12.1.18 Evening. Home.
I do not have pretty hands. The nails break and my fingers catch chilblains like gossip, glowing embers on each raised knuckle. The tips always look bruised, equal parts ailing blood circuitry and fountain pen ink, and the backs too often carry long scratches, from cat tooth or rose bush depending on the season. They are strong though, and clever and quick, seemingly imbued with more of my spirit than all the rest of me.
I have always lived through my hands. Whereas the rest of me must be still, my hands dance and tumble their way through my days. I unconsciously touch almost everything around me, finding textures for my fingertips and things to take and turn. I am rarely empty-handed or clean-nailed, and beside every sitting place in my house there is needle or knitting awaiting. Page turn, pen scrawl, the satisfying draw and reach of my hands over keyboard, pulling out words by the fistful. I cannot stop them and I wouldn't try. It is no wonder then that I turned to textiles, to writing, to gardening, and there was even paint once, which I'd often blend directly, preferring skin to brush. As a child, I asked for sign-language classes and though I've since forgotten all of it, there are still days where I wish I could abandon spoken word altogether and let these happy, expressive extensions of me take over that too. It is instinctive in me to reach, to caress, to soothe, so it is my hope that they end up saying deeper things to those I love in any case.
Today, my Dad cheerfully used an old phrase of mine as he carried stuff to the car. I had exclaimed it with frustration when I was two or three years old and it has stuck ever since in our family language: "I am all full up with hands." I had meant back then, as he did today, that I had too much to carry, but hearing him say it again now made me laugh loud thinking of how it and I have grown into new meaning since. That's what I am! I am all full up with hands. I am hands all and hands many and, god, what a good life it makes.