SleepingAwakePhoto - Blog - These Hands - Week 3
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These Hands

Image Title:"These Hands"

These Hands

Hands. They’re these silly little things at the end of our arms that are responsible for so many things. These hands of ours can bring forth beauty as equally as bring destruction. They’re used for many talented journeys like drawing and painting, playing instruments, plaiting hair, touching, holding on to your loved one, and so many other things. We often forget just how much we use our hands and just how important they are to us.

What if one day you lost your hands or even worse, you still had them but they became useless?

As a kid, I was strong. I was the queen of the monkey bars. I played piano, volleyball, was a cheerleader, in the handbell choir, and drew all the time. My hands have been responsible for so many great things to be in my life. In high school, I would get hand cramps often. Our teachers really drilled it into us with taking notes. So much so that we actually were graded on it. When I got into college, I noticed that my hands would start to hurt during my drawing and computer classes.

A few years ago, I started to learn how to do aerial silks. I grew afraid of heights after a few traumatizing falls in cheerleading and was desperately wanting to overcome that fear, so why not suspend myself in the air beautifully? The thing about silks is that is takes a lot of core and upper body strength. Both of which I had a tremendous amount of as a kid. Something else that very important in silks is grip strength.

I worked on my grip strength so that I could finally climb to the top of the silks. Nothing too high, maybe 15 ft to the branch of the tree I hung them from. I was so proud of my progression. My grip was getting stronger and so was everything else along the way. At the time, I was working as a traveling professional dance competition photographer. I absolutely loved doing what I did but I hated how little time we had to rest between travel and work. One trip I went on was to California. I photographed for about 16 hours that day… with a lot of breaks and switching to a different photographer because my hand kept locking up and pain shooting through it.

My hand would lock into the position in which I was holding the camera and it took a good 15 minutes to work it out of the position. That didn’t stop the pain though. I could hardly pick up anything or hold onto things. It was painful and it was like it wouldn’t stop. My hand eventually healed but it took a good month to stop hurting. I would always make jokes about getting old and not having grip strength anymore but in the back of my mind I felt like I am going to lose everything I loved.

 

At the beginning of this month, I had to help my father with a leak under their house. He asked me to turn off the water to the house and I couldn’t. I struggled with trying to turn the knob to the point of panicking because I couldn’t do it. I did get it but with great struggle. It was then that it truly hit me that my hands are super weak. My body is weak. When I get into a situation where I feel stuck or can’t physically do something, I panic. I don’t want to be weak. I don’t want to lose the ability to do the things I love. Getting older and knowing this could be my fate really scares me.

I’ve been going back to the gym again and it’s really aggravated my shoulder and hands. Working out to be stronger is more difficult than it looks. These hands of mine have a hard time holding onto things or lifting anything. I sometimes feel like I’ll never be able to get the proper strength back to my body. I won’t give up though. I’ll continue to try and do my best, even through the pain. This is all I can do for now and if it isn’t enough then I’ll deal with that when the time comes.

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