Introducing You To... My Hand.

Whitney & I watched 'Soul Surfer' together the other day. This is a film we wanted to watch when it hit the theaters when we were still in Hawaii, but we never got round to it. The film is absolutely brilliant and amazing. It tells the true story of Bethany Hamilton who whilst surfing in Hawaii, got her arm bit off by a shark. It shows her remarkable recovery and determination to adjust to only have one arm and also, to become a pro surfer still.

This film hit us in many ways, not only did it make us miss Hawaii so much more than we already did, it hit both of us far deeper. This is the part of this post where I am hesitant to type. It is a post I have wanted to do for quite a long time, not only for myself in some sort of therapeutic way, but also for you our dear followers. I do not want to seem like I have been in any way deceiving you but alas, in my way of coping, that is what I sort of do.

Like Bethany, I only have the full use of one arm/ hand. My right hand. This is why you will 99% of the time only ever seen my right hand/arm in photos or videos. I have a disability to my left hand. It is not recent, I have had it almost since birth. I was born premature at 28 weeks old; 12 weeks early (yes 3 months!) I weighed a mere 1.14lb, basically a bag of sugar. I wont go into complete details (for reasons I may reveal later) however as a result of medical negligence I lost the tips of my fingers to my left hand resulting in a great loss of function with further complications.

Like Bethany, I can pose in a way to hide it.

Unlike Bethany, who has grown up with the full function of both hands, to suddenly have to adjust to a one handed way of life... this is the way I grew up and I know no different. I am very strong willed and a motivated person. I am very fortunate that my parents raised me to not think I was disabled. It is, however, over the last few years that the reality of my disability has hit me. I hide it very cleverly that it takes people a while to notice. However, when they notice I can tell, I can see it in their eyes. And it is this that sometimes gives me great anxiety, which is in contrast to my rather out going persona. Therefore I guess a lot of dealing with it is psychological. I find it very hard to ask for help and hate it when people offer it, though at the same time might often need it! Whilst I manage to do most things independently, there are quite a few daily tasks that I struggle at and cannot do. I get frustrated, I get upset, I get annoyed. Years ago I could not talk about this subject without crying for no reason.

If you look closely, you can see Whitney holding my hand. If my hand shows in any way I normally cut it out of pictures.

Whitney has been a true blessing in my life. Not only is she the love of my life, she truly loves me for who I am. It is with her love for my hand that I am able to come to terms with it in a more positive light. The future worries me for what is to come, such as with children and old age, in what I will be able to do. But I know I will always have Whitney at my side.

It is kind of ironic that I am able to fully embrace my 'marginalized' identity as a lesbian, but not one for my disability. I am working on it. This is a huge step for me. Who knows if I'll end up posting this today, tomorrow or never. But it feels better to have written it. My biggest fear I guess is of being judged- not by you followers, but the Internet can be a big scary place where you put your personal life out there. (Though Whitney informs me that she will hunt down and kill anyone who says anything negative- she's very protective over it haha).

Comments about my sexual orientation I can handle... about my disability, I'm not so strong. And so in posting this, I am making myself vulnerable. You may wonder then why do it? Seeing how brave Bethany was in dealing with her disability, over coming it and reaching out to many others as a role model, put me to shame. I am in awe of her but also slightly envious at her ability to cope. & hers is most definitely worse than mine.

So there you have it everybody. You may or may not have realised this yourself, or wondered why you never saw my left hand. Now you know. I think it will take me a while to get out of the habit of posing so that it is hidden, or editing it out of pictures if it is showing. I am nervous to post this, but this, this is a start.

A rare photo you will see of my hand, with Whitney's hand.

It is with Whitney by my side, holding my hand, that I push 'publish post'. Whitney thinks that it makes me all the better and stronger for it, I hope I think that one day too.

Edit: It is now November 2012, so over a year since I wrote this post which continues to receive great support, so thank you very much! I'm still coming 'to terms' with my disability and getting stronger as time goes on... so watch this space!

Megan X