One of life’s many struggles is learning to become comfortable with your body–a body you didn’t choose.
We’ve all looked in the mirror and wanted to change something. For Rumpus contributor Melissa Febos, it was her hands. Febos says:
They gave me away. Like bar codes or tree rings, and yes, fingerprints – they were maps that led to the truth of me – that I was no flower, no petaled thing. I was not a ballerina; I was a third baseman. I was a puller, a pusher, a runner, a climber, a grabber. I used my hands; they were marked by things, and left marks. They betrayed my desire to be the kind of girl I had learned I should be. And, more quietly, they betrayed my own inner softness, which was also wide and long and fast, but not calloused – instead tender as a wound.
Melissa Febos’s lyrical essay “My big, strong, manly hands” transcends her hands crisis and becomes a poetic meditation on identity and embracing the body: the good, the bad, and the ugly.