My Hands: An Ode

I used to kind of hate them.

I kept my nails fairly long, and I wore numerous rings all throughout my early 20s — 3 to 4 on each hand, including thumb rings — to try and change how they looked.

In fact, I sometimes referred to my “sausage fingers” as a way to deflect attention away from the fact that I was uncomfortable with my short, squat hands. You know, self-deprecation as a means of pretending to have self-confidence?

What? That doesn’t work for you?

It didn’t work for me either. And while I didn’t spend hours of my days trying to think up ways to actually hide my hands, I really never actually liked them.

Until I started lifting.

See, you have a choice, when you start lifting more than casually and start genuinely picking up heavy things: you can either go out and buy lifting gloves, or you can tell your hands to woman up.

I chose the latter.

And the result are clear:




These hands don’t get soaked, moisturized, filed, massaged or trimmed very often.

They aren’t soft. They aren’t dainty. They aren’t polished. And they aren’t pampered.

Sometimes, these hands actually hurt. Sometimes it hurts to open them fully and stretch them out, and sometimes it hurts to make a super tight fist.

And sometimes, they ache even when they’re not working hard. The calluses sometimes throb for a while after a workout. The blood blister under my middle finger, a new development, is tender to the touch.

Everyday objects pass through these hands roughly at times — objects that would otherwise go unnoticed: the passage of the steering wheel along the calluses while driving, the edges of a condiment jar being opened for the first time, the fabric handles of a grocery bag packed high with heavy vegetables. Even the smooth black finish of brand new yoga pants is often marred by palms that snag on that smoothness at every touch.

These hands work hard. They work hard no matter what I do in the gym, and they have yet to give up when a weight is heavy — even if my chest, my back, my legs are ready to cave.

These hands work all day. They grasp heavy things, but they also cook, wash, steer, push, pull, sew, wring, toss, throw, grab, release, slap, swipe, open, and close.

They feel. They touch.

And they’re typing this post right now.

These days, I don’t talk about “sausage fingers.” These days, I wear just 2 or 3 rings. And I often forget to put them on before I go out. These days, I keep my nails short; nails just get in the way of everything my hands need to do.

And boy, do these hands do a lot.

They’ve earned their stripes.


About Kristen

I teach literature to high school students by day. I lift heavy things, train clients, and eat peanut butter by night.

6 comments on “My Hands: An Ode

  1. Ha, my hands are the definition of nasty. I actually haven’t met anyone who has worse callouses than me. My trainer partner burst a blood vessel in her hand on the weekend while we were doing farmers holds…. our hands aren’t pretty haha

    • I’m treating mine a little tenderly this week because of that blood blister. It’s right under a callous, and I am fairly sure that, if the blister breaks, my entire callous will rip off.

    • LOL — I hate those gloves. At the risk of pissing people off, I hate when people wear them. And I hate it even more when people with larger hands and therefore fewer grip problems (*cough**men**cough*) wear them.

Comments are closed.