I was at my dermatologist office the other day and upon check-in, I saw a sign with a “special” advertised on it. It was a two-for-one offering injectable fillers for your hands.
Intrigued by the idea, and mainly, the two (before and after) photos that sat side-by-side on the advertisement, I asked the receptionist: “Why do people shoot that stuff in their hands?”
She responded with: “It fills in the hands in areas where the collagen has been lost, and it makes them look younger.”
I thanked her and sat back down in the waiting room. I stared fiercely at my own hands, not really ever thinking to take a look at them for something other than what they are… hands.
I looked a little closer at them and they did look a little worn.
I saw my dermatologist and went home shortly after. That afternoon, while writing an article, I looked down at my hands as they typed; something I don’t often do anymore seeing I have the keyboard pretty well memorized at this point in my life.
I stopped typing and took a good look at them. The daylight beaming in from my office window showed loud and clear just how “aged” my hands were.
I’ve heard several people say that you can tell a person’s age by looking at their hands. I remember being at a holiday party and no one could believe that one of the guests was in her seventies. A lady walked up and said “let me see the tops of your hands,” and sure enough, they looked just as you’d imagine a 70-year-old’s hands to look like. They were small and wrinkled with many grooves; they strongly resembled a roadmap, yet, they were soft and delicate. She had on that light shade of metallic pink fingernail polish that almost all grandmother’s are notorious for wearing.
I thought back to those before and after photos at the dermatology office. I then remembered reading an article about Kim Kardashian and how she “de-ages” her “old woman hands” by shooting them up with whatever was in those special “two for one” needles at my dermatologist’s office.
As I sat there, I realized something. Just like a face, hands are something that change as we age. Well, I suppose you could say that about all body parts…
Palm readers will tell you they can see your future based on the lines on the back of your hands.
However, the front of your hands can tell you the same about where you’ve already been.
As I sat there looking at my old lady hands, I realized they told a story; they told many stories hidden beneath the lines, the callouses, the soft patches and the distinct grooves.
My hands tell the story of my life- to me at least.
You may look at my hands and see large knuckles. I look at my knuckles and see years of “cracking,” which, as silly as this may sound, is actually a fond memory:
When I was younger, each summer my mom would drive my sister and I up to Canada in our station wagon to visit our family. Back then, my mom’s youngest sister lived with my grandparents and that was one of our favorite parts of visiting Canada—spending time with my Auntie Colleen.
Each morning, my sister and I would excitedly run to my aunts bedroom and hop in bed with her. She’d pretend to be asleep, so we’d start cracking her knuckles to wake her up- something I remember her doing all my life.
My big knuckles remind me of warm, summer mornings with unbrushed teeth, sitting together on my aunt’s bed telling jokes and flipping through hockey cards. I remember laughter of the highest volume as we jumped on top of her screaming “WAKE UP!!” I recall hours of story telling, and the amazing story of when she babysat at Wayne Gretzky’s house. That’s what I see when I look at my big knuckles.
You may see nicely manicured nails when you look at my hands. I see a poorly attempted “self manicure” in effort to save $20.00. I also see nails that silently will to be chewed and bitten to pieces. I was a nail biter my entire life. I had jaw surgery over a year ago, and ever since, I’ve never been able to nibble the white of a nail again.
I see a sparkly wedding ring that sits delicately on the fourth finger on my left hand. It reminds me of my wedding day; it reminds me of my great grandmother, as my wedding band belonged to her. It reminds me of the highest moments of my life, as well as some of my lowest.
I see a bulging vein in my left hand that reminds me of the day my daughter was born. I remember trying to maneuver around with it while trying to help my newborn baby “latch.” I remember the pain of the IV, and the relief when they finally took it out 7 days later.
I see long fingers that have typed thousands of words; some sad, some happy, some really funny. I see fingers that have typed words that have brought joy to others. I see fingers that have forged through endless college term papers.
I see hands that have cleaned up messes, wiped down counters, changed dirty diapers, slathered sunscreen, tickled backs, brushed out tangled hair, wiped tears, facilitated first steps, written birthday cards, scooped poop, caught falls and held the hands of others.
I see life in these hands.
While I can’t say I’ll never have a cosmetic surgery in my life, I can tell you that I’d never touch my hands, I’d never change these hands.
My hands tell a story; my hands have taken me places, the remind me of where I’ve been, the hands I’ve held, and the ones I’ve yet to, the lives I’ve touched and the ones that have touched mine.
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