I really thought highly of myself and perhaps it’s the sin of pride that led me to not pay attention to what I was doing. I had done a good deal of fantastic writing that day and felt princely or something stupid like that, and it was time to get ready for a nice night out, a good time burlesque show, my first in years, and dolling up for dancing is a lovely gig, and in the shower I thought it was ok to just zone out and fancy myself a writer and a dancer and not a shaver like I should have been doing.
I ran my sharp pink daisy right over my left hand, taking a big slice off the nail of my pinky. I can’t even write about it, it’s ghastly. It bled a lot, as those nail beds are full of tiny capillaries and unfortunately for me, nerves. It fucking throbs with pain, each heartbeat containing a rhythmic reminder that I did something bad.
I am also typing with my injured hand so right now I feel like there is no escape. There’s no way out of our bodies. If we hurt them, we are stuck with them until time gradually seals the wound and the skin, once cut, reinvents itself as a hardened callus, and hesitant, distrustful and slow, cell by cell finally grows together over the straits and channels of muscle, fat, vein and bone. Gross. I am so grossed out right now.
I was practicing with new fans, silk instead of my usual feathers to accommodate the low ceiling height of the stage, so my hands were full of nasty little splinters from the cheapie wooden fan staves, as disposable as chopsticks, and I’d spent hours learning a new song on my old 1920 supertone guitar and in the painful process, subsequently and uniformly tore off the gel coating on each fingernail trying to cheat my way to a F#m with my short and weak grip, leaving behind a dry whitish residue that looked like I had previously been hosting postage stamps on each cuticle.
My fingers have always betrayed me, and my beauty has long been offended by the shape and grasp of them. I do believe I have terrible hands, and I mistreat them and abuse them as if they were Cinderella and the rest of my body comprised of the two hideous stepsisters. My hands do all the work and I just complain at how awful they are and how bad they look and then I go and hurt them all the time. It’s really too Freudian/Jungian and bizarre, and there is no prince, no ball, no fairy godmother to save my hands from myself.
People often talk about hating their bodies, but it is usually limited to areas that run to fat. i have tried to be kind to myself around food and weight and size but when it comes to my hands I really act as if they are not a part of me. this is so stupid because in many ways they are the most important part, the facilitators, the fixers, the doers of the body. I cut my hand but my hand also cleaned the wound, and fixed it up enough so that I could still dance and do wonders with the new fantastic silk fans.
The splinters in my palms didn’t bother me when the audience exploded with laughter and applause at my long awaited return to burlesque dancing. I shook many hands and wrapped my arms around many old friends and my hands held up delicious drinks and salted chili mango pieces to my mouth and clapped loudly at the jokes and routines of all the other dancers. My hands drove me home safely and dutifully took off my long false eyelashes and glittery blue makeup before putting the rest of me to bed.
My hands are ever faithful no matter how much I torture them and gossip about them and complain about them and neglect them do their millions of jobs wordlessly and well, and I wonder if I decided that I would love them, what could they do?