April is "Limb Loss Awareness Month" or as I like to say "Limb Difference Awareness Month"
Okay, lets not get into the politics of missing your limb (yes that's a thing).
If you didn't know already I was born missing my left arm right below the elbow. My parent's found out on a 20 week ultra-sound. There are many things I have learned while growing up with one arm, and needless to say NEVER DO I EVER WANT TO ARMS!!
So let's talk about a few topics in regards to being Limb Different... Also, thank you all for asking questions!! I hope my answers can help you and your children.
WHY DON'T YOU WEAR A PROSTHETIC?
I got my first prosthetic at 5 months old. It helped me to crawl. Growing up I wore a prosthetic pretty often, on my first day of school I would wear one because it helped explained things to the kids. As I grew up I continued to get new ones as I grew. I didn't hate it, it helped me do gymnastics and figure out a back handspring. But as I got older at the age of 8-10 I started to really think to myself, who am I? and Who do I want to become? I have always been a spitfire, and I speak my opinion no matter what, if you don't like it, well then don't listen. So I decided why would I wear a prosthetic for the rest of my life when that's NOT WHO I AM. I was fearfully and wonderfully made by God who see's me as perfect in his eyes. I decided that's who I am. I am a daughter of a loving, forgiving, and incredible God (father). I want to spread this message, it doesn't mean I am against prosthetics but I just found that it wasn't me. And they were more in my way than anything else. I can do more with my little arm than I can a prosthetic. But this is for me, not anyone else. Everyone has to decide whether they want to wear one or not. For me I don't.
ONE HANDED PONYTAILS??
This one is a tough one, it took me years of practice. I finally figured it out by age 16. My best advice is practice. While I can put up my hair now no problem, it doesn't mean that it isn't still a challenge. Sometimes I put it up and it looks absolutely awful. As a result, sometimes it takes me more than 8 tries to get it up looking just decent. I get a lot of questions on this, so this coming week I will be posting a video on Wednesday of how I put up my hair!
HAIR PRODUCTS THAT ARE BETTER / EASIER TO USE??
When it comes to curling your hair, straitening, etc. There isn't any products on the market made for one armed people. Again, it took me years of practice. I found that when curling my hair, I would wrap the cord around my little arm really tight and curl my hair this way ( wand style). I will post a video of this as well! So, stay tuned on my Facebook and Instagram @ImperfectlySarah
HOW DO YOU HANDLE THE LOOKS???
The looks can be the hardest bit, trust me I get it. Sometimes I wish people understood that it get's really annoying. The thing is the stares will never stop, your whole life you will see new people everyday and everyone is going to wonder, "what happened???"
My best advice is to ignore them. I know it can be hard but I have personally just ignored them my whole life and now I rarely notice them. The stares aren't worth your time, tears, or anything else. If they stare let them stare, you can't blend in when you were born to stand out. We all have differences. Some people have blonde hair and some brown hair. I like to think that my one arm is no different than that. Sure, I look funny, I know that! Sometimes when I see someone that looks like me I begin to understand why people stare. And sometimes if you see people starring too much and you really can't take it, I encourage you to confront them and let them know your story. You have the ability to change the way they see. Educate as many people as possible, because if you do we can start changing people perspectives. Remember,
WE CAN'T CHANGE THE WAY WE LOOK, BUT PEOPLE CAN CHANGE THE WAY THEY SEE.
BEST ADVICE FOR YOUNG ONES ENTERING SCHOOL?? TALK TO THE CLASS OR FIGURE IT OUT ON THEIR OWN???
School can be a difficult thing. I highly recommend parents go in and talk to the class the first day of school. My parents did this for me and it made it a lot easier on me, this way I didn't have to answer as many questions. Kids listen to adults better than they do other kids their age. However, after that one time on every first day, let your kid figure out the rest and once they get to a certain age they will know how to answer the questions. When it comes to school kids are always going to stare and some kids are going to say something really rude. As a parent, teach your kids to ignore the harsh comments because the reason why there are bullies is because that kid that is bullying is facing a really hard situation too, and maybe they just need a friend. When going into school just BE YOURSELF. If someone doesn't like you for who you are, then they don't need to be in your life. Here is a speech that I did, I think it will help.
KIDS ASKING ABOUT THEIR HAND?
The first time I asked about my hand, I said, "Mom wheres my hand?" My mom said, "Jesus has it in heaven."
My parents always told me that that's the way God made me and Has my other hand in heaven. I always believed my mom and she spoke truth. God has created all of us uniques and he decided to make some of us with one arm, and I am forever grateful he chose me.
The dating world can be a challenge, luckily I've had a good experience most of the time. I have found that very few guys are completely comfortable with my arm, but it makes it easier for me to know who is the right one.
I have had some really rude and harsh words said to me by boys I had crushes on. It hurt me, it hurt bad. Then I realized that they were immature, and not men of God, and definitely not worth my time. My best advice is that there will always be people that are going to say harsh and really mean comments. But that just let's you know that they aren't the one. The right person is going to love you for your differences, they will love you more because of them. I always said....when I find someone that holds my little arm like it's my real arm then I'll know.
For typing I actually had a one armed typing program, it was super easy and I became the fastest typer in my class.
Heres the link: https://www.typingclub.com/one-hand-typing
MY PARENTS HANDLING CHALLENGES I FACED??
My parents are a big reason as to why I am so strong. They never treated me any different than my brother just because I had one arm, yet they encouraged me that I was fearfully and wonderfully made. Something my parents did that made a massive impact on my life was that they always encouraged me and pushed me to be my best and do my best. They always let me do things on my own and figure things out on my own, if I needed help I asked for it. This made me so much stronger in the end. If I faced a challenge and I cried because I couldn't figure something out, my dad always said to me, "Sarah stop crying it's not worth the tears, we will figure out a way." And he was right. With his help sometimes, and lots of practice, I always figured out a way.
Support your child always, and encourage them to never give up. Let them figure things out on their own and if they ask for help, give them a hand. There needs to be that balance. My parents are a lot of why I am so confident and strong. I owe it to them and God.
DID I FEEL SUPPORTED ALL THE TIME??
There was never a time when I didn't feel supported. My parent's were always encouraging me to practice, never give up, and go after my dreams. As a parent, the best thing you can do is just love. Your children will see that. I love my parents more than anything, and I am extremely close to them. Not only was I supported by my parents, but I was supported by my family and community as well. My family were my biggest cheerleaders. They were always the loudest at all my sporting events. My family and my faith are my backbone.
Well known for her love for Jesus, coffee, and having one arm. Sarah share's stories in her life in hope to help others. She wants you to know that,
"Our differences do not define who we are but are a part of the story that God has written for our lives."
Sarah says, " I hope that I can be someone to relate to in a world of untold real stories. Everything I write is from my heart and real."
"We are all created imperfectly perfect by God, we should be proud of our imperfections and differences, they make us who we are today but do not define us, know that you are beautiful and remind yourself of this everyday."