Shelley Jackson has a tail

I wasn't born with mine - I'm uncoordinated, and fall down a lot. I was never much good at sports, and until I was 22 years old my body could only grow in the most uncomfortable ways. All lanky-limbed, with shoulders too broad, and a long neck. As long as I was growing, I could never stabilize.

The tail changed all that. I adapted easily, and was set free. Being always just awful at keeping my balance, was surprised by how much that affected. It had altered posture, confidence - it was almost scary how much I started to love myself.

The equipment was only talked about supporting the elderly, it was called a prosthetic - only for the sick and wounded, a bit extra to let you know you have less. But anybody could make one. Only, few did. What held you back? It scared them. Seeing me in those places, my loved ones were terrified for my life. At first, I was guilty, fooling them with a form no-longer of their own. But accept your senses and realize: it wasn't ever my fault you were so unimaginative.

I was disappointed too. The designs are so rudimentary right now, they can't grasp, or bear loads. If this makes any sense, it felt a lot more like another spine than a third hand. But over time, I learned. As I incorporated the tail, I wasn't ashamed anymore. I didn't want to hide it, even if I had to - just, some people liked me, and I wanted them to know what to expect.