First off, have some context.
Two weeks ago today, one of my local theatre companies started its run of “Legally Blonde: The Musical”. In the wake of numerous lockdowns, this colourful, thumping, high energy spectacle was the perfect show to kick things off after a two year hiatus.
I’m obviously biased because, in case you didn’t know, I was in the show. However, if you don’t want to take my word for it a quick google of the reviews will back up the previous paragraph.
It is the first show I’ve been in since before the world was shut down by the pandemic and that is also true for many of my castmates. There was obviously a bit of trepidation going out in front of the audience after such a long break from the stage. Fortunately, we all agreed that the rush of excitement as the curtain drops following a successful performance still feels the same.
“But David” I hear you say from beyond my computer screen, “this post is called ‘Hobbies of an Amputee’. Did you just use that title to lure us in and then talk about how great the last show you were in was?”
Well, yeah a little bit but only for the first part of this post and because I’m very proud of the fact that I got to be a part of it. I mean, I got to hop and hobble my way around stage whilst surrounded by incredibly talented people for a whole week, it really was a privilege.
Alright, onto the meaty, disability related part of the post.
I had a wonderful show week and wouldn’t change it for anything, despite the fact that since Tuesday last week I have not been able to wear my prosthesis.
The reason for this is that my stump is covered in a number of cuts, bruises and most significantly, a large lump of hard, dry skin at the very end.
The inspiration behind writing this post does not come from wanting anybody to feel sorry for me, or to receive any compliments. It’s about trying to give an indication of the choices that people in my situation need to make when it comes to pursuing the things we enjoy.
See, it didn’t come as a surprise this last week, not being able to use my leg. After doing a number of these shows I was well aware of what was going to happen.
I made the choice to do something that I love and take the consequences that would follow because, quite frankly, why shouldn’t I do it?
When people say things like, “you can be up on stage, surely that means you’re fine”, I remind them that my theatre hobby consists of five, two and a half hour shows, twice or maybe three times a year.
Also, for every run of a show I need to make sure that I have the following two weeks free, just so I can keep my leg off while the stump heals.
It’s not really a sustainable cycle for everyday life.
Which is why I pick and choose the things that are important to me, because I know the process and time involved. And yet, even after all this time I occasionally make mistakes. Just this morning I thought I was okay to put my leg on and walk around the garden, only to have the dry lump at the end crack, adding another few days onto the healing time.
The fact is this, because of my leg, a four day show run is a three week commitment.
It is not however, one that I have once regretted making.
So what am I really saying with all this?
I’m simply trying to say that, for myself and I know for many others with various disabilities, deciding to pursue the things we enjoy can often mean making sacrifices.
A lot of people don’t understand that, most likely because it isn’t something they have ever had a need to understand. So if you are one of those people, this is me taking the time to politely inform you.
You may see me dancing around, unashamedly screaming out Meatloaf in one of the local karaoke bars. Or perhaps strutting around on stage with eyeliner so thick it’s melded with my eyebrows.
Just remember, a price must always be paid for these moments of joy, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have them.
Thank you for reading.
This is a post I’ve thought about writing a few times now but given that I am currently in post-show recovery and the fact that April happens to be Limb Difference Awareness month, it seems an appropriate time.
Stay safe folks and be excellent to each other.