Anything essential is invisible to the eyes. The moon is always jealous of the heat of the day, just as the sun always longs for something dark and deep. Often we struggle to see our distinctive assets as we get drowned out in a sea full of unique individuals. We are asymmetrical beings who always struggle to find our place in our communities and are naturally negatively biased. As humans, we instinctively tend to overlook the good and focus on the bad which can project directly on our relationship with our bodies.
Since the day I was born, it was inevitable that I would stand out. Placing me in my father’s arms, the nurse observed that I had Amniotic Band Syndrome (ABS), a rare disease which affects the development of limbs in a fetus due to the constriction of blood flow caused by an amniotic band. I have lived my whole life with only one fully developed hand. But in a sea of what makes me who I am, this is just one small wave.
Growing up, I lived in the shadow of my hand. People looked at me and saw only it. I answered questions, eased their curiosity and we moved on. But middle school was another beast, there was no curiosity to ease, simply comments to hear. I felt like a fish out of water. I didn’t want to be “the girl with one hand”, but that’s all I seemed to be. My mind started zeroing in on only the negativity that came with being different than everyone else and I became engrossed with the idea of being “normal”. I would position myself so you could only see my right hand in photos and I would only wear shirts that could hide my left.
It took me an awfully long time to realize that I had just as many, if not more, positive qualities and traits. The more I surrounded myself with positive people with similar interests as me, the more I realized that I shouldn’t be living in the shadow of my hand because it wasn’t all I was. It took me months of self-acceptance and understanding to come to terms with the fact that, yes, I have one hand, but that has absolutely nothing to do with who I am as a person.
Everyone has imperfections, no one is perfect or symmetrical and I became comfortable with mine and have grown more confident. I realized that I had a unique perspective and an innovative way of doing things, which has now flooded all aspects of my life. Although it took me time to realize that I am and have been, in all respects, completely “normal”, I learned that I should admire my unique features and be another proud unique individual in a sea full of them. I hope that, when you look in the mirror, you see past your “imperfections”, and see a living and breathing soul who is extremely brave and capable.
Who is the Author?
The authors are you and me. A collection of voices, here we see a composite journal of our thoughts and feelings regarding mental health as ordinary humans who FEEL. Send in your articles, we'd love to have you.