Getting hands on

I’m not entirely sure what Dobby from Harry Potter’s hands look like. But I always imagined that my hands would look pretty similar to his. Bony and misshapen. Actually, having just googled it, I’m not far off. 
My hands have been really affected by my arthritis. I remember from quite a young age that my hands were always a cause for concern for my consultants. My knuckles and finger joints have been damaged by previous aggressive flare ups. I recently saw an x ray of both hands and almost all of the tiny bones in my wrists have fused together, which is where they move out of place and instead of being little bones they merge together. This has caused severe restriction in movement of my wrists. My cartilage has also been worn away, and it’s very visible on the X-ray, chunks of white missing where my arthritis has eaten away the lining of my knuckles, the reason for my pain. The photos below are in black and white #artsy.

I used to be extremely self conscious of the appearance of my hands. Because in my eyes they were ugly. I thought that no boy would ever want to hold my hand. I would never wear a ring on my lumpy and deformed fingers- there would be no way I would place a reason for people to look at my hands on my fingers. I used to cover the fact that I was self conscious about their appearance through making jokes. I always had the ongoing joke at secondary school that my little fingers would be the ideal ski slope due to their odd shape. At uni my hands during became known as ‘the claw’, because it was permanently in a claw like position during a flare up. I made jokes in order to make other people laugh in a bid to make myself see the funny side too.

I am guilty of comparing my hands to those featured in posts on Facebook and Snapchat, the ones where each finger is perfectly slim, where rings glide perfectly onto them with ease, with their nails perfectly manicured. And it used to make me jealous, being honest sometimes it still does when I’m having a bad day. But I have come to realise that I shouldn’t focus on their looks. I have hands. Hands enabling me to high five, fingers enabling me to hold a pen and write (if only for a short time). We all want what we can’t have and appreciate things we don’t have.

But I now appreciate what I do have. I will never love their appearance, but I’m beginning to accept it. Before I used to avoid anything which would draw attention to them. Nail varnish and rings were a no go. But now I love nothing more than to paint my nails vibrant colours and cover them with all things glittery. People will notice my hands regardless, now at least they can pay my nails a compliment. I also now wear a couple of rings, gifts received from my nearest and dearest. Why shouldn’t I wear rings? Yes, my fingers are swollen but I want to wear them, to be constantly reminded of my mum and her strength. They also are the prettiest things so of course I’d love to wear them. Now I just have to accept the fact that I can only wear rings on certain fingers, the edgy look was never for me anyways.

We all have our differences, aspects of our bodies that we don’t like. Everyone has their insecurities but it’s important to recognise that our differences are what make us unique. My hands may certainly never feature in an advert for rings but they represent my strength and endurance in years of significant pain. My hands may become more damaged and worse looking, but hey ho what can you do, apart from take more medication. I have learned to live with their appearance, and now it’s time for me to embrace it.

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