Saturday, June 23, 2007

On Scars and Calluses

I may be odd, but I've always taken a strange sort of pride in the ugly markings on my body caused by hobbies I've had and things I've done. When I was in high school, I was a member of a pre-professional ballet company. Now, pointe shoes are not great for one's feet. And they really wreak havoc when you're wearing them in classes and intense rehearsals 30 hours a week. I haven't worn pointe shoes for about eight years now, but my feet still show the damage they did because I loved ballet too much. My toes are lumpy, and I have weird knobby things on my heels that turn purple when I'm cold. Instead of being embarrassed of my feet, I've always had a sort of strange fascination with them -- they prove that I used to be a dancer and they exhibit all the hard work I put into becoming one. For a few years I was always taking pictures of my feet (weird, I know). The selection below contains five I found on my hard drive in 5 minutes without even trying...

In college I wanted to be in a grunge band, so I took up playing the bass. After about a month of lessons and practicing all the time, I had enormous callouses on my fingers from holding and picking the hard strings. These, I showed EVERYONE. Then when I first moved to San Francisco, I was extremely proud of the giant blisters on the bottoms of my toes that I got from practicing capoeira. Now, it's knitting that's making a mark.

Here is my right index finger, the one that pushes the tip of the knitting needle down when I advance my stitches (Side note: It is VERY difficult to take a picture of a finger on ones dominant hand!). You can't see the top layer of skin flaking off, but you can see the shininess of the tip of the finger, caused by a buildup of callusy flesh. It's not nearly as bad as what happened to January One's finger, but it is certainly different than it was before.

I think this is just so cool. The fact that the body physically changes to reflect something one is passionate about, something one has learned how to do, something one can do well -- it's like a tattoo, but one that God gives you, and without the ink and needles. My mom always said she had workers hands, not soft lady-like ones, but I think they're the most beautiful of all. In them I can see everything she has done and can do, which is pretty much anything -- sew, plant, paint, write, cook, lift, sand, build. I hope mine have so much experience and expertise one day.

Anyway, enough of the nostalgia. Hourglass now has a yoke!


Anonymous said...

I'm very proud of my calluses as well - but damn they hurt sometimes! Especially when I get the holes.

Thanks for your email. I really appreciate it!

Margo said...

I love what your mom says about her hands. It made me stop and examine my own and realize I have a lot of living to catch up on now that school's done. I also proudly display my calluses (I've always called acquired wounds like these 'war wounds') Each one has its own unique story and I smile when I think about all the stories I have. Your work is amazing, Hilary!

Anonymous said...

Hilary you are sooo funny! I have laughed out loud approximately 5 times while reading this blog :) I will now be a regular visitor to The Yarniad.