I used to have pretty hands. No really. You know when people ask you what your favorite feature is and you try to laugh it off with something like “my fantastic, sarcastic wit” or something but what they really want is a physical feature? Most people I know would say eyes, or smile, or tush. But for me, it was always my hands. I was proud of them; I kept my nails manicured and always wore lotion… Maybe it was a little vanity thing on my part but I don’t care. I thought I had pretty hands.
I no longer have pretty hands. I now have cracked, chapped, dry, flaky, food-stained, bleach soaked hands. My nails tear on almost a daily basis from soaking in too much water, which is an amazing feat in and of itself because I keep them cut super short. I feel like I now have old lady hands, all that is missing are the age spots. But strangely enough I don’t really care. In fact, I would even say that in some way I’m even proud of my ugly hands. They are working hands, they got this way doing something that I love.
I used to have an obsession with pretty shoes. Nine West, Kenneth Cole, Anne Klein, Via Spiga, Steve Madden, Betsey Johnson, Paolo… I love these brands and I would literally be as giddy as a 7 year old on Christmas morning every time I got a new pair. Since in my wardrobe I tend to stick with the basic neutral colors like black, brown, gray, and beige, I would always buy outrageously colored shoes. Pink and white polka-dot pumps, teal blue sandals, orange and yellow cork soled wedges, burgundy red peep-toe mary-janes, cherry red ballet flats. I love ALL of those shoes.
However, now I wear shoes that fall under the category of “comfort” and “orthopedic”. I spend a majority of my days and weeks standing, running, climbing stairs and step-ladders and lifting heavy items. All of my designer shoes are painfully inappropriate now, for reasons other than their ridiculously high heels and their open toes. I recently broke down and purchased two pairs of shoes for work. But when I opened the box, instead of feeling the elation that usually accompanies a fantastic new shoe, all I felt was relief that I would have something to wear that wouldn’t make my feet ache by lunch and mild amusement that they weren’t quite as ugly as they looked online. Almost, but not quite.
I used to have other things also. Things I took for granted like, current email correspondence, a balanced checkbook and regular access to the internet for research, education and fun. Now I’m pretty sure most of my friends have given me up for lost, it just took me almost TWO HOURS to balance our checkbook because I haven’t done it in so long and I now rarely get to play on the internet for any purpose. I check my email every couple of days (though I rarely have time to respond in detail to anything), I catch up on reading what you all have posted on your blogs and I make mental notes for blog posts. Y’all, if someone would invent an easy (and legal) way to blog post from your car while driving I would be the most prolific blogger on earth. I seem to always have great ideas when driving and even sometimes compose entire posts in my head. Of course I can never remember them when I am sitting and staring at a blank Word document. Of course.
What I DO have now is a job that I actually enjoy. I wake up every morning and know that I have something to do today that is enjoyable and not an odorous chore to be dreaded and bitched about. I have a (modestly) clean home. Even though I have had to let go of some of my AR tendencies out of necessity and fears for my sanity, our home is generally clean and tidy. The fact that our Christmas decorations are still up is neither here nor there. Ahem. I have healthy groceries in the fridge and manage to cook something both healthy AND tasty most nights of the week. I have a snuggly kitty who lays on my feet at night since it is cold and I occasionally find a minute or two to read at night before exhaustion forces my eyes closed. I have been working out regularly again and between the working out and the actual work I actually feel tired, physically tired, at the end of the day. And that feels good my friends. Very, very good.