Growing up as a kid who wore a prosthetic leg, humor played a huge role very early on in my life. Rather than being embarrassed or ashamed of my prosthetic leg, I used it as a prop to entertain myself and my friends, and doing this seemed to make others see my leg as something awesome rather than something they should feel sorry for me about.
For example, I would often turn my leg around backwards and walk around school with feet pointing opposite directions, and was particularly inspired to do this when we had a new teacher or student at school – my friends and I really got a kick out of this.
One time when I was in middle school, I broke my prosthetic foot clean off during volleyball practice because the bolt holding it together snapped in half. The school principal happened to come in to the gym shortly after it happened and my coach immediately said to him, “Emily just broke her foot during practice.” He had a horrified look on his face as I hopped up to him holding my foot in my hand, but he quickly realized it was me and it was my prosthetic foot that was broken, so we grabbed the duct tape and I was good as new in no time.
I play less tricks on people now that I’m an adult, but I strongly believe that being able to use humor to help those around me feel comfortable about my prosthetic leg was a big part of why I wasn’t really bullied as a kid. After all, it’s hard to laugh at someone who is already laughing, and I think it might be healthier to help people laugh with you so they don’t even get the chance to laugh at you.
Humor isn’t just being outwardly silly though, it’s also a state of mind. Having a sense of humor allows us to see life through a positive lens because we see the humor in the things and situations around us, and I think it helps give us perspective in life. A man named Charles Lindner once said that “[a] person has two legs and once sense of humor, and if you’re faced with the choice, it’s better to lose a leg.” I have loved this quote since I was a teenager because it is so relevant to my life and really rings true to me. I can say with 100% confidence that I wouldn’t trade my sense of humor for anything, not even a left leg.