This I Believe

Tori - Palos Park, Illinois
Entered on November 21, 2006
Age Group: Under 18

Pick up a pen, a notebook; whatever is closest to you. Look down. That is what I believe in. The simple, the complex, the first thing a red, huffing, one-minute-old father looks at, the unpretentious prongs that can ignite as easily as they can douse. I believe in the power of human hands.

You bite your nails, suck your thumb, tap pencils and watch them bounce from chewed bubble-gum erasers. Hands clasp in a waxy, dry grip to console. From a celestial energy to a simple food pyramid of hierarchy, the large aspects of power and control are intimidating. Hands, the very things that craft all coercion, and birth all that we deem authoritative, are…you. They can be extraordinary or ordinary, weak or powerful. They are the most potent things in life, yet they’re what one turns to when all the feeble (by comparison) facets of the world kick you off the proverbial fence. The same hands that hammer dull clunks of metal into weapons can hug and bandage, sating a flow of destruction. In the way that a furry fanged beast can be clung to, like a teddy bear, we embrace that which causes all damage, from an apocalypse down to a little blip in an otherwise faultless day.

Hands define us. Black chipped speckles on the floppy curves of nails, ringed by thick brass bands, epitomize a throat-squeaking request for comfort and consideration. Dry, worn palms tell the story of human compassion and adored comfort. People who complain about a lack of diversity need only to look to hip-level, and see the tendons and cords that make snowflakes seem standardized.

Besides hands mirroring who you are, they help create enough identity for you to properly be considered an individual. My hands turned me into a midwife as they tore through the slick wet film keeping a just-born calf away from the milk and worry of its sickly mother. They turned me malignant as they chafed a match against the basketball-bumps of an igniter, heated their selves against the glow of a searing cigarette. A coy plink against ivory keys makes you a musician. Shakily clasping a distressed companion turns you into warmth. The bend and fold of fingers in intricate patterns can serve as your voice; can make you someone’s ears. As easily as sliding your fingers into the hollow sockets of a glove, you could do the infamous collapse-reconstruction dance of identity.

Our demands are for care, for comfort. For power and intelligence. For individuality, for creativity. Impatient hands, whose grooves and veins speak of their frailty, their power, and their inimitability, graciously meet this. Believing in something gives you reverence, gives you comfort. I believe in hands, and their unyielding strength. Base, in its most detailed form.