As a youth, I remember my dad saying I had hands that had never worked hard. It was a passing comment, remarking I had no callouses or scars. They were child's hands with soft pink skin and neat nails, nearly pore-less and always clean.
Today I took this photo of my hands and it made me remember my dad saying that and thinking these hands have changed. These hands work hard every day now. They ache from use, their joints creak and whine at me, the skin sapped of moisture and crinkling. They are soft hands, but they show their use now. They mold the earth. The nails are flaked with clay, unable to remain manicured or even coloured. The skin shows lines and scars and pores. They glow red when they work hard and they deftly handle their work with memory of movement and sureness of intention.
These hands are no longer child's hands. My dad would be proud but perhaps surprised that this was what work meant. Molding earth and making forms from the dirt of a foreign land. They've always been artists hands, but this art leaves it's mark on me in return. Where I throw it repeatedly down, forcing it to give up it's air and hidden pockets of breath, where I force it, spinning, into the perfect roundel, drenched and pliant by my entire body's force, it fights back. The grit sands my palms, the wheel shreds my skin and my own force bounds back into my wrists and fingers. They're no longer child's hands.
I sipped my tea, from another artist's mug today, hands caked, red and sore, and took a moment. I am grown and my life is being solidified, my new routines turning into a norm, the spare room turning into a true studio that sees more of me than any other room; a room that hears my singing, witnesses my tears and my sweat and my hands as they age faster than the rest of me. I used to be vainly proud of my long, slim fingers, pale and elegant hands. I was adorned with a ring on each finger, colour and shine and now? Now I am proud of their strength, their ability. The aches are from creation, their skin is more grateful for products, sure, but the ritual of moisturiser every night makes me remember of my mo
ther and her own working hands. I didn't think this would be how I recognised adulthood.