I used to draw quite a lot. The desire to be creative has driven me ever since I can remember.

Of course, I was never on par with some of my more talented relatives watching amusedly over my shoulder-they could make more precise and realistic lines than I could in my awkwardness, fill in color more boldly and much longer than my frequently fatigued hands could go.

But, I liked sketching once upon a time when I was by myself. I could make some pretty interesting worlds using pencil and paper.

It was a soothing practice for when life got too rough at home. A silent victory over the bitter acrimony so often in my wake.

Now? Well, the fatigue sets in much faster now. More frequently.

I feel victorious if I can open a jar of pasta sauce unassisted these days.

A hundred times a day over a hundred different tasks that seem so simple for others, you can find me struggling and grumbling, “Oh, these hands of mine!”

There is not a day my joints aren’t protesting. It’s an all over sensation, really. But, particularly, it’s the hands that bring about a melancholy and an embarrassment at times.

Where I used to work, we had these old fashioned mop heads we’d have to change out after use.

I was the only one who had to ask for help. Some co-workers clucked their tongues at that, wondering if I was just that stupid, lazy, or simply unfit for the job.

Now, I am at home. I am glad for a certain amount of respite.

Yet…where I live there are lots of quilters and crocheters and seamstresses. They can never seem to understand why I just can’t pick up a needle and be as they.

There are also lots of gardeners, do-it-yourselfers with power tools in hand, and bakers that can make all those fancy rosettes and detailed landscapes on cake. They are baffled by my lack of desire or ability for all these things.

When I first moved here, they kept trying to compartmentalize me in one of these slots. But, when I didn’t fit any of their usual places, they grew bewildered and, eventually, dismissive.

Oh, they could be kind, even helpful, but I was not in their little group. I was not creative enough in their eyes for that.

I wanted to shout to them, “No, I really AM creative! I have a thousand thoughts spinning a web inside at all times! I just can’t execute them all!”

But, it never felt worth it, anyway. I am an introvert. Where I long to have friends on a certain level, to be understood and embraced, the energy to be part of some crowds is just not in me.

They aren’t all bad crowds, of course. Some are actually nice. Just the word ‘crowd’ is enough to chase me away.

So, I thanked them for their kindnesses and stayed on the fringes, interacting where necessary, but, otherwise, standing apart.

And, later, I was published and I did surprise them all-for a time. They didn’t know I could do anything!

For a brief moment, I was someone to talk to. It flustered me, as talking always does, but, on a certain level, I was gratified.

But, it’s fading now. Not entirely sad for that, honestly. I sort of want it to. Limelight sucks for someone like me.

Because it so often deteriorates back to scrutiny. Always has.

There is always someone out there watching what these fumbling hands of mine can’t do. Or so it seems.

Or perhaps I am projecting my own shame…

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