Got my first pedi of the summer season today. My toes be lookin rrrreeeeaaaaalllll fresh!
But I'm an amputee so maybe you're first thought is..."you can get a pedicure?" Or maybe it's..."you paint your toes?!"
And I'm over here like *insert sassy emoji* "yeah, girrrl!" It's one of my favorite things to do, in fact. Having a prosthetic makes painting my toes so simple because I just get to pop it off and put my foot right in front of me instead of having to bend over and do it.
When I was little, I remember the first time I painted my toes. It was actually my cousin who did it. She did it without asking my mom for permission and my mom was kind of upset because she didn't know it would come off and she thought it was going to be there forever. And while it came off, I didn't paint my toes for a very long time after that first occasion.
As I said in my last #lifeofapirategirl post, I used a lot of leg covers growing up to make my leg look more real. In the early years, they were made with fabric and foam, so I didn't paint them. As I got into my middle school and high school years, they were a really shitty rubber material that didn't leave much indentation for toenails so it was pretty hard to paint the nails on.
Once I finally stopped using the covers, I had toenail indentations and I remember my mom still not wanting me to paint my toes because we just weren't sure about how it would come off and honestly, I was still unsure about bringing unwanted attention to my leg. While I had be become more open about my leg, I was still standoffish and awkward about strangers who made comments and I knew people would see the polish and have questions.
I don't think I started regularly painting my toes until college and I didn't get my first professional pedicure until I was 23 years old! I repeat, 23. Years. Old! Once I got my first pedi, I was so mad I had kept myself from getting them for that long.
The lady who did it was the sweetest thing. She was so gentle and caring and basically knew what to do, where to put my leg, how to help me. It was a really awesome experience. Since then, I've had some people who have been just as understanding and then I've had some people who were so nervous, they didn't know what to do. One guy didn't remove the polish from my fake foot until I was about to pay and I had to ask the cashier if that was something they didn't do there. The owner of the store was clearly embarrassed and felt so terrible that her nail tech didn't paint both of my feet and I felt so bad for the nail tech because I could tell he was embarrassed and I just never went back after that.
Most people ask if I get half price, but most of the time I just get a small discount probably because they still have to paint the toes. And honestly, I don't go in expecting a discount, it's always a special treat when it happens though! It makes me giggle.
My favorite time was when I took in my water leg to get painted also so they would all match and the lady had me put all three feet on the ledge. It felt so good to have her be calm and cool about the situation because it made me feel just a little less awkward about asking her to do that for me.
Needless to say, I've had some really strange things happen to me over the years as an amputee, but some of my favorite stories come from nail salons and over conversations about painting my toes. Come time find out, I was right about how it has sort of become an opener for someone to ask me about my leg, but now that I'm older and more comfortable in the skin I'm in, I realize that's a blessing. Not a curse. It's just one more way to open the door to conversation and an invitation to learn about someone who is different from you.