by Nicole Prevost
You know how it is: the thing that you think looks so wrong, so glaringly bad that a spotlight must be shining directly on it? When I mentioned to Erica what I'd be writing about for my "loveyourwholeself" blog post, she said she'd never noticed my "ugly" hands. Of course, she hadn't. They're not covered in green scales, after all. But it's also because I do a fairly good job of hiding them.
I'm very self-conscious about my mitts. I try not to rest my chin in my hand very much. Every time I recommend jewelry to you kind customers, I tend to hide my middle finger with its misshapen nail. Not so long ago, as he held my hands, a then-new beau commented that he "didn't know my hands yet." Instead of embracing the sweet moment, I blushed and pulled my hands away.
Before I began designing clothes and working in dress shops, I was a chef. Lots of years reaching for hot pans, getting splattered with hot oil. One burn was so bad, after only a couple of seconds I felt no pain from it; the nerves under the skin on that thumb were deadened, and the skin became thick, white and rubbery. As it healed, that scar remained so red and so prominently raised that I considered getting a tattoo - either a fern or a carrot - to mimic its shape. (Luckily, I decided against the permanent ink.) Other scars remain, all over my hands.
The misshapen nail? That's from a wart. Ick, I know. Well, it's actually not so icky, but it is in just about the worst spot it could be. Warts that are next to nails are notoriously hard to get rid of. I know because I tried over the years. Months on end of doctor treatments, home remedies. (Duct tape, anyone?) It's lingered, long ago causing the nail on my middle finger to stop growing on one side.
And then there are the fat knuckles, the fingers that are quite crooked. Since puberty, I've cracked my knuckles. Much to my father's chagrin. Since high school, I've had those knobby knuckles and fingers as crooked as tree limbs.
Overall, not a very dainty sight.
The challenge to ourselves and to all of you for our #newyearsrevolution has been to embrace our whole selves, warts and all. (In my case, quite literally!) In 2015, I'm reminding myself each day that my hands make me the maker I am. With these crooked, scarred hands, I cook the best gumbo you've ever had. With these paws that often drop things - have I mentioned my clumsiness? - I design and make most of the clothes I wear. I cut and sew dresses that you'll wear. Most importantly, these not so pretty hands will give my beautiful teenage daughter hugs, as often as she'll let me.
So this year, I'll be pulling out the red nail polish often. Decidedly not hiding my hands. Calling attention to them, in fact.
With my hands, I create. And that fulfills me.
Nicole comes to Garnish having long been involved in Portland’s fashion scene. Beginning in 2007 and continuing for 7 years, she owned Union Rose, a boutique featuring locally made designs, including her own clothing line, Big Brown Eyes. She’s passionate about well-made things and is a fierce supporter of all things local. A Louisiana native but long-time Portlander, Nicole sees that her 13 year old daughter has also taken on the mantle of clotheshorse. They have many spirited discussions on what is considered fancy. “Many things in life can be done in a silk dress and heels. Why NOT look good?”