Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I am Proud of my Hands

I have painted pictures with these hands
I have written a novel
I have comforted friends
I have comforted strangers
I have learnt sign language
I have made a patchwork quilt
I have made clothes
I have mended clothes
I have bandaged knees
my own and others
I have made meals
and brilliant brownies.

Last night at work, we had to take a team photo – little bit difficult since our team is anonymous – so we were taking a team photo of our hands.

Yeah - so that bit in the picture above, where my little finger looks like it's broken/dislocated? That's my hand relaxed!

My manager had told me beforehand what we were doing, so I had come prepared with a pair of gloves. I was kind of surprised to discover that my whole team were all very self conscious about their hands – I’d always thought it was just me. I regularly get rashes on my knuckles which cause them to blister and bleed and with each flare, my joints twist a little more.

At the moment, I don’t have this but in the past I have had swelling in my tendon sheaths, which causes lumps the size of eggs to appear on the back of my hands.

So, I decided to hide all this by wearing gloves in the photo.

Something else interesting happened at that meeting - we were asked to think of something we were going to do in the next week to look after ourselves. I struggled to think of anything positive because I was feeling sick and down and, quite frankly, I was behaving like a sulky child (sorry guys!)

Later that night, as I was staring at my hands obsessively, I realised I’ve actually done some pretty cool things with my hands. Feeling ashamed of them is really quite self-indulgent and just silliness. While I'm sitting there staring at my hands obsessively, I'm not doing anything remotely useful or cool - I barely doing anything.

So, the thing I am going to do to take care of myself this week is be proud of my hands, and all the things they’ve done.

I will no longer being playing the “hide my hands from view” game – though since my people drawing skills are a bit rubbish I will still be doing this with any art work.

:-) Little Miss Autoimmune

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