused me to be born without the majority of my right leg; my parents didn’t even know it was coming. First off, my dad was convinced I was going to be a boy and they would name me Caleb. Not only did my mom give birth to ANOTHER girl (there’s 3 of us - my poor brother grew up with a lot of stubborn estrogen), but my entrance into the world ended up giving them quite the unexpected plot twist - funny how life does that.
Now before you start thinking, “oh my, how terrible…” or something along those lines, I’m just gonna say this: my family is incredible, and my childhood was equally as wonderful. I was raised to believe that by God’s grace alone, I will never be handed anything more than I can take. Every day is a gift, so make the most of it. I grew up doing almost all the same things as my peers, just slightly differently (obviously kickball was gonna hold a whole new meaning for me…). My family is the perfect combination of sweet and understanding, but they’ve never allowed me to use having one leg as an excuse or an invitation to slack off. (Believe me, I’ve had my moments where I’ve tried - one of my siblings usually responds with something like, “Oh, poor baby… suck it up, other people have it worse.”) For the most part, I didn’t really talk about my prosthesis or what it was like to live with one leg. In fact, I pretty much did everything I could to blend in and fly under the radar, outside of the occasional one leg joke - those never get old.
So I guess the real question is, why the heck did I start this blog now? What made me want to start sharing my story after 25 years of basically hiding under a rock about it? To be honest, I’m still somewhat figuring that out. I could say something like, “I wanna be an inspiration to people,” but to be perfectly frank, there’s already enough stories on social media that are way more inspiring than mine. (That’s not a subtle way of me asking for compliments, it’s just the truth.) More than anything, I see it as a type of personal therapy. Up until a few years ago, I was extremely self-conscious about my leg. I was convinced that I’d always embarrass myself if I tried to exercise in public, that I would always be defined by my awkward limp, and that no male in this world would ever find me attractive. I allowed my fears to project assumptions about what other people thought about me, and the whole time I was the only one limiting myself.
In recent years especially, I’ve had people and life factors force me to push myself outside of my comfort zone. Close friends called me out when I tried to hide my leg, I started to exercise at public gyms regardless of how stupid I felt, and I underwent the process of getting fitted for a new prosthesis that allowed me to be more active. Slowly but surely, I’ve started to come out of my shell and realize that (real) confidence has nothing to do with my outward appearance.
Do I still have moments of extreme self-consciousness? You betcha. Do I occasionally feel a stab of self-pity? I’d be lying if I said the answer was no. But honestly, I’ve never been more willing to try new things and just be me. Good grief, what a waste of time and energy it is to be constantly crippled by self-doubt and fear. So, I’ve decided to go for it and actually live like every day is a gift, regardless of what anyone else looking on may think. Now that, my friends, is true relief.
So take this blog as you will. If you read this and feel inspired, that’s awesome. If you read this and think I’m full of it, that’s just fine too (can’t please em’ all). If you read this and think I talk too much, join the club. At the very least, I hope it gives you some insights into One Leg Life. Maybe along the way, you can learn some cool things about a prosthesis that you never knew before.
*Shameless plug: if you want to see videos and pictures of what living with a prosthetic leg is like, check out my Facebook page or my Instagram handle @onelegtostandon.Have an awesome week!