Aimee Mullins has no legs below the knee and relies on prostheses. I have lipedema, which means my legs are big and painful.
Both of us can be defined as “disabled.” Yet Aimee is also an athlete, actress, and model, thanks to a wardrobe of prosthetic legs that allows her to decide how she will look and even how tall she will be on any given day.
If Aimee could choose, would she rather have my legs? Possibly not, and she has certainly made a full and interesting life for herself, earning her much well-deserved recognition.
If I could choose, would I rather have her legs? I will never be an athlete, walk down a fashion runway or be on a magazine cover.* So … maybe.
I can learn from Aimee and take part in the conversations she’s provoking about body image and ability. I can be inspired by the idea of turning a disability into something positive.
I also notice that her “sexy” legs wear high heels — the kind that, on real feet, end up causing pain and deformation over time. In my perfect world, it would be OK to go to the Oscars in flats.
*Actually, I was on a magazine cover, but it was a magazine put out by a local hospital promoting its lymphedema treatment services, and I was lying on a hospital bed in a rather inelegant pose.