My hands are constantly dirty.
I joked with Kyle about this as I prepared to go to Florida a couple of weeks ago -- I went to represent Charles & Hudson, so I had to look the grown up. My nail beds were stained from oil paint and dirt, my nails ragged, cuticles ashambles -- so I spent some time giving myself a hack-job manicure, painting them neon pink because I think I saw that was the thing to do on Pinterest recently. I chuckled with him as I noted that back in the day, a woman had painted nails to show that she didn't have to work hard for a living, or at all. A couple of generations later, here I sat, hiding the evidence that I work hard everyday with nail polish so I could feel presentable amongst adults.
I maintained them for about a week between, for the sake of Prom, leaving on the polish to protect them until the time came to change it to match my fancy outfit.
The time between, though, almost cost me my sanity.
You know that old saying about idle hands? While I don't think any satanic power is going to possess my phalanges, I have found a certain amount of serenity in the near constant movement of them -- in the simplicity of hand-sewing a repair on an item of clothing, of digging up dirt and planting things, in building and painting things of all scale for my home.
I've found my zen in physically creating things. And when I don't do that for a while, I bum out.
I've always been creative and done crafts and things, but this is one of the first times in my life that I've felt a real satisfaction with working with my hands and creating things of value, even if it's just to me.
I feel useful in those moments, that I have value and worth and in some small way can make the world a nicer, prettier place.
I haven't been able to find that in many other arenas as of late.
I haven't talked about a lot of things that have been going on with me and my family here because, as I've said before, this space hardly feels mine. It's actively trolled by a handful of people who have chosen me as the target of their instability and own insecurity, and to be honest, that shit is hard to deal with for an extended amount of time. Every time I go to open up, there is a new slew of insults to tear me down. I feel their eyes on my every word and I censor, censor, censor and eventually can't quite stomach the idea of publishing a candy-coated version of my life so I just don't at all, I delete and move on, go back to something involving my rapt attention and deft hands because there, there in those things that I work on and create there is no room for argument or defeat because look, look at the things I can do with just my mind and my hands.
I'm trying. I'm trying to find the things to write about that motivate me and help me feel whole. I'm navigating these waters as best I can, so very desperately missing that ability I once had to just let it all hang out and not feel shamed into thinking that my words, my story, my existence, is useless.
And to be a little honest, I find myself writing a lot in my head when I'm wrist deep in compost or coated in oil paint without a lick of mineral spirits in the house (that super sucked) and I feel the urge to get pen to paper but by the time I'm cleaned up enough to do so, the words fade with my resolve and I mentally shelve them, knowing that the chance of them resurfacing is slim.
And I go back to getting my hands dirty, living in the moment, solving the problems within my immediate realm and working my way through my small life in some of the only ways I know how.
I know the only way to get back to my words is to do it. To write the minutiae and the droll and sometimes even the candy-colored Instagrams and just keep writing until it's natural again, until I have faith and strength in my words again.
I'm just a little gun shy, and sometimes the quiet of planting my first vegetable garden or the repetitive movements of repainting a wall win me over because in those spaces, I don't have to be anyone but myself and I have visible, tangible proof of my abilities right there in front of me. The quiet and the concentration soothe my weary mind and I am calm despite the storm around me, and can find clarity and hope that I usually struggle so hard to find otherwise.
But I will try to be better, I will cut out in other place, lesser places, and make the effort to come here, to come home to my words and to use my hands to tell my story.
Because I believe it is a story worth telling. And that is enough for me, for now.