Wednesday, October 20, 2010

My Right Hand

This is my right hand.

This is the hand that does most of the work. This is the hand that holds the blade and wiggles it through the cardstock on every piece I make. This is the hand that brings down the arm of the paper trimmer, that pulls the fresh sheet of paper from the drawer, that lines up the ruler with the edge, that drags the adhesive dispenser across the surface, that writes the note, that presses the sticker on the package, that takes over more than its half of the keyboard when I type, that runs a stiff fingertip along a fold, that aligns this piece with that, that hits "enter" and pauses while I reread, that grabs, shuffles, pinches, smooths, and stretches. This is the hand that I pull away from my work to rest, to let dangle at my side until the feeling returns, the pain subsides, and the cramp eases.

It's a little hand, with little dimply knuckles, a tiny scab here and there, hangnails, my mother's ring that never sits right, clipped nails, and a freckle or two. It also shows the wear of my work. On a knuckle on my pinky, there's a yellowy callous from where my hand has slid across thousands (millions?) of sheets of paper over that last three years.

And on my middle finger, a larger, but not as hardened callous between the top two knuckles, from the pressure of the blade against it day after day and day.

These are my "battle scars," my decoration from hours of odd and repetitive use, and my body's way of adapting to what I do for a living. Small, inconspicuous, but there, hardening, and thickening over time. They remind me of the choices I've made to get me here, and the time I've committed to this work. On my disheveled right hand, I wear them like badges of honor.

I'd give my left arm to be ambidextrous. (let that one sink in a bit...)

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