Today, thanks to a FB friend, I found out I was apart of an article on Bored Panda. I feel pretty excited to be featured in this particular list from them. Since tomorrow is Halloween, it’s only appropriate to be noted for my choice in costume this year. So what’s my costume you ask? I’m Nemo this year, my youngest son loves ‘Finding Dory’ so he’s Dory for Halloween. I enjoy dressing up and coordinating with at least one of my boys each year. As they get older sometimes it’s harder to go with what they have chosen as a costume, this year my oldest chose, Ironman, the middle chose Ty from Dino Trux, on Netflix, and my youngest chose Dory. My costume was easy! I chose Nemo, for various reasons; 1. When I worked in pediatrics as an OT assistant, I used Nemo as an explanation to why my arm is missing. Kids could relate to a Disney movie. 2. About a year ago I became familiar with a non-profit organization called “The Lucky Fin Project,” Molly Stapleman, the creator of this organization named it so in reference to Nemo. Molly’s daughter, Ryan, was born with a limb difference and she took the huge jump into creating this platform for others with limb differences to connect and bring awareness to limb differences all over the world. 3. I mean, for real, I am the anatomically correct, human version of Nemo, how could I not dress up like him? 4. It’s a costume that brings lightheartedness to something that makes people uncomfortable….
When I was tagged in the post by my FB friend, I was shocked to see my picture with me and my youngest just the other day at a trunk or treat event. I had shared the photo on Instagram and it got more likes than some of my regular posts. I’m still figuring out this likes and hashtags things, 😂. And because my photo might get seen more than usual, I thought it was a perfect time to share more about why it’s ok to find humor in differences.
Why is it ok to laugh or think these costumes are funny? Well, the people who have chosen to accept their differences whether it’s being in a wheelchair, using crutches, or missing a limb, they have also found the humor in it. They are ok with acknowledging the humor in their costumes, “making their life” work, they are comfortable in their skin. As a kid, around 10 years old, I dressed up like a Doctor who had cut her own arm off…. bloody sleeve, plastic hatchet, lab coat, the works. My mom took me around our neighborhood to trick or treat that year. After visiting my Grandparents house a few blocks from my own, we continued down their street. One house had a gentleman handing out candy, probably 50’s-ish, he complemented me on my costume and the uniqueness. He then asked how did I hide my hand so well… Without hesitation I responded while pulling up my sleeve more, “It’s not hiding, I really don’t have a hand…. I was born like this.” Talk about some back pedaling from this guy, “ahhhhh, oh my, I’m so sorry! Here have some more candy!!” 😂 He was still yelling down the street as we kept on our way, “I’M SO SORRY!!” I wasn’t offended, and neither was my mom. We thought his reaction was hilarious, we also told him it was ok, it didn’t hurt my feelings. In my mind I was thinking “SCORE! extra candy!!” All because he thought he did something wrong, by complimenting me on my unique and ‘realistic’ costume idea. He didn’t do anything wrong, and neither did I by ‘using what I got’ and making an awesome costume. Now, I will tell you this, myself and the others in this article are obviously more open with what our ‘disabilities,’ this does not generalize all those with disabilities and openness or finding the humor in it. So don’t assume that the gentleman or woman you see in the power wheelchair is open to discussing why she’s there, or that you saw an awesome costume idea for her. Everyone is different, not only physically but also in the way they express themselves when having a disability.
I have always had a ‘sick’ sense of humor. It’s just how my parents and I always treated my limb difference. My dad would walk around with my prosthesis sticking out of his back pocket, because I didn’t want to wear it anymore. He didn’t care if people looked or stared, he also thought it was funny. So playing around and joking about, “giving you a hand” “swimming in circles” etc. has always felt ok, comfortable, because I knew that I was always capable of anything. I’ve come to learn in life you have to have HEART and a SENSE OF HUMOR, otherwise you won’t make it. Go check out the post linked above, and smile/laugh/celebrate the creativity and complete acceptance these awesome people have shown!