Thursday, May 27

meet finneas

I lied. I am not a one-armed girl. I actually have one arm and 1/4 arm, a subtle yet significant distinction that my friends are quick to point out, lest I elicit too much sympathy. However, I feel, as titles go, “One Arm Girl” is a bit more catchy than “One and One Fourth Arm Girl.” Yes? Alright. Are we all still here? Retractions over, I would like to introduce you to Finneas, my left 1/4 arm.

I realize naming your appendages is not normal, and I would like you to know that I am not personally responsible for this. My friend Lucinda decided my arm had too much personality to remain nameless, and decided on Finneas, which I understand is the blanket name for cab drivers in Zimbabwe, akin to Jeeves among butlers. Lucinda’s husband is from Zimbabwe, so I’ll have to take her word for it. And I like Finneas, though I’m not sure how to spell it. It’s a better name than ‘little arm’ or ‘flipper’ or ‘What the hell is that?’; other descriptions employed. Ok, so I’ve never heard ‘What the hell is that?’ said to my face, but I’ve definitely imagined it.

Hidden under shirt sleeves for most of my life, Finneas is about eight inches long (I’m really bad at estimating, so he might be anywhere from five inches to a foot) with three fingers attached by skin, so they cannot move separately. From the best I can make out, what I have is a miniature deformed version of an upper arm attached to a hand. Interesting to note that, apparently, your hand develops in the womb before the rest of your arm, because I’ve seen other people with small hands attached at the shoulder. No one knows why my left arm never fully developed, though from time to time my mom confesses that she had one glass of wine and a Tylenol during her pregnancy with me. I generally look sadly at the floor and shake my head, “Yeah, that probably did it. Will you buy me a car?”

Finneas certainly deserves a name since he helps me with most everything that I do, primarily by holding things like milk cartons and books and small children; well, he can’t hold small children on his own, but he’s a team player. Lately, he’s been spending most of his time playing with the ends of my curls as they are now dangling long enough for him to reach. I’m hoping the novelty will eventually wear off. I recently found out how popular Finneas is while hanging out with some friends. It was raining and freezing, so I asked Ariel, who was sitting next to me, to feel how cold Finneas had become. When Kristen and Rebecca realized what was going down, both reached across the table to get in on the action. These are two of my closest friends and I had no idea getting to touch my small deformed arm had been a hidden dream, or how close I was to making that dream a reality. I do what I can.

And that’s just the beginning, but I’ve already written more than I intended. A quick note of appreciation: despite our rough start, and your probable decision not to trust anything I say from now on, I am ecstatic to see that I already have five blog followers, though I have yet to discover what exactly that means. And even more of you stopped by and left kind comments. This came as a surprise since I was mostly hoping my mom might read it from time to time.

(Also, my hair in the above photo was going through a bad time)



Tuesday, May 25

jumping in

Hello. I was born with curly hair and one arm.

How was that? You have no idea how much I have analyzed, stressed about and re-wrote that introduction in my head. Just getting to this point has been a journey of anticipation, fear, coming to the brink, then retreating under my various waterfowl down pillows. I couldn't afford the pure goose down.

So, this is how it begins, my very first blog ever. Even now I am filled with trepidation, overwhelmed by the impending responsibility of regular updates. I am a writer, but the kind that has to come very close to self-inflicted spatula whippings to actually get up in the morning and open a word processing document. So, welcome to my blog. I have high hopes that it will be a place of enticement amidst the throng; I am fully aware that EVERYONE has a blog, and that fact alone nearly kept me out of the ring. But I feel it's worth a shot, to push beyond my fears of losing my presently non-existent readership, because I enjoy writing for other people, even imaginary ones. That, and I really need an excuse to cancel my Facebook account.

Back to the one arm thing. I was born with one arm, and I've repeated that explanation so many times over the years, I was hardly thinking about what I was saying anymore; it just became a cursory necessity to meeting new people. It took me 25 years to realize it was actually interesting, that people had other questions, like "How do you put on deodorant?" (please see the above) Stuff I just took for granted. My friend Joey told me, "I think people don't talk about your arm cause they think you don't know."

So, I started talking about it, and writing about it, me and my life, one arm and whatever else came up. I hope this blog will carry on the flame; become a place where curiosity runs rampant, and discovery is an everyday kind of thing. If you'd like, come along for the ride.

And now, for my own commitment phobias, I hereby promise to update this blog at least once a week; perhaps more, but I like to set expectations well within my ability. I also promise a politically correct free zone; respect all people and ask whatever you want. Let's just try to keep gratuitous cussing to a minimum; I have nothing against the well-used curse word. Agreed?

Ok, then. Let the blogging begin.