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Keeping the Handicap

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"Before I went into that... interrogation center... I asked the Prophets to give me the strength to get the rest of you out of there. And... that in exchange, I... I said I'd give up my life. Well, as it turned out, I was able to rescue you, Shakaar, and Lupaza. It's only cost me an arm. I felt the... the Prophets were generous. Somehow, replacing the arm seems... ungrateful."
Furel (explaining why he chooses not to get a prosthetic arm), Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

A character might voluntarily choose to live with an impediment, whether magical or mundane. From an outsider's perspective, there's no logical reason why they should remain that way. Maybe he's unable to move or speak. Maybe they're Blessed with Suck. Maybe the cure is rare or expensive but is still within easy reach. So why would the character choose to keep the handicap?

There's a number of possible reasons why. The disabled person might just be accustomed to living with the disability. They might feel that their disability is simply part of who they are or be proud of being disabled. Someone blind or deaf since birth would have a tough time adjusting to the addition of a fifth sense, and one turned into a werebeast many years prior would have long ago become accustomed to a bestial lifestyle (and may even end up Reveling in the New Form). Ultimately, the disabled character believes that it would be more of a hassle to be abled than to be disabled.

They may also be unwilling to correct the handicap if it makes them more appealing in the eyes of others: for example, for an attractive Love Interest, small imperfections like glasses, speech impediments, or a slight limp would often serve as an additional "turn-on".

The cure could go against their religion or could negate a core principle of their moral compass. Outsiders may claim that Belief Makes You Stupid and the cursed person may have a Crisis of Faith or a Moral Dilemma. They may also believe that they're guilty of something (especially in case of injury-induced handicap) that they believe they deserved it and thus don't wish to have it removed.

Many cases of Reed Richards Is Useless imply this trope, even if it's not stated outright. When a character lives with a disability in an extremely (technically or magically) advanced world, it's quite difficult to believe that no cure was available for them, so it may be inferred that they decided against taking the cure. Though that's usually the result of creators introducing a disabled character for whatever reason (say, to deliver a disability-related plot or Aesop, or for representation) and hoping the audience doesn't think too hard about what ought to be possible with all the phlebotinum lying around.

Compare Cursed with Awesome and Disability Superpower (which are common reasons for refusing to get rid of a curse or a disability), Can't Stay Normal, Freaky Is Cool, Be Yourself, I Choose to Stay, Scars Are Forever and Status Quo Is God. Also compare Elective Mute and Elective Broken Language, for someone who chooses not to speak or to speak in broken language in spite of having the ability to talk properly. Contrast I Just Want to Be Normal.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Attack on Titan: Titan Shifters are able to suppress their Healing Factor when they're injured, so they can pretend to be normal people.
  • Chané Laforet from Baccano!, who basically asked for a handicap. Namely, she asked her father to make her mute, so that she would never betray his secrets.
  • Cowboy Bebop: In "Black Dog Serenade", Faye questions why Jet doesn't get an organic arm replacement since, in the future of the series, organs can be cultivated and easily replace missing limbs. However, Jet opts for the artificial one, largely as a reminder of the day he lost his real arm via a trap the mob (and his partner, Fad, who was on their dime) lured him into and not to get too careless as he did in the past.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • Doctor Tim Marcoh is a former State Alchemist responsible for research in creating Philosopher's Stones for the government. Beyond the horrific ingredients need to make a Stone, the most prolific use of his research was as weapons for the Ishvalan War of extermination, for which Marcoh abandoned the military out of disgust. When one of the few survivors of Ishval found him years later, after seeing the depth of Doctor Marcoh's remorse, he spared his life, but alchemically disfigured his face. While Doctor Marcoh could have easily used one of his remaining Philosopher's Stones to undo the damage, he decides to keep his disfigurement as part of his penance for the many atrocities his research enabled.
    • In the finale of the first anime, Edward regains his lost arm and leg, only to give them up again to pull Alphonse out of the Gate.
  • Gouda of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex was a Ridiculously Average Guy before being horribly disfigured in an accident. He chose not to have his face fixed via surgery or cybernetics because his Inferiority Superiority Complex is such that he'd rather disgust people than be forgotten by them.
  • Cinque from Lyrical Nanoha lost an eye in the backstory when she fought and killed the original Zest. She has never suggested the desire or brought up the possibility of getting a replacement, even though the original was already a cybernetic implant. The exact reason for this has never been specified.
  • My Hero Academia:
    • After Izuku's arm becomes damaged one time too many due to him still not gaining proper control over One For All, Recovery Girl outright refuses to treat him again in order to force him to figure out how to not cripple himself after every fight. Izuku agrees with her reasoning and decides to let his arm heal normally for the time being.
    • Iida receives a scar and residual damage to his arm after his fight with Stain. Although he could have had it removed with surgery, he decides to keep it as a reminder of his past mistakes until he feels he learned his lesson.
  • Naruto:
    • Kabuto Yakushi naturally has poor eyesight, yet he deliberately keeps wearing his iconic glasses despite having the ability to perform eye transplants without any difficulty. They were a present from Nonou, the orphanage caretaker who gave Kabuto his name, and whom he inadvertently killed years later.
    • After their final duel, Naruto and Sasuke finally settle their differences at the cost of their respective dominant arm. While Naruto gets a replacement made of Hashirama's cells, Sasuke forgoes getting one himself, resolving to live on with a single arm as a reminder of the crimes he committed. He continues to live that way by the time of Boruto.
  • In The Seven Deadly Sins, Escanor performs an Explosive Overclocking ability in their fight against the Demon King. As his body burns out and dies, he gives a Love Confession to Merlin as he does. While she did not feel the same way, she gives him a parting kiss as thanks, burning the lower half of her face. While she could use her shapeshifting abilities to heal the burns, she decides to keep the scars as a memento of Escanor.

    Comic Books 
  • Batgirl: Barbara Gordon had access to several potential cures for her paraplegia because of her association with superheroes. However, she refused to use these as she felt it was unfair that she could use these technologies and normal people couldn't. In Batgirl (2011), Barbara gets surgery to fix it and becomes active as Batgirl again.
  • Daredevil: This is a recurring plotline. The main character, Matt Murdock, lost all vision after a childhood accident but obtained Super-Senses (including a radar sense) in exchange. In a number of plotlines, his eyesight is restored by some means or another, but Matt loses his enhancements and ends up incredibly disoriented and incapable of fighting. In one story, he outright begs the alien who returned his sight to him to take it back.
  • Love and Rockets: Casimira lost one of her arms below the shoulder in a childhood accident. Despite having a wealthy sister who has repeatedly offered to buy her a functional prosthetic arm, Casimira stubbornly clings to her old prosthetic long after it ceases to serve any use.
  • Lucifer: Lucifer gives Mazikeen his Reality Warper "Morningstar" powers as a parting gift. Both are pissed that he's leaving after everything they have gone through and forcing this power on her without her consent, she swipes at him with her sword, leaving a gash on his face. While he could heal the wound, she tells him that if he did then it would prove himself a coward. Being known for his Pride, Lucifer keeps the scar to the very end of the series, the scar still present when he returns in the 2016 series.
  • Sometime before the beginning of Runaways (Rainbow Rowell), Victor Mancha's head was separated from the rest of his body in the hopes of salvaging him after his evil sister-in-law ripped out a chunk of his chest. After being revived, he refuses offers to have a new body built for him because he feels he deserved being beheaded for accidentally killing his nephew. He eventually changes his mind after getting tired of the increasingly embarrassing ways that his friends devise to get him around (at one point, they tape his head to Chase's shirt.)
  • The Sandman (1989): The Kindly Ones ransack the Dreaming to torment Dream, having been given free rein to do so when he took his own son's life as a mercy kill. When Dream objects to their threats, they respond by whipping him with their whip of scorpions, leaving a scar on his cheek. When asked why he keeps the scar by Lucien — Dream being a polymorphic Anthropomorphic Personification — he remarks that it was foretold that he would receive a scar on his cheek as ironic karma.
  • Shazam!: Writers over the decades have struggled to justify Freddy Freeman's continuing to live his daily life with a spinal injury requiring him to use a crutch and leg brace rather than staying in Captain Marvel Jr. form at all times and simply changing into street clothes. The most direct explanation is that he feels as though "the meter is running" when he's invoked the magic and is in superpowered form.
  • Transformers:
    • Transformers: Shattered Glass: Sideswipe chose to keep the huge scratch mark on his chest (that goes over his Autobot insignia) despite the fact that he could've had it easily repaired. He explains that he wears it as a mark of pride, reminding himself and everyone that he will have his revenge on Optimus, who tried to have him executed for disagreeing with his methods.
    • The Transformers: More than Meets the Eye has Whirl as a victim of "Empurata" — a cruel punishment favored by the old regime in which the victim's face was replaced with a single eye and their hands replaced with claws. This is meant to mark them as an outcast but was especially traumatic for Whirl, who was a clockmaker by trade and can no longer practice his art without hands, leading to his... antisocial tendencies. He keeps trying though, and in the comic's epilogue, he has apparently regained his skills. Not only does Brainstorm possess a clock he made, but when Ratchet dies and wills him his hands (of exceptional quality), Whirl rejects them because "I don't need fixing".
  • X-Men: The Krakoan Age introduces the Resurrection Protocols, which grant mutants Resurrective Immortality by creating new bodies for them. Mutants can even go through the Crucible to die and get resurrected whenever they please. We've seen various disabled mutants react to this; Karma is resurrected but apparently not to restore her missing leg. (No canon reason is provided, but it's most likely due to avoid real-life accusations of ableism.) Wiz Kid has elected to stay wheelchair-bound, but provides an explanation: he'll shed his disability when he's being revived from death, but he's not willing to actively seek out his death to achieve the results. So he'll wait for an accidental or natural death, rather than trying to force it. Cyclops has been resurrected, but he refuses to have his power incontinence fixed.

    Fan Works 
  • The Great Alicorn Hunt: The doctors at Windy City firmly believe this is a good thing and attempt to persuade others that it's the way things should be. Rainbow Dash and others, on the other hoof, are utterly disgusted with the idea, viewing handicaps as problems to be fixed rather than something to be proud of.
  • Snippets of Sirin Shariac's life: Despite not needing to do so as a Herrscher, Sirin still decides to eat, sleep, and breathe to keep her humanity. In a later chapter, it's also revealed that Cecilia offered multiple times to restore her missing left arm with Abyss Flower, but Sirin refused to keep it as a reminder of her actions during the Second Honkai War. It doesn't impact her life much though, as she can create a replacement out of Honkai energy whenever necessary.
  • Shisui from Son of the Sannin rejects to offer to get a transplant to replace his stolen eye because he finds the idea of some stranger's eye in his face to be creepy. That said, he has absolutely no problem having the original reimplanted once it's recovered several years later.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Alita: Battle Angel, Alita manages to stab Grewishka in the eye before he retreats to his masters. When asked about why he won't have his eye fixed, he says he wants to feel the pain.
  • Doctor Strange (2016): Initially, Strange intends to learn magic to heal his permanently damaged hands and work as a surgeon again, just like Jonathan Pangborn who used his magic to walk again despite a complete spinal cord injury. However, in the end, Strange decides against it and leaves his hands as they are.
  • Marrowbone ultimately reveals that Jack has been hallucinating his younger siblings, to the point of manifesting them as alternate personalities for himself, after the three of them were killed by their abusive father. While Jack's love interest Allie takes Jack to get medical treatment after he's injured when he finally kills his father, although Allie is given medication for Jack's multiple personalities, she decides not to make him take the medication as she can see he's happier when he can believe his siblings are still alive.
  • Sound of Metal: Played with. After going deaf, Ruben gets cochlear implants that will allow him to hear. The only problem is that they don't work all that well; he can hear, but it's distorted and unpleasant in a way that suggests a failing electronic speaker. The last scene has him taking out the implant receiver and enjoying silence.
  • Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country:
    • General Chang, military leader of the Klingons, sports an eyepatch, bolted directly to his skull.
    • During the assault on Chancellor Gorkon's ship, one of his bodyguards gets his arm shot off by the assassins. Later, during the trial of Kirk and McCoy on Kronos, that guard has still only one arm, possibly as a propaganda move to show the ruthlessness of the Federation.

  • Played for Laughs in Barry Trotter and the Shameless Parody. The blacksmith Zed has, on several occasions, offered to make Barry a set of prosthetic zinc eyeballs to correct his vision problems. Barry always refuses on the grounds that Zed is crazy and it's a bloody stupid idea.
  • Catching Fire: Chaff, a victor from District 11, lost a hand during his Games and refused to receive a prosthetic one from the Capitol.
  • Ciaphas Cain: Cain gets into a friendly duel with a Techmarine where he manages to score a hit against the Techmarine's armor. Cain is aghast, but the Techmarine reassures him and even tells him he'll keep the notch left by Cain's chainsword as a reminder never to underestimate an opponent.
  • Discworld:
    • The Librarian was turned into an orangutan many years ago. While it has slightly reduced his intelligence (Word of God is that he can no longer even think in human languages), he has steadfastly refused and/or sabotaged any attempts to change him back, because he's found his new orangutan body beneficial to his job. To name a few examples, climbing bookshelves is much easier with feet that can grasp like hands, being a 300-pound ape who can pick people up by their ankles and bang their heads against the floor tends to encourage library patrons to be quieter and be more careful with the books, and he can read the tomes that contain Things Man Was Not Meant to Know since he isn't technically a man anymore.
    • The trademark of The Igor and the Igorina is to have highly visible scars. In the case of Igorinas, there will always be a single imperfection in any (otherwise invisible) cosmetic surgery they do to themselves or others. As Igorina puts it, who would notice, otherwise? They view this as advertising.
  • In the Earth Girl universe, the advanced medical technologies have made it possible to fix nearly every handicap, but there are still those who choose to keep them:
    • Jarra's left little finger is only 90% functional after she lost it in an accident and had it regrown in a hospital. A Running Gag has her being urged to have it reregrown by every medical professional she meets, but she flatly refuses to do so.
    • Rono has had a scar on his left temple ever since his husband Keren once lost his temper and punched him. He could easily remove it but prefers to keep it so that he can tease Keren about it.
  • A minor character in Excession has some sort of anxiety disorder that leaves him excruciatingly shy and self-conscious. This sort of thing being both virtually unknown in the Culture and probably not impossible to fix, he soon became the focus of a long line of humans and AIs eager to see if they could treat him (which just terrified him into no longer answering messages), none of whom understood he preferred being shy and self-conscious, being an integral part of his self-image. When introduced, he's taken on a sinecure posting at one of the Culture's most distant and isolated outposts, with exactly one other person to talk to (who isn't talkative), no visitors, and absolutely nothing to do, and is perfectly content.
  • Michael Corleone of The Godfather initially chose to keep his jaw wounded by Police Brutality, distrusting the doctor he lived with in Sicily and, even after, wanting to keep his image until his wife Kay convinces him otherwise.
  • In the Harry Potter franchise, wizards have a spell that allows them to be largely capable of healing any and all injuries not inflicted by an irrevocable magic with great ease. This makes it all the more noticeable that Albus Dumbledore sports a broken nose, courtesy of a punch from his brother Aberforth after a duel in which their sister Ariana was killed. It's implied that Albus willingly chose to keep the signs of the old injury as a deliberate reminder to himself of his great mistake that led to Ariana's death.
  • Inheritance Cycle:
    • Eragon is left with a nasty and painful back scar from his fight with Durza. He decides against having it removed at first, feeling like it's become a part of him. Ultimately, it's removed when Eragon is enchanted by the Agaeti Blodhren.
    • After she wins the Trial of the Long Knives, Eragon offers to heal Nasuada's deeply scarred arms. She declines on the grounds that she needs to keep the scars to prove that she won and is worthy of being ruler.
  • In Malazan Book of the Fallen, the Revenant Zombie Shurq Elalle refuses to become a living woman again, since she would then grow old and ugly then, while as a zombie, she can remain beautiful forever.
  • In Messenger, after Matty discovers his power of Healing Hands, he offers to heal his friend Kira's lame leg. She refuses because her disability is intrinsic to who she is.
  • A real-world, non-supernatural example occurs in the Millennium Series. After being tied up and raped by Bjurman, Lisbeth's wrist is injured from the rope. Although she knows it will fade, she elects to have it tattooed on her wrist as a reminder.
  • In Needful Things, Polly goes to Leland Gaunt's magical shop to find a cure for her crippling arthritis, but eventually she realizes his evil ways and refuses the cure:
    Polly: That was what I wanted, but I don't need it to be gone. I can love you and I can love life and bear the pain all at the same time. I think the pain might even make the rest better, the way a good setting can make a diamond look better.
  • In No One To Hear You by Samantha Hayes, the protagonist's deaf daughter Flora has broken several hearing aids when she was still an infant. The protagonist eventually realizes that she doesn't want to hear, and decides to let her remain deaf.
  • In Stardust, the protagonist Tristran burns his hand, and his Love Interest Yvaine (a star in human form) limps after her fall from the sky — and, quite unusually for the fairy tale genre, they remain somewhat crippled for life. Given that they are in a fairy land full of magic and eventually become the King and Queen of it, it's quite difficult to believe that there was no cure available for them — so it's much more likely that they refused the cure, seeing their handicaps as reminders of their love and adventures.
  • The Stormlight Archive has an unintentional version: the Knight Radiant Healing Factor can undo almost any injury but is based on the Knight's self-image, so Kaladin can't heal his Slave Brand until he recovers from the trauma it represents. He finally succeeds in the fourth book.
  • Risa, in the Unwind dystology second book, could have regained the use of her legs with a replacement spine; but since it would come from an unwound teen, she refuses it.
  • In The Wave And The Flame, Dr. Megan Levy wears glasses in an age where defective eyesight can always be corrected by surgery and glasses are considered obsolete, so that she can look disapprovingly at her students over the top of them.
  • The Wheel of Time: Sammael's distinctive facial scar was given to him by The Chosen One Lews Therin Telamon; he vowed not to remove it with Healing Hands until he could kill Lews Therin personally.
  • The Will of the Empress: When Ishabal brings up the possibility of Tris using her magic to correct her vision at need:
    Ishabal: If you may correct your vision as you like, why do you wear spectacles?
    Tris: Because I like them. Because I have better things to do with my magic than fixing my vision when ordinary glass will do.
  • In Wings of Fire, Darkstalker offers to use his animus powers to cure Starflight and Tamarin's blindness, but they refuse, feeling that they don't want to make a habit of solving their problems the easy way out with magic.
  • Tenel Ka in Young Jedi Knights loses a part of her arm due to rushing her lightsaber's construction and having it explode in her hand right when she needed to parry a blow from Jacen Solo. She eventually refuses to get a replacement prosthetic like her teacher Luke Skywalker did as a reminder to not let her pride get the better of her, citing it was Luke's choice to do so as her grandmother is trying to force the artificial limb on her, until Tenel Ka "forcefully" destroys the prosthetic to affirm her decision.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Blake's 7: Travis refused cosmetic surgery, preferring to keep his Eyepatch of Power because he wanted Blake to remember the injury he inflicted. It also sets him apart from the handsome staff men that Supreme Commander Servalan surrounds herself with.
  • Criminal Minds: "The Silencer" features a Serial Killer who was born deaf and given experimental cochlear implants as a teenager at his abusive mother's insistence (she was paid for participating in the trial). The implants themselves are faulty, causing him constant pain, which is probably his primary motivation for wanting them gone. Throughout the episode, he attempts to perform surgery on himself to remove them. While he never explains his reasoning beyond that, the episode clearly demonstrates that he's able to hear, but he never speaks. Since he's not mute, that's a conscious decision on his part, which implies that there's also a mental factor at play in why he wants to be deaf again.
  • In Motherland: Fort Salem, Bridey lost an eye in a battle that killed one of her sisters under her command. Even though replacing the eye would be easy for a witch, she elected to keep the injury as a reminder of her inability to save her sister.
  • My Name Is Earl: Little Chubby allows his genitals to be smashed by a pitching machine in order to be a better person. Subverted in his next appearance when he has them repaired because he's not good at his job when he's nice.
  • Person of Interest: Harold Finch walks with a limp and is in permanent pain due to an injury. He chooses not to have the damage repaired because he believes the pain is appropriate punishment for choosing to ignore the Irrelevant list, most notably the ferry bombing whose victims included his Only Friend Nathan Ingram.
  • Star Trek:
    • We've seen multiple Klingons with eye patches, even though cloned implants are generally available. Martok in particular refuses Bashir's offer to replace his missing eye in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. This probably plays into their honor system, i.e. their "victory" would mean less if they could get back what it cost so easily. They probably also feel that it makes them look more badass, being a symbol of the battles they've fought and survived. Averted in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Ethics", however, in which Worf would rather undergo ritual suicide/mercy-killing than live with paralysis. He willingly accepts an experimental treatment to cure it.
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation:
      • In "Hide and Q", Q tempts Riker by giving him the Q's godlike powers. He uses the power to grant some favors to the crew, such as giving the blind Geordi normal eyes; but they all ultimately refuse the gifts, saying that the price is too high.
      • Geordi, though blind, doesn't live without sight thanks to his VISOR, but it's shown to have some downsides (e.g. it doesn't provide the same visual experience as eyes would; it can cause headaches; it can be knocked off, blinding him). During the second season, Dr. Pulaski offers ocular implants to Geordi, as she has experience with that sort of surgery. He declines at the time, saying that he's not sure the technology could equal what his VISOR can do. He also gets in several Aesops about disability acceptance, including at least two situations in which his VISOR's capabilities save the day for him and another character who had just finished telling him how he would never have existed in their society. He does eventually get them in Star Trek: First Contact after actor Levar Burton refused to wear the painful VISOR prop anymore (Expanded Universe material suggests that Geordi was basically forced to get the implants after his VISOR being hacked played such a key part in the destruction of the Enterprise-D, as various Fleet officials wanted to stop such a thing happening again).
    • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
      • One of Kira's Bajoran friends, Furel, lost his arm while a member of the Resistance. He says that he prayed to the Prophets prior to a rescue mission, offering to exchange his life for those of his captured friends. He feels that surviving with only a missing arm is an act of mercy by the Prophets, and getting a new arm would be ungrateful. Of course, his girlfriend Lupaza is quick to joke that he refuses to get a new arm just to avoid having to put in a full day's work.
      • In "Melora", an officer from a low-gravity world chooses to remain as she is rather than be permanently acclimated to normal gravity. Her reasoning is that she wouldn't be able to live long-term on her home planet anymore.

  • Welcome to Night Vale In the climax of the StrexCorp arc, Kevin tries to turn Steve Carlsburg to his side by saying StrexCorp can "fix" his paraplegic daughter. Steve vehemently shouts that she is not "broken" while suplexing Kevin into a dimensional portal.

  • In Embers in the Dusk, Avernites can get just about any scar removed, but tend to keep ones connected to important stories, experiences, and lessons.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition: The Flaws system in Edition 3.5. Some of these flaws can be physical handicaps that could be readily healed with magic (for a price, if you're not the right class or level), but the character gains a free feat in exchange for the flaw. Thus, if the flaw is ever healed, the GM has grounds to rule the feat as lost too, which may not be desirable by the player.
  • Vampire: The Requiem: Vampires can prevent their Healing Factor from erasing a physical change to their body, but it costs a Willpower point at minimum, whether they're trying to keep a scar from a noteworthy battle or a simple haircut.
  • Warhammer: Wulfrik the Wanderer was cursed for his arrogance by the gods (he drunkenly boasted of being the best fighter in the world, of having killed every kind of monster in the Chaos Wastes twice and having personally boxed the ears of at least three emperors) into abandoning his former life as a clansman and forcing him to wander around the world at their bidding, challenging the deadliest champions and monsters he could find. While at first he deeply resented this curse and tried to rid himself of it, in time he recognized it for the blessing it was, for the series of betrayals and wild goose chases he went through in his efforts to remove the curse got him more power and fame than he could ever have dreamed of as a mere clan warrior (chief among them a flying teleporting longship that lets him track prey wherever it hides). He is now one of the Dark Gods' most devout followers, making each victory into a sacrifice to them.
  • Warhammer 40,000: Lucius the Eternal of the Emperor's Children was a Fighting Narcissist who took great pride in never having received any scars from his constant dueling. Then he received two scars that marred his face shortly before falling to Chaos that the Apothecaries were unable to remove, and now his entire face is a roadmap of scars, many self-inflicted.

    • Vican became a willing guinea pig for Mutran's Shadow Leeches and was since experimented on further, giving him a monstrous visage he'd hoped Mutran would reverse. When his corruption was cured, Vican chose to keep his mutated form as penance for his past crimes.
    • A runaway member of the Nynrah Ghosts once sustained a wound on his arm from a forge accident. While it's an easy fix for him, he chose not to as a reminder that even the best are not infallible.

    Video Games 
  • Chrono Trigger: On fighting Magus, Frog (a human cursed into a giant bipedal frog) thanks Magus for it, as he claims his achievements would never have happened in his human form (several of his abilities make use of his tongue and jumping ability). However, the ending cutscene shows him as a human, though that's only an Unexplained Recovery if, later in the game, the player chooses to recruit Magus instead of fighting him a second time.
  • During the "Tales of Ash" arc in The King of Fighters (2003, XI and XIII), Iori loses his power due to Ash Crimson stealing his power. The power Iori wields is from a family curse due to his clan making a deal with Orochi in the ancient days (Long story, basically it was made out of misguided jealousy). While Iori can fight without it, when all's said and done at the end of KOF 13, he's given the chance to let said power disappear into the ether and live a normal life. He decides he Can't Stay Normal and takes the power back within himself.
  • Kazuhira Miller in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain literally loses an arm and a leg while he was captured. Although he's fully capable of getting mechanical limbs like Snake did, he refuses to get one because wants to hold onto the phantom pain to fuel his revenge against Cypher.
  • Countershade from Mighty No. 9 is a one-armed sniper who lost his missing arm in a battle, and has opted not to have it replaced because he enjoys the extra challenge his handicap brings to combat.
  • In Overwatch, Mercy says there are procedures she could use to restore the eye Ana lost in a Sniper Duel against Widowmaker. Ana is grateful for the offer but declines, saying that she's comfortable with who she is now and that her missing eye is a good reminder to push forward in life.

  • Terezi Pyrope from Homestuck goes blind as part of a long-winded revenge plot, but finds herself preferring being blind over when she could see. When Aranea gives her the option to heal her eyes, she declines due to what being blind has done for her. In the original timeline, she does end up taking the offer out of a sense of low self-esteem and regrets being manipulated into it, making sure it never happens when she sends John out to fix the timeline with his retcon-powers.
  • NEXT!!! Sound of the Future: Shine opts out of a simple surgical fix for her singing bug and instead decides to wear a device that would allow her to sing, at the cost of reducing her voice box's lifespan. Her reasoning is that the surgical method would put her potential idol career at risk due to tampering with Vocaloid voices being against the law.
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • Durkon's mother Sigdi lost her arm years ago. When she joins the party in battle, wielding an axe, she's questioned why she didn't let Durkon regenerate her arm with a spell before the fight. She explains that Durkon needs all the high-level spell slots he can get for the fight, then touches upon this trope:
      Sigdi: Plus, I been like this fer fifty years an' change. I'm na sure I'd know what ta do wit two hands right away!
      Hilgya: I don't know, strap a shield to it?
      Sigdi: It's OK, lass. It took Durkon a while ta unnerstand, too.
    • She has a second, more sentimental reason, too: Sigdi lost her arm during the cave-in that killed her husband, and her last experience with the arm was holding his hand, trying to pull him to safety. She never let go and comforts herself with the knowledge that, in a way, her severed arm is still there, holding his hand.
    • Played with when Redcloak has one of his eyes gouged out by O-Chul. As a high-level cleric, he could easily cast a regenerate spell to restore it, but his boss Xykon (who's mid-Villainous Breakdown at the time) decides he's sick of Redcloak wasting time instead of actively pursuing their Evil Plan and forbids him from getting his eye back as a form of punishment.
      Xykon: You're not regenerating anything. That eye? That's your individual Idiot Tax. That's what this fiasco costs you personally. I want you to remember every moment of every day what happens if we sit on our lazy ASSES and rearrange the furniture in a ruined city instead of moving on to the next target. If I ever see you with more eyes than assholes, I'm going to shove one in the other and give your cloak to that hobgoblin.
    • Redcloak's brother Right-Eye earned his name from the fact that he lost an eye to a paladin's sword as a kid but rejected the idea of having it regenerated. In his case, though, it was as part of a plan: their boss, Xykon, can't tell goblins apart to save his unlife, and Right-Eye planned to kill him. He believed that if his plan failed, the best way to go into hiding would be to have the eye regenerated, at which point he'd lose his most distinguishing feature and melt into the crowd.
    • Among the priests seen at the Godsmoot, the high priestess of Odin has an eyepatch, the high priestess of Hoder is blind and the high priest of Tyr has a Hook Hand. Again, it would be trivial for high-level clerics to heal those disabilities, but in each case, they mimic those of their respective gods, and in fact, it is very likely they were ritually self-inflicted.

    Western Animation 
  • In the epilogue of Amphibia, Andrias is seen without his life-extending cybernetics, using Barrel’s hammer as a walking stick. Creator Matt Braly confirmed that this was by choice, as even though he will eventually die without them, he refused Olivia & Yunan’s offer to have them replaced or repaired, wanting to use the time he had left to repair the land he had damaged before reuniting with his friends in death.
  • In Futurama episode "The Cyber House Rules", Leela undergoes surgery to become a normal two-eyed woman in spite of Fry's objections who believes she's cool the way she is (although it should be noted that the second eye just made Leela look normal and she still couldn't actually see anything with it). By the end of the episode, she realizes that Fry was right, and basically threatens the surgeon into making her one-eyed again.
  • Gargoyles: Halcyon Renard uses magic to transfer his mind from his dying body into a Golem. Unfortunately, this causes him to get drunk with power and become a complete Jerkass. After having a Heel Realization, he chooses to go back to his decaying body.
  • King of the Hill: Attempted in "Dia-Bill-Ic Shock": After misinterpreting his jerkass doctor's angry ranting after being diagnosed with diabetes, Bill mistakenly believes that he is about to lose the use of his legs, and obtains a wheelchair and starts using it. He is depressed at first but learns to enjoy life again when he meets up with a wheelchair rugby player (who calls himself Thunder) and his team. While getting drunk at a bar with his new friends, Bill subconsciously gets out of his wheelchair. He tries to explain his situation and tests his blood sugar, attempting to prove that he has a legitimate medical condition. His blood sugar level comes up normal (all the exercise he had been getting with the team had gotten his diabetes under control), and he is accused of faking. Back home, Bill starts eating handfuls of sugar in hopes of bringing back his diabetes and restoring the new life he had forged for himself. Fortunately, Hank and Thunder show up to explain that he had gotten his diabetes under control after his doctor thought he was a lost cause — that he could be an inspiration despite having working legs.
  • In one episode of The Simpsons, Homer discovers that he has a crayon inside his brain that he stuck up his nose as a child, and after having it removed, he becomes significantly more intelligent. Unfortunately, this intelligence comes at the cost of being ostracised by his friends and co-workers, and at the end of the episode he asks for it to be put back in so he can go back to being his old, dumb, likable self.
  • The Smurfs (1981): In "Smurfing In Sign Language", the mute wood elf Laconia is captured by the evil wizard Gargamel who offers to give her a voice if she shows him where the Smurf village is, but she refuses. Later on, when the voice-giving spell is destroyed and the Smurfs regret that now Laconia will never be able to speak, she indicates that she is happy just the way she is.
  • Similar to The Simpsons example, an episode of SpongeBob SquarePants had Patrick becoming an Insufferable Genius after his head was accidentally replaced with brain coral. Due to his new intelligence alienating his friends, he decided to replace his head back to his normal oafish self.

    Real Life 
  • The singer Grimes has quite a notitheable lithp; she stated that she "liketh it", and has no desire to undergo speech therapy.
  • Marty Feldman attributed his appearance, notably his Fish Eyes, to his success and stated:
    "If I aspired to be Robert Redford, I'd have my eyes straightened and my nose fixed and end up like every other lousy actor, with two lines on Kojak. But this way I'm a novelty."
  • Stephen Fry has a distinctive crooked nose as a result of breaking it at the age of six and refused to undergo corrective surgery because he sees it as his trademark.
  • Freddie Mercury elected to never get his distinctive overbite fixed, despite being self-conscious about it, for fear that the surgery would damage his voice.
  • The jazz singer "Little" Jimmy Scott (whom Twin Peaks fans will remember from the final episode of the show's original run) had a condition called Kallmann syndrome that prevented him from going through puberty. This gave him the Disability Superpower of an ethereal, permanently childlike voice — effectively making him a cruelty-free castrato — so he opted out of hormonal treatment for his career's sake, as this Cracked article mentions.
  • Many Deaf people with some remaining hearing prefer not to use hearing aids; some who have cochlear implants prefer not to use them. From their perspective, they can communicate perfectly well in sign (or by texting, if they need to talk to a non-signer), they can use visual signals instead of auditory ones, and their entire community may be Deaf or at least fluent in sign language; in their lives, hearing is unnecessary, so why bother?