Handshakes to All

Katherine - Marietta, Georgia
Entered on October 17, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

I believe all it takes is a handshake.

In kindergarten, I had been dubbed puddle hands. I was that wallflower my classmates scanned across, not because I was unfriendly, but because being friendly was not everything.

My puddle hands had another name too. Palmar Hyperhydrosis, it is called. Fancy, smart-sounding words that meant my sweat glands in my hand worked on turbo power. Lovely, you would think. No chapped hands! This was far from the truth.

My mother dragged me from doctor to doctor in search of a cure, but the same response came back.

“The treatment for your daughter can only be surgery.”

I would rather have soggy appendages than get prodded with a knife.

On one occasion I even received a “Gross. Yuck. That is absolutely disgusting.” From a supposedly professional physician, the comment stuck. I thought I was doomed.

I can still remember the first day I cried in school. The memory is nothing to brag about, but now I can look back and smile. In show-and-tell, each student had to share a new discovery they made. I took out my leopard print binoculars and proudly set them on my desk. A boy with tawny hair told me to go check my teeth in the bathroom, so I willingly did. It was not everyday a boy would talk to me.

When I skipped back to class, I opened the door and saw grins and shiny hands. Everyone had watered hands. I could feel my face turning red, my eyes starting to cry, and my hands doing what they were born to do: sweat. When I think about it now, everything in my elementary years was a misunderstanding. Stemmed from my insecurity, I never tried my hardest to befriend this curse of a disorder and call it my gift. For all I know, my elementary school classmates might have been trying to make me feel accepted. I believe there is absolutely no excuse for insecurity.

It was only high school when change occurred.

“Honey, we’re moving,” my mom told me. She smiled.

I smiled too. Clean slate, start anew, I can do it!

Freshly packaged from Michigan to Georgia, I found myself hiding again. The moment I walked into high school, I was an outsider. Looking around at the cliques made my hands sweat more. I was disappointed, not in my new classmates, but in myself. How could I be social? My pent up determination and exasperation had to be released. The next day, I went to school and put my game face on.

I admit I looked like a dork, but I could feel my self-esteem building. Handshakes to all! Of course, my hands continued to trickle and drip, but I will not let it take over my life. And if I could boast about anything, I would say I have a life.

I believe there’s a flaw in everyone. Accept it. Flaunt it. Move along with your life.

Would you like a handshake?