these are days

On IFC the other night I was watching a movie, Paradox Lake, about a kid working at an autistic camp. It was an intriguing story and offered a very interesting theory about autism and it’s connection to more mystical and prophetic areas. I enjoyed it and liked the path of the story.

What I did not understand happened in the documentary that came next on IFC.

I think I get complacent, thinking without even thinking that I’ve seen most everything. And also having the confidence that if I haven’t seen it yet, I’ve seen enough to at least understand most things I am seeing. This documentary reminded me that this is just not true…that as long as I am alive, I will be faced with things that are new and sometimes difficult to comprehend.

The documentary defined it as a new mental disorder though not yet included in the DSM. Costing and Arm and a Leg featured “amputee wannabes”, physically complete and able people who wish they weren’t and go to great lengths, even self-amputation, to achieve the body image they hold of themselves.

Body Image

The questions posed by the documentary…Why would anybody want, even choose, to remove a body part in order to feel whole and secure? Those featured in the documentary really seemed to be suffering and a few really did go to great lengths to achieve amputation. One man blew his own leg off with a shotgun. One, with the help of his wife, stuck his leg into dry ice long enough to cause severe frostbite (which doesn’t take very long by the way). Both achieved their goal.

There were those who didn’t survive their own attempts and interestingly enough there was a doctor in Scotland who was the first to perform it as an elective surgery. Of course the hospital and the leaders of that country were none to happy . He’s not allowed to do it again. But he said he would. The doctor Kevorkian of lost limbs. Ah…bad joke. The show was no joke.

I was watching and listening and then the doctor being interviewed said that what was once defined and a sexual compulsion is now being closely associated with the same traits exhibited in gender identity. I don’t know how I feel about that but it gave me a way to relate. The show gave us all, plenty to discuss.


I could relate on some personal level too. I’ve often stated that I’d happily remove my breasts. What a pain these things are to work with. 🙂

Anyway, I still don’t know what I think about the “wannabes”.

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