My name is Casandra and I am 20 years old. I was born without my right hand. I’m not sure what the medical term is but my mother always told me when I was in her womb the umbilical cord wrapped around my arm therefore it could not grow. I never second guessed it since.
A lot of stories I read about people like me have this sense of pride and confidence that I wish I could possess. I wish I had the strength to go out without a prosthetic and be a confident young woman but that’s not the story of my life…
As a child, up until 3rd grade, when I moved schools I did not see myself as “different”. I honestly think that has been the only time I felt able to be me without worrying about what others thought. Once I changed schools I became self-conscious about my arm. I would wear long sleeves and jackets year round and I live in Las Vegas (one of the hottest cities). I did not know how to handle the kids and the stares. I felt so alone and no one to connect with and as I grew older it only got worse.
Middle school was probably more emotionally hard dealing with my disability. I was shy and insecure because of my arm. I was afraid guys would not like me because of my arm. For a time I did not want to live. I would cry every night asking God why. My family did not understand what I was going through; neither did they know how I was feeling. I never told anyone. I had no one. I desperately wanted to meet someone like me but it seemed impossible at the time. Over time I just kept telling myself that God made me this way for a purpose, although I did not know what purpose, I tried to stay strong.
Around 7th grade I finally asked my parents for a prosthetic arm. Once I got my prosthetic it became my security blanket. I never left without it just so I could feel normal. I even met a boy that I felt comfortable enough to show my arm to. I am forever thankful that he cared for me and saw past my disability.
When high school came along I was still shy and insecure but I had friends that knew and accepted me. I never was part of the popular crowd or in any after school activities but I think I started accepting my disability.
Now that I am in college majoring in psychology, I want to be more involved with people with disabilities. I want to be a part of a generation that can make a difference. I want to let “normal” people see that disabled people are the same. I want people who have the same disability to feel like there is someone out there like them and someone they can confide in when they feel like there is no one they can relate to. There’s so much I want to accomplish but I just don’t know what resources are out there. I still feel like no one understands me but I’ve come to terms with myself somewhat. Since the internet I have been able to research and meet people with disabilities. I still haven’t met someone with the same disability in person, but hopefully one day I will be able to. Maybe they will be an inspiration to me.
Thanks for those who read this.