I don’t see many people who look like me. Occasionally I would meet people with a limb deficiency or wearing a prosthetic device, and they would tell me stories of trauma and rehabilitation. I would try to look for commonality, but often there wasn’t much to go on. So I was surprised to see a contestant on a dating reality show who looked and sounded like me.
Sarah Herron was very straightforward about her limb deficiency on The Bachelor. She said basically the same things I always say. It isn’t a disability. It’s just different. The moment probably seemed a bit overly dramatic to some, but I’d rather have a moment of drama by being direct than many moments of awkwardness if we avoid talking about the obvious difference.
Herron expressed that she isn’t interested in being a role model or a spokesperson, but in my experience, there’s an undeniable “role model effect” to physical difference that you don’t get to turn off. I am the only one-handed person most people know, and that isn’t likely to change any time soon. It took me a long time, but I’ve come to understand that that’s just part of my life experience.
People see the word “disability” when they see me. If I am a spokesperson for anything, it is for the idea that people are more than what you see. Sarah Herron is more than her limb deficiency, and so am I. We’re both different, but the difference is just part of our stories.
Read more about my experience at Fake Arm 101.