Have you ever noticed how different and expressive two human being’s hands are? We know that no two human’s fingerprints are the same (unless you have an identical twin, but even then your hands will be different from your different activities). Hands tell character, they tell stories.
My hands crack and pop a lot. I have several oddly shaped knuckles that I’ve broken playing rugby and an additional one that I’ve dislocated playing softball. I wouldn’t be surprised if I have arthritis when I’m “too young” to have it. On my third pad on both hands, the ones under my middle fingers, I have calluses from pull-ups (assisted pull-ups, don’t get too excited about it) and free weights. My left hand has calluses on my pointer, middle, and ring fingers from playing guitar.
My mother’s hands are tan from biking. Just the fingertips because she wears finger-gloves. Her fingertips are always sore because she bites them when she’s nervous and she’s nervous a lot. She has long, red nails that are often broken or have additional, accidental paint on them because she’s an artist at the local theater. No one really knows why she bothers to get her nails done because they’re always ruined in a day.
My grandmother’s hands are incredibly soft because she exfoliates and uses expensive lotions to keep them nice. Her skin is lose and her vines are blue and stick out. She wears a class ring and her engagement and wedding ring. The diamond is on the larger side. When I was young and stupid I asked her if I could have it when I died. It’s a regular family joke now. When she speaks to you sincerely, sometimes she will reach out and gently lay her hand on your arm.
My girlfriend’s hands are tiny and lace up with mine perfectly. She has short nails. I think so she won’t pick at them when she’s nervous. Her skin is usually soft, but she complains that sometimes it gets dry. I never notice, but she does and she buys sweet-smelling lotions to keep them moisturized. What I usually notice is her fingers are cold. I’m always trying to warm them up. Her hands and wrists are also strong. She has built up her strength from years of yoga and she’s pretty good at it. Her tiny hands will sometimes support the entirety of the rest of her body during difficult poses in her exercise.
Hands are the tree rings for human beings. They mark what you are. My mother’s hands tell you she’s an active artist, nervous but observant. My grandmother’s hands show her age, her gentleness, her love and loyalty to the ideals of institution, structure, family. My girlfriend’s hands are little, but they are strong. Stress, harsh realities, nothing stops her hands. They just keep working, keep doing their job. I think the marks on our hands tell how we survive. How we live. Make a living. Who the strugglers, the warriors are. Faces are sometimes expressive, but they are often deceptive, they lie. Hands don’t. It is harder to lie with your hands because their past actions, their memories, are marked on the outside for anyone to reflect on while the reflections of the mind are hidden away for only the user to see. I don’t know what my hands say about me. My olive skin and calluses say that I was an active teenager. My guitar calluses that I have an obsession with expressive gesture, an artist perhaps. I wonder what someone else would think of my hands if they saw them? I think we should study and appreciate the beauty in the human hand more in art and between human beings. I think shows how special and individual we all are, expresses how diverse humanity is.