My first interview is with Heather, a 45 year old female from British Columbia, Canada. I met her on Fetlife, and Heather has an active interest in what this web site is dedicated to. She’s happily married but considers herself polyamorous, and she has a relationship with a man next to her marital relationship. Her Fetlife alias PolyPinkAlice reflects that, with Poly being obvious, Pink being how’s she’s called by her lover, and since she hates words like stump or residual limb, she calls her below the knee amputation Alice. It’s her left leg she lost, by the way. The picture is a selfie, shot in a mirror.
Heather is a diabetic. Her amputation – only 4 months ago – is a result of bad circulation and infection resulting from it, and it wasn’t unexpected: “I’ve known my whole life that this would happen some day. I’ve been a Type 1 diabetic since I was 21 months old and always told this was gonna come. It was a shocker though when I was told by an infection specialist that it was going as soon as possible.”
How did the amputation change your life?
“Sometimes it doesn’t seem real. It’s only been 4 months, so I’m amazed at how my life is quite ‘normal’ again, even though I’ve never really lived my life normally or traditionally (smiles).
Life is better because I’m healthier in body; no more infection. I’m healthier in physique because I work out now and have muscles in places I didn’t before, and I really like that! I think most days I’m healthier in spirit too because I’ve returned from a place of burden, insignificance and repulsion.
I despised being in a wheel chair in the beginning. I was embarrassed and disgusted with not being self reliant and chaired. I always lifted my head and straightened my shoulders when in the chair, making damn sure people saw me as a confident sexy woman, not a useless cripple.
Occasionally when out shopping, people oddly look up and down my leg as if I am an object ‘freak of nature’ and not as a person. I make eye contact with them then and smile widely. They always look so awkward at that moment when our eyes meet… (smiles).
I am more sexually charged now than I was before. The robotic appearance of my prosthetic leg gives me a super hero look; like a sassy red headed robot human! It is an extension of my oddities of which I’ve had many my whole life. I think it just adds another level of beauty to me as a person. It’s almost triumphant, empowering yet humbling.
There are times of anger too, though much less now than in the beginning. Being able to do everything I could before has taken the anger away. But because I healed so quickly and returned to work in less than a week after the chop off, people forget that I had this life altering, body traumatizing event and forget to cut me a little slack if I’ve forgotten to do something related to work. I’m like geez, it’s only been a few months. Technically I don’t even have to be back at work yet, so fuck off! (winks).”
Did becoming an amputee influence how you’re looking at yourself? How do you feel about your body now?
“I tend to lose my balance more now, so I feel embarrassed when I stumble. That’s an insecurity issue I’ve battled with my whole life though. It really is a freaky thing looking at Alice. And dealing with the equipment related to the prosthetic and its comfort is quite finicky and daunting and again bizarre. Sometimes I just want to get up and go but cannot! But my body is uniquely mine, now it just makes it more interesting!”
How big a role in your life does being an amputee have?
“It doesn’t. I am who I am regardless of the amputation. Living my life to the fullest and always pushing to do a great job, be a good friend, lover, mom.”
Do you feel people look at you differently since you became an amputee?
“Some do. For the most part they’re just inquisitive, intrigued, attracted or just down right rude! Most friends, acquaintances look at me like I’m Heather. A few friends couldn’t look at Alice in the beginning, so I would shout to them in a comical manner: ‘LOOK AT IT. Just LOOK AT IT.’ Then I’d get this great big smile out of them. It was awesome (smiles).”
What would be your main exasperations in that respect?
“Seriously! You’ve never seen a fake leg before?? Don’t be so bloody rude!
I do have to admit that when I went swimming for the first time – it was in the shallow kids area – and I was worried that parents were going to complain to the lifeguards or tell their kids to stay away because it was too freakish for them to see. I think that was a very low point for me.”
Are there also positive things?
“I love it when children look and make comments or ask questions to their parents. They are so genuine in their expressions and words. Opens the door for so much conversation and acceptance.”
What would you most like to be different in how people look at you as an amputee?
“I want to change the way I handle my reactions or to not react at all.
When did you first become aware of the existence of devoteeism?
“When in hospital waiting for the chop I did some research on Fetlife regarding amputees because my husband had told me he found out it is a fetish. That’s where I found out it’s called being a devotee.”
What was your initial feeling about it?
“Really? How interesting. And then I was contacted by many devotees on Fetlife right away; especially after I posted my post operation picture of Alice.”
Did that change over time?
“I still find it interesting, fascinating but at the same time I think all fetishes are fascinating! I have the utmost respect for devotees, well the ones I’ve met anyways. They are some of the most supportive friends I’ve had by my side through this whole entire process and still to this day. They are a huge part of my daily support network. I love my devotee kinksters, truly (winks).”
Never met any bad ones then?
“I haven’t met any negative devotees…yet. In fact, I wish I’d meet local devotees so that I can meet them in person.”
What’s your view on how devoteeism is being ‘practiced’ on the internet?
“It’s the same opinion I have about kink or porn or bdsm; we all have choices. If people want to be a part of those actions then it’s their choice as consenting parties. But do not be hurting or violating anyone, otherwise the law should be involved!”
If you could give devotees some advice, what would it be?
“Accept and share your desires. They are healthy. Anytime a person can admit an interest in a sexual desire and act on and enjoy that erotic pleasure, it just makes them more of a balanced person.
Thank you for being there to support amputees. One more person in my corner that has my back is another reason to make my day the best possible day it can be. Or to cry on. Or to share with. Or to have glorious sex with (winks).”
And finally, is there anything I didn’t ask that you would have loved to tell?
“Alice is like a cat’s tail. It has its own odd movements separate from the body. It has its own sensual appeal and characteristics. It has strange feelings of electricity and numbness. It should be hairy like a cat tail but it’s not supposed to be shaved for fear of ingrown hair infections. But I’m a rebel and this cat tail Alice doesn’t have any hair! (laughs).”