Thin Skinned

The backs of my hands are always tender. Seems like I have at least one scratch or bruise always healing on the backs of my hands. I have always been hard on my hands. I build, craft, mold and create with my hands. I am proud of the things I make. Being a ‘maker’ is a huge part of my identity and what brings me a lot of joy. Several years into my time as an aerial artist and yoga teacher my hands began to hurt. The tendons throbbed, joints stiffened and the fingers swelled. Unfortunately these ailments worsened and I had to make some major changes in how I lived. I wish I could say the pain is gone, but it really depends on the day. The new issues with constant injuries on the backs of my hands is new. I never thought about how living tiny would mean constantly reaching into tiny spaces and scrapping the backs of one’s hands! Then add aging skin and the dry desert and you have the recipe for constant scraps and bruises, who would have thought of it. So if you meet me and think I am trying to be fashionable by always wearing fingerless gloves, know it is out of comfort and necessity.

I didn’t really want to write about my painful hands, but needed to work up the courage to write about my ‘thin skinned’ emotional self. I have always wanted to be tough. I want to be detached from what others think of me. I really couldn’t care less what most people think of me, but as soon as I grow emotionally attached to a person then that changes. Once I care about someone enough to feel a swelling in my heart when I think of them then I become way too ‘thin skinned’. The vulnerability I experience is ridiculous. I crave hearing that they love and approve of me. Anything to the contrary can send me into fits of tears and knots of anxiety. Even worse is when a person’s behavior proves that my admiration was misdirected. I feel like a foolish child! Why do I bring this up now? When you live a nomadic life on the road friendship dynamics change. You will not be in anyone’s life on a daily basis other than your traveling companion.

When you hit the road most of your history becomes hidden to those you meet everyday. You have the freedom to be a new person everyday if you like. What appeals to me is being the person I AM each and everyday. Letting the season, weather, my health, my mood, the waxing of the moon determine what parts of my being bubble to the surface each day. Simply always being me. I find the independence of this lifestyle very freeing in that sense. My authentic self is constantly in flux in the way in which it manifests, but I get to be consistently me.

Being yourself everyday, without expectations, also means it can hurt more deeply if someone is unkind. Back to the unholy vulnerability! Now add the hormonal changes of menopause and the unfamiliarity of my rapidly changing body!! Please just give me a bunny to hold while you pat me on the head and tell me I am sweet and loveable!!! OMG, I think I better shave my head, get an armful of tattoos and start swinging a hammer 🔨…. wait a second I already did that! That is so last decade. I think I will meditate, braid my hair, sip some tea and snuggle my little dog… awe, life is good ✨

2 thoughts on “Thin Skinned

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  1. We left Boise for our own nomadic adventure in 2015. Since then, and after taking up residence in Maine, I have struggled with the disconnect from some of my friends and with many of the people in an area of the world that feels very different than the west and not always friendly to my sensitive little soul. But this was the place for starting our little self-sufficiency farm (I too have shredded hands. And I knit, so it’s a constant battle to keep my fingers from turning into Velcro and destroying my yarn). I also identify on the hormones thing as I have been struggling with PCOS since about 2012 (a bit like mini-menopause + slightly turning into a man) and have only recently gotten it to a manageable state. All that to say, I can very much identify with you on this and the previous post and I thank you for writing them both because it makes me feel a little less alone way up here in the boonies.


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