A baby will lift their hands up and stare fascinated for hours in their crib. As we get older, our hands take on the story of our lives. Beautiful, bent, soft or gnarled, we may find ourselves going from painting our nails to hiding them. Hard industrial work and single momism made mine red and weathered. Other women my age painted their nails and grew them long. Mine were always too busy for long-lasting beauty. If they were not in the dirt gardening they were playing an instrument or reading cards. My hands have served me well. But thats my story.
THE LADY WITH 3 FOOT FINGERNAILS
She was sitting alone in an airport, petite, in her late 50's, dressed casually. I noticed that others were avoiding her, so of course, I sat beside her. And thats, when she lifted her hand to reach for her purse. Her fingernails were unpainted and at least 3 foot long spiraled like a pigtail to the floor. I was amazed. Children backed away from her, pointed, and horrified mothers grimaced. Noone seemed to want to be next to her claws. And yet, as if the condition of her nails was another appendage of her body, she was unbothered.
"Wow! Those are some nails!" I commented. Everyone's heads snapped to look, curious for her story. "Well thanks, I just won a Believe It or Not contest for them. Haven't cut them for years." "So you're a celebrity!" I remarked. I guess the question on mine and others minds were, how do you brush your teeth, comb your hair, or go to the bathroom?" As if she sensed this she answered my thoughts, "You learn to use your finger pads, and how to sit and stand and be around others without them getting in the way. No problem." The real point of admiration for me was not her nails but how she did not let the attitude of others, bother her in the least.
Beautiful smooth fingers bedazzled with rings from tip to base of the palm, long elegant painted nails, are almost every woman's wish. But like makeup, it takes a lot of work and care. I love watching my bank tellers hands. Like magic, she counts my paycheck with dancing hand movements. Her hands tell a story. She is relaxed, efficient, faces a crisis with confidence. And one fingernail is painted gold. She has a quirky side.
Many professions frown on nail polish and long nails. But there are women who no matter what, are never comfortable unless their nails are clipped short, without frill, and free to dig into their chores minus upkeep and worry. This would be me. It is also those who work with the earth, artists who chisel and detail orientated individuals who can not worry about breaking a nail or scuffing polish. We consider these things "handcuffs."
As we get older, our hands, just like our faces, take on the story of our lives. And like faces, there are actually "Hand Lifts" that can plump up your hands and make them appear younger. One woman, I spoke to said she considered this when one day sitting with her grandchild, the cherub in her lap said: "Grandma why do you have worms on your hands?" The child was referring to the veins on top of Grandmas' hands.
My sister told me the moment she realized her hands were "ugly" was when teaching one day in her class with a teleprompter, the image of her hand projected across the screen like a gnarly witches claw. Every line, vein, and tendon was magnified to giant size. She became deeply paranoid about showing her hands after this experience.
HANDS ARE BEAUTIFUL AND SPEAK VOLUMES
When I was in my twenties I framed interesting hand photos from a National Geographic magazine. Some belonged to Native Americans adorned with turquoise and silver, others were the worn hands from mountain folk, and some grasped reigns to camels in the desert. Hands in prayer, one with Buddha, sorrow and hard labor. Long, short, knarled, regal, I could care less about how pretty they were. The story behind the hands was fascinating. Then one day, I realized I had an interesting old paw. I call it "The Tarot Hand." Stretched to cup a well worn energetic deck of cards, receptive to energy, and laced with wisdom it is adorned with a ring that says "dance with me."