On Bravery: My Hand


I used to run my fingers across walls, gates, and fences when walking from one destination to the next. The novelty of the different textures inspired me: the coolness of iron, the roughness of wood, the bumpiness of concrete, the lushness of leaves. I used to like burying my hands in barrels of birdseed or beans, buckets of beads or sand. I used to enjoy rubbing lotion over my hands: twisting and turning them amongst each other until the white substance disappeared into thirsty skin.

I hardly ever indulge in these actions anymore. It's been a year and a half since the injury (the fateful day I tripped up stairs, put my hand out to avoid hitting my head, and accidentally slit my wrist on broken glass), and I've had 2 surgeries and 3 sets of stitches since then, but the emotional tragedy still lingers. 

I become easily frustrated and angry with myself for my injured mitt. A few months after the initial fall, I had to re-teach myself many simple actions: eating with utensils, washing my hands, buttoning a shirt, styling my hair, shaving, waving, or applying makeup. I used to take pride in my handshake; it was strong and confident. I used to love meeting new people. Things changed after the accident: my anxiety level peaks when someone offers me their hand when becoming acquainted. But what was most tragic - the thing that often brought me to tears - was the pain I experienced when doing the one thing that has always made me happiest.

Creating art had never felt so difficult.

I spiraled into a deep depression for months after the injury. I spent my days on the couch and ate almost nothing. Actors and actresses from movies were my company. It wasn't a way of life. 

After months of inactivity, after finishing yet another television series, I sat up from the couch and decided I had to start doing something. I knew my life had changed but wanted it to be for good reason.

I created a book and then decided to live the rest of my life being kind & brave.

Things are a bit easier now, having re-learned some technique and accepting that "perfect" is not a word I care to emulate anymore. The injury forces me to take a break after a couple hours of art-making: my wrist becomes weak, my fingers stiff.

In addition to my three scars - one by my ankle, another on my calf, and the original one in the shape of an elongated "X" on my right wrist - I now own the constant reminder to have patience. It's not the most glamorous way to have realized my potential, but boy, does it feel good to be awake.

It's impossible to know if this happened for a reason. It's impossible to know if any bad fortune ever happens for a reason. All we can do is recuperate, mourn, wake up, and take action. This year, I hope to continue conversations with you all, create more tangible goods, and embark on an exciting project (that just so happens to be centered around scars). 

Have you ever had a similar experience? I'd love to hear your story. Any tips for overcoming the surgery/injury blues? Let me know in the comments below :)