A year ago today I launched ampuTeez, an apparel line with a mission to raise awareness and boost confidence of amputees and all of those who are different. How'd I do it? Oh nothing major, just by posting the first ever picture of me on social media showing my prosthetic leg...and in my underwear! I wanted to capture everyone's attention, and I'd like to think it was a pretty effective method.
I grew up an amputee after a rare congenital birth defect, sorry, no crazy earth shattering story on how I became an amputee. Once I became a teenager I started to hide my leg due to insecurities, a lack of self confidence and frankly the inability to relate to anyone I knew or had ever seen. Once I hit my thirties I was becoming more comfortable with who I was and knew I wasn't being true to myself by hiding such a major part of why I am the person I am today, but I still wasn't ready. Then, I spent a year of my life living in South Florida, the land of half naked people, which I would have previously shied away from (and actually did on college spring break literally wearing PANTS on the beach!). I truly believe this was a blessing in disguise, it forced me to live outside of my comfort zone spending all weekend on South Beach and at pool parties at The Thompson and Shore Club. I would've looked simply ridiculous in pants, and I made two pretty amazing girlfriends that never would have allowed that anyway.
I started to do some research and realized there were other amputees like me who had body image issues. I knew if I did something to not only help myself, but to help and motivate others, I would stick to it. Riding in the back of an uber, ampuTeez was born in my mind and less than 6 months later with the help of a truly amazing and talented friend (read more about Meghan in 'Our Story'), we launched!
Since one year ago today, ampuTeez has reached thousands of people, sold hundreds of items (let's make it thousands!), raised awareness, participated in the Amputee Coalition of America National Conference and Lucky Fin Project Weekend, motivated others to become more comfortable in their own "skin" and has allowed me to gain a TON of new friends. On top of all of that, it has made me a much more self confident person who is proud of my situation and no longer concerned with hiding who I really am. Another thing worth mentioning...dating has gotten SO much better!
Thank you to those who have supported ampuTeez and the movement. Every like, follow, share, post, purchase, mention gets us one step closer. Please continue to help raise awareness and boost confidence of those who are different, because Normal is Boring anyway!